2012

You are currently browsing the yearly archive for 2012.

Multiracial life is an interesting one. People on the street sometimes speak to me in languages I don’t understand and my dual appearance often has me feeling uncomfortable in my own, somewhat tanned skin as I fit neither here nor there. Back in the old MySpace days I found their “nationality” profile section insufficient. In Japan I was mistaken for being French and in France I was mistaken for being Italian. I was paid out for having a big nose as a child but these days I’m complimented on my coveted, high cheekbones. The symbol of a watermelon as a prelude for party-times is ingrained in every thread of my being and the number of times sweet old gentlemen have approached me with “YOU GRIK GAHL?” is a relentless joy, both a blessing and a curse.

My amazing plan this week was to document both sides of my family, The Egyptians and The Cypriots, and how their Christmas celebrations draw exciting parallels despite their geographic difference; food served in loved Bessemer, lunch of both traditional and modern dishes, watermelon. When I first began this blog my intention was to highlight my colourful ethnic background illustrating these sorts of get-togethers but in almost one-and-a-half years nothing of the sort ever eventuated. Until now. My amazing plan fell short of amazing as I hadn’t factored in the amazing food coma element. Cameras and food, man. My eye for symmetry blurred significantly under the weight of BBQ lamb, chicken, duck, molokhia, fresh seafood, ham, kashk, stuffed tomato, my Teta’s famous crème caramel and more (I feel heavy). But I tried. I tried and then I fell asleep on a couch somewhere. I think my brother summed it up best in an instagram post simply captioned Dat wog lunch :’). Oh well, better luck next year.


















I wish you all the best time this holiday season, enjoy your time off, enjoy time with your friends and family and I’ll see you all in the new year with some new recipe posts. :)

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A few years ago I was entirely lacking direction and happiness so in late 2009 I set myself a challenge to acquire a degree and make a good thing. It’s now 2012 and I’ve just conquered my personal Everest. For the first time in my adult life I feel the cool and satisfying wave of relief and contentment and am truly excited to share the catalyst of my newly-found nice feelings with you today.

Food You Want To Eat is a self-published cookbook encapsulating a year’s worth of photography and recipes entirely created, prepared, styled, photographed, edited, designed and laid out by yours truly. Hardcover, 24x30cm, 142 pages. It’s my end-of-degree project that was just awarded a High Distinction (!!). It’s survived a computer crash, a corrupt external HD, a broken camera and a plethora of printing issues (more on this later). Imagine a blog in a nicely bound book; the hardcover makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I give it a tap. On April 20th I made it official to the internet this was happening and now it’s legit. It’s no longer a collection of files on my computer, it’s a book, it’s tactile, it’s a noun. Only a couple of weeks ago it was on display at the COFA Annual accompanied by some of my prints. It’s real, it’s in my hands,  I can touch it and even give it a little lick if I really wanted to.

Needless to say it was all very hard work and even having this book printed was an amazing comedy of errors. The company made mistake after mistake (for example, the first version literally fell to pieces in my hands fresh from the factory… (I cried)); four versions later the errors were still rife (incorrect colours, problems with the cover, strange smudges ahoy, alignment issues) and a job with a quoted timeframe of one and a half weeks was dragged out over 2 months. I never received an entirely accurate copy and strangely enough what should have been the easiest process of producing this book became the most arduous and made for a very anti-climatic ending. BUT I’ve decided the time for lamenting is now over and with the help of my dear friend The Internet it’s time to celebrate the creation of a really neat thing.

I realise it’s difficult to capture a book of photography with even more photos (yo dawg…) so I’ve put together a small video to illustrate my work in lieu of a JPG-fest (soundtracked by my m8 Yann Tiersen #forevertwee), I really hope you enjoy it:

It isn’t available to buy (doing the DIY thing was my dream but small-run printing is just too hard) so IF THERE ARE ANY PUBLISHERS READING THIS, HI, HELLO, HEYYY! LET’S TALK BUSINESS! This is a project I would be thrilled to have published one day but as a realist I understand the lifestyle market is a saturated competitive one. For now I’ll continue adding to my master file creating an even bigger little anthology of food I like to make as I’m sure it will published one day, maybe. Hopefully. OH PLEASE LET IT HAPPEN. Feel free to spread the word! Please RT, etc etc.

I owe so much to all of my encouraging and supportive friends, new and old, for offering their kind advice and friendly shoulders, this project would still be lingering as a vague possibility in my mind if it weren’t for them, so…

Thank you for helping me realise I’m capable of aiming high and succeeding. Thank you so much for helping me do this.

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I HAVE RETURNED from my whirlwind adventure to SIN/BKK with local music personality, ex-housemate, platonic man-candy and general cool dude Adam on our mission to to eat all of the food feat. our friend Mel who’s working abroad for a little while. WARNING: photo-heavy post. Crazy heavy.

SINGAPORE. Some call it sterile, I’ll stick with “orderly”. A hub of too many great cultures. Check out the night safari after 7pm as part of the zoo. Head to Little India (the Tekka Centre on Buffalo Road) for a plate of the greatest chicken biryani, visit the East Coast for some chili crab (evidence of us giving it the ol’ ridgy-didge posted below) and lose your mind in the number of department stores along Orchard Road. Bugis Street was conveniently located moments from our hotel and is a great spot for on-the-go eats (thank u pandan + kaya waffle) and shopping for some adorable, girly accessories. Be sure to hit up maccas; the McSpicy goes off.

BANGKOK. You could spend your entire holiday exploring street food options (Sukhumvit Soi 38 has the greatest mango sticky rice) and getting lost in Chinatown on a Saturday night. TRY AN AUTHENTIC PAD THAI. Buy everything at Chatuchak markets (a stall I’ll caption as “a food stylist’s dream” also pictured below), go for a boat adventure through world heritage site Ayutthaya for a snapshot of Thai provincial life. Have the living balls beaten out of you with a legit Thai massage (I regret everything). For all the hip kids take some time to explore Thong Lo. We reccomend Iron Fairies, a terrace-converted-bar with the sweetest jazz, Mr. Jones’ Orphanage for the sweetest cake and feast for the eyes, Shades of Retro for some sick cocktails and guaranteed laid-back vibe with the added perk of all the free buttered popcorn your stomach can handle and for the greatest eats try Soul Food Mahanakorn (dem tamarind pork ribs) and Xuan Mai (a restaurant opened by former Miss Saigon turned FBI agent turned chef). No #sydneyfoodtrends in sight, just the way I like it.

Humidity aside I had a spectacular time and the post-holiday blues are beginning to hit home hard (OH LORD WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE) but for now please enjoy few of my ~travel pics~. Since there’s only so much I can squeeze into the constraints of this post for more and larger versions please visit my portfolio site alanadimou.com and check out the photomedia section.


























































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I am not an advocate for healthy eating. You are looking at someone who falls before the feet of candy when the slightest hint of anxiety creeps up. I rely on 5-minute-microwave-mug-cake for emotional stability. My desk represents a glorious pedestal of jars of Nutella during stressful months. I gaze into McFlurry cups and see a happier me. Sugar is my solace and I have self-loathing-comfort-eating down to such a spectacular art; I am a fine masterpiece.

What I am an advocate of however is riding my bike to local farmer’s markets and “foraging” (lol) for some local/seasonal veggies on a Saturday morning and if one of those veggies just happens to end up as a healthy snack or meal I’m happy to give myself an ill-deserved pat on the back.

Kale chip recipes are on every blog I’m sure so feel free to call me out on being late to the party. Remember when kale chips where a thing when veganism exploded on the hipster scene? I’m not talking true vegans (respect) but fad vegans. The kind who conveniently perch themselves upon a green high-horse until the void of steak and cheese kicks in after a few weeks.

This is an excellent snack for all lovers of chips like myself (except for Pringles, never Pringles) and considering I’ve made a habit of snacking on nori lately this was an easy and inviting transition into kale life. And, of course, I decided to drown it in ethnic sensibilities. And speaking of za’atar; I mostly make everything from scratch but good za’atar is just too easy to find. You have two options; be a white guy and buy a jar from Harris Farm or whatever, or, find a Lebanese grocery store and buy it for peanuts by the kilo. Needless to say the latter receives my hectic approval and I actually have a massive bag leftover from a party when I was asked by a friend to “bring ethnic food” (bless). If you don’t have any it’s cool, just use salt or throw whatever spices or herbs you have in your pantry, I doubt anyone could get this wrong.

Also I realise I’ve not posted here for a while bar the occasional internet rant. I’ve been finishing up final university assessments (scary/exciting), enduring the trials and tribulations of printing my book (I will need at least 50 blog posts to detail this saga, stay tuned), and, in more exciting news (for me at least) I’ll be heading to Singapore and Bangkok on Wednesday for just over a week for a much needed holiday. So I thought it necessary to find some time to post something before I left.

Anyway. Here’s my recipe for a common fad thing shrouded in my ethnicity I love to flaunt oh-so-much. YOU’LL LOVE IT. I’m already filing this under “stuff white people like”.

Za’atar Kale Chips
(an original recipe)

1 bunch fresh kale
1-2 tbs za’atar
Olive oil
Salt

1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Wash kale, remove the centre stalks from each leaf and divide into a few pieces (they’ll shrink in the oven so don’t make them too small).
2. Toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and za’atar. Add salt to taste as your za’atar mix may be salty enough.
3. Place kale pieces on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.
4. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks after inhaling all the chilli crab and coconut so prepare for an epic photo post upon my return. BYE!

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I’m blogging on a Friday night and I feel a little ill at internet-humanity. Normally I’m an apathetic person regarding ~issues~ and I base this entirely on my difficulty to form educated opinions on certain matters. I’m not a particularly worldly girl, or wordy for that matter. In saying that when I fire up about a particular matter I’ll do so with gusto. When my friend Nikki tagged me in the above Instagram image the other day, a stolen image from this post, I couldn’t help but try to do or say something. My qualifications surround everything pixelated; I’m a few weeks away from holding a B. Digital Media so online content and digital, intellectual property make me excited to be alive. Pixels are amazing but far too easily abused these days. This post extends beyond food-blogging to photographers and producers of online content.

Enter user @creativefoods, an account with over 350,000 followers with a chronically thefty ‘author’. All photos on his/her account contain stolen images and content from well known blogs. I was amused, and a little flattered upon the discovery of my Apple Caramel Cupcakes so very kindly asked the user to credit me when the images was already sitting at around 20,000 likes. No response, I then asked them again and then once more to remove it, no response. Surprising considering her bio declared “let me know if this is your image and I will credit you”.

However it seems he/she happily allowed her hoards of fans to do the talking on their behalf.

For the sake of this post it’s a shame I didn’t capture a few other quotes, and funnily enough most comments directed towards me were swiftly deleted once shut down by yours truly. My personal favourite included “shut up and get over it any one can make your crap”. Hahahah, yes, true, cupcakes aren’t rocket science. But that’s not the point! I mostly responded for the lulz as I’m used to seeing this sort of thing (hello, Tumblr) but the responses I received from these mindless teens is what inspired further action. These people really could not fathom this is a form of theft and that’s what kept me coming back. I’m not one to troll but I felt they were entitled to an education via my instagram facade @bananasoiree (I did in fact convert a few people with my logic and tough love). Most users however fought back in droves at my initial polite request of the image removal so here was my last post before taking more decisive action.

I spent a week attempting to contact instragram. I sent an email to support@instagram.com only to receive this unfortunately automated response seconds later:

It was only until I found this very sneaky email form on seemingly official but barely used Twitter account @InstagramHelp I managed to report the image (their Copyright help section contains no contact details). After my email was sent I was greeted with an automated yet helpful response asking for the exact details; my username, the offender’s username, the offending image and a link to the original source. I woke up in the middle of the night to an email saying the matter was being investigated. In the morning I noticed all comments in my feed relating to the image were gone; the entire account had been deleted.

HOWEVER. The ‘author’ of the original page is now rallying fans via @creativefoodsbackup, attempting to find the catalyst to their deleted account. The monster had resurfaced. They’re trying to find me. And now this user is re-uploading all the photos that were deleted by my unauthorised content report as I type this.

Image since deleted on Instagram

To think I had actually succeeded in being “that guy” for a few hours was a little foolish. I am but one lady in this big, bad world of image-rippers.  Anybody who entered the above conversation with a sense of logic about them was greeted with comments like “go pick on somebody else who steals images”, or, “you’re just jealous you don’t have as many followers”. Should Instagram take more responsibility over moderating its service? But how would that even be possible? And besides, since when was image theft celebrated on such a large scale? Why are all these people consoling ex-Instagram user @creativefoods? Why are they bent on the notion that Google image search is a free-for-all? Why are ‘likes’ all of a sudden a spectacular commodity? Can’t anybody see that if an entire Instagram account was removed then clearly they weren’t abiding by the law? What kind of mentality is this? All you need to do is visit the page to see what I mean.

So, where does this leave those of us who wish to publish online? Before this occurred I was teetering over the blogosphere edge. As suggested by a plethora of random instagram users maybe I really should watermark my images. You know, either ruin the photos with a huge “PROPERTY OF ALANA DIMOU” piece of text or keep it in the corner for anyone to easily crop out as they please. Why not slap a little comic sans on there as well? Clearly the internet is made for sharing but witnessing people’s horrendously blurred line between ideas and content has my mind absolutely blown. I’m not angry, nor am I a hater like many Instagram tweens have suggested over the past few days. I’m just really, really, really surprised.

As I speak about almost constantly these days I’m working on a book; the .PDF is complete and is with the printers so I’m almost ready to shed a tear upon touching my photos of pancakes on 170gsm satin coat. Like cool dudes who enjoy vinyl over mp3s I think I’m becoming a H-word (read: hipster) who may just require everything in print henceforth. But we can’t drop $15 per A4 photo we wish to “own”. We can’t spend hundreds of dollars for a nicely bound collection of images, either.

I don’t know.

In my eyes we have no hope.

Unless analogue blogging becomes the future, again.

EDIT: @creativefoods backup has since been removed thanks to Instagram admin, however, @creativefoodz is now up, resurrected for the third time with a fashionable ‘z’ suffix, asking for “POPULAR PAGE” from her fans. Why haven’t you learnt the from the first two account deletions you’re doing something seriously wrong, huh?

Oh, right. Ok. (LOL).

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So I made some chocolate brownies (how original!). But first! Some housekeeping.

SBS Food were recently kind enough to interview me as part of their Featured Foodie series. I once considered these badges some ~top tier stuff~ before meekly venturing into the foodblogging world so it feels surreal baring one of my own. Have a read of my interview whereby I discuss things that are both awesome and terrifying (I am a closet neurotic). Thank you, SBS!

Secondly! I’ll be in Melbourne for a couple of days for the Vignetting Victoria exhibition. If you’re free and in town please come down, it’s at Federation Square plus I’m fairly certain there will be free booze on opening night (after all, that’s the real reason we attend exhibition openings). My holga camera first pushed me into enjoying photography years ago so I’m really excited to be part of this. The image used in the poster is actually one of mine which is another very nice thing.

And now, finally, let’s talk brownie. After a near melt down over twitter the other day I was barely able to post these photos. Brownies are just so… ordinary. And, similarly to my cheesecake rant they are something I never, ever order for fear of disgusting, dry crumbs and unsavoury nuts all over my plate. No thanks! Needless to say I made up this recipe recently as a reaction against all that is gross about gross brownies because I am so postmodern and have far too much time on my hands and also wanted chocolate. This is exactly the sort of thing I imagine people downing an entire tray of whilst crying to themselves on the couch. That’s my measure of a damn good dessert. Cry-eating.

I made these again the other day for a weekend picnic, cut them up into miniature bites and staged them in a vintage-esque cup and saucer amongst some yellow fabric I had left over from a recent photo shoot. I then did that thing where I doubted myself, had a brain vommy whilst reviewing said photos and did a little cry-eating but I’m ok now. I’m ok because my friends said these were delicious and, dare I say, “moist”? No. Let’s just stick with chewy and delicious. I tried making them with a little dulce de leche swirl but the flavour seemed to dissolve in the baking process; I’m not coining the term “brownies with dulce de leche swirl”, at least not yet, because it wouldn’t be fair to post a recipe that doesn’t deliver as per its glorious header. CLOSEUP!

Aw yeah. It’s one bowl. There’s some salt, cinnamon and coffee to give it all a little more somethin’-somethin’. No nuts, all chocolate. I know every single food blog in the universe has a brownie recipe but I’d like to think mine fares pretty well so next time you need a chocolate hug give these a try.

Chocolate Brownies
80g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate (I used 85%)
80g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs dried coffee
3 tbs hot water

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Gently melt chocolate with butter. Add sugar and stir to combine. Add eggs one at a time and stir vigurously until once again combined. Add the flour, salt and cinnamon and combine once more. Add the dried coffee to hot water until dissolved then add to the brownie mixture and stir once more.
3. Pour mixture into a square tin lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

See you on Tuesday if you can make it to opening night! Come say hello! Otherwise… #cryeating!

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The end of last week marked the last day of my 3-month internship as a café/food photographer for Time Out Sydney. Wait, what internship?! I was keeping this a little quiet as even I found it rather overwhelming (in the best possible way) because really, what’s more confronting than being presented an opportunity to do something you love? (SELF-DEPRECIATORS UNITE). Paralleling the near completion of my degree the harsh realities of life have begun to set in and sadly I decided to turn down Time Out’s offer to continue interning to persue, well, a real job. SIGH, the food photography dream is over (for now).

In lieu of the current absence of any sort of vague employment that burns like a dark and horrible void in my life (lol jks I’m fine guys) I now have a lovely collection of photos I’d love to share with you. SO! If you’re from SYDNEY and you like FOOD and PHOTOS this post is especially for you; hold onto your TASTEBUDS, bust out your wide-angled LENSES and set up your TRIPODS in the middle of a BUSY SPACE and feel totally AWKWARD with me as I present you with a few of my favourite spots I was asked to shoot.

Black by Ezard at The Star, Pyrmont
Another fine dining contender to the seemingly-empty-but-ever-improving Pyrmont area. A torturous shoot as I was pining over everything, especially that honeycomb dessert. A lady yelled at me because she thought I was taking her photo (I wasn’t).

Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont
Black by Ezard at the Star, Pyrmont

 

Porch and Parlour, Bondi
A sweet abode with honest food populated by friendly locals and total Bondi bros alike. I’d be happy to call this my local should I one day live in the area (though not likely thanks to my fear of sand). Dish pictured below is smoked salmon and avocado on quinoa bread, a gluten free oasis on a plate.



Porch and Parlour, Bondi
Porch and Parlour, Bondi
Porch and Parlour, Bondi
Porch and Parlour, Bondi
Porch and Parlour, Bondi
Porch and Parlour, Bondi
Porch and Parlour, Bondi

 

La Croix, Potts Point
Part coffee corridor, part café, part designer showroom. Beautiful wares in a gorgeous space specialising in tartines and tarte tatin (I had to double-check the spelling of each, that sentence is a minefield). I visited a few weeks later with friends and both were excellent; sitting amongst the immaculately staged glassware and roses had me feeling like a million bucks (however strangely oscillating between both casual and fine dining). Would be interested to hear what others think of this café.

La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point
La Croix, Potts Point

 

The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria
And of course no Sydney food blog would be complete with some snaps from the Grounds! Haha! I’m a walking cliché. These were taken on my first day watching and learning so here are some quick sneakies; it also illustrates my former self hinged on taking closeups, closeups and more closeups (I very quickly learnt to stop that immediately).

The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria

Big, big thanks to the team at Time Out for the opportunity! It was such a great experience, learning heaps (a royal buttload, in fact), conquering my holding-a-camera-in-public phobia (is this a thing? It should be a thing), seeing my photos in print and meeting some really sweet café and restaurant owners. I think they’re hiring another intern so if you’re a potential camera wielder do apply, you’ll be a better person for it.

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I FEEL COMPELLED TO TYPE IN CAPITAL LETTERS FOR A SENTENCE OR SO BECAUSE I AM A BIT ANNOYED. I NEVER INTENDED FOR IT TO BE THIS WAY BUT UNFORTUNATELY MY EMOTIONS HAVE GOTTEN THE BETTER OF ME AND HERE I AM SHOUTING IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE INTERNET, MY PRECIOUS OUTLET. AHHHH! BOOO HISSS VENT VENT VENT ETC ETC

My camera is broken. Well, was broken (the nice people at Nikon HQ have since worked their repair magic). It began seriously playing up at the most inconvenient of times; in the middle of a photo shoot! Now, “photo shoot” is a term I avoid using at the best of times because it conjures weird and strange memories of dudes with enormous egos (it’s a long story and I am a complicated girl), however, the location was somewhere other than my bedroom for once, with a model, an assistant and a whole lot of pretty props so I’m allowing myself just this once to indulge in some jargon. The reason I had finally ventured away from my “bedroom studio” and was standing amongst all of these seemingly professional and nice things is because I was encouraged to enter the San Pellegrino Café Society photo competition by a tutor at uni to broaden my photographic horizons. As I may have mentioned before I’m making a big effort to work on photography, building up a portfolio and all that, to avoid the dreaded jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none syndrome that seems so easy to slip into these days like an unfortunate coma of artistic mediocrity. “So, what do you do for a living?” “Oh, I’m a creative“. No, no, no, no; that certainly isn’t the life for me.

Café Shenkin in Erskineville was my allocated venue, a wonderful space dripping with rustic charm (~my dream~) with the gorgeous Chloe and assistant Felicia. I’d sourced some old books, acquired many coffee beans, picked some flowers, spent all of my play money on raspberries and baked a big ol’ chocolate cake for my table setting. Everything was going fine until my camera refused to focus and chromatic aberration (those annoying blue/purple lines that fringe objects in photos) was all over the place. Every single photo looked a little skewed and I could not work out why, I’d put it down to using a wide lens as I was snapping. It wasn’t until browsing my set on Lightroom however the intensity of the matter loomed over my foolish optimism (I then spent the next few minutes hulk-smashing everything in sight as it was clear something had gone spectacularly wrong). According to the repair report there was an alignment issue within the camera body, hence the amazing lack of clarity. Luckily the photos are salvagable!… but could have been so much better. At the same time the situation could have been so much worse. LIFE, OH LIFE, OHHHHH LIIIIFE (dooo do do doooo).

So! The photos you’re seeing are from a seriously busted (two month old!) camera. So much lost detail (sigh). Here are some portrait photos, tell me what you think (I went with the last one but just quietly the second-last will always and forever be my favourite)!

I didn’t exactly to think to take a thought out photo of the cake and only ended up snapping some at the last minute before dividing it up between the troops to enjoy for later. I actually (mostly) followed a recipe for this one since it needed to be photo-worthy and required an icing to withstand some car travel. No winging it this time! This recipe isn’t a life changer but it’s simple, easy and comforting; a nice blank canvas for any decoration or accompaniment. PRO TIP: Cut yourself a slice and microwave that badboy for 30 seconds. The icing will melt all around dat cake creating the most delicious faux-self-saucing pudding of all time.

Simple Chocolate Cake with Raspberries
(an adaptation from Anneka Manning’s Mastering the Art of Baking)

Cake batter
185g butter, room temperature
330g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
260g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
55g good quality cocoa powder
120ml milk
60ml espresso
1 tsp salt

Icing
120g dark chocolate, chopped
40g butter, chopped
165g (1 1/3 cup) icing sugar
3 tbs milk
Pinch of salt

To serve
Fresh raspberries
Icing sugar, for dusting

For the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180. Grease/line a 9″/22cm cake tin.
2. Beat the butter until creamed and beginning to pale. Add the sugar and vailla and continue to beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, until completely incorproated into the batter.
3. Sift flour and cocoa in another bowl with the salt and gently fold into the batter mixture, alternating with the milk and espresso.
4. Pour into cake tin and bake for around an hour. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing
1. Heat chocolate and butter slowly over simmering water, stirring continuously. Once melted and smooth slowly add sifted icing sugar and milk and continue to stir until smooth. Allow to cool to a spreadable consistency, if needed.

To serve
1. Ice cake, beginning at the top and moving down towards the sides. Adorn generously with fresh raspberries and a little icing sugar just before serving.

RIP the delightful pixels that could have been.

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Good morning! Saturday is here! It’s breakfast time! The most important meal of the day! Gather your housemates! Find a small dog! Walk down the street together and laugh merrily! Take a seat at the newest and trendiest of cafés! Quinoa muesli! Poached eggs! Stuff served with some sort of compote! Coffee made with Bonsoy! YEAH!

This used to be my life before beginning the very rewarding, yet arduous task, of enrolling into uni in my early 20s. After around a year and a half of full-time study I lost my part-time office job to restructuring, or whatever, and was left very, very unemployed. I did a few odd jobs around town, I worked at a restaurant for a little while but eventually I could barely keep my head above the financial waters that surround the inner-west lifestyle (and by ‘lifestyle’ I mean ‘rent’). The whole living-on-mi-goreng gag is funny when you actually can afford a little more but is hideously heart-wrenching as a blaring truth. Noodles, and the occasional avocado, made up a lot of my dinners when I was sensible enough to no longer throw down my debt ridden credit card and unfortunately living in such a sweet area was no longer sustainable. I said goodbye to my enormous rent which was good but saying goodbye to local friends, good eats and good coffee was not.

So, when I’m away from Sydney’s inner-west I like to pretend I’m still enjoying the good life by making a café brunch of my own. It’s so easy! And here’s one of them.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mum making pancakes and some of my earliest memories are of my dad are pouring honey onto anything he could find, including ricotta-slathered pieces of toast. I like my pancakes phat with shredded fruit so consider this brunch dish an homage to my family of sorts. You can keep it innocent if you wish and use this post simply as a damn good pancake recipe. If you want to lose the pear try reducing the amount of flour to only one cup. If you want to lose the ricotta and honey then, uhh, I don’t want to know about it. Let’s get some ~food porn~ close up action happening.

Without further hesitation here’s the recipe for what I like to think of a near perfect breakfast/brunch dripping with re-worked nostalgia from a time where I was barely tall enough to even reach the stovetop. I would happily serve in my hypothetical inner-west cafe (it will happen one day). No gram measurements today because this recipe is far easier to remember in simple cups, and who even wants to pull out their scales that early in the morning? Not I, not I.

Shredded Pear Pancakes with Cinnamon Ricotta
(an original recipe to make around 24 pancakes)

Pancake batter
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 pears, grated
Butter, for greasing

Cinnamon ricotta
300g (just over a cup) fresh ricotta
Cinnamon, to taste

1. Combine all pancake batter ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Lightly grease a pan with butter and place on medium heat. Ladle the pancake batter in rounds and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the surface begins to bubble and the edges have browned nicely.
3. Combine ricotta and cinnamon (around 2 tsp) well. Serve atop or beside pancakes with a generous drizzling of honey or syrup.

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