Hazelnut and Raspberry Cake – Real Delicious – Chrissy Freer

Real Delicious Cover

Recipes and Images from Real Delicious by Chrissy Freer, Murdoch Books.

Hazelnut and Raspberry cake

“Life is definitely too short not to eat cake! The trick to good health is to eat something you really enjoy, eat only a small piece, and eat it occasionally, not every day. This cake is made from ground hazelnuts, buckwheat flour and macadamia oil, so it’s brimming with healthy fatty acids and it’s both gluten and dairy free. The earthy flavour of buckwheat flour works perfectly with the nuttiness of the hazelnuts and the sweetness of the raspberries. I like to serve this with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or thick coconut yoghurt.” (p.113)


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves 12


45 g (11/2 oz/1/3 cup) buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 eggs

140 g (5 oz/2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

200 g (7 oz) hazelnut meal

80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) macadamia oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

120 g (41/4 oz/1 cup) raspberries, plus extra to serve

Chopped toasted hazelnuts, to serve

Greek-style or thick coconut yoghurt, to serve


Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Lightly grease and line a 22 cm (81/2 inch) round spring-form cake tin with baking paper.


Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.


Use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Fold in the spiced flour mixture, hazelnut meal, oil, lemon zest and half the raspberries.


Spoon into the tin and decorate the top with the remaining raspberries. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until golden and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. If the cake browns too quickly, cover the top with foil. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.


Scatter with hazelnuts and raspberries and serve with yoghurt.



*For a dairy free version, serve the cake with coconut yoghurt.

This will keep in an airtight container in a cool dark place for 4 days.

Hazelnut and Raspberry Cake

Quinoa-crusted Cheese Tarts with Pumpkin And Crisp Sage: Real Delicious – Chrissy Freer

Real Delicious Cover

Recipes and Images from Real Delicious by Chrissy Freer, Murdoch Books. 

Quinoa-crusted cheese tarts with pumpkin and crisp sage

Unlike traditional pastry, a quinoa crust is super-healthy – it provides a good dose of protein, fibre, manganese and phosphorous. Roasted pumpkin is naturally sweet, perfect in this tangy blue-cheese filling.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes 4

150 g (51/2 oz/3/4 cup) quinoa, rinsed
375 ml (13 fl oz/11/2 cups) home-made or low-salt vegetable stock
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) peeled and seeded pumpkin (winter squash), diced (see tips)
1 tablespoon chopped sage, plus small sage leaves to garnish
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
35 g (11/4 oz/1/3 cup) finely grated parmesan cheese (see tips)
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
Olive oil spray
1/4 cup chopped herbs, such as chives and parsley
130 g (41/2 oz) fresh ricotta cheese
75 g (23/4 oz) blue cheese, crumbled (see tips)

Place the quinoa and stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a large tray with baking paper. Combine the pumpkin with the chopped sage, honey and 2 teaspoons of the oil and spread over the tray. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and roast for 25–30 minutes until tender.

Mix together the quinoa, parmesan, egg and white and season well.

Lightly spray four 12 cm (41/2 inch) round non-stick fluted tart tins with oil (see tips). Press the quinoa mixture firmly into the tins to form a thick crust. Place on a large baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until light golden.

*Mix together the ricotta, blue cheese and the *chopped herbs and spread a little into each tart crust. Top with the roasted pumpkin and bake for 3–4 minutes to warm through.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the sage leaves and stir for 1–2 minutes until crisp. Drain on paper towel. Serve the tarts topped with crisp sage leaves.

This recipe is vegetarian if you use parmesan and blue cheeses made with non-animal rennet.

You will need about 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) pumpkin with the rind on to yield 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) flesh.

Be sure to use well-greased non-stick tart tins or the crusts will stick.


Quinoa Cheese Tartlets



Post Script: Real Delicious – Chrissy Freer

Nutrition and flavour are not sacrificed when making any of these recipes.

Real Delicious Cover

Real Delicious

Chrissy Freer

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743365960



Whatever happened to eating real food? In a world of fasts and fads, whirlwind diets and mealtime anxiety, isn’t it time we took back the joy of eating real, whole food and enjoyed the good health, energy and glowing vitality that can go with that? We only need to look at the increasing incidence of diabetes, food intolerances, allergies and digestive irritations and disorders to see that whatever it is we’re doing to our food, it’s not agreeing with us…In Real Delicious, Chrissy Freer will show you how quick, easy, satisfying and invigorating it is to cook and eat real food. These are simply delicious recipes to share with family and friends for your whole life…Eat real, eat well and love it!



My View:

This recipe book matches my cooking/eating preferences exactly! Give me real food any day – meals made with fresh produce, made with flavour and encompassing ingredients from the wide spectrum available to us – nutrition and flavour are not sacrificed when making any of these recipes.


The book is helpfully divided into chapters –



Meat and Tofu

Eggs, Seeds and Nuts

From the Vegetable Patch

From the Sea

From the Dairy

From the Orchard


The recipes are easy to follow and easy to make – successes are guaranteed. What I love the most aside from the helpful descriptions/discussion regarding ingredients/nutrition under each chapter and the chapter dedicated to From The Vegetable Patch (this was always going to be a favourite for me) is the design and layout of the book; beautiful images (I love to see how a finished recipe should look /be presented) and ingredients are listed in order of use in the recipe. I cannot emphasis how important this listing of ingredients is – so many times this experienced home cook has made the mistake of getting almost to the end of a recipe to discover I have missed something out /or I am out of step with the addition of the ingredients – it make so much sense to list the ingredients in the order of their use – why don’t all cook books follow this simple rule?


This is the book to have on your recipe shelf!






Post Script: The Widow – Fiona Barton

The Widow

The Widow

Fiona Barton

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Bantam Press

ISBN: 9780593076217




‘The ultimate psychological thriller’ Lisa Gardner


We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.


But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?


Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.


Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.


But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.


Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.



My View:

Hmmmm….this book had me intrigued and asking on every page “did he take baby Bella?” I had to wait a long time for the answer, perhaps a little too long. However the psychological unravelling of the relationship between the accused and his wife, between the journalist and her prey – his wife, and the accused’s justifications for his abhorrent behaviours was addictive.


A great debut, an author to watch out for.


Post Script: A Murder Without Motive the killing of Rebecca Ryle

A very personal look at a senseless crime.

A Murder Without Motive

A Murder Without Motive: the killing of Rebecca Ryle

Martin McKenzie-Murray

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925321357



In 2004, the body of a young Perth woman was found on the grounds of a primary school. Her name was Rebecca Ryle. The killing would mystify investigators, lawyers, and psychologists – and profoundly rearrange the life of the victim’s family.


It would also involve the author’s family, because his brother knew the man charged with the murder. For years, the two had circled each other suspiciously, in a world of violence, drugs, and rotten aspirations.



A Murder Without Motive is a police procedural, a meditation on suffering, and an exploration of how the different parts of the justice system make sense of the senseless. It is also a unique memoir: a mapping of the suburbs that the author grew up in, and a revelation of the dangerous underbelly of adolescent ennui.




My View:

A very personal look at a senseless crime.


A community in shock, two families’ lives for ever changed; a teenager the victim of a senseless murder, her death impacting on the psyche of those who knew her, those who were in her orbit and even those who knew her only because of the media attention surrounding her death. The murder of Rebecca Ryle was to have a profound influence on so many including the young man soon to be journalist Martin McKenzie-Murray.


The proximity of her death eclipses the innocence of this young Martin McKenzie-Murray; the author lived close to the Ryle’s and was familiar with the everyday places of Rebecca’s life, the personal ‘second hand’ knowledge existing because the author’s brother had at one point associated with a social group that included the perpetrator of the crime as a member, and because of the similarity in ages between the writer and the victim, this death weighed heavy on the mind of the author. Eight years later the author is still haunted by Rebecca’s death and seeks to discover how “the psychic bruising of the suburbs” contributed/affected her life and ultimately led to her death. This book is the result of his discoveries, personal interviews, research, theories regarding urban society and its social constructs. This book is more than a dry summation of facts or court or police records, this is an intensely personal study of the effects of one young person’s death on a community and on the writer of this book.


This is a very personal look at a senseless crime – I keep repeating the word senseless, this crime makes no sense; occurring just 50m from Rebecca’s home, a life ending for no apparent reason and the perpetrator with no recollection of his motivation for causing her death (or one that he is willing to share), this crime stunned so many. If you lived in Western Australia around the time of Rebecca’s murder you will have your own memories of this event, memories that cannot be erased.


Martin McKenzie-Murray has written a thought provoking and intense narrative. As someone involved in the documentary industry this books reminds me so much of the process of documentary making – the gathering of facts, the research, the interviews, the connections you cannot help but make with the subject of the documentary (book) and those close to your subject. As in documentary making your life becomes entwined with those in your film (book), you relate to them and their feelings. The documentary is a journey (you have made a personal journey in this book). Thank you for sharing your journey; this incident perhaps weighs more heavily on me now than it did at the time because of your book.

Post Script: Entry Island – Peter May

Entry Island

Entry Island

Peter May

Quercus (US)


ISBN: 9781623656850




Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times raved: “Peter May is a writer I’d follow to the ends of the earth.” Now Peter May takes us to a small island off the coast of Québec with an emotionally charged new mystery.


When a murder rocks the isolated community of Entry Island, insomniac homicide detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at St. Hubert airfield bound for the small, scattered chain of Madeline Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as part of an eight-officer investigation team from Montréal.


Only two kilometers wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of just more than 100 inhabitants, the wealthiest of whom has just been discovered murdered in his home. Covered in her husband’s blood, the dead man’s melancholy wife spins a tale for the police about a masked intruder armed with a knife.


The investigation appears to be little more than a formality–the evidence points to a crime of passion, implicating the wife. But Sime is electrified by the widow during his interview, convinced that he has met her before, even though this is clearly impossible.


Haunted by this strange certainty, Sime’s insomnia is punctuated by vivid, hallucinatory dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away, dreams in which he and the widow play leading roles. Sime’s conviction soon becomes an obsession. And despite mounting evidence of the woman’s guilt, he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professional duty he must fulfill and the personal destiny he is increasingly sure awaits him.




My View:

Meticulously researched, a strong sense of place in dual time zones and setting – Peter May writes desolate, isolated communities with passion and realism; you will be able to visualise yourself here, be able to hear the gale force winds, feel the intensity of the storms and climb the unspoilt rugged landscape. You will feel the desolation and the isolation – the perfect setting for a murder and a mystery or two.


But this is more than a murder /mystery, this is also a beautiful love story and a history lesson. Peter May is a writer that continually surprises me with the depth of his research, his talent for painting a visual landscape with mere words and for capturing the essence of a community and it history. Versatile is his middle name.





Post Script – Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty

Rain Dogs

Rain Dogs

Sean Duffy #5

Adrian McKinty

Allen and Unwin Australia

Serpents Tail

ISBN: 9781781254554



A death in a historic castle, locked up overnight. It almost looks like a suicide, but then Sean Duffy pulls on a few little threads, and the whole Establishment could come undone

It’s just the same things over and again for Sean Duffy. Riot duty. Heartbreak. Cases he can solve but never get to court. But what detective gets two locked room mysteries in one career?


When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the snowy courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. But there are just a few things that bother Duffy enough to keep the case file open. Which is how he finds out that she was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond.


And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?




My View:

This is my first taste of an Adrian McKinty novel and I am hooked! It doesn’t matter that I haven’t read any of the earlier books in this series – I was able to understand relationships, characters and their backgrounds, settings…and the overall story arch.


I really enjoy a character based crime fiction narrative and this one was perfect – protagonists that are solid, decent, quirky people, with interesting lives, living in dangerous times. How much better could this book get? A crime novel that also manages to show some humanness and reflect on social attitudes of the time is a bonus for me. I think this novel pretty much meets my criteria for a perfect read and Adrian McKinty is definitely an author to follow.


I want to catch up on all of the other books Adrian McKinty has written– I really enjoyed this and rated it 5 stars – makes me wonder how good his earlier award winning books must be??? Included in the list of awards – one shortlist for the 2004 Dagger Award, (Dead I Well May Be), the first Sean Duffy novel, The Cold Cold Ground won the 2013 Spinetingler Award, Sean Duffy #2,  I Hear The Sirens In The Street was shortlisted for the 2013 Ned Kelly Award, In The Morning I’ll Be Gone (Sean Duffy #3) won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award. I wonder what award this book will win? Writing of this calibre deserves an award.


Meaningful Connections

It is St Valentine’s Day  – a day for sharing, showing and expressing your love for and connecting with the people you love.

If you have an opportunity to some “me” time let me suggest a few titles for your reading pleasure – all share a similar them – connecting with others (reviews to come in the near future).


The Lovers

The Lovers

Rod Norland

Hachette Australia

Hodder Books

ISBN: 97814736007002


She is his Juliet and he is her Romeo, her family has vowed to kill them both.

A riveting, real-life equivalent of The Kite Runner—an astonishingly powerful and profoundly moving story of a young couple willing to risk everything for love that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about women’s rights in the Muslim world.

Zakia and Ali were from different tribes, but they grew up on neighboring farms in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. By the time they were young teenagers, Zakia, strikingly beautiful and fiercely opinionated, and Ali, shy and tender, had fallen in love. Defying their families, sectarian differences, cultural conventions, and Afghan civil and Islamic law, they ran away together only to live under constant threat from Zakia’s large and vengeful family, who have vowed to kill her to restore the family’s honor. They are still in hiding.

Summer Harvest

Summer Harvest

Georgina Penney

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143797081


English dog trainer Beth Poole is having trouble getting her life back together after beating a life-threatening illness and divorcing her husband. When her Aussie-soap-obsessed grandma sends her to Australia to recover, it seems a great opportunity for some rest and relaxation while she figures out what’s next…

Our Song

Our Song

Dani Atkins

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471153297


The stunning new emotional drama from ebook phenomenon Dani Atkins, author of Fractured – perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Dorothy Koomson.

This is the story of Ally and Charlotte, whose paths have intersected over the years though they’ve never really been close friends. Charlotte married Ally’s ex and first true love, David. Fate is about to bring them together one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever.

Entry Island

Entry Island

Peter May


ISBN: 9781782062202


When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.

Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role. Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession. And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professonal duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.







Post Script- The Darkest Secret – Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret

The Darkest Secret

Alex Marwood

Hachette Australia


Little Brown Book Group

ISBN: 9780751550702



Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable ‘ripped from headlines’ read from Alex Marwood, author of the huge word-of-mouth bestseller, The Wicked Girls.


When three-year-old identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.


But what really happened to Coco during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?


Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…



My View:

For me the scene setting and character development took just a little too long. However it did set the scene extraordinarily well – a life of pretentious self-absorption, a “look at me” “look at me” generation (and I am not talking gen Y!) full of unlikeable characters and over the top behaviours. There was not a lot to like here and a lot to loathe.


Suddenly all that changed! I was engrossed in the narrative – the cold and calculating behaviours, the self-absorption, the lies and the turmoil, the obvious effect that this self-indulgent lifestyle had on the younger members of this cast and the shocking tug at your heart strings disappearance of a child.

Later Camila/Mila, with the maturity/responsibilities that a death of a parent forces upon her somehow morphs into a somewhat more likeable character, Ruby her half-sister is unblemished by her birth rites, other than that the vast cast of characters are totally unlikable and unfortunately somewhat realistic. Somehow you find yourself absorbed in this read about ugly people with very ugly behaviours and the mystery regarding the disappearance of baby Coco.


The author leaves subtle clues (or maybe my intuition is just spot on) but I guessed the demise of baby Coco and the orchestrator and the reasoning behind the act and where we could find Coco. (No spoilers here). But the final chapter left me gutted! We are not given a neat and tidy happy ending or cause for too much optimism – and in the final chapter we are dumbstruck by yet another lie that leaves the reader gasping!


Powerful, dark yet utterly compelling.




**Robert Gott – you will find Charlie Clutterbuck an interesting character J