Food : Lumberjack cake


lumberjack cake

lumberjack cake

I’d never heard of this cake until a few years ago when a work colleague brought some in for morning tea. Now there seems to be hundreds of versions available, and why not? It’s sweet, buttery, a bit nutty, very moist and totally delicious. And it’s easy to make.

I really don’t know how it’s got anything to do with lumberjacks, nor even Monty Python. If anybody can give me a clue on this, I’m all ears. ūüôā

Anyway, here’s my version of Alison’s recipe.



2 medium granny smith apples, diced
185g dates, chopped
1 tspn bicarb soda
1 cup boiling water
125g butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn vanilla essence

60g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup milk
50g shredded coconut


Mix diced apples and chopped dates together with bi-card soda and boiling water, then allow to cool. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add egg and vanilla and beat well. Sift flour and salt together, and then add to cake batter alternately with fruit mixture, mixing thoroughly between additions.

Pour into cake tin greased and lined with baking paper. Bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour 10 min. While it is still hot, put on the topping.

Combine butter, brown sugar, milk and coconut in a pan. Stir over a low heat until butter and sugar are melted. Spoon topping over cake, and then bake the cake for a further 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden.


Food : Gnocchi with black olives


I’d like to say a big welcome to Ana, a Spaniard living in Luxembourg, who is a passionate foodie and photographer. She presents her own recipes in Spanish and English on her blog, Alis Whim, which has ¬†scrummy pictures and interesting snippets about food, especially lactose-free foods. I hope you enjoy this recipe.


gnocchi with black olives from

gnocchi with black olives from


Gnocchi with black olives.

This dish is made in few minutes, very easy and a good alternative when you do not feel like spending hours in the kitchen. The fresh gnocchis are bought, as handmade pasta is not for me; one of these days I will try to do it myself because they are also easy to make.
Choose good olives if you can buy them in bulk.


Ingredients: (For three people)

500g gnocchi
3 ripe tomatoes
Cured black olives
Basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Pinch salt and sugar
Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. For basic tomato sauce: peel and chop the tomatoes. Add extra virgin olive oil in a skillet or saucepan, add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and sugar. Fry over low heat until the sauce had taken an orange colour.
  2. Boil the gnocchi two or three minutes as indicated by the manufacturer. Drain well.
  3. Serve the gnocchi with tomato sauce, some black olives and fresh basil leaves. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil in the very last minute.
  4. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan at the very last moment. Be careful because if the olives are very salty, cheese and olives combined will make the dish too salty. I prefer not put any cheese.


Did you know that

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, matured for over 12 months has virtually no lactose. With 18 or 24 months of ripening, these cheeses do not contain any lactose; another example of this is Gouda cheese. There are many cheeses on the market without lactose Рask, and read the labels.

Books : The Lost Recipe for Happiness – Barbara O’Neal



Okay okay okay, it’s real fantasy stuff – girl has great job, gets fired, gets offered another way more spectacular job within minutes, moves to spectacular location, falls in love, lives happily ever after.

But wait, there are attempts to give it more grit Рa mother who dumped her as a child, a horrible car accident, face-offs with alcoholic but brilliant chefs, ghosts, and jilted ex-lovers. And a cute dog. Not forgetting that the whole is interspersed with recipes, in a similar fashion to stories that are way better {have you read Like Water for Chocolate ?}.  Hmmmm.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t put it down. For me, this story is about food, rich and seductive, flavours and smells, chocolate and chilli and cinnamon. Especially chilli. The words are heady and delicious and it was so easy to get lost in their sensuousness. O’Neal has a fabulous way of expressing situations and emotions, and especially all that is great about beautiful food. The writing is sumptuous like a ripe, juicy tomato, and has just as much verve. Too bad there is not some good hearty sourdough to serve it on.

I would recommend it if you’re after pure escapism.



Food : decadence and reality


I’m about to head off on holidays for a couple of weeks, and as a treat for this week, I thought I’d share with you some of the totally amazing food images I’ve found on Pinterest.

Styling food for photographs is an intense and exacting craft in itself – requiring an eye for design, as well as the ability to work quickly¬†to maintain the visual qualities of the food¬†for the photographer. Lets face it – food deteriorates pretty quickly in the air, let alone under the hot lights of the photographer. Professional food stylists arm themselves with a barrage of tricks and tools to this end – you’ll find many brushes, tweezers, toothpicks, as well as ¬†hairspray, shoe polish, glues and other tacky substances which may or may not render the food inedible at the end of the shoot.

So next time you’re flicking through your favourite foodie magazine, and you say “Oh wow, that looks delicious!”, it just might not be.¬†{And please, I say this out of the goodness of my heart – most of us need to slow down after the Xmas-NY festivities anyhoo. ;D}


cucumber sandwiches


Polish rose petal tart


coffee meringue ice cream cake


berry & fig tartlets


carrot zucchini tart


mondrian cake


All images are via my ‘Food’ board on Pinterest. Enjoy.

Julie x

Food : cinnamon apple teacake


I’m not quite sure where this recipe came from, it’s printed on a scrap of paper like it’s been cut from a magazine. Nonetheless, I recommend it to you – it’s easy peasy, and the cinnamon sugar forms a delicious syrupy crust over the apple on top.


cinnamon apple teacake


Cinnamon apple teacake

1 1/2  cups self-raising flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup caster sugar
60 g butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 large granny smith
2 tspns ground cinnamon
extra 1/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to moderate (180’C).
In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and extra sugar. Peel & core apples, slice thinly.

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, beat in egg. Fold in sifted flour and salt alternately with milk, and mix well. Spread mixture into a well greased 20cm cake tin; arrange the apple slices on top, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Perfect with a cup of tea.

Julie x