Back to the regular swing of things :)

Pearl barley and puy lentil salad with roasted heirloom baby tomatoes, chorizo and baby radish


  • 1 cup pear barley
  • 1 cup puy (or French) lentils
  • Large handful heirloom baby tomatoes
  • Handful green beans
  • Handful baby radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized whole chorizo sausage
  • Juice 2 lemons
  • Olive oil & EVOO
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Extra lemon wedges to serve
  • Baby basil leaves


  1. Pre-heat oven to 140˚C (280˚F)
  2. Slice baby tomatoes in half, drizzle with a little olive oil and slow roast in the oven for 1.5 hours until caramelised. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to the boil then add in the green beans, simmer over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then remove beans and plunge into a bowl of iced water. Slice beans into very fine slices.
  4. To cook the pearl barley, add to a saucepan and cover with 3 cups cold water, bring to a boil then simmer very gently for 35 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water, set aside to cool. Whisk up juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and some black pepper and pour over barley, stir to coat and set aside.
  5. At the same time the barley is cooking, add lentils into a small pot and cover with 3 cups or cold water, bring to the boil over medium-high heat then turn down temp to very low and simmer for 25 minutes until cooked – test a spoonful and they should be slightly softened, yet still al dente and nutty in texture. Drain in a colander or strainer and run under cold water to rinse, add to the drained and dressed pearl barley.
  6. Into a saucepan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the sliced chorizo and pan-fry for 10 minutes until golden, crispy and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove chorizo from pan and drain on paper towel. Add the juice of remaining lemon to the chorizo oil and stir to combine. Heat for a moment or two then pour all over the pearl barley and lentils then add the sliced green beans and radish along with the cooked chorizo and stir all together to combine. Turn out onto a serving platter, scatter with poppy seeds and serve with extra fresh lemon wedges and a scattering of baby basil leaves.

Serves 4

Note - this dish can be made into a vegetarian option by removing the chorizo and replacing with feta or pan-fried haloumi.  For a vegan dish, just remove the meat from the original above recipe and maybe add a few roasted cashews for extra texture.

Creamy, cheesy chilli tomato rigatoni with salami, chestnut mushrooms


  • 500g dried rigatoni pasta
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200g mild salami, torn into small chunks
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • 400g tinned tomatos
  • 25g butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 100g Pecorino cheese, grated
  • Big handful fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra grated Parmesan to serve


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180˚C (350˚F)
  2. Fill a large pot with cold water, add a good pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni and cook for 8 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove pasta from heat, drain and transfer back into cooking pot, coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil to avoid sticking and set aside.
  3. Into a large, deep saucepan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the finely diced onion, a pinch of salt and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the minced garlic and cook together for a further 5 mins.
  4. Add the butter, then the mushrooms, salami and chilli and cook for 5-10 mins combining all ingredients together. Add in the tinned tomatoes, water and cream, basil leaves, 50g grated Pecorino and Parmesan and stir everything together, seasoning to taste at this point with salt and black pepper. Finally add the cooked rigatoni and coat the pasta thoroughly in the sauce.
  5. Empty the contents of pan into a deep baking dish, scatter the top with the remaining grated cheeses and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot with extra grated Parmesan.

Serves 4 – 6

Roast chestnut, parsnip, apple and goat's cheese soup


Note: Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's 'Cooking for Friends'. Published by HarperCollins Publishers 2008 {Recipe features on page 27}


  • 20g butter
  • 2 medium parsnips, chopped into very small pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 250g roasted chestnuts (or chestnut puree)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) hot chicken stock
  • 250g good quality soft goat's cheese
  • Handful chives finely sliced
  • Single cream to serve
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

- - - - - - - -

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the finely diced parsnip (make sure you ensure the parsnip is finely diced or it'll make the cooking time quite a lengthy process) and celery and season with salt and black pepper. Stir over high-heat for 10 minutes until the veggies are lightly golden. Add the apples and continue to cook for another 5 -10 mins until the apples are softened.
  2. Add the chestnuts and stock along with 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and continue to cook for another 20 minutes (or until all the veggies are soft - check the parsnips in particular at this stage ~ I found this took longer than the recipes stated it would). Remove from the heat and using a stick blender (or you can use a regular stand blender), whizz up the soup to a smooth, thick consistency then add back into the cooking pot. Turn the heat on to low, add the goat's cheese and stir into the warming soup until melted through. Check seasoning and add extra salt/pepper if you think the soup requires it. If you like the soup a little thinner, simply add water and stir to thin the texture.
  3. Serve piping hot with a swirl of cream and a scattering of finely sliced fresh chives

Serves 4 – 6

Individual gutsy lamb shank and Shiraz pies


  • 6 large (8 small) lamb shanks
  • 4 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced (remove green leaves)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 400g (1 tin) tinned, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bottle Shiraz wine
  • 3 tablespoons Worcester sauce
  • 2 tablespoons HP sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • Small handful fresh rosemary & parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • Pre-rolled puff pastry sheets (approx. 2)
  • Zest 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup port
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. Into a large French oven casserole dish, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, warm over medium heat then add the shallots, leeks, celery, carrot and garlic, coat in the oil, season with salt and black pepper and sauté for 10 minutes until vegetables are softened. Remove contents from pan and place aside, retaining saucepan for next stage.
  2. Place flour into a large freezer bag and into which add the lamb shanks, seal bag and shake liberally to coat the meat with flour. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pan used to fry the veggies and taking 2 at a time, seal and brown each lamb shank adding more olive oil to the pan if you feel it needs it. When all shanks are browned, add them all into the casserole dish and top with the pre-cooked veggies. Season again generously with salt and black pepper.
  3. Into a large jug or bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, Worcester sauce, HP sauce, balsamic and mustard and whisk to combine, pour over shanks along with the bottle of red. Scatter thyme leaves over the meat along with the finely chopped rosemary. Cover pot and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat falls off the shank bone when tested with a fork.
  4. Remove pot from oven and strain cooked shanks in a colander along with all the cooked veggies, retaining the strained cooking liquid. Strip meat from bones of shanks and place into individual pie dishes/vessels along with the veggies, orange zest, chopped parley and a good seasoning of salt and black pepper, mixing everything together.
  5. Add the cooking liquid into a medium-sized saucepan along with the port and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer until reduced by 1/3 and consistency is a thick, glossy sauce. (If you like you can mix together 1 teaspoon cornflour with a little cold water and add to the sauce to thicken it). Pour sauce all over pie filling, brush edges of pie dishes with water then top with the pre-rolled puff pastry. Brush generously with egg wash and bake in the oven for 40 mins or until pastry is golden brown.
  6. Serve hot with roasted garlic mash and peas.

Serves 4 – 6

Lemon, ginger and rosemary ice-cream with hot lemon syrup


  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2 cups double cream
  • 1 cup single cream
  • Juice 4 lemons
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, very finely grated

For the hot lemon syrup:

  • Juice 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup caster sugar

- - - - - - - -

  1. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the milk and sugar together for 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved; add the cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary and ginger. Stir to combine. Place in the fridge overnight (best for optimum results) or for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
  2. Remove ice cream mixture from fridge and pour into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker, churn for 25-30 minutes – or as per your maker’s instructions until the consistency is a thick, soft serve ice cream. Serve immediately or return to the freezer for another 1 or 2 hours if you prefer a harder-style ice cream.

To make the hot lemon syrup:

  1. Add ingredients into a small pot and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Serve warm over ice cream in sundae glasses.

To make a ginger 'spider'* as per pic above:

  1. Add 250mls (1 cup) ginger ale to a serving glass. Add 1-2 scoops ice-cream and top with a scattering of fresh lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Makes 3 pints

*A 'spider' is an Australian term for a soda 'float' ~ generally consisting of soda and ice-cream



Hello! :)

Fantastically last week I handed in my book manuscript (all photos and recipes) to Penguin and now it's back to my normal 9-5 (or generally in my case 8am to 1am!). The process of the book from perfecting, revising & testing recipes, shopping for food every week then organising the props, (more food), cooking, styling and finally (and most importantly for me) the photo shoot, was a full-on experience ~ albeit great fun and a big eye-opener. I've shot other people's cookbooks but to do the whole 'she-bang' yourself is a whole different ballgame and a great adventure to take yourself on. I had some amazing people helping me along the way but I look forward now to a little break from the book... before I look at the design (yes indeed I am a glutton for punishment!) and now it's back to focusing on my 'normal' editorial and advertising photography work and more importantly on the blog on a more regular basis:)

Last week I had the great fortune to work with the marketing team at Tourism Victoria as I was shooting and styling a gorgeous campaign for them which focused on showcasing all the most amazing food and wine produced by 5 regions of Victoria. Naturally this required lots of sampling of all the foodie goodies, a lot of which I had left-over at the end of the week from the shoot, so I decided it would be a nice idea to feature some recipes this week on WKA using the produce I was shooting last week: Heirloom baby tomatoes; fantastic goat's cheeses; incredible gutsy wines; beautiful fish and meats; deli goods like salamis and THE most amazing chorizo I have ever tasted - I'm not kidding the Istra brand of cured meats has been the most superb I've had the fortune to try in my 6 years living in Oz. Simply top notch produce.

I had a friend and his parents over for dinner on Saturday night and whilst deciding what to have for dins, the large bowl of fresh chestnuts I had shot the day before in the photo shoot stood on my kitchen bench staring at me. Having never ever actually roasted chestnuts at home before I thought it would be a fun thing to do so and use them in a soup for a starter. I knew very little of what to do with chestnuts (other than using them before in a great stuffing) and roasting them does, for some crazy reason, make you hum Christmas carols constantly in your head (only 54 days to go!) I found a great recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks: "Cooking for Friends" by Gordon Ramsay for a soup containing chestnuts ~ see recipe above, so decided to give it a whirl. It was an amazing success and everyone adored it on the night, I was a little worried when I was making it that a soup consisting of apples and I adapted it by adding some of the Victorian Goat's cheese to cut through the sweetness and a decent whack of pepper to give it all a bit of a kick. A total winner soup and one for the diary. It would be wonderful winter dish enjoyed with a good chunk of sourdough and a full-bodied red.

In my book I'm including some recipes for ice creams I have concocted over the past few months. One which I haven't included in print I decided to make a batch of this weekend ~ a lemon, rosemary and ginger flavour. It's a super light, tangy and really refreshing flavour and great to serve for kids with ginger ale in a 'spider' ~ which in Oz is a name for a soda float; aka ice cream paired with fizzy soda.

Even though we're almost nearing the official start of Summer here in Sydney, the weather has (annoyingly) been really average for this time of the year, so I've been cooking up more hearty, Winter and Autumnal style dishes for dinners as of late, I thought given the fact today is Hallowe'en and generally a chilly and more cosy night in most other parts of the world which celebrate this holiday, a dish like a warming lamb shank pie or rustic rigatoni pasta bake might be the order of the day...

Thanks again to all the readers and followers of the blog for being so patient and supportive to me over the past 2-3 months. I am back to update the blog now with gusto and will be back in the coming days with a new post featuring some summery healthy salads ~ including veggie options and fruity ideas for light desserts.

Katie x

P.S. I've decided going forward to keep the recipes in the body of each post as active text as opposed to lay them out as flattened jpegs like I had been for a few months. I think, based on general feedback, this is a more useful and legible idea all round and allows for easier copy and pasting etc of printing recipes for readers. Tks!