My Seven Links: A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward

It’s been a year since I left London, to return to Australia. As I expected it has not been an easy ride. Thankfully Sydney is a beautiful city to come home to and the New Year has introduced itself with such gorgeous weather it’s hard not to be cheered up.

One of the people I met in London was Gourmet Chick. In fact her blog was one of the first I started to read. Her great blog grew into a well respected site for honest restaurant reviews, cookbook reviews, and great travel tips on where to sleep and eat. She has since moved back to Australia too (yeah!)

Some time ago she asked me to follow her in sharing my Seven Links outlined by the TripBaseblog. I’ve finally got around to it.

1. My Most Beautiful Post

Rhonda is a beautiful city, without a doubt. A gorge divides the old and new towns creating with it a stunning secret escape for entraped Spanish royalty. With Rhonda comes the famous Andulucian dish, gazpacho. The key to this dish is of course great tomatoes. In Australia the hot summer sun brings garden tomatoes to their glory. If your overwhelmed by endless tomatoes, try a gazpacho!
2. My Most Popular Post

My first attempt at a chiffon cake was a great success, not only with my work colleagues but surprisingly, it became my most popular post. Thanks to the wonderful book put together by the Monday Morning Cooking Club ladies, I managed to pull off a cake that defied gravity. I’ve graduated to slicing, filling, and lathering them with buttery frostings. Possibly this was not the intention for the airy, delicate cakes, but it tastes good.

3. My Most Controversial Post

I am normally quite democratic when I write a post about a restaurant. I don’t think The Harwood Arms was any exception. It’s all about one persons opinion, and I am no expert, but I try to write about my dining experience in an honest way. By the time I finally got to The Harwood Arms, after the post-Michelin star crowds, I thought it had lost it’s way a little. It was also pointed out by a few people that I had not ordered the scotch egg, which is raved about. It’s said to be amazing, but it’s only on the bar menu and I ate in the restaurant area. I don’t think an eating establishment should ride off the back of a scotch egg but then again, sadly, I didn’t have one.
4. My Most Helpful Post

I was so excited when I found this little gem in Annandale. Sitting on busy Parramatta Road it could be easily missed as you speed past on your way home. I really urge you to stop and pop in for a look. The owners run the shop, have reasonable prices and are very helpful. They will be getting a large shipment of mid-century furniture in, from the UK and Europe, in the next few months. Well worth a stop in I think.
5. The Post Whose Success Most Surprised me

A simple banana cake, nevertheless people seemed to think it looked good. It did taste good too. The addition of sour cream made it extra moist and slightly richer. Thanks Donna 🙂
6. A Post I Feel Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved

I have alot of respect for Anna Hansen. I hope she sits back sometimes and takes the time to smile and think “I’ve made it, I did it “. Knowing a little of what she is like, that seems unlikely. She is a very hard working woman, working her way up from dishwasher to owning her own restaurant. A restaurant that pulls flavours from across the culinary world to create something interesting. To me the combinations may sometimes seem a bit ‘out-there’ but for Anna a natural combination to achieve what she wants. I just got her first cookbook and I’m looking forward to trying my hand a few things.
7. The Post I Am Most Proud Of

I love St John, I really do. I can’t believe I miss it so much. It was the place I could always rely on. I think you get the idea that I love the place, and their bone marrow and parsley salad, in this post. What makes this post even more memorable for me is that David Chang sat at the table across from me that day, as I sucked the fat off the toasted sourdough, and I didn’t even really care.

Part of posting your seven links is nominating others to follow.The lovely Miss Piggy has gladly taken up the challenge 🙂

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Banana and Sour Cream Cake

I’m staying with my little sister for a while and I have noticed that they always seems to have bananas that are calling out the be made into a cake. All my trusty cookbooks are still on a cargo ship on it’s way from the UK so I raided my sisters collection for a good recipe.

Donna Hay has really become huge since I left Australia nearly 10 years ago and to be honest I’m taking my time to warm to her recipes. The photography in her books has improved 10 fold and I will definitely be taking notes. As you can see from my pic, I’m in need of some help.

This is a simple moist banana cake recipe that Donna suggests you serve with caramel sauce, which would be lovely as a lunch time dessert but I decided to make lemon icing with chopped walnuts.

Banana Cake:

125g butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

2 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup sour cream

1 cup roughly mashed banana

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C . Place butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy with electric beaters. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Sift in flour and baking powder over mixture. Add cinnamon, sour cream and banana, stir to combine. Spoon mixture into a greased 26cm fluted ring tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked (mine took 30 mins, depending on your oven). Cool on a wire rack and ice with lemon icing mix and top with chopped walnuts.

Simple lemon icing:

1 1/2 cup icing sugar

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon hot water

Juice of half a lemon

Sift icing sugar into a medium bowl, add butter and hot water and mix well. Add lemon juice and extra icing sugar if the mix is too thin and will not cover the cake well.