How to Prepare Fennel

Fennel is a vegetable with an aniseed flavour. It pairs well with citrus or fish. Typically found in Mediterranean cuisine. It is versatile as it can be cooked or eaten raw. The bulb is the part that is eaten and the fronds (dill like green leaves) can be used for decoration. For inspiration on how to use fennel check out this blog post salad recipe.

  1. Wash fennel.
  2. Cut off base of the bulb.
  3. Cut off the green stalks.
  4. Take off any damaged layers or use a peeler to remove.
  5. Cut the bulb in half.
  6. Remove the core of the bulb.
  7. Chop as desired.

Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains NSW, High Tea

Take your camera! There are beautiful views from all around the Hotel and in each of the restaurant areas. The High Tea is available throughout the day in The Wintergarden dining room. We had the standard high tea and they were able to cater for lactose free as well. To our delight a three tiered serving stand arrived with a range of savoury and sweet items to try. The selection of finger sandwiches were nice. I was really looking forward to the scones, which were nice, but i do wish they were served warm. The sweets included macaroons, panna cotta, pastry and cupcakes. We also tried both the tea and coffee which were great. At $65 each it is the most expensive high tea i've ever had. Saying that, the spectacular views across the valley and the pianist filling the grand dining room with beautiful music made it an extra special experience. Worth the 2 hour car trip from Sydney!

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Lemon Cheesecake

Homemade baked lactose-free lemon cheesecake! 


  • 8 Scotch Finger Biscuits
  • 50 g Unsalted Cooking Butter
  • 2 litres Lactose Free Milk
  • 4 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 200 ml Lactose Free Cooking Cream
  • 3 Free Range Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Castor Sugar



  1. Bring butter to room temperature.
  2. Make biscuit base by blending the biscuits into a crumb.
  3. Combine the butter with the biscuit crumb by hand. 
  4. Add mixture to a baking dish and press down to make a layer on the bottom. Cover and store in the fridge.
  5. Make lactose free ricotta using 2 litres of milk following the cooking guide on our earlier blog post.
  6. Using a blender mix the ricotta, cream, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon rind and sugar.
  7. Pour the wet mixture into the baking dish on top of the base.
  8. You can sprinkle the top of the mixture with lemon rind for an extra flavour kick if you would like!
  9. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes at 160C depending on the oven and the depth of the cheesecake in the baking dish.
  10. The consistency should be just set. Cool then store in fridge.

The Surf Club, Mooloolaba QLD, Modern Australian

The Surf Club is easy to find on the Mooloolaba Esplanade. We had classic fish and chips by the beach! It was crunchy and tasty just as you would expect. The dining area has a large expanse of open blinds which lets the sea breeze come in and gives beautiful views directly onto the Mooloolaba beach. I would recommend if you are in the Sunshine Coast.

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Spice Bar, Mooloolaba QLD, Asian Fusion

The restaurant was so busy that we had to eat at the bar, but it was well worth it once we tried the food! We ordered a selection of delicious plates to share; Mooloolaba King Prawns, Hervey Bay Scallops, and Lotus Root Chips. The desserts we had were just incredible. Particularly the figs in tamarind paste, with white chocolate foam, muscat ice cream and a crumble. It had an excellent fusion of flavours (sweet, salty, sour) and textures (different layers of crunchy, creamy, fluffy, oozy and sticky)! We also had Doughnuts with asian chocolate sauce. Service was great, location is right on the Mooloolaba Esplanade.

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Ester, Chippendale NSW, Modern Australian

Outstanding. Each dish was designed to share, so that is just what we did. Their unorthodox menu described several unusual ingredients. I can honesty tell you that each mouthful was an absolute flavourful culinary delight! 

We were greeted by crunchy chickpeas with salt and rosemary on arrival. My favourite dish was the Corn / Rice / Dashi, which was actually corn puree, whole corn kernels, puffed rice, shavings of dashi (Japanese stock) and surprising delightful citrus bursts of fingerlime, my new favourite ingredient. The crispy squid dumplings were also delicious, and were actually crispy squid ink dumplings with pork and cuttlefish. Another amazing dish was the Prawns / Browned Butter / Capers, which were butterflied king prawns in browned butter with fried capers and a squeeze of lemon. YUM! The other dishes we tried were Jerusalem Artichoke / Parmesan / Sunflower, Duck Fat Potatoes, Greens / Fermented Chilli / Garlic, Whole Snapper / Saltbush / Vinegar, Beef Filet / Radish. 

When looking at the wine list we noticed only one Australian variety and discovered it is because all the wines are organic. We tried the Australian variety which was very nice. For dessert we were delighted by the Salted Carmel Semi-Freddo, and the Chocolate / Malt / Umeshu (Japanese liqueur). Ester is accredited with two hats from the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide, and winner of the 2014 best new restaurant!

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Criniti's, Woolloomooloo NSW, Italian

We sat outside on the wharf and it was just perfect for the warm still night. We had a selection of pizza's to share for a delicious but relaxed vibe. The pizzas were really nice. They accommodated us with an ingredient swap to make a dairy free pizza. We found that two traditional (T) sized pizzas were enough for five people. The M on the menu really does stand for Metre, so you can order a 0.5M up to 3M pizza if you wish, which will set you back around $50 to $200 respectively. We also shared the cannoli and I'm so glad we did! It had 3 pastries each filled with either chocolate, vanilla or ricotta. It was served with blood orange and lemon sorbet. YUM!! There did seem to be an issue with the ordering system in use, which significantly slowed down the process. However, they surprised us with an lively happy birthday song at the end!

Styled by Lel @styledbylel put together the perfect outfit for our night out at Woolloomooloo

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The Tea Room, QVB Sydney NSW, High Tea

Excellent. If your looking for a rather elegant experience then this is the place. Taking the old-worldly lift carriage up to level 3 at the QVB makes for a grand entrance and exciting anticipation for what might await at the top. Once you get there the service will make you feel special. We had the Traditional Afternoon Tea with finger sandwiches, petit fours and sweet and savoury pastries. This included hot scones with preserve and clotted cream. The food serving was very generous and the quality was great. We were all quite full by the end of the afternoon. We were given individual tea pots with our own selection of tea which was refilled with hot water as you required. We tried the Vanilla tea, Irish tea, English tea and Chai tea, which were all nice. 

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Botantic Gardens Restaurant, Sydney NSW, Modern Australian

Good overall. Wonderful Modern Australian food in a calm tranquil open-air environment. The pomegranate with red pepper and tomato salad was surprising and showcased flavour balancing at its best. The Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake with Hazelnut cream, house made double vanilla bean ice-cream was also very delicious! The small menu made choosing and ordering a pleasant experience. We also tried the Gippsland Beef Tenderloin with Walnut, Steamed Eggplant and Sesame. The wine was also a standout. The staff were most delightful.

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Polish Sauerkraut

Did you know that you can get probiotics from sources other than yogurt? Sauerkraut is also a source of beneficial good bacteria for a healthy digestive track. It is simply thinly shredded cabbage and salt that is left to ferment or pickle. It is commonly found in Poland and other Eastern European countries. You can buy it in the supermarkets or make it yourself which is much better for you. It is also high in Vitamin C, Fibre and antioxidants, and low in calories. Gluten and lactose free. It goes well with meats and is known for its addition to the American Reuben sandwich. 

S.C. Pannell, McLaren Vale SA, Winery

Recommended. Nestled in the picturesque vineyards of the McLaren Vale in one of South Australia's famous wine regions. Previously known as Tapestry Wines, now renamed to S.C. Pannell. The quaint cellar door is attached to a beautiful outdoor deck area where we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and canapés as the sun went down. The sliced rare roast beef and chargrilled capsicum was delicious and my favourite! In the function room we had melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked lamb shoulder and fattoush salad. Lovely.

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Medusa Greek Taverna, Sydney NSW, Greek

Highly recommended. Greek food is such a favourite of mine! The standouts were the Dolmades and Bougatsa. We created our own meze for a selection of gluten free dishes to share. The service was fun, knowledgeable, efficient, and they even surprised us with a special birthday sparkler! It is a white tablecloth restaurant that was full on a weeknight. We tried the Dolmades, Garithes (Prawn) Saganaki, Lamb Shoulder, Chicken and Yemista (Stuffed Tomato and Capsicum). It paired very nicely with the red wine and sparkling water. And we most certainly had to try the Greek cakes, coffee and Ouzo too! We had Bougatsa (Semolina in filo pastry), Loukoumades (Dough puffs in honey), Baclava and Chocolate Mousse. 

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Emperor's Garden Cake & Bakery, Haymarket NSW, Chinese

Recommended. We tried the traditional Chinese wife cake (Lao Po Bing) in Chinatown. It was a flaky pastry filled with slightly sweet soft winter melon. I've got the picture up on my site. Delicious and perfect for my not-too-sweet tastebuds! I enjoyed wandering around looking at all the different fillings and cakes, such as Chinese custard tarts, lotus bean and scroll cakes. A line up for the cream puffs was ever-present each time we walked past. I hope to get back there to give them all a try.

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How to Cook Fresh Beetroot

Beetroot is a well known superfood as it is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have several health benefits! It has a natural slightly sweet taste. The green leaves of the beets can be eaten too. Beets are very popular in Eastern Europe. If you're like me and had only bought canned beetroot, cooking fresh is simple and worth a try. I used mine in a fresh salad.

1. Scrub the whole beetroot to remove the dirt.

2. Cut off the stork but leave a few centimetres to ensure beetroot colour does not leak out during the cooking process.

3. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Turn the water down to a simmer and place the whole beetroot in the water.

4. Cook for 45 minutes or until the beetroot is tender like cooking potato. Once tender remove from the water.

5. Use gloves to avoid staining your hands! Cut off the storks. Use some force to rub off the beetroot skin. Cut as desired. 

Spanish Paella Pan

I recommend a paella pan for every kitchen to make successful Spanish paellas with the crispy rice at the bottom. We have a Paella pan from SaffronDust. We chose the Antonio Sotos 34cm Pan and found it to be excellent. It was at an affordable price at $55 and delivered quickly within Australia. And when making the dish, whatever you do, don't forget the saffron!

Bo Larn, Bondi Junction NSW, Thai

Highly recommended. Delicious and authentic! Great service. We had Phat Phed with chicken, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, green peppercorns and green beans. Although not indicated, the curry was VERY HOT but I still couldn't stop eating! A fresh coconut at the table was a wonderful addition to our meal. After very disappointing Thai food at a different restaurant recently, this was refreshing to find.

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Vue Bar, Bondi NSW, Modern Australian

Recommended. Excellent water view. Amazing and accommodating service. Tasty food. We ate a selection of Tapas; Scallops wrapped in prosciutto with lemon dressing, Patatas Bravas, Beef a la Chico. Some items on the menu seem more like a Mediterranean fusion such as French wine, Arancini Balls, Gnoccni Gorgonzola. But the addition of Chicken in soy ginger and teriyaki left me utterly confused and made it Modern Australian despite being called a Tapas Restaurant.

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