The Best Way to Start the Day – Bircher Muesli


Edited extract from Fruit by Bernadette Worndl, published by Smith Street Books, $55. Photography © Gunda Dittrich. Out November 2018

 “My favourite breakfast. It easily lends itself to seasonal combinations using different grains, seeds and nuts or fruits. A grated apple always makes an appearance, though.” p. 17 

 Bircher Museli


2 apples

1 handful walnuts

100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) rolled (porridge) oats

2 tablespoons linseeds (flax seeds), roughly crushed

2 teaspoons wheat bran

2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

150 ml (5 fl oz) milk

300 g (10½ oz) yoghurt

pinch of salt

small handful shelled pistachios

small handful grapes

honey, for drizzling


Coarsely grate one of the apples and roughly chop the walnuts. Place in a bowl and add the oats, linseeds, wheat bran, pepitas, milk, 200 g (7 oz) of the yoghurt and the salt. Stir well to combine, then cover and refrigerate overnight to soak.


The next day, roughly chop the pistachios and coarsely grate the second apple. Finely slice two grapes. Serve the muesli in shallow bowls and top with the apple, remaining yoghurt, grapes, pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Venetian Apple Cake: Adriatico – Paola Bacchia


From Adriatico: Stories and recipes from Italy’s Adriatic Coast by Paola Bacchia

(Smith Street Books, September 2018 – AU$ 55, NZ$ 65)


Venetian apple cake

Torta di mele

 Venetian apple cake

SERVES 10–12

4 tart apples

juice of 1 small lemon

3 eggs

150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar, plus 2 teaspoons extra

150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour

30 g (1 oz) cornflour (cornstarch)

1 scant teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

80 g (2¾ oz) unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base and side of a 23 cm (9 in) cake tin with a removable base.


Peel and core the apples and cut them into quarters, then cut each quarter into four or five slices, depending on how big the apple is. Place in a bowl, add the lemon juice and toss so the slices are coated (this will help stop them going brown). Set aside while you prepare the batter.


Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Place the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk briefly. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until well incorporated, then add the butter and vanilla and fold until well combined.


Divide the apple slices into two portions: one of about 250 g (9 oz) and the other of about 150 g (5½ oz). Cut the larger portion of apple slices in half, then fold them into the batter, including any juice from the bowl. Leave the remaining 150 g (5½ oz) apple slices uncut and set them aside.


Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Arrange the remaining apple slices in a circular pattern on top of the cake, pressing them down gently so they partially sink into the batter. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and the extra sugar.


Bake for 50 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Authors note:

Most families on the islands in the lagoon have a recipe for apple cake their nonna or grandmother used to make – simple recipes that can be whipped up in a short amount of time, using pantry ingredients and apples, which are available most of the year.


I generally use tart apples when making cakes as I find the tartness balances all the sugar you add. Granny smiths are my favourites, though fuij or pink lady will also do. The addition of cinnamon to the top of the cake is a personal thing – my mother would never have dreamed of using it on her apple cakes as my father had an aversion to it. He used to say in half-Italian half-English ‘non usar quella bloody cannella’ (‘Don’t use that bloody cinnamon’), where ‘bloody’ was pronounced more like ‘blah-di’. I leave the decision entirely up to you.

Post Script: Night Bird – Alice Hoffman

A delightful optimistic, wondrous magical little book!

Night Bird

Night Bird

Alice Hoffman

Simon & Schuster UK

ISBN: 9781471124228



Twig lives in a remote area of town with her mysterious brother and her mother, baker of irresistible apple pies. A new girl in town might just be Twig’s first true friend, and ally in vanquishing an ancient family curse. A spellbinding tale of modern folklore set in the Berkshires, where rumours of a winged beast draw in as much tourism as the town’s famed apple orchards.


My View:

This is a book that is written for the YA /middle grade readers but has a particularly charm, innocence and optimism that can feed the needs of readers of all ages. Filled with positive messages about living and let live, about celebrating who we are as individuals, about conservation and love… I think this is the prefect book for a classroom read along/read out loud – the words are light, they float in the air, an air that is filled with the smell of flowers and apples and spices. Delightful. Magical. The perfect classroom read or rainy day read – will uplift your spirits. And as an added bonus has a recipe for Pink Apple Pie at the very end of the book.


NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.



Manjimup Famers Markets – Holiday in WA

Today we experienced the warmth and passion of the local producers and farmers selling their goods at the Majimup Farmers Markets. Such friendly stall holders; these are the people who grew or made the produce or collected the eggs…food with a genuine low food mile and so fresh!  For breakfast we had  toasted sour dough bread, free range eggs, freshly picked apples and pears (some new varieties to try) … for use in the week we have  freshly harvested potatoes,  fresh garlic grown within 8kms of the markets, LovingGift Organic dark chocolate and a jar of fermented vegetables…so much great produce, we couldn’t carry any more! During the week we are purchasing more apples and pears from the orchard to take home with us; fresh, crisp,delicious.