Monthly Archives: June 2017

Super Easy Warming Winter Puddings!

With winter well and truly settled in, we tested four yummy, and super easy, warming puddings to add to the table on a cold night. You can make all the puddings in one large dish, or split into individual ramekins for a special dessert. Serve each with ice-cream (we use Over the Moo because it’s the best!), or thick cream, home-made custard, or top with fruit and meringue for something a bit different. Enjoy! By Aine Dowling.

Magical Mocha Pudding

mocha pudding 3

Who doesn’t love a chocolate pudding, and this one is super easy and cooked in the microwave. This recipe is for grown-ups with spoonful of Tia Maria to serve (fortunately it doesn’t mention the size of the spoon, so knock yourself out!), but for the kids you can substitute chocolate sauce.

What you need: 150ml milk, 50gm pitted prunes, 2 teaspoons good quality instant coffee*, 50gm softened butter, 50gm icing sugar, 1 large egg, 50gm ground almonds, 2 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon self-raising flour**, and Tia Maria liqueur to serve (optional).

What you do: Measure the milk in a large jug and blend in a food processor together with the prunes and coffee until smooth. Add the butter, sugar, egg, almonds, cocoa, flour and a pinch of salt, then blitz again to make a thick batter. Scrape evenly and cleanly with a plastic scraper (don’t use metal) into 4 x 175ml ramekins, and cook in the microwave, spaced round the edge of the turntable, on Medium for 6 mins. The puddings will still look a bit moist, but that’s fine. Stand for 5 mins before serving. Top each with a spoon of Tia Maria (for the adults) or chocolate sauce (for the kids) and a scoop of ice-cream. *We grind our own beans and make our own coffee blends, but if we have to have instant we go for Gloria Jeans or Illy—more expensive, but much nicer.

Crunchy Caramel Crumble

apple crumbleI’ve always preferred crumbles to pies—not sure why … and the inclusion of caramel gives this a lovely smooth taste. The recipe calls for eating apples but I’ve used green cooking apples which are not as sweet, and make a nice contrast with the caramel. You can also substitute with other tart fruit such as rhubarb.

What you need: 8 apples—peeled, cored and cubed, 6 tablespoons Carnation (Nestle) caramel cream*, 50gm plain flour, 50gm oats, 50gm cold butter.

What you do: Heat oven to 200C. Put the apples into a saucepan with a splash of water, cover and cook over a high heat for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally until just soft. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the caramel, then spoon into individual ramekins. Dot small spoonsful of caramel cream over the apples until only 1 tablespoon is left. Mix the flour and oats together, and rub in the butter with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the remaining caramel and spread over the apples. Bake for 18-20 mins until golden and crispy on top. *You can buy Nestle Caramel top ‘n’ fill from any large supermarket.

Carefree Clafoutis

clafoutis 1Clafoutis (clafuti) is one of my all-time fave desserts—much be the French in me … This recipe is super easy and although the traditional Clafoutis is made with plums, you can change it to include your favourite fruit.

What you need: 1 cup whole milk, 3 eggs, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons melted butter, ½ cup plain flour

What you do: Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a baking dish, and add your favourite fruit or flavouring—cherries, cubed apple or pear, sliced plums, etc. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the Clafoutis is puffed and golden. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!

Basic Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread-and-Butter-Pudding-2An oldie but a goodie—not much more to say really … But again, a super easy recipe and one that allows a few variations to suit you and your family’s taste.

What you need: 8 slices bread crusts removed, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons caster sugar, 300ml cream, 1/4 cup fruit jam or conserve to taste, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.

What you do: Preheat oven to 180C. Spread the bread with jam or conserve and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cut the bread into triangles and arrange in a greased oven-proof dish or four individual ramekins. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and cream. Pour over the bread and bake for 25 minutes.

Variation: Instead of jam, spread the bread with a good quality butter, and sprinkle with dried fruit—sultanas, chopped apples, apricots, dates, or figs. Or you can use fruit bread or buns.

**We use gluten-free (GF) flour in all our recipes.

When is Organic not Organic?

They say ‘you are what you eat’, and I know so many people who are passionate about eating organic. They scour local markets, and their pantry and fridge is full of organic fruit, veggies and meats. But what about other organics? If you’re passionate about what you put in your body, shouldn’t you also be looking at what you put on your body? By Aine Dowling

Do you know what’s in your skin care products?


Divine Hand and Body Lotion with promotional Wellness Soak offer and sample day cream

In 2016 I attended the Divine Rawspirations High Tea where speaker Therese Kerr was talking about her company and products. I’ve never really considered whether the skin care products I use are fully certified organic or not, but after listening to Therese I thought maybe we should all be looking at what we put on our skin as well as in our mouth.

20170530_110919-1Do you know that skin care products and cosmetics that are labelled organic are not necessarily Certified Organic? Certified Organic, as oppose to organic, conventional, or natural products, is a fully regulated industry and has to have full traceability of each and every ingredient contained in the product. So if you already use organic products, make sure they’re certified.

The Canberra winter is now well and upon us, and indoor heating and cold winds are a killer on the skin, and can trigger and exacerbate some skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis—so it’s important to continue a daily moisturising regime, and not just on your face.

I’ve been using the Divine Hand and Body Moisturiser for about 12 months now (and yes, one pump bottle did last that long!) and it’s brilliant. So brilliant that it’s one of the very few products I’m happy to recommend. The moisturiser is certified organic and made with all natural ingredients including Rosehip and Aloe Vera combined with a variety of essential oils—so it smells divine too! You can also add to your moisturising program with the Divine Lip Balm which contains vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cocoa seed butter.

The Divine Company was founded in 2013 by Therese Kerr, and launched in 2014. It’s 100 per cent Australian owned and all products are manufactured in Australia. All products are certified not to contain any of the following: sulfates, parabens, synthetic or natural fragrances or colours, silicones, and formaldehyde or formaldehyde derivatives.


All orders arrive beautifully boxed and packed

The company is passionate about their products and produces an entire range of skincare and personal care—for women and men, and a special range for babies and new mums. They also offer gift packs and cosmetic bags—perfect for a special occasion gift. Orders arrive beautifully packed and boxed, and include a free sample-size product. But, if you’re lucky enough to order when there’s a promotion on offer, they will also include a gorgeous gift with your package, and not a teeny trial or sample size either, but a full size promotional product for you to try.

Click here to shop the Divine Company website, or follow them on Facebook.

LFW did not receive any free gifts or products by way of endorsement, other than the promotional offer available at the time of ordering.

Tempting Winter Warmers in Yass

Love the café culture, but getting a bit over going to the same places again and again? All it takes is a short drive to Yass Valley ‘country’ where you can warm your body and your soul with some delicious home-made soups, breads, pies and cakes, and great coffee!

Yass cafes_Kaffeine 2582 Eggs Bene

Kaffiene 2582 Eggs Benedict

“Yass Valley is home to around 15 cafes, and they all offer something a little different,” says Sean Haylan, Economic Development & Tourism Manager at Yass Valley Council. “From modern takes on coffee shops, to cafés set in picturesque and historical locations, our region’s cafés make the perfect place to fuel up when travelling to, or through, Yass Valley.”

The region’s main cafés lie in the towns of Bookham, Bowning, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman, Sutton, Wee Jasper, and Yass. Yass is a great place to stop en-route to Sydney or Melbourne—or even make it your destination—with a wide range of cafés near Federal, Barton, and Hume highways, offering delish home-made goodies. We often take a quick trip to Yass just because we can!

Yass cafes_tootsie Chilli hot choc

Tootsie Fine Art and Design Studio – Chilli hot chocolate

When you’re in Yass drop into Kaffeine 2582 for classic Eggs Benedict served with with ham, salmon or spinach topped with a house-made hollandaise sauce, or try a taste of Europe at Galutzi with a home-made spiced mince, spinach and feta burek. And, if you like a little art with your cake and coffee, pop into Tootsie Fine Art and Design Studio gallery in their beautiful 1937 art deco building—where the didgeridoos used to be—and sample their awesome chilli hot chocolate, which will definitely warm both body and soul. One of our favourite Yass cafés is The Roses Café—right on the main street and offering a great home-made selection of gluten free tarts, pies, pastries, and cakes.

Rollonin Cafe2 Hearty soup with crusty bread

Home-made soup with chunky bread from Rollonin

Moving on to Bowning; step back in time and unwind at the Rollonin Café. In this pioneer slab hut you can partake of home-made soups or quiche fresh from the oven, and their Devonshire Tea is wowing visitors. If you fancy a bit of literary culture, stop into Mayfield Mews where you can indulge in one of their gourmet pies including duck and shitake mushroom, pale ale beef, chicken with leeks and smoky bacon, or Mongolian lamb, and bone up on Aussie legends Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson at the same time.  

chicken leek and bacon pie

Chicken, leek, and bacon pie

In Murrumbateman you can relax and warm up with freshly made pizzas using regional produce and artisan cheese at Win’s Creek Meadery, where you can also enjoy a mug of hot mulled mead to wash it down. Yass Valley also offers some terrific wineries and great scenery.

Roses GF leek and camambert tart with salad

Roses gluten-free leek and camembert tart with salad

For more information on cafés of Yass Valley, along with accommodation options, visit

Yass Valley Cafés: Bookham – Barney’s of Bookham; Bowning – Rollonin Café, and Mayfield Mews; Yass – Thyme to Taste, The Roses Café, Galutzi Café, Trader & Co, Café Dolcetto, Tootsie Fine Art and Design Studio, and Kaffeine 2582; Murrumbateman – The Village Café Murrumbateman, and Win’s Creek Meadery; Gundaroo – Cork Street Café; Sutton – The Baker at Sutton, and Wee Jasper – The Duck ‘n’ Fishes Café.

Walking the Walk at FASHFEST 2017 Model Casting

It’s the shoes that fascinate me. I’m impressed (and not to say envious) by the towering, tapering heels, and the fact that the female models manage to stay upright let alone walk a catwalk in front of four judges! That’s got to get them brownie points!


Image LFW

FASHFEST model casting got underway at the National Convention Centre on Sunday 4 June with over 400 registrations and over 250 hopefuls on the catwalk. Judging panel Victoria’s Models, Haus Models, Leighton Hutchinson Photography, and Devojka Models had their work cut out to select around 100 models to showcase designer brands and new collections at FASHFEST 2017 in September.

Avon_Dissanayake_Fashfest_casting 2

The great thing about FASHFEST is that models of all sizes, shapes, genders, and ethnicity are welcome—not just your sixers … female, size 6, 6 feet tall, and to that end there is usually a good choice for designers to choose who they think can best wear their outfits.

The judging panel were looking for confidence in the walk, creativity and style, and diversity, as the models walked to a thumping beat designed to keep everyone energised. And, strangely enough, when I get up to move to the back of the room I too found myself walking to the beat.

Avon_Dissanayake_Fashfest_casting 5

FASHFEST is now in its fifth year and co-founder, Clint Hutchinson, says it’s going to be bigger and better this year with more live music, art, film and multimedia, and FASHFEST is also on the hunt for new labels from both interstate and overseas—so maybe lots of new designers too. FASHFEST is also expanding its publicity wagon with up-coming pop-ups and activations throughout the city. Stay tuned!

Avon_Dissanayake_Fashfest_casting 3

Learning to walk-the-walk

Back to the model casting they learn to walk-the-walk in groups, pairs, and solo, under the tutelage of Susie Ellis, Director of Choreography; get head shots by the FASHFEST crew, and measured up by Braddon Tailors. Those chosen will have a few months to practise and perfect their walk and poses, and then be assigned to a designer. Good luck to all those who tried out!

Avon_Dissanayake_Fashfest_casting 4

Selfie time!

FASHFEST 2017 will be held at the National Convention Centre from 28 – 30 September with two shows each night. Tickets on sale soon.

Many thanks to Sparkling Weddings Photography for images.

Down the Rabbit Hole with a Boy and Girl

When Alice in Wonderland popped down a large rabbit-hole, life was never the same. New and memorable adventures were had.

boy and girl 1The rabbit holds a special spot in the world of Anita and Carlo Krikowa. When starting boyandgirlco, the couple wondered aloud, on a trip to Sydney, whether their pallet furniture business would hit it big. As they did, they looked down and saw a white rabbit painted on the ground. Another time—on a tough day—Anita and Carlo decided to sweeten matters up by taking a break at a bakery. The staff member behind the counter introduced himself by saying ‘Hello. They call me The White Rabbit’.

So where is this story going?

Today boyandgirlco has grown in leaps and bounds, with many new service lines introduced, including furniture rental, custom furniture, commercial fitout services, workshops on how to build with pallets, and even an emerging jewellery range.


The first piece of jewellery is a rabbit brooch. The rabbit is also the symbol for boyandgirlco’s Lost and Found line of sustainable clothing, which raises money for women and children who have suffered economic abuse and need to begin a new chapter in their lives. The brooches are made from sustainably grown bamboo and laser cut by a supplier in Melbourne. “The rabbit is a quirky, loveable character,” says Anita. “The brooches are made of a light coloured wood with black etching for definition and they can be worn by men and women.”boy and girl 2

boyandgirlco now also sell an extended range of furniture, with 29 standard pieces available, most featuring recycled timber palettes. Custom pieces are also made to suit any style and size of space. “If you can imagine it, we can custom create it,” says Carlo. “Whether you only have approximate dimensions, a picture for inspiration or even just a rough idea in your head, we’ll help bring your idea to life.”

boy and girl 5

Around Canberra you may also recognise the commercial palette work of this dynamic couple, including at The Barbershop–Canberra on Marcus Clarke Street, The Fix Cold Pressed Juice Shop in Fyshwick, the Cornerstone Café in Weston and Eight Stems, a relatively new florist at Kingston Foreshore.

It’s the workshops on how to build with pallets that has the boyandgirlco team trembling with excitement these days. The basic workshop teaches the ABCs of pallet furniture. You can also learn to build a planter box, one of the first items boyandgirlco sells and one of the most popular to this day. Or you can ramp it up a notch and learn how to build an Osprey Table. Sustainability is more than a business approach for the boyandgirlco team of six (more staff to start soon). It’s a philosophy and a lifestyle.

boy and girl 3

boyandgirlco’s efforts have just been celebrated at the Actsmart Business Sustainability Awards. A record 62 nominations were submitted for the 10 awards, ranging from waste minimisation to innovation to leadership. Businesses across the region were recognised for their commitment to making a change for a more sustainable future.

boyandgirlco sell the rabbit brooches at markets and at Cardif Collective in Kingston. The Lost and Found clothing can also be ordered online.