Post Script: The Pretty Delicious Cafe – Danielle Hawkins


The Pretty Delicious Café

Danielle Hawkins

HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9781460752586



Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.


On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.

When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.

A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.



My View:

What’s not to like about a Danielle Hawkins book? If you don’t like witty, touching , contemporary writing with a few zany characters, relatable relationships and their trials and tribulations, good food, a wedding or two and a happy ending then don’t pick up this book.

This is life lit at its best! It is so refreshing to read a novel where life is accurately reflected. Life is not always black and white, people’s personal lives can be complicated, and friends do argue or have misunderstandings, marriages do breakup, mental health is a whole of community issue…and families…well they are the most complicated relationship of all.


Danielle Hawkins provides the reader with a glimpse of the microcosm of a small town that reflects situations and emotions that resonate with so many of us, there is realism on these pages. A very satisfying read.


PS – And a bonus – there are even recipes for some of the dishes served at The Pretty Delicious Café at the back of the book.

Apple Blossom Pie – Memories Of An Australian Country Kitchen – Kate McGhie

Apple Blossom Pie cover

“Apple Blossom Pie


Because it took time (compared with most other dishes) to make and was a bit fiddly, apple blossom pie was reserved for VIO (very important occasions)—to impress. It was a special birthday treat as we got older. It was the first dessert I made with stars in my eyes and a full heart of love for a young man of tender age. It worked! He is alongside me still. In retrospect I think possibly it was a notch in the culinary prowess belt for a cook to be able to present such a dessert. Guests seemed to easily forgive any prior meal dish ‘not quite up to standard’ when this was served.

It is a layered pie starting with a sweet pastry case and a layer each of fruit purée, custard and marshmallow. The crowning glory was piped pale pink cream stars to resemble blossom. It was always served on your best flat crystal or silver dish.

Apple Blossom Pie

Apple Blossom Pie
Recipes and Images from Apple Blossom Pie by Kate McGhie (Murdoch Books).


Start to finish : about 1 1/2 hours serves : 8


125 g (41/2 oz) cold butter, diced

1/3 cup (75 g/22/3 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

2 cups (300 g/101/2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

pinch of salt

1 free-range egg yolk

2 tablespoons iced water


First layer

2–3 large apples

1/2 cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) water

1/2 cup (110 g/33/4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

2 plump passionfruit


Second layer

200 ml (7 fl oz) condensed milk

1 large free-range egg yolk

juice of 1 lemon


Third layer

2 teaspoons gelatine powder

juice from cooked apples and made up to 1 cup (250 ml/9 fl oz) with water if necessary

1/2 teaspoon lemon essence

1 large free-range egg white

pinch of salt

red food colouring

whipped, sweetened cream


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (fan-forced 160°C/315°F).


To make the pastry, put the butter, sugar, sifted flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse blend until coarse knobbly crumbs form. Add the egg yolk and water and process until the mixture clumps. If the mixture is a little dry add more water. Tip the dough out onto a flour-dusted bench and quickly and lightly knead into a smooth ball. Roll out to line a 20 cm (8 in) pie plate or flan pan. Trim the edges and pinch the pastry together with your fingers to decorate. Prick the bottom to prevent it rising in the centre and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden and crisp.


To make the first layer, peel, core and slice the apples. Put in a pan with the water and sugar and simmer until the apples are soft and pulpy. Drain the syrup and reserve it for the third layer. Stir the passionfruit pulp into the apple purée and refrigerate. When cold spoon the mixture into the cooled pastry case, smooth the top and refrigerate.


To make the second layer, put the condensed milk with the egg yolk and lemon juice in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Carefully spread over the apple layer and return the pie to the fridge.


To make the third layer, dissolve the gelatine in the reserved warm apple syrup, stir in the lemon essence and set aside to cool. Whisk the egg white and salt in an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form and then colour a pale pink with red food colouring. Keeping the mixer on a high speed gradually add the partly set apple juice and continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy. Pile on top of the pie and smooth evenly. Decorate with pale pink whipped sweetened cream ‘stars’.


and a bit more :

The pastry and the apple purée can be made ahead of time. The gelatine mixture must be very wobbly, not too set or too liquid, when whipped into the egg white.”


Post Script: Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen – Anjali Pathak

Mouth watering, easy recipes.

Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen

Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen

Anjali Pathak

Mitchell Beazley

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 97818475339333


Anjali Pathak’s first memories are of making chapatis with her grandmother who founded the family business, doing her homework on the kitchen table as her mother presented her with dish upon dish to test and her father’s favourite phrase – ‘can we get that into a jar?’

Now Anjali draws upon her family secrets in a beautiful collection of authentic Indian dishes and modern creations that are perfect for all cooks. Delve into heartfelt stories that bring Indian food to life, learn top tips for foolproof results, master classics and learn how a touch of spice can add a contemporary twist. Each of Anjali’s secrets will help you create Indian food at its best – loved by generation upon generation.

The recipes included vary from light snacks, such as the Bombay nuts, Spiced chicken wings and Stuffed paneer bites, to bigger bites like Chilli beef with black pepper, Vegetable biryani, or the classic Chicken tikka masala. Then, for dessert, who could resist the Baby apple tarte tatin with spiced caramel, Roast hazelnut & cardamom ice cream, or Decadent chocolate truffles?

My View:

What an exciting voice in Indian cooking! Last night I thought I would have a quick flick through my newly acquired cookbook – Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen, this book was so exciting and the recipes so tempting and fresh I sat and read through every page and have already booked marked a couple of the recipes I intend to try out this week.

This is a well-designed book which contains 120 recipes and includes some photographic history of Anjali Pathak’s family and of the Patak brand of Indian spices, condiments and flavour bases – haven’t we all enjoyed a Patak jar of curry base at some point in our cooking life? What a wonderful family business. Anjali Pathak shares her knowledge, family recipes and some of her contemporary creations in this book. The recipes are easy to follow, I have most of the ingredients in my pantry (I love making Indian food and eating it) and Anjali shares her tips/secrets so that making the recipes will be fun, simple and easy for everyone.

After reading this book my mouth was watering in anticipation of the meals I will be making this week! There are light meals, vegetarian recipes, salads, Indian BBQ recipes, main meals, dahl, parathas, chutneys and desserts; something for everyone! First on my list is Black Dahl and Tadka Dah – dahl is the comfort food of Indian cooking. I may try making some chutney this week too and the Scented Steamed Fish might be next! I can’t wait to try some of these recipes!


NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.