Wednesday 24 February 2016

Lemon bars

It's summer here in Sydney and I've no business buying single lemons for $2 when there's all sorts of amazing stone fruit still in stores but I was craving lemon tart. This presented somewhat of a conundrum as lemon tart is not the sort of craving that can be satisfied quickly. There's pastry to be made, rested, rolled out, refrigerated, a food processor to be dragged from the cupboard (and washed afterwards), not to mention a finished tart to be cooled. Hooray for lemon bars. All the taste of a tart, with none of the hassle. 

The bar cookie is an American baking classic, a mainstay of picnics and potlucks. They're brilliantly portable and utterly unpretentious. What you see is what you get and here it's a burnished gold top, a dense, buttery biscuit base and sandwiched between them, a sweetly tart custardy lemon filling. This recipe uses everyday ingredients, whole eggs (no separating or extra yolks), the zest and juice of a single lemon, and, best of all, one mixing bowl. It takes hardly any time to make, only 25 minutes to bake, and not too long to cool. And because it's meant to be cut, you have no compunction about eating a piece before guests arrive.

Wednesday 17 February 2016


I took a break. I took a plane. I took granola. Easy to make, possible to pack, granola is a simple breakfast that seems a little more luxurious than the everyday. There are a million recipes out there, but this one came recommended by a friend I trust in all things cooking. I'd made it before, for another friend just home from hospital, but never for myself. While many such cereals are overwhelmingly sweet, this one skews almost savoury, the maple syrup providing the sugar balanced with an almost equal amount of olive oil. There's shredded coconut and oats for chewing, nuts for crunching, and a fat dollop of Greek yoghurt to smooth it all out. It's breakfast to make you feel like you're on holidays, no matter where you are - a good start to any day.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Marmalade cake

Some tastes you grow into. When you’re little, you want sweet, plain and simple. With toast you want jam. Specifically, you want strawberry – something straight-forward and sugary: reasonable, red, familiar. Then you graduate to something a little more sophisticated, a gateway fruit, maybe a raspberry. You come to like that slight sharpness with the sweet, and from there you start contemplating that most grown-up of grown-up spreads: marmalade. You never would have entertained the idea of chunks of tart chopped-up orange on your toast some years ago, but now, that citrussy sour-sweet is somehow what you crave each morning. How did that happen?

Though strictly speaking, cake is not for breakfast, this particular one is actually kind of perfect as the first meal of the day - soft and golden as the sunrise, its bittersweet bite as good a wake up as a cup of coffee.

Come to think of it, cake for breakfast is kind of a childhood fantasy, so maybe you aren’t as grown-up as you thought after all. Phew.