Thursday, April 30, 2015

Plum Pie

Plum Pie

Okay, It looks a little burnt around the edges.  I did have the oven a touch too high and left it in for  5 minutes more than I should have, but it didn't taste burnt or dry. The plums were oozing moisture.  Do I sound defensive?
Anyway, it was delicious and I got rave reviews from those who ate it.

The pie is based on a recipe called "Plumb Cake" from a cookbook my sister gave me, called The Monday Morning Cooking Club. This cookbook has it origins in a group of Sydney Jewish women who came together each week to share recipes and cook. Each of the culturally diverse dishes in the book have a history.  Many of the recipes have been handed down through generations.

This recipe called "Plumb Cake" comes from Lyndi Adler and has been past down from her Czech born mother and grandmother.  Along with Lyndi's father, her mother and grandmother had survived the holocaust to migrate to Melbourne in 1949.  Lyndi's mother misspelt plum in her written recipe. The family affectionally continue to call it plumb.

In this recipe I use half the sugar Lyndi does, as I like the pie to be more sour than sweet. And on tasting it with less sugar, I loved it.
I also found this recipe makes enough for two pies if you use a 30cm pie dish.

225gm plain flour
225gm self raising flour
250 gm unsalted butter
115gm caster sugar (half the sugar that Lyndi uses)
3 egg yolks
150 sour cream

300gm plain flour
170gm castor sugar (half the sugar that Lyndi uses)
190gm unsalted butter
12-16 blood plums (washed, halved and stoned)
cinnamon for sprinkling

Make the dough the day before, wrap in cling wrap and rest in fridge.
To make dough blend flour and butter (by hand or in blender)
Add sugar, egg yolks and sour cream and mix to form a soft, sticky ball.

To make the crumble, combine flour, sugar, butter in food processor or mix by hand.

Remove dough from fridge 30 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to 180c. Grease spring form cake tin, or use pie dish as I did.
On a floured service, roll out to fit base and up the sides of the dish (only halfway if the dish is deep).
Place plums on top, very closely together.
Squeeze crumble mixture into cavities and over the top of the plums.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 1.5 hours... but check it 15 minutes before the time is up, so you can ensure it doesn't brown too much like mine!
Serve warm or cold with cream or ice-cream.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Herb pikelets with smoked salmon

We had some dear friends over for dinner the other night and I made these pikelets with smoked salmon as hor dourves.
 I'd given my version of devils on horseback too much of a run in the past few weeks and was looking for something that I hadn't made recently.  This was it.
The recipe is from Annabel Langbein's The Free Range Cook, although I added a few more herbs than she suggests.
This recipe makes about 60 small pikelets.  (I froze over half the pikelets)

1.5 cups of plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup of soda water or chilled water
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper

.5 cup chopped basil, time and rosemary
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
olive oil spray (if needed)

To serve
150 gm sliced smoked salmon
.5 cup sour cream
sprigs of dill


Beat together all the ingredients marked in red above with the exception of herbs and lemon zest, to make a batter. Cover and rest in fridge from 15 minutes to 4 hours.
Once rested, stir in herbs and lemon zest.
Heat a non stick pan on medium and drop about half a tablespoon of batter per pikelet.
Turn once bubbles form in mixture.

Top each pikelet with a small piece of smoked salmon and garnish with a little sour cream and a sprig of dill.

I bought my smoked salmon from the Duthy Street Butcher.   They smoke their own salmon, adding honey. It has a much stronger flavour than the pre-packaged smoked salmon you buy in supermarkets but I love it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Downstairs bathroom renovation


When we returned from living in Brisbane late last year, there were some things we wanted to change in our Adelaide home.  One of the things was the downstairs bathroom.

We had only renovated about 6 years ago, but the wooden floorboards, small mirror, light fittings and lack of splash back behind the basin weren't working for us anymore.


Whilst I liked the look of the floorboards, they were constantly getting damp and deteriorating.

Before our major renovations this bathroom used to be part of a much larger room that was a study.  That study is now a bathroom, staircase, study off the 2nd bedroom, and walk in wardrobe for the 2nd bedroom.

Staircase to upstairs bedroom, laundry and main bathroom

Study and walk-in-robe

Moroccan tiles replaced the floorboards

Pendant lighting replaced the wall lights

Hand-made white brick tiles were laid as a splash-back

Re-grouted and siliconed the shower

Original door and surrounds (1880 cottage/villa)
Small mirror replaced by a mirror that is wall to wall and to the height of the 3m high ceiling.
Was this hard to get in!
The large mirror creates a sense of space in what is actually a small
shower room. I think the over-all effect is to make the bathroom look
 modern even though it is in a heritage setting.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Brunch at Ebenezer Place

Ebenezer Place

I had brunch with a couple of girlfriends at Hey Jupiter at Ebenezer Place this morning.

Ebenezer Place is a low to no traffic laneway behind the busy restaurant strip of Rundle Street. Over the past few years it has become an eclectic place to go for eating and shopping. Midwest Trader is stocked to he gunnels with American clothing including fantastic western style cowboy boots. Something I covet.  Almost next door is the Treadly Bike Shop, with retro style bikes. I bought the basket for my own bike here. Probably more my style.

As for food, there is so much to choose from ranging from the Belgium Beer Cafe to the Afghani Kutchi Deli Parwana. 

A place that I have eaten at (and drank at) a couple of times is Mother Vine, an industrially styled wine bar with good tapas.

Some of the other cafes and eateries are:
East End Providore
Sad Cafe
East End Cellars Tasting Room

And whilst in the area I indulged in a bit of retail therapy...

And I'm pleased that commemorating the sacrifices of our Anzacs is not mutually exclusive from welcoming new Australians to this country.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lesson no. 2 #putting

Putting with Anne-Marie Knight

I was up bright and early this morning for our putting lesson with the ladies from the North Adelaide Golf Club.

Once again, Anne-Marie asked us to stick tees in the green.  The request today was to place the tee where you thought the ball would break.  The second request was to place a marker about a metre in front of  the ball in the direction you would hit the ball to pass the tee on the way to the hole.  These two markers give you a short target as well as a medium target to aim for.  The underlying philosophy to putting these markers in place is to understand that every putt is a straight putt to the point it breaks. Of course not every putt may have a break point. It may be that the lie of the green means it is a straight putt all the way to the hole. I like those.

Anne-Marie talked about reading the green's slope by feeling the green through your feet.  She emphasised feeling through your feet more than trying to read the green through your eyes, although that can help.  She talked about closing your eyes to better feel through your feet.  It is also helpful to pace out the putt, particularly if you have practiced enough to know how much arc you should give a putting stroke for a given distance. Anne-Marie knows how much pace to give a putt per metre of distance. I don't have a clue. The motto is? Practice.

Another interesting tip from Anne-Marie, is that you should pace the ball so that if you miss it, you go 43 cm past the hole.  Some science geek has worked out this is the optimum distance to ensure your ball will run true. 

So the key take outs from today for me were :
  • If you think the ball will break on the way to the hole, mark that point by picking out something on the green to identify it. 
  • Mark out a point about a metre in front of the ball for short target mark. Try to be as specific as possible so you don't loose the mark as soon as you look away.
  • Have the ball near your front foot to make sure the putter has good contact with the ball.
  • Ensure the head of the putter is level with the ground, not slanting.
  • Keep your grip soft on the club.
  • Don't bend the wrists as you swing.
  • Let you arms hang down and try to be as relaxed as you can.
  • The arc/ pendulum of the stroke will determine the distance the ball will run. 
  • Make sure the arc is equal distance back and forward of the ball.
  • Keep your eyes down after you putt to ensure you don't lift your head.  Hear the ball go in the hole rather than look for it.

Happy Golfing.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#AnzacDay march

The medals of Douglas Ian Dewhirst

Today my husband Kym marched for his late father Doug.  Kym marched at the back of the contingent with the next of kin.  He said he found it far more moving than he anticipated.  Many in the crowd whom cheered them on were crying. Kym found this touching. Despite the fact that he felt he didn't deserve the cheers nor tears, he was moved.  There was a beautiful poignancy to the fact that the South Australian Governor, Hieu Van Le, a refugee from the Vietnam War, was officiating and taking the salute from those who marched.

Doug's medals were for: Minesweeping 1945-51, Korea, PNG and Korea, the Australian General Service Medal 1945-1975, The Australian General Service Medal Korea, and the Australian Defence Medal.

And coincidentally when we opened The Advertiser today there was a two page article on Kym's great grandfather, Thomas Henry Cooper and his 8 brothers who all signed up for World War 1.  Only one of the brothers, Francis Cooper, didn't return alive.   Here's a link to the article -

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mum's and Jean's Garden - A Project

Mum and Dad on their wedding day


My mum is 92 and still living in the family home.  My sister lives with her and is her carer.  They live in a house with a huge back yard.  When dad was alive he was the gardener, growing fruit trees and vegetables to feed a household of 6.  In addition, dad raised chickens, bantams, pheasants, pigeons and even ducks at times, to put meat and eggs on the table.  He also raced the pigeons.  We only ate the slow ones. Dad loved birds and we had pet cockatoos, galahs, finches, buggies and magpies. We didn't eat them. 

With dad gone and mum getting frail and almost blind, my sister cares for and maintains the house and garden.  Together with my mum's wisdom and my sister's abilities, they do very well.  But Jean could do with some help with the rambling garden.

I however, have no backyard, only courtyards and a terrace.  So Jean and I have decided we would try to recreate some of dad's veggie patch in their backyard.  We are going to start small, unlike dad.  Jean's already planted some new fruit trees and the 60 year old lemon and orange trees dad planted are still doing well.  Jean keeps them well watered and fertilised.

Mum says we need to prepare the soil before we do anything else.  So next week we will scrap back the bark in a couple of beds and apply a good dose of blood and bone.  
If you have any suggestions about what would be the best vegetables to plant in Adelaide at this time of year,  or what else we should be doing to the soil before planting, we would love to hear from you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Anzac Day. A personal story.

Harry Edwin Winter
My grandfather

For this Saturday's 100th anniversary of the first Anzac Day I reflect on a personal story.

Both my grandfathers fought in the First World War. Both signed up within two weeks of each other in August/September 1915.  Both joined the 32nd battalion which was raised at Mitcham in South Australia. Both sailed for Egypt on 18th November 1915.  Both came home alive. I and their many descendants are grateful they returned.

Harry Edwin Winter was the son of a farmer and politician from Port Clinton on Yorke Peninsula.  Harry's father, my great grandfather, Alfred Edwin Winter, was the State Parliamentarian for the country seat of Wallaroo.  Harry was an artist and wrote this fact down on the form as his occupation when enlisting. His war record shows he was 26 years and 7 months when he enlisted. 5'8", blue eyes and brown hair.  I remember those bright blue eyes in the face of an old man in the mid 1960s. It appears Harry quickly rose to the rank of sergeant.  His records also show the chilling fact that he was a sniper.

My mother's father, James Gordon Pendle, was one of 4 Pendles from Morgan on the Murray River to enlist.  Jame's records show he was a well borer.  He was 26 years and 5 months, two months older than Harry. It also shows he had blue eyes and brown hair.

Whether they were friends or not, I can't say.  Whether they knew each other, I don't know, but it is likely they did. I hope they did.

I know they both would have seen horrors.  The 32nd's first battle was at Fromelles on the western front on the 19th July 1916.  The 32nd battalion suffered 90 per cent casualties that day - 718 men.  The fact that both my grandfathers survived this massacre is remarkable.

After the war Harry was given leave to spend 5 months in London to study at the School of Art at  Stratford Studios.  He met my Scottish grandmother Alice, from the Orkney Islands, who was working in London at the time.  They fell in love and he brought her back to the farm at Port Clinton.
War Memorial, North Terrace Adelaide

James went home to his wife and my grandmother, also named Alice, but he was not well.  Within a few months he had disappeared.  Alice feared the worse and never saw him again.  Till her own death at 99 Alice believed he took his own life.  A few months after James disappeared my mother was born.  Alice was left a single mother with 4 children.  There was no welfare in those days so my mother was adopted out to her uncle. That is a whole other story.  But it does explain why I haven't any photos of Mum's dad, my grandfather.

The second world war saw mum's three brothers go off to be Rats of Tobruk and Harry Edwin Winter, my grandfather joined up again, as did a couple of his sons.  My dad was too young.

On Saturday my husband Kym is marching in honour of his late father, Douglas Ian Dewhirst, who served in Australia's fleet air arm from 1946 to 1959 on the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney, including the 4 years of the Korean war.

My brother Harry is at Gallipoli for the anniversary of the landing.

Lest We Forget

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chianti Classico

On a beautiful Adelaide morning I caught up with a friend for breakfast at Chianti Classico in Hutt Street.  Chianti is a family owned authentic Italian Restaurant opened 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The Italians understand service.  The restaurant has won more awards than I care to list, so I won't.

Frank, Maria and the whole Favaro family pride themselves on consistency 
and great service.
Maria runs the front of house with warmth and style.  She also has the knack of hiring good staff and keeping them.

This morning both my friend and I opted for the bircher museli.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Adelaide Shores Golf Lesson

On Sunday I joined a few of the North Adelaide Golf Club women members for a group golf lesson at Adelaide Shores Golf complex at West Beach.  It's only a short 20 minute drive from the city.

A number of us have joined up to be coached by Anne-Marie Knight, a former Australian women's professional golfer.

Adelaide Shores has two golf courses, a par 72 and a par 50, along with practice facilities including a driving range.  They have a great kids clinic as well.

The golf courses are just across the road and across the sand dunes to a section of beach that stretches for kilometres along Adelaide's coastline.

On a sunny autumn day in Adelaide people were walking their dogs but I couldn't see anyone braving the cool waters for a swim.

For our first of 4 lessons, Anne-Marie started with chipping from a couple of metres off the green.

The first exercise was to ask us to place a tee where we thought we should land the ball on the green.  We all chose a spot far too close to the hole.  When Anne-Marie demonstrated, her landing spot was only about a metre from the front of the green, allowing about 4 metres of run up to the hole.  Lesson number 1, land the ball at the front of the green and allow as much run as possible.

Anne-Marie gave us a Chipping cheat sheet, emphasising the 5 L's:
Lie of the ball
Lie of the land
Landing area
Loft of the club
Length of the shot

My mistake has been to use the same club for all my chip and runs, a 9 iron.  Wrong.
Depending on the lie and the distance from the green, you may use anything from a wedge to a 5 iron.  A wedge will pop the ball up from a dug in lie, whereas a 5 iron would be useful when the ball is lying on a hill sloping up towards the green and a longer distance out.  A 5 iron with less loft will help the ball keep low.

As for the stroke, you keep it pretty much the same for all the clubs:
* ball near the back foot
* slightly open stance
* weight on the forward leg
* hands forward of the ball
* a short back and through stroke with no wrist movement
* the softer your hands on the grip of the club the less distance the ball will run

Some of the above "rules" may change depending on the slope you are hitting off.

Anne-Marie also gave us a tip for when our confidence in chipping was low (always??).  She recommended using your hybrid club as a putter.  The slight loft of the hybrid will get it through the rough stuff to the green and can give it a lot of distance on the green, depending on the size of the arc you make to stroke the ball.

Next week we have a putting lesson.  I'll keep you posted!