We are spending another family weekend relaxing by the Hawkesbury River at Wisemans Ferry. We have spent our short stay here making the most of the  late autumn scenery which is still a vibrant  blaze of colour. Everywhere we go we have been greeted by autumn coloured leaves floating gently down from their branches creating a soft carpet of nature underneath that will eventually provide nourishment back to earth.


This truly is a beautiful part of Sydney which we have fallen in love with over the past year. If you are like me and enjoy  beautiful scenic country drives then this area is your paradise. The winding country roads over look unspoilt river views interchanging with green pasture and healthy bushland. Some areas enjoy national park status with valleys and mountains adding visual appeal and interest to the landscape. Today we enjoyed one of those meandering country drives just a short 20 kilometres to St Albans for lunch at the Historic St Alban’s Settlers Arms Inn. 


Read more: Lunch at St Albans

Persimmons are those glossy vibrant orange fruits topped with a calyx you may have walked past at the market or fruit shop. I admit that I have walked past them too. Strangely I have always been a bit scared of them as I was never sure how to choose them at their best.  During the Easter weekend I saw a table of Fuyu Persimmons at Sydney markets and decided it was time to change my perception of this bright orange star topped fruit.


Read more: In Season: Persimmons

April 25 is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand. This day is the anniversary of Australia’s first major army battle fought at Gallipoli by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War 1. The majority of Australians, including myself feel this is the most important national occasion of the year.



Read more: What Anzac Day Means To Me

Last year I bought a cookbook that delivered what it promised. It revolutionised the way I made bread and pizzas. I was so impressed with the book I ended up purchasing all three in the series. The cookbooks I am referring to are the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” series!  Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois co wrote and developed the hundreds of recipes they share through their “Artisan in Five “series of cookbooks. My favourite and most used book from the collection is “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day”.  This book has shown me how to easily deliver homemade pizza, from my very own oven, fast and fresh!

Read more: The Most Amazing Pizza Dough

Today I feel blessed as my family and I joined the local Buddhist community in a celebration of vegetarian food. The local Lingyen Mountain Temple of Berala hosted the event at our local park following the official opening of its new Guan Yin Pusa Shrine. Attendees made the short pilgrimage from the shrine at the Lingyen Mountain Temple to Coleman Park and the celebrations began

Read more: Berala's Buddhist Vegetarian Food Festival

Green paw paw is not such an unusual ingredient to the Vietnamese and Thai communities in Western Sydney but I was interested to learn its native origins lie much further away in the tropical areas of America and Mexico. I stumbled across a table of bright green paw paw’s last weekend during my regular fresh food shopping at Sydney Markets. I was instantly intrigued as to how I could use it in an adventurous dish at home.

Read more: Unusual Market Find: Green Paw Paw

Within the pleasant former Olympic village suburb of Newington is a small strip of restaurants, one of which is Siam Kingdom. Whenever I dine at Siam Kingdom, it instantly takes me back to my Thailand trip.


Read more: The Best Thai Food Outside of Thailand

Feeling incredibly inspired by the charismatic Mr O, tonight I had a go at the pasta challenge. During his Kitchen Talk, Jamie mentioned how quick and easy it can be to whip up a meal completely from scratch when you have the right knowledge - which is what he aims to spread through the Ministry of Food kitchens. Jamie said, by the time a pot of cold water comes to the boil on the stove top, you could whip up pasta from scratch ready to be thrown in!

Read more: The Jamie Oliver Homemade Pasta Challenge

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to see my biggest cooking inspiration give a live presentation. That of course is the one and only Jamie Oliver. The admiration that I have towards Mr O is almost indescribable. His passion for cooking is absolutely infectious. His rustic approach to cooking demonstrates his understanding of the everyday, busy, modern family. But, although his TV shows and books are fantastic, they are not enough to change the way the western world eats. This is why he visited Australia.

Read more: Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Talk

With weather so beautiful this weekend it was an easy decision to pack the family into the car and head off on a relaxing drive in the country. It was also an opportune thought to include the fresh food shopping and make a day of it along the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail. With an esky in the boot we set off not knowing what gems we would find!


Read more: Country Drive Along the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail