Pana cotta with Roasted Nectarines and Blueberries: Around the Table, delicious food for everyday – Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Around the Table

Julia Busuttil Nishimura


Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781760984915


Slow Sundays are for herbed roast chicken and silky smooth panna cotta. Eating outside means cheddar scones and fresh, spring salads. Friends coming by for afternoon coffee calls for a simple blackberry yoghurt loaf or comforting ginger cake with cream cheese frosting.

Beloved home cook Julia Busuttil Nishimura always knows the right dish for the occasion, weather or time of day. She also understands the power food has to bring people together, whether that’s to prepare a meal or enjoy the delicious results.

With recipes ranging from quick, flavourful meals for busy weeknights to simple indulgences for summer feasts, Around the Table perfectly matches dishes to time and place. It includes recipes laden with personal meaning – Mediterranean classics from Italy and Malta, and Japanese dishes Julia has learned from her husband, Nori – that will soon become favourites around your table, too. 

Panna Cotta With Roasted Nectarines and Blueberries p.102

500 ml (2 cups) pure cream
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
3 strips of lemon peel
1 fresh bay leaf
80 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves
200 g crème fraîche
ice cubes
125 g blueberries
boiling water
5 nectarines, halved and stones removed, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Around the Table by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, published by Plum, RRP $44.99, photography by Armelle Habib

Panna cotta translates to ‘cooked cream’ and it is one of my favourite Italian desserts. Luckily, it also happens to be one of the simplest. I love it just set – panna cotta should have a good wobble and sit on the plate droopily rather than incredibly still.Mine is lightly perfumed with bay and lemon and heavily scented with vanilla. Served with some lightly poached or roasted fruits – nectarines or apricots in summer, rhubarb in spring (try the roasted rhubarb on page 248) and citrus in winter – panna cotta is such an elegant dessert, and an absolute joy to make.” p102


Place the cream in a saucepan with the vanilla seeds and pod, lemon peel and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened – don’t let it boil. Add the sugar
and whisk to dissolve, cooking the cream for a further 1 minute.

Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until softened. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and whisk it into the cream mixture. Whisk in the crème fraîche, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Reserve the vanilla pod, bay leaf and lemon peel. Sit the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and whisk the mixture for 8–10 minutes, until cool. Pour the mixture into a large jug and then divide among four small bowls or ramekins. Chill in the fridge for 5 hours or until just set.
Once the panna cotta has set, cover each bowl or ramekin with plastic or beeswax wrap and return to the fridge.

While the panna cotta is setting, prepare the roasted nectarines. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the nectarines in a deep baking tray so they are nice and snug and scatter over the sugar. Rinse the vanilla
pod, bay leaf and lemon peel that you used to flavour the cream. Add these to the nectarines along with 125 ml (½ cup) of water. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Transfer the nectarines to a large bowl and add the blueberries. Stir to combine and allow to completely cool. You can store the fruit in a container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Dip each panna cotta bowl or ramekin into a bowl filled with boiling water for 20 seconds, then invert onto plates. Serve with the roasted nectarines and blueberries.

Tiramisu – Intolerance Friendly Kitchen – Georgia McDermott

**Images courtesy of Georgia McDermott**

Tiramisu: because if cream, carbs, coffee and booze can’t lift your spirits, there’s probably not much that will. Tiramisu traditionally uses mascarpone and whipped eggs for the creamy layer and rum or Marsala for the alcohol. This version uses lactose-free whipping cream, gin or a FODMAP-friendly
spirit of your choice, and gluten-free savoiardi to keep the FODMAP content low.


Serves: 6–8
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30–40 minutes

(makes 30–40 biscuits)
4 extra-large eggs, separated
110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
80 g (½ cup) fine white rice flour
60 g (½ cup) tapioca flour
50 g (½ cup) almond meal
40 g (¼ cup) icing sugar (to finish)

125 ml (½ cup) fresh espresso coffee
2–3 tablespoons gin or FODMAP-friendly spirit of choice
310 ml (1 ¼ cups) hot water

500 g (2 tubs) full-cream, lactose-free whipping cream
80 g (½ cup) pure icing sugar

70% cocoa solids dark chocolate, to grate unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. I like to lightly oil the trays first so the paper doesn’t move when I pipe. Place flours in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Combine egg yolks, 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar and the vanilla bean paste in a large bowl or stand mixer. Using
electric beaters, beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5–10 minutes.

Place egg whites in a separate clean, dry bowl. Using clean electric beaters, beat until the whites become frothy, then gradually add the remaining caster sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold half the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Repeat with remaining half until just combined. Gently fold
flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined.

Place your piping bag in a tall glass, and spoon mixture into the bag. I generally use a ziplock bag with a 2 cm hole cut in one corner. Twist the top to seal. Pipe mixture onto prepared trays to create roughly 10 cm × 3 cm biscuits. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Bake savoiardi for 8 minutes, then swap the trays and bake for another 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150°C and bake for another 10 minutes or until the savoiardi are crisp or tops are golden. Set aside to cool completely on trays.

To make coffee mixture, combine all ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl. Set aside.

To make the cream mixture, combine cream and icing sugar in a large bowl and, using electric beaters, beat until light and fluffy.

Construct: Quickly soak one savoiardi at a time in the coffee liquor mixture. The crunchier the savoiardi, the longer you can leave them to soak. Arrange the soaked savoiardi in the base of a 1.6 litre capacity serving dish.

Once you have completely covered the base of the dish, top the savoiardi with half the cream mixture. It is more important to completely cover the top of the tiramisu (for aesthetics, anyway) so make sure you save enough for that.

Top the cream layer with a generous grating of dark chocolate (I like to use a microplane). I think this chocolate layer makes the difference between an okay tiramisu and an amazing one. Repeat with another layer of savoiardi (any leftover coffee mixture can be drizzled over the biscuits here) and then
carefully spread over the remaining cream mixture. Finish with a super generous grating of the dark chocolate and dust with cocoa powder. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (see notes).

This recipe for savoiardi should make close to 40 biscuits, which is the perfect quantity for a
1.6 litre/28 cm dish. I have found that savoiardi batter often varies in the amount of biscuits
it yields. I recommend keeping enough ingredients for another batch on hand, just in case. If
your batch comes out with significantly fewer, make another half or whole batch to avoid
getting caught out later. They keep well in an airtight container and are delicious dipped in
espresso. Tiramisu is best served the next day, when the flavours have had a chance to meld
and the cream has set nicely. Leftover tiramisu keeps, covered, in the fridge for 1–2 days, if you can restrain yourself for that long.

** My Note – For those who are time poor – I have found GF savoiardi biscuits in my local supermarket which I have used in this recipe. YUM

#MondayMunchies: Dirty Chocolate Cake – The Dirty Dishes – Isaac Carew

‘The Dirty Dishes: 100 Fast and Delicious Recipes by Isaac Carew, Published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99’ 


Dirty chocolate cake
This is one of my signature dishes: a really basic chocolate cake recipe that’s extra indulgent thanks to
all of the chocolate sauce and delicious walnuts. It also looks really elegant with raspberry dust. This is
a special take on a chocolate cake I’ve had on every single birthday since I was born – although this
one hasn’t got Smarties dotted on the top highlighting my age!” p208

serves 8
100g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
3 tbsp cocoa powder
65g plain flour
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
80g milled walnuts
big handful of fresh raspberries
15g freeze-dried raspberry dust or whole freeze-dried raspberries

For the icing
70g unsalted butter, softened
200g milk chocolate
100g icing sugar
100ml double cream

20cm (8in) cake tin
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan 160℃/gas mark 4). Grease the cake tin and line with baking
parchment, then grease the parchment on the sides of the tin.

Put a small saucepan of water on to boil. Set a heatproof bowl on top, then add the butter and allow to
melt. Remove from the heat and add the sugar and eggs, then whisk together.

Add the cocoa powder, flour, vanilla and milled walnuts. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for 15–20 minutes. Once the cake has baked and
cooled, make the icing.

To make the icing, set another heatproof bowl over the boiling water in the pan and add the butter
and chocolate. Let them melt together, then add the icing sugar and double cream. Whisk until

Spread the icing over the cake and top with the fresh raspberries and raspberry dust or freeze-dried

Chilled Lemon Souffles: Neil Perry’s Good Cooking – Neil Perry


Images and recipes from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking by Neil Perry (Murdoch Books) $49.99

Chilled lemon soufflés

Serves 6

“These are fun little mousses that are set above the rims of the ramekins  to resemble soufflés. The amount of gelatine makes them very delicate.  They could never stand up if turned out, and that’s what makes them  so delicious – the texture. Serve them with a dollop of whipped cream.”(p.224)





2 titanium-strength gelatine sheets

185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) lemon  juice, strained

4 large free-range eggs, separated

150 g (51/2 oz/2/3 cup) caster  (superfine) sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest,  plus extra to serve

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thick (double) cream

icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting



You will need six 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) glass dishes or ramekins. Cut six strips of baking paper about 2 cm (3/4 inch) wider than the height of the dishes and 2 cm (3/4 inch) longer than the circumference. Wrap a strip of baking paper around each dish to form a collar and secure with kitchen string.


Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Remove from the water and gently squeeze to remove the excess. Put the lemon juice and gelatine sheets in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the gelatine has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.


Put the egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest in a small heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and pale, then add the lemon and gelatine mixture and whisk well. Remove from the heat and sit the bowl in  a dish of iced water, stirring occasionally until cool.


Use an electric beater with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a small bowl at high speed until soft peaks form.


Gently fold a large spoonful of egg whites through the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites until just combined.


Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then fold it through the lemon mixture. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared dishes and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.


When you are ready to serve, remove the string and paper from the soufflés.

Dust with icing sugar, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve.

Pumpkin Pie Eclairs: The Great Australian Bake Off companion – BBC Worldwide


Extract from The Great Australian Bake Off Companion (Hachette Australia, November 2016)

Pumpkin Pie Eclairs


For the éclairs

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature

200g whole milk

5g salt

10g sugar

225g cake flour

300g eggs


For the pumpkin mousse

500g Kent pumpkin

320g whipping cream

90g caster sugar

12g gelatine sheets, silver grade

180g egg yolks

120g white sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg

½ teaspoon vanilla paste


For the caramel chocolate décor

250g caramel chocolate melts

10g cocoa butter


For the pepita praline crumb

100g white sugar

20g pepitas


  1. Preheat the oven to 165°C and place a shallow pan at the bottom. Line two baking trays with silicone baking mats. Bring 200ml water, the butter, milk, salt and sugar to the boil. Meanwhile, sift the flour and reserve. When the liquid comes to the boil, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the flour all at once. Return to the heat and continue to cook, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes or until the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pot. Put the hot mixture into a stand mixer with a beater attachment and mix for a minute or two to release steam and cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs while mixing on medium speed until smooth and glossy. Add a little more egg if required to reach the correct consistency.
  2. Put the pastry mixture into a large heatproof piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe 15cm lengths onto the prepared baking sheets. You should have enough batter for eight per sheet. Using a wet finger, dab any peaks of pastry. Bake for 40 minutes with a little boiling water poured into the preheated pan at the bottom of the oven.
  3. When cooked, remove from the oven and slit each éclair with a bread knife and open out to expose doughy middles. Return to the oven for another 10–15 minutes to completely dry out. Remove and cool on wire racks for 10 minutes then place in the refrigerator until required for assembly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. To make the pumpkin mousse, remove seeds and skin from the pumpkin and slice into 1cm thick pieces. Arrange the pumpkin on a lightly greased tray and bake for 20—25 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the caster sugar until soft peaks form and reserve in the refrigerator. Bloom the gelatine sheets in iced water.
  5. Make a pâte à bombe by whisking the egg yolks and 120g white sugar in a bowl over a hot water bath until thick and frothy. Remove from the heat.
  6. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and blitz with a stick blender. Sieve to obtain 250g puree. Remove the gelatine sheets from the cold water and squeeze out excess water. Mix the gelatine with about 50g puree in a small glass bowl and microwave for 20 seconds to melt the gelatine, then stir.
  7. Whisk the remaining pumpkin, spices and vanilla paste into the pâte à bombe in a stand mixer then add the gelatine mix. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish to cool quickly in the refrigerator. The mixture should be approx. 20°C. Stir a small amount of reserved whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mix to loosen then add the remainder, folding through. Be sure to add the cream before the mix sets. Place in the refrigerator to firm up until ready to assemble
  8. For the pepita praline crumb, heat a small saucepan over medium–high heat. Add 10ml water and sugar. Cook to a light caramel, rolling the syrup around the saucepan to ensure it cooks evenly. Add the pepitas and stir. Pour onto a silicone mat to cool. When cool, break up into pieces, put into a heavy plastic bag and smash with a meat mallet to create a coarse crumb. Reserve for assembly.
  9. To make the caramel chocolate décor, place the chocolate melts in a microwave proof bowl and cook at a low power for about 3 minutes or until just melted (approx. 46°C). Allow to cool to about 34°C before proceeding. Mix in the cocoa butter and stir until fully combined. Let cool to 30°C, stir thoroughly and pour into a silicone piping bag.
  10. To assemble the pumpkin pie éclairs, fill a large piping bag fitted with large star nozzle with pumpkin mousse. Fill the éclairs with the pumpkin mousse. Sprinkle pepita praline crumb over the top of the mousse. Finish the éclairs with thin stripes of chocolate.


Caffe Latte Mousse Cups: Sweet Celebrations – Elise Strachan


Images and recipes from Sweet! Celebrations by Elise Strachan (Murdoch Books) $39.99


Caffe Latte Mousse Cups

Makes 10 Servings


1 tablespoon instant coffee

60 ml boiling water

100 g milk chocolate, chopped

600 ml thickened (whipping) cream

10 (90 ml capacity) espresso glasses

Coffee beans and cocoa powder


1  In a small bowl, stir the coffee and boiling water together until the coffee has dissolved. Refrigerate until cold.

2  Melt the milk chocolate with 60 ml of the cream and stir to form a ganache.

3  Using an electric mixer, whip the remaining cream until soft peaks start to form. Be careful not to overwhip. Set aside and refrigerate half of the whipped cream.

4  Using a spatula and large sweeping motions, gently fold the ganache and cooled coffee into the remaining whipped cream, until combined.

5  Divide the mousse mixture among the espresso glasses, leaving a 1 cm gap at the top of each glass. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

6  Once the mousse is set, spoon the reserved whipped cream on top, filling to just below the rim of each glass.

7    Decorate the top of the mousse with a coffee bean and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.



For The Harry Bosch Fans

Michael Connelly kindly provided me the link to the music in  all his novels and says he has no plans to release an album (at this point). the-wrong-side-of-goodbye

From The Wrong Side of Goodbye
Christian Scott, “Litany Against Fear” and “Naima”
John Handy
Grace Kelly
Jim Hendrix
Rolling Stones
Moody Blues
Connie Stevens, “Both Sides Now”
Judy Collins
Death Cab For Cutie, “Black Sun” 

Lemon Tart – BakeClass – Anneka Manning

When I first got the BakeClass cook book I was attracted to the picture and recipe for Lemon Tart, I just needed an excuse to make it. As the lemon tree is  offering up a few lemons at the moment and with visitors coming over for dinner I thought this is a great opportunity to try this recipe.


I made the sweet shortcrust pastry in my food processor – so easy and quick.  Next bake blind – then pour the lemon mixture in and finish cooking- easy- and the taste – tangy lemon – perfect with cream or vanilla bean ice cream.


Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

Coffee Panna Cotta – Dolce: 80 Authentic Italian Sweet Treats, Cakes and Desserts – Laura Zavan


Recipes and Images from Dolce by Laura Zavan (

Coffee Panna Cotta


The coffee–lemon pairing is a souvenir of a drink enjoyed in the Apulia region in summer: caffè in ghiaccio, an espresso poured over a glass of ice cubes with an aromatic twist of lemon peel. I love rediscovering the flavours of this very refreshing iced coffee in my panna cotta.” Laura Zavan



20 minutes preparation time

7 minutes cooking time

2 hours refrigeration time

Makes 4–5 glasses



500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) thickened (whipping) cream

10 g (¼ oz) instant coffee granules

finely grated zest of 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed)

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped

50 g (1¾ oz) sugar

1 teaspoon agar-agar (see below)

1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)

good-quality dark chocolate shavings, to decorate

tuile-style biscuits or ladyfinger or savoiardi biscuits to serve

Place 400 ml (14 fl oz) of the cream, the coffee blended into a very small amount of water, the lemon zest and the vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over a low heat.


Once the cream is warm, add the sugar. In a small bowl, combine the agar-agar with the cornflour and blend this mixture with the remaining cream. Combine this mixture with the warm cream, whisking to avoid lumps forming. Bring the mixture to the boil, continuing to stir.


Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool down until just warm, stirring regularly. Pour the cream into serving glasses and let it cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the cream to set before serving.


Decorate with shavings of chocolate and serve chilled with a few biscuits.

Note: A plant-based setting agent I use agar-agar in my panna cotta recipes, mixed with cornflour for a smoother texture. Agar-agar, a red algae extract, melts at 80°C (175°F) and starts to set at 25°C (75°F).


Coffee Panna Cotta