Anzac Biscuit Recipe

Teams who get to work with me know of my tradition of trying to make Anzac Biscuits every year. Unfortunately I was travelling on this year’s one, so I ended up making some the week before to celebrate. They are really easy to make and taste soooo good.

Anzac biscuit before baking


  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons of boiling water

Anzac Biscuits


  1. Mix most of the dry ingredients together (flour, oats, sugar and coconut)
  2. Melt the butter and golden syrup over a gentle heat
  3. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the water, stir that mixture into the butter and golden syrup mix and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix until you can’t see any more white flour.
  4. Put heaped tablespoons of the mixture (allowing for spreading) onto greased or lined baking trays
  5. Bake in a moderate (180C) over for about 15-20 minutes til golden
  6. Remove from the oven when you’re happy with their colour, leave on the tray for a short time and then lift them off with a spatula to cool on wire racks.

Anzac Biscuits

The best. Enjoy!

Breakfasting at Caravan

It was a fairly rainy day that I met up with a colleague to talk breakfast about the new client I was going to join. We decided to meet somewhere close to my work, and decided on Caravan. It’s a great place that roasts its own coffee, has a great brunch offering on weekends and just a nice atmosphere all around.


Although tempted by lots of the different offerings on their menu, I started with a flat white whilst I waited for my colleague to arrive.


Well made – a perfect “heart” and all the things I look for in a well made flat white – not too hot, creamy milk foam, and a good combination, I probably could have gone for a second coffee.


Breakfast finally arrives – I went for the caramelised banana served atop a hearty bowl of porridge. The porridge was perfectly stodgy and there was plenty of banana caramel to go around without being too excessive – it was pretty sweet after all, but just enough for the entire bowl.


Name: Caravan Restaurant
Found at: Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD

What’s more Australian than a Meat Pie

Spurred on by cooking Australian things, I thought I’d give a go at making a good meat pie. All with proper sauce. I looked around for a few recipes and came away with an inspired combination.


  • 500g lean mince
  • 50g tomato paste
  • 1 brown onion, brunoise
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
  • Shortcrust and puff pastry

This is a pretty easy recipe, but requires a bit of planning as you want the filling to cool before putting them into pastry cases. Brown the onions and then add the beef, cooking until no more red appears. Add the tomato paste and cook until you can’t smell the tomato-rawness anymore. Add the sauces and the stock, mixing with the corn flour and water to help thicken. Let the mixture cook.

Roll the pastry out (or do what I did and cut them into smaller lots into a lined muffin tray for “mini” meat pies. Fill each case with the mixture and then top with the puff pastry. Brush with egg-wash (egg with milk, or just plain egg, or plain milk) to give the pies a bit of shine.

Bake in a 180 degree celcius oven until brown (approximately 15-20 minutes). Rest and enjoy with some tomato sauce.

Aussie Lamingtons

One of the pleasures I have when I am not commuting is the joy of making something in the kitchen. There’s nothing like producing a wonderful meal, or trying some new recipe and the result is a tangible, tasty dish that is so different to software.

This weekend I found some time to whip up a batch of lamingtons. They were destined for our “Pot Luck Lunch” tomorrow where everyone is going to bring something “native” from their home country.

I had planned on making Pavlova, but then my colleague from New Zealand said they’re apparently a kiwi-dish, and she had already planned to make it. Oh well.

The difficult thing about making Lamingtons is that it’s a bit labourious to make. I had planned on taking the shortcut and buying a prepared sponge cake, but imagine my surprise (and joint disappointment about more work ahead) when I found that none of the supermarkets near me sold plain old sponge cake. Yes, you could get a plain madeira cake, or a “Jamaican” fruit cake, or any of the final prepared “birthday” cakes all covered in icing and cream. Nope to the plain old sponge cake. Oh well.

I used the following recipe for the sponge cake after looking around and deciding I didn’t want a particularly eggy-tasty sponge cake.


  • 2 eggs
  • 125g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Making it was pretty straight forward. Cream the butter and sugar, and slowly add the eggs one by one. Mix in the vanilla and fold in the first cup of flour before folding in the second cup of flour and milk. Pour into a sponge cake (I used a long tray) and bake in a pre-heated 180oC oven until cooked through. If you’re using a square tin, it’s supposed to be 30 minutes, but I used a thinner tray so it took less than 20 in a fan forced oven.

The next part to Lamingtons are preparing the icing and the coconut. I used this recipe, but have to admit it turned out a little bit too rich.


  • 500g icing sugar
  • 200g dark chocolate (60% or 70%)
  • 15g butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

This was pretty easy. Basically mix it all together on a bain-marie (i.e. bowl over boiling water) until it all melts. I found this icing much too thick, so I ended up watering it down with a lot more milk.

Now came the terribly messy part.

First, I cut the sponge in half and then spread some strawberry jam between each item. My first few attempts to coat them turned out to be rather disastrous with cake crumbs, chocolate and coconut everywhere. A bit of searching on the internet and people recommended putting the cake in the freezer. Apparently leaving the cake overnight would have also helped make it easier to deal with. Five or ten minutes into the freezer and the pieces were much easier to handle.

Using two forks, I dipped the sponge sandwiches into the chocolate sauce. I held them up letting the excessive drip off, before dunking them into a bowl of desiccated coconut. Using two spoons to press the coconut into the icing, I found that was a bit cleaner than using my hands (as recommended by many recipes). I let them dry out a bit on a rack before putting them into an airtight container for storage.

Messy, enjoyable but probably not something I’d try all the time.

Disappointing Brunch at St Ali London

After reading about St Ali’s opening in Farringdon, I just had to try it out the next time I was back for a weekend. It’s just that close. Anyone from Melbourne, who is into their food and coffee (and really, who isn’t when they’re from there) will know about St Ali. My first day in the office and someone introduced me to Brother Baba Budan (previous post here) in the city serving their coffee, and I had a really wonderful weekend brunch at their main location.

After reading a couple of reviews about the place already in London, things looked pretty good. I organised to catch up with a couple of friends at St Ali this weekend just gone, and unfortunately I have to report, they have a bit to get going before it’s going to win any awards.

Scheduled to meet my friends at 12:30, I thought I should arrive a little earlier to get a table, knowing how frustrating waiting can be. Things looked positive. As soon as I walked in, I asked for table for three, and they asked for me politely to wait by the door. It wasn’t long after that I was seated and whilst I waited (I still had at least 10 minutes to go) asked if I wanted any coffees.

Let’s get the review under way:

The good
St Ali in London is associated with coffee, and if they couldn’t get this right, I genuinely would have been worried for what they had to stand for. Fortunately the flat white (£2.40) delivered according to expectation with a well made espresso and not too much milk like the terrible lattes served around town.

It was also great not being rushed off our tables. Things were casual, although service didn’t seem to note when we needed something. The perfect charm of not being hassled when you didn’t want to be might have been something else where, actually, you were almost being ignored. It worked quite well for some time.

When the food arrived (more on that later), I had some good reports. The names on the menu are playful and whilst some people report them as annoying, give you a good idea on what you’re ordering. I was a little disappointed by the French Toast I had (the bread a little too dry), however the toasted walnuts provided some excellent contrast and the classic sweet/salty combinations worked like a charm.

We had a few problems with the bill (more on that later as well) and the second time, they took all the coffees off the bill. Nice to see them immediately respond to a problem pointed out to them… multiple times.

Unfortunately, my list of things they can improve are much, much longer. And I’m sure they’re good reasons for it. Living locally, I would hope they find time to up their game.

What soured our experience
Being asked for drinks was a good start. Juice was drunk. Coffee appreciated and then we started getting hungry. It took us a while to flag someone for food, and things looked good when our order was taken down. With our food taken down, I should have been more observant to see them actually put it through to the kitchen. Someone tried to bring us food that we didn’t order, however a simple indication that there were two dishes for the three of us helped them see it wasn’t for us.

We fretted a bit more, when a couple of people, arriving much after us, got their food order sooner than we did. Not just them, but another table. Twenty more minutes on and we asked to see if we had any more progress. Apparently not so much. The food did arrive, and I was so ravenous that I forgot to take pictures – definitely not like me.

The food was pretty good in general. I wouldn’t order the French Toast again though because the bread seemed a little bit too dry to really soak up the delicious maple syrup and fork the perfect combo of salty bacon, crispy walnut and soft bread. Was it worth the £? I’ve had better.

Despite the hiccups in the ordering, we finally asked for the bill. It was nice not being rushed off, however it seemed to take a while to make eye contact and get someone to bring us the bill. What arrived was a surprising four dishes plus extras. Although I may have been hungry, and we were originally served just two meals, these numbers don’t exactly even out.

We asked again for our bill and what arrived was a slight repeat of the first. We finally managed to get a bill (fifteen minutes later) that represented almost what we had only to find an extra coffee on it. Considering that this place serves a cheeky (12.5% service), that extra coffee does make a little difference. We pointed out this mistake and at least our waitress (points definitely for being friendly) took off all our coffees. This equated to approximately the service we would have asked to have been taken off given all of this galavanting. Oh, and did I mention they only accept one credit card – what are we? In Australia? This is why we have advanced portable, technical machines. If you’re going to charge 12.5%, at least earn it? Grrr.

I’m hopeful
Being a local place, and one where I had a good experience in Australia, I’m hopeful for things to get better. When we finally managed to pay, we were told the excuse, oh, we had Time Out come review us yesterday and still trying to recover.

What? I’m sorry. London deserves better than this. One doesn’t expect people who review a place to be better treated than those who might come everyday. That excuse just doesn’t cut it here. Use the excuse that you’re just opening. Don’t use excuses that allow you to treat people differently depending on what you get out of it.

Coffee is good. Food is promising. I’m still hopeful about the dining and eating in experience you can have.

Tuck Shop New York City

It’s not every day that you stumble across a place called Tuck Shop and not stop to have a classic Australian meat pie. We stumbled across this one whilst visiting the Chelsea Markets in a newly developed area that didn’t exist last time we visited. Almost walking straight by it, my sister and I shared a meat pie (with tomato sauce of course!) to test how good it was.

Although pretty close, we though the pastry could have been a little bit lighter. There’s nothing quite like juggling molten meat and gravy with each bite or the anticipation of when, what should be, the delicately light crust bursts like a fresh volcano eruption and trying to avoid searing to any other parts of your body.

A pretty reasonable pie, but it seemed a bit pricey at US$5.

Name: Tuck Shop
Found at: 75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16th Streets), New York, NY 10011

Return to Reef and Beef

Returning to Copenhagen for a conference, I ended up eating at one of the places that impressed me during my stay here for work last year.

Here’s a summary of what we had:

“Oz Wildfire Wonton” Spiced wildfire crocodile wonton with native honey and passionfruit chili drizzle (DKK95)

“Ranina Ranina” Panko crumbed saffron and chive spanner crab cakes with bush tomato romesco, jalapeno aioli and pickled vegetables (DKK94)

“Redcliff Beef” marinated with garlic, native thyme and tasmanian mountain pepper served with potato fondant, crispy onion rings, caramelised onion puree, seasonal vegetables and shiraz sauce (DKK275)

“Red emperor” – Deep sea fish with macadamia and lemon sauce, cauliflower puree and seasonal vegetables (DKK 192)

“Oz trilogy” – Pavlova, passionfruit cheescake and mango olida eucalyptus sorbet (DKK95)

“Oz trilogy” – Pavlova, passionfruit cheescake and mango olida eucalyptus sorbet (DKK95)

“Death by chocolate” – Five individual chocolate desserts (DKK135)

Name: Reef ‘N’ Beef
Found at: Jernbanegade 4, Copenhagen, Denmark

Where’s the good coffee? The Table Cafe

Although I didn’t come here specifically for the coffee, I do have to rate it fairly highly for using Monmouth beans and for well trained baristas who know how to make a mean flat white. I first tried this place out for breakfast one morning, noting that it was open from 7:30am for breakfast during the week (convenient since my client is almost opposite the building). A wonderful place to keep in mind is that it’s also open on weekends from 8:30am for brunch!

Timeout listed this as a great cheap eat and I’d definitely have to second that motion for providing fantastic food in a buzzing atmosphere. Their interior is designed for a number of communal benches and an order-at-the-front style although the modern dining and large glass walls help keep the place feeling modern and comfortable. I liked the fact that it seemed like a trust based system – a customer buys a bowl of porridge and they go over to a separate place to help themselves to the porridge and appropriate toppings. Very inviting indeed.

Thinking I was taking my team out for breakfast one morning, I thought I’d test it out that day. Considering that, at the time of this writing, their eggs benedict (for 2!) was only £6.85, I really started asking myself what was wrong with that.

As you can see above, not very much, although this variant was done with bacon more so than ham (something I definitely prefer anyway). The toasted muffin was light and crisp and eggs perfectly poached with plenty of runny yolk. Fantastic value and something that, I’m happy to report, several of my team members also enjoyed when we returned here the following week. They also do a mean lunch for pretty decent value but it’s bustling all the time so I’d recommend going early.

Name: The Table Cafe
Found at: 83 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX
Twitter: @thetablecafe

This first visit was the 8 April, 2010

Commercial Bakery

Located just in front of Gil’s Diner (or maybe even a part of it) is Melbourne’s Commercial Bakery. Wonderful European pastries line the small window front, enticing you to enter. Other breads and loaves surround the walls and you’re confronted by the baristas operating the impressive two, three-lever espresso machines. You don’t see commercial places operating these machines very often although I can attest to the wonderful brew they extract out of the coffee machines.

This was also one of the few places that seemed to sell almond croissants and this one was definitely decadent, not only filled with the typical almond filling, but also with its interiors seemingly glazed with an almond syrup of sorts. There’s a small counter bar overlooking the window where you might enjoy your coffee, or a smaller set of tables out back where you can enjoy a much richer breakfast.

An awesome place to have breakfast on the run, or a more leisurely paced one inside in the warmth of the baking ovens.

Name: Commercial Bakery
Found at: 360 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000, Australia
Website: None found

Drinking at the Gin Palace

I ended up here twice during my week in Melbourne, once for a pre-dinner drink and the other time to catch up with a good friend. You wouldn’t really know about this place unless you were looking for it, or unless a person introduced you to it. After all, it’s down a little side street and its doorway is still hidden from the street view. You might happen to catch its bright doorway if you look at the right time as you walk by.

Inside, the interior is made up of many different seating areas, all affording plenty of privacy from each other. Most of them were comfy old leather chairs, well worn or most likely bought like that. Either way, I liked the way that it fit well with the old fashioned, parlour style atmosphere. Drinks and food are table service, although it was pretty slow on both nights to the point where we went up to the bar to ask for our next round.

They had a cocktail menu although the bartenders were rightfully pretty aware of lots of different drinks and we ended up asking for something that had sloe gin and were recommended a Charlie Chaplin drink that went down a treat. Drinks start at around AU$16 from what I remember though worth every drop.

Name: Gin Palace
Found at: 10 Russell Place, Melbourne Victoria 3000, Australia