Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mamma Rosa’s Almond Bread

Mamma Rosa’s almond bread should come with a little warning: that if you eat one, you’re guaranteed to eat another four, five, or ten.   Feather light and crispy, I’ve been wanting to have a go at the recipe for sometime now – it appears in the much treasured little book she did for me. Her recipe says “a cup of this”, “three quarters of a cup of that” but her cups generally aren’t standard measure ones, they are whatever coffee or espresso cup she happens to have on hand, so I’ve attempted to convert them to grams here. They keep well in an airtight container.

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4 egg whites
110g caster sugar
Grated rind of one small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120g plain flour
150-180g whole almonds

Making them
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Line a loaf pan with baking paper
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, continuously beating, until the mixture is thick and glossy
3. Add the lemon rind, vanilla, flour and almonds and combine gently with a spoon. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, it will be slightly golden. Remove from the oven and lift the loaf onto a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight

4. The next morning, finely slice using a serrated knife or an electric slicer if you have one. Heat the oven to 140 degrees, lay the slices out on trays lined with baking paper and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden, turning over half way through


The Newport, Newport

The Newport Arms was always a great place to meet some friends on a Summer weekend and pass a few hours having a chat and a drink.  But there was no doubt it was looking a little tired.  Enter Merivale who have now taken it over (and dropped the “Arms” from the name) and are gradually refurbishing it, with the first stage opening recently. Its a similar concept to Coogee Pavilion, but on a much larger scale, more outdoor space, and that great view over the water. A grey day and coolish day doesn’t stop the crowds from descending; a live band is playing and the atmosphere is relaxed as it ever was.

You’ll need to go with some friends so you can take a divide-and-conquer approach to the food ordering, as its all at separate counters.  There’s The Shack (burgers, fish and chips, salads), Vinnie’s (Pizza), The Kiosk (rotisserie and meats), and The Seafood Market (self explanatory, and they were doing a roaring trade in buckets of fresh prawns and oyster platters).  In the children’s play area you can also grab a coffee and some treats, or a freshly made juice from The Juice Bar nearby.  Thankfully you’ll find a map on the menu to help you out

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Justin Hemme’s was in the kitchen at The Shack that day, not quite flipping burgers but busy at the pass making sure all was running smoothly and calling orders.  And if I’d spent a rumoured $50 million on a site, I’d be doing the same.  Whoever trains his staff though, is worth their weight in gold.  As it started to sprinkle, staff members immediately appeared with bunches of logo’d blue umbrellas, so people wouldn’t get wet while queuing for food.  Others appeared with squeegies, getting water off all the outdoor tables.  It was pretty slick for something that had only been open a few weeks.

The food was tasty and crowd pleasing.  The pizza and the salt and pepper squid were definitely among the highlights.  Burgers looked good but smallish for the price, add a snack of wings to the order as well if you’re going down that route.

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There is a small parking lot (I expect it will be bigger once the full site is complete), but there are also shuttle buses from Manly. Thoughtful lot, aren’t they?

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The Newport, 2 Kalinya Street, Newport

Newport Arms Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sicilian Baked Eggplant

There are a few people somewhat partial to eggplant in the Napoli household, so I’m often on the lookout for new things to do with it.  I first saw this recipe on Please Pass the Recipe, who in turn saw it on the Dish Magazine website.  I thought it sounded delicious, but I put my own spin on it and did it slightly differently (other versions used honey, capers and yoghurt), so perhaps I should name it Calabrese Baked Eggplant.  This one’s a keeper.

2 large eggplants
12 cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly seasoned
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
30g pine nuts
175g ricotta

To serve
1 cup roughly torn basil
Zest of one lemon

Making it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan forced. Line a baking dish with baking paper

Cut the eggplants in half, keeping the stem. Then cut each half into 4-5 slices (will depend on the size of your eggplant), once again keeping the stem intact, and fan out the slices. Lay them on your baking tray.

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Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar and whisk until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Spoon or brush it onto the eggplant, ensuring it gets between the layers. Scatter over the cherry tomoatoes.

Bake for one hour, basting with juices every 15 minutes. I found a pastry brush was the easiest way to do this (there won’t be much juice at the first 15 minute mark). After you do the 30 minute basting, sprinkle over the pine nuts and dot the ricotta over the eggplant and return to the oven.

After an hour, switch off the oven and allow to sit in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the basil and lemon zest. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad. Buonissimo.

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In My Mother’s Day Kitchen, May 2016

In my kitchen this morning are these lovely Mother’s Day coupons from my darling boys.  Happy Mother’s Day to many deserving women around the world!


New to my kitchen this month is this antique bell, hailing from the early 1900’s, just a little younger than the home it now resides in.  In our previous modern cube of a house, I could tell where everyone was and it was easy to summon them for dinner, for a hand, for a chat.  In our “new” home with its thick stone walls and sprawling surrounds it is nearly impossible, and I go wandering around to find them.  Enter said bell. It works a treat.

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In yet another sign that we were meant to embark on this crazy adventure of restoring this grand old beauty, the day after the bell arrived, I found a note it our letterbox.  It was a welcome note from a nearby neighbour we hadn’t yet met.  A bit of an historian, it contained a  write up of the house she had done several decades ago, detailing some of its features and history. She thought we might like to see it – aren’t people kind? But the bit that made my smile in particular was this:


This month I road tested the Valek rolling pin I got last month, and made some shortbread. So pretty! I want to try it on this chocolate cookie recipe.

The oven I have here only has one baking tray, which makes it inefficient when making batches of biscuits. I was having trouble finding one that fit, and stumbled across this adjustable baking tray which solved the problem.

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I was surprised this month to see Callipo tuna at my local Coles.  Made in Italy in a factory close to Mamma Rosa’s village, it is in my opinion one of the best tunas around. Usually I only find it at the Italian deli’s I go to in the Inner West.  I wasn’t sure if this was a temporary product or not so I stocked up.  I used some to make these tuna patties.

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I had a chuckle last month when I read the IMK post by Nancy at Plus Ate Six on some of the useless kitchen gadgets she had accumulated over the years.  We’re all guilty of that.  I got rid of most of my seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time stuff in the move.  But the other day I was going through cupboards (I’ve been reading Marie Kondo) and came across this, still in its box, unused.  Surely a knife would have sufficed!


In my kitchen are some metal straws. I first saw them at J&M bar and thought they were cool. But they are also better for the environment and apparently better for you than the cheapie plastic ones.  The boys are going through a straw phase at the moment so thought I’d get some.

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On a domestic flight recently I watched a couple of episodes of Simply Nigella.  She made this delicious looking dish with squid and risoni, and while the recipe was fresh in my head I thought I’d give it a go.  The Marito loved it.

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Today is a day where mothers are praised and adored. My Mamma Rosa, an incredibly selfless and generous woman, deserves plenty of it year round. In my kitchen are a batch of fresh tagliatelle she made for us. Grazie Mamma, today and always.

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I hope you are having a lovely time in your kitchen, take a peek into kitchens around the world in this monthly link up hosted by Maureen at Orgasmic Chef.

Salt Meats Cheese & Harris Farm, Drummoyne

A few months ago, Salt Meats Cheese and Harris Farm joined forces and opened up in Drummoyne.

I love the layout. There’s all the fresh fruit and vegetables and grocery items you’d normally find at Harris farm (and probably a few extra, given the size)

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…a fresh seafood counter, which includes and oyster bar where you can sit and eat oysters as well as prawns and sashimi.

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…a Hudsons meats

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…and fresh flowers

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In one section of the store is Salt Meats Cheese, where you’ll find charcuterie, cheeses (I love their buffalo mozzarella), pizza and pasta, which you can eat in or takeaway. There’s also gelato, sweets and a coffee counter.

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With everything under one roof, and great quality produce to boot, I’ve been making the most of it, and judging by the crowds, so has everyone else.

Salt Meats Cheese & Harris Farm, Victoria Road, Drummoyne


Salt Meats Cheese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato