Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Edible Balcony - Awash with Morning Sun

Took a few quick snaps this morning of the Edible Balcony so you could see it in its autumn splendour.

Being north facing autumn and winter is when the balcony is flooded with light and sunshine.

The thai chillies in the foreground and the tomatoes on the back wall have had a second round of flowering and fruiting.

This gorgeous coloured herb in the front is a curly-leafed purple basil - my favourite herb on the balcony - so, so fragrant and pretty to look at.

This is the tiny-leafed Greek basil variety which is quite citrusy. Very easy grower if you're looking for a basil hit over winter.

Last of the cherry tomatoes. Definitely planting this 'Tiny Tim' variety again. Prolific fruiter and very sweet. No fruit fly or pest problems.

The rhubarb is starting to erupt. Haven't cooked with it yet. Waiting for sufficient stalks to make an apple, rhubarb and glace ginger crumble.

My rocket patch.

The marigolds have done a sterling job at keeping pests at bay.

the curry leaf tree is enjoying all this direct sunlight

And still a few more tomato flowers emerging

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Edible Balcony - It's now a book!

Dear Saucy Onion readers,

Since 2009 you've all been following the ups and downs of life on my Edible Balcony. Well, now you can buy the book! My book The Edible Balcony will be published by Penguin Lantern in November 2011.
You can keep up to date with all the news about the book on The Edible Balcony Book blog.
I'll let you know about my book tour, appearances, and competitions to win your copy.

My first posting is about how I got my first book deal. Here's the link :

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nouha Taouk - Whispers From a Lebanese Kitchen

Last night in Sydney was the unveiling of the hottest new cookbook to hit the bookstores.

 Nouha Taouk is a Lebanese Australian who has been recording her family's recipes since she was 10 years old -  never imagining in her wildest dreams that one day they would be published. 

It's the women in Nouha's family - her grandmother Citi Leila, her mother Joumana and her aunts Therese, Hind and Rosa (front row right)- who are responsible for the cooking passion in her family.
As she says in her book "Every family has their story - mine is best told through food'.

At last night's launch at Berkelouw Books in Mona Vale, Nouha shared some of her treasured cooking memories and how difficult it was to extract extact recipe measurements from her relatives. 'There is no measuring. They just throw in a handful of this or that. It is all about intuition.'

Whispers From a Lebanese Kitchen features beautiful evocative photos taken by Nouha's husband Johan Palsson. There are authentic and time-tested recipes for baba ghanoush, kofta and Lebanese sweets.

Lucky attendees got to sample a few recipes from the book...

A veritable Lebanese feast....

Triangle spinach pies (fatayr)

Hummous (it was the best I've ever tasted)

Baked Kibbeh (Kibbeh bi sayneeh)

Nouha's proud mother Joumana.

Nouha with her aunt

I am Lebanese woman - Hear me roar!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Bread

When the temperature drops like this my 'need-to-bake' gene switches into full force. Crank up the oven, grab a bowl and a wooden spoon et voila! a little treat to enjoy with your afternoon cuppa - or in your lunch box.

This banana bread recipe is from Bill Granger. It is absolutely delicious. Dust it with icing sugar or toast a slice and slather it with butter.  I do find this recipe a little sweet so instead of 1 cup of sugar I use just 3/4 of a cup. And make sure your bananas are over-ripe for an extra gooey texture.


2 cups plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
1 cup caster sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
125 g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 cup dark choc chips


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a 24cm x 13cm x 7cm loaf tin. Sift the flour and baking power in a bowl and add the caster sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, butter, eggs, vanilla and choc chips. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 1/4 hours or until when a skewer is inserted in the centre it comes away clean.