'Fruit Toast' Crackers & Labne with honey, fig and pine nuts

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Making labne is very easy (there's one ingredient and it's greek yoghurt) and way cheaper than buying it - but you'll have to start the day before you want to serve it cause it takes at least 12 hours to hang and get less watery.

These crackers are similar to the ones I made for the cheese board dinner, but I added fruit and cinnamon to give them a kind of 'fruit toast' vibe. Fruit toast is one of my favourite childhood breakfasts, but there's no way I would have been able to make it. 

Makes a couple of bowls of crackers and like HEAPS of labne.

Labne Ingredients:
500g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/ cup finely chopped dried figs
1 tablespoon of tahini

Put a sieve on top of a saucepan (so it's not touching the bottom). Line the sieve with a chux, 'cheese cloth' or other kind of clean fabric. Put the yoghurt in the sieve and leave to 'hang' for at least 12 hours, so most the liquid gets sieved out. 

Mix the chopped fig with the tahini, then stir it through the labne. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and drizzle with honey before serving. 

Cracker ingredients: 

250g Plain flour

150g linseeds
175g Sesame seeds
150g sunflour seeds

1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
Handful of dates, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
500ml cold water
1 tablespoon of sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients except the sugar. It should be the consistency of wet cement, so add more flour or water if the ingredients aren't holding together properly. 

Line a large oven tray with baking paper. With a spatula, spread the mixture out on the paper as thin as you can (you may need to do a couple of batches if you have too much mixture). Don't worry if you get a few holes, you're going to  break them up into rough crackers anyway. Sprinkle sugar evenly over the dough. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, then turn the big sheet of cracker over, peel off the baking paper, and bake on the other side for about 10-15 minutes, until it's completely dry and crispy. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. 

Break up into roughly-cracker shaped bits, and serve with the labne. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Fruit Salad with ginger & lime syrup

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I feel a bit silly writing out a recipe for this cause it's just a fruit salad - but I didn't fully know how to make a syrup until recently, so maybe this will be useful.

I think this syrup would be delicious over a stone fruit salad - peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries. However even though it was STONE FRUIT SEASON when I made this my supermarket didn't have any except for a couple of plums. So I panicked and bought the weird assortment of fruits you see in this picture. 

Makes about a cup of syrup

Syrup ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
Half a cup of water
1 lime, zest cut off.
Thumb sized piece of ginger,
half thinly sliced, half crushed. 

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce the heat and add the ginger and lime zest and a couple of thin slices of lime. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it's a dark syrup-y consistency. 

Take out the whole slices of ginger if you don't want too-strong a ginger flavour. Leave to cool, then pour over your fruit salad. If the syrup gets too solid when it cools down, add a bit more boiling water and stir vigorously until it is liquid enough to pour. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Cherry & Rosewater Ice Cream

Photo by Savannah van der Niet 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet 

Finally – an ice cream recipe WITHOUT FORTY THOUSAND EGG YOLKS. I really fucking hated wasting all those whites and separating eggs is GROSS. Because it doesn’t have eggs, this ice cream tastes a little more subtle and ‘milky’ than you might be used to. And churning it regularly (if you STILL don’t have an ice cream maker even though YOU ASK FOR ONE FOR CHRISTMAS EVERY YEAR) is VERY IMPORTANT. You'll also have to make this recipe the night before because it can take ages to freeze (... No, I don't know why this is better than buying it at the shops, you got me). Experiment with different fruits/flavours if you want – I chose this one because cherries are in season and I’ve got an almost-full bottle of rosewater that’ll probably come with me to my grave, I’ve used so little of it.

Serves 20 +


400g Caster Sugar
1.8l Milk
1.8l Cream
1.2l unsweetened condensed milk
Two Cups of Cherries
3 Tablespoons Rosewater

Heat the milk, cream, and rosewater in a large saucepan until it's gently boiling. Allow the mixture to thicken, stirring regularly (you want about a quarter of it to evaporate away). Take it off the heat and let cool.

Pour the condensed milk and cherries into the mixture. Pour into a couple of large baking trays (the shallower the mixture is the quicker it will cool). Churn with a whisk or fork every hour or so until it gets too frozen.

I served my ice cream with nothing because it was a long night and I couldn't be bothered cutting up more fruit, but if you've got time this might be night with some crushed almonds, pistachios or berries on top. 

Apricot, vanilla and thyme Preserve, baked ricotta, sweet breadrolls


**If you're making the baked ricotta you have to start it 3-4 days in advance!**

This was a simple, not-to-sweet dessert after a pretty heavy, cheesy meal - I had seconds, then lay on the ground for a while. The combination of the soft buns, creamy ricotta and tart preserve was, and I hate to praise myself, QUITE GOOD. How sweet the preserve is will depend on how soft your apricots are. It was early in the season when I made this and the ones I bought were pretty hard, so my preserve was slightly sour, which I like.  You might want to balance it out with a bit more sugar though if you like a sweeter dessert. 

I'm not going to add a recipe for the buns, because I got it straight out of a book called Honey & Co. The Baking Book. I've (...for now...) given up trying to make up my own baking recipes - This year I've made one too many rock-hard sponges for my delicate ego to take. If you have a good scone/sweet bread roll recipe you should use that, otherwise you can Google one, or just buy the Honey & Co. book cause it rules.

Serves 10-12



1kg Ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
Crushed nuts

About 3-4 days before your dinner, you have to hang the ricotta up to drain it. Line a strainer/colander with some cheese cloth or clean chux (or pretty much any clean material - I used a cheap cotton shirt I'd never worn) and tip the ricotta in. Put the strainer in a big bowl or pot in the fridge to catch the water.

After a few days, tip your ricotta gently out onto an oven rack covered with baking paper. Rub it gently with a bit of melted butter, then bake for 10-20 minutes, until it's golden brown on top. Drizzle a heap of honey over the top, then sprinkle cinnamon (you could use other spices too, like cloves and cardamom - my tum was just pretty full by this time and I wanted to keep it simple) and crushed nuts over the top. 



10 apricots, halved
A few sprigs of thyme
A few strips of lemon pee
l (use a potato peeler)
Juice of one lemon
350g brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla (I use this 'vanilla bean extract' stuff that's like $8 a bottle but pretty good (actual vanilla beans are like $5 each, but if you wanna use them go nuts) - vanilla essence would probably do too though).

Lay the halved apricots out on a tray, scatter the thyme, lemon peel, and vanilla over the top. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top, then sprinkle with the sugar, covering all the apricots. 

Cook for 5 minutes at 190 degrees, then turn the oven down to 170 degrees for 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven - by now a syrup should have formed at the bottom of the tray. Using a spoon, pour this syrup over the apricots, basting them.

Put them back in the oven at 140 degrees for another 10-15 minutes until they're completely soft and jammy. Spoon into jars and cover with syrup to keep for a few weeks - or just put it in a bowl in the fridge if you're using the preserve in the next couple of days.

Pistachio Trifle with Pomegranate Jelly and Rosewater Custard

Lately I’ve been really obsessed with this cookbook called Honey & Co. The Baking Book, from an incredible-looking Middle Eastern restaurant in London. I’ve actually baked things from it that turned out ok - a certified miracle. I don’t know if the right way to show my appreciation was to butcher their trifle recipe (they used quince, almonds and vanilla in their way more refined version), and I fucked up the sponge pretty bad on mine, but this was pretty delicious still.


14 Leaves of gelatine (there are plenty of vegetarian setting agents you can use, but I haven’t used them before and didn’t want to risk it, even though, yes, gelatine is really gross).
450ml water
800ml pomegranate juice (if pomegranates are in season, get a few fresh ones too and throw some of the jewels through the jelly and then on top of the trifle cause that would be very nice)

900mls milk
200g caster sugar
9 egg yolks
2 teaspoons rosewater
75g plain flour

6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup ground pistachios
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

200g Mixed crushed nuts
3 punnets of strawberries, cut in half (or use whatever fruit is in season – when I made this strawbs were like $2 a punnet)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Make the jelly first cause it’ll take at least a few hours to set – overnight it probably best.

For the jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until they become soft. Meanwhile, heat the water and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan, until almost boiling (don’t let it boil). Turn off the heat and add the gelatine, stiring until the gelatine leaves are all desolved. Pour the mixture into whatever container you’re going to set it in – if you’re just cooking for a few people, individual glasses look better. I poured mine into two big glass bowls. Throw in some halved strawberries to set in the jelly. Put in fridge.

Mix the egg yolks and flour together in a large bowl. Heat up the milk and caster sugar until it’s just bubbling, then add it slowly to the egg and flour mixture, stirring quickly and continuously. Put it back in a saucepan on the heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken up. Add the rosewater, then keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Do you know a good sponge recipe? If so, make that and substitute half a cup of the flour for a cup of ground pistachios. Also send it to me, cause this one I adapted from one on the Coles website and it wasn’t so hot.

Beat eggs hard until they’re fluffy and aerated. Add the sugar slowly, continuing to beat the mixture constantly. Sift the flower and baking powder into the eggs, and mix lightly to combine (you don’t want to get rid of all the air). Add the ground pistachios, and pour the mix into a baking tray, bake for about 20 minutes, until it’s springy to touch and if you put a knife in it comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve, take your jelly out of the fridge, and top with broken up pieces of sponge. Cover that with custard, then scatter the strawberries and crushed nuts over the top. 

Macadamia sandwich cookies with fig and white chocolate filling

Makes 8 Cookies


200g butter, softened
200g sugar
300g flour

1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200 ml cream
100g roasted macadamias, roughly chopped
300g white chocolate, chopped into small bits.

100g dried figs, chopped as small as you can (blitz them in the food processor if you have one)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 

Whip the butter and sugar together with a fork or a whisk. Add the flour, vanilla and macadamias and combine. Roll about a tablespoon of mixture into a ball with your hands (use some flour on your hands if they're too sticky) and flatten to a disk shape and place on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Repeat with the rest of the mixture - try and make them all a similar size so they fit together ok. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they're lightly brown.

Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Heat the cream in  a small saucepan until it's simmering. Take off the heat and pour over the white chocolate, mixing it well so the chocolate melts. Add the chopped figs and cool in the fridge.

When the biscuits are done let them cool. When the white chocolate mixture has cooled into a thick spreadable paste, spread it on one of the biscuits and sandwich another on top. Leave the sandwich biscuits in the fridge until you're ready to transport them (fairly delicately).