For almost my whole life we've had a fig tree in the backyard that produced ridiculous amounts of figs each year. For about the first fifteen years, I ignored it completely, then when I started working, my colleagues were amazed that I had such easy access to figs and requested that I bring them in some. We had so many, that I started bringing kilos and kilos to them, from which they made jams, and tried to convince me to taste them. I always refused. Then this year, I suddenly had a change of heart and decided I needed to try these figs that everyone raved about. Last year my instagram feed was filled with photos of fig tarts that Thanh from I Eat Therefore I Am fame made, and so I decided to try and replicate his success.  This recipe is almost the same as his, with a few tips and tricks that I discovered along the way.


1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
125g butter, room temperature, cut into small squares
1/4 cup ice cold water

Pistachio Frangipane:
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup pistachios, ground finely
1/2 cup plain flour


1. Put the flour and the salt in a food processor, with the dough attachment and wizz them up for a few seconds.

2. Add the butter, and wizz up again, until the mixtures resembles a breadcrumb texture. This can take a minute or so, depending on the temperature of the butter.

3. Slowly add the water. It is important that the water is cold as this helps the texture of the pastry.

4. Keep processing until the dough forms a ball and then remove from the food processor. It is important not to overwork the dough.

5. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up.

6. After 20 minutes, remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out. You can flour the bench if you feel the pastry is too sticky, but usually I haven't needed to.

7. Transfer the pastry into a tart tin. I've found the best way to do this is to loosely roll the pastry onto the rolling pin, and then unroll it into the tin. Then place the tin in the fridge for another 20 minutes, to let the pastry firm up again. Now is also a good time to preheat the oven to 200C.

8. After 20 minutes, remove the tart shell from the fridge, line it with foil, and blind bake for 25 minutes using rice or beans.

Pistachio Frangipane:

Generally I complete this step while the tart shell is blind baking.

1. Cream the butter and sugar together. I usually prefer to do this with the back of the fork, but depending on how soft your butter is, you could do with with the beaters.

2. Add the whole egg, additional yolk and vanilla extract and continue beating until you have a gooey paste.

3. Add the flour and ground pistachios and beat some more. Ideally, the pistachios should be ground to a fine powder, in a coffee grinder or a small food processor. The texture should be similar to almond meal. The more finely ground the pistachios, the lighter your frangipane will be. Keep beating the mixture until it is well combined. Don't be afraid of overworking it, the more you beat, the better.

Assembling The Tart:

To assemble the tart you need:

1 blind baked tart shell
1 portion of the pistachio frangipane
As many figs as you can get your hands on!

1. Spoon and spread the pistachio frangipane into the tart shell evenly.

2. Arrange the figs in any pattern you like over the top of the frangipane. Because I always have so many figs, I tend to quarter them, and arrange them tightly. The more figs you use, the stronger the flavour.

3. Bake in a 180C oven for 35 minutes or until you are satisfied with the consistency of the frangipane. I prefer my frangipane gooey, so 35 minutes works well for me. If you prefer the frangipane to be more 'baked' then just leave it in the oven for an extra five to ten minutes.

4. Allow the tart to cool in the tin, and then serve with ice cream.

Once fig season was over, I made this tart with peaches which also tasted great. I suspect most stone fruit will pair well with the pistachio.
So late one sunny morning, after we had just decided to run 15km through the Citylink tunnel and the Bolte Bridge (Run For The Kids of course!), my body told me that I urgently needed to fill it with food, preferably greasy junk food. So off we went home to have a shower, because no one appreciates a couple of wannabe runners that are all sweaty and stinky, and decided to finally start tackling the Herald Sun Melbourne's best burger list.

First on the list, and closest to home was Fat Bob, in Moorabbin. Fat Bob was a little bit tricky to find whilst driving down Cochranes Rd, and in the end we decided to park the car and try and find it on foot.

We came across a little laneway, where we were greeted by a placard of a big fat man (Bob, I presume) holding a burger, and also quite a few American muscle cars parked out the front. We were definitely in for an American diner experience! We walked down the alley which was filled with tables and hungry diners, and entered the restaurant through some big doors.

Once inside, we were in a space that was engulfed by neon lights, and in line with the names of the burgers, various American automotive paraphernalia. We were quickly seated, given menus and instructed to order at the bar.

All good American diners have spiders, and the other half couldn't go past this. Apparently he hadn't had a coke spider in fifteen years, and this one was every bit as good as he remembered.

The Herald Sun article had recommended the Jackie O burger (which the other half had), and zucchini fries. These were a little steep, at $8 for a small cup, but boy where they delicious! The zucchinis were cut into small pieces, coated in batter, deep fried and become crunchy bits of heaven. I had never thought of deep frying zucchini, but then when we thought about it, eggplant chips are not uncommon, and the texture is somewhat similar.

There was one vegetarian burger on the menu called the Goodrich, so obviously this is what I went for! After a fairly long wait, which was reasonably justified given how busy they were, my burger arrived. The burgers come wrapped in foil, which is great for burger integrity, heat retention and to minimise mess. Who would have thought a humble piece of foil could serve so many purposes!

The Goodrich contained portebello mushrooms, gooey Swiss cheese, carmelised onion, beetroot (because all brilliant burgers have beetroot!), and lettuce and tomato. The mushroom was cooked beautifully, and there was mushroom juice dripping everywhere whilst I tried to eat it! As we jokingly commented, no one ever looks hot trying to eat a burger!

For me the one downfall of the burger was the bread. The roll is a milk bun style, and it had too much sugar for my liking. Pair this with the sweetness of the beetroot and the caramelised onion and it was a little too sweet. Nevertheless, all the other elements were delicious, and you could really taste the quality of the ingredients.

All in all, it was definitely a successful start to the burger adventures!

Fat Bob's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Last Saturday I had the privilege of joining a group of other bloggers for a tour of the South Melbourne Market. The South Melbourne market is the oldest market in Melbourne, and one of my favourites for fresh produce, but I had little idea of all the other amazing shops there. 

We met up outside the LG Kitchen which is host to some great cooking classes with top chefs, where we were greeted by Janet our guide for the morning. Janet gave us a brief overview of the market and its history, and then off we went to explore!

The owner of The Brow Bar with Janet
Our first stop was The Brow Bar. This stall is a relative newcomer to the market, and focuses on the Middle Eastern and Subcontinental technique of threading for hair removal. We were also surprised to learn that a large percentage of the clientèle here are male!

Henrietta from Sleep Couture
We then headed to SO:ME Space, which is an area created to showcase small designers and their pop up stalls. On the day we were there, there was Henrietta who specialises in some gorgeous sleepwear. You can see her uber cool leopard skin ugg boots in the background!

John from Pardon My French
We kept moving along to our next stop which was a crepe stall called Pardon My French. John, the crepe master was flat out trying to keep up with demand, and apparently his speciality is the Nutella crepe! I definitely need to come back and try it!

Our next stop was a shop called A Story By Another Name. We learnt that this shop has been a fixture of the market for 50 years, run by the same family over 3 generations! They stock Bonds apparel, mainly hoodies and t-shirts, and Converse shoes. Their point of difference is however, that they only stock items in black, grey white, navy, and the odd bit of khaki, and allow the wearer to create their own look with the base colours. A novel concept which has obviously worked!

These are Rollie shoes, which are stocked at Creatures Of Comfort. How bloody cute are they?!

The next shop we stopped at was Klopper. This was a gorgeous store with the most amazing ceiling piece, but for me, the highlight was the Kester Black nail polish that they stock. Kester Black is a brand started by a Melbourne based lady who creates cruelty free nail polishes! I will definitely be back here to get some!

And then we came to my absolute favourite shop, The Soap Shop. This was definitely one of the highlights of the day for me. As you can see, and as the name tells you, The Soap Shop obviously stocks soap, and all of it is natural, organic, and fantastic for people who have sensitive skin. But for me, the best part was the huge range of liquid soaps and cleaning products available. They have everything from body wash and shampoo, to laundry detergent, dish washing liquid and even dog shampoo! They run an environmentally friendly program where you bring in your own bottle and they fill it up for you. Such a brilliant concept, and one I will definitely take advantage of now that I know about it!

Being a vegetarian, nut shops are high on my priority list, and Rita's Coffee and Nut Shop was fabulous! I think what made it so special was Rita herself! She was a great character, full of laughs, and so passionate about her store and the products. We were invited to taste so delicious walnuts, and also sample some of her many mixes, including the now infamous virility mix!

Cheese is an absolute staple in my diet, in fact one of the first things I have bought for my new kitchen is a cheese board! At Vangeli's Deli were were treated to samples of some delicious brie and cheddar.

Elle of Cherry and Me with a rather unique bodysuit!
Frankie's story is a subsidiary of the previously mentioned A Story By Another Name, which focuses on Kids wear. The little Converse shoes were a particular hit with us, and we only wished they made larger sizes of the giraffe chucks!

One of the last stores we visited was Georgie's Harvest Potatoes and Herbs. I never realised there were so many different varieties of potatoes! Georgie takes great pride in the produce she sells, all of which is sourced from niche growers.

The interior of the store smells gorgeous, mainly due to the dried eucalyptus that is hanging from the roof. Below that is many cords of garlic and chilli, all hung to dry.

One of the highlights from Georgie was the shitaki mushroom tree that they have in the store! It was amazing and I have never seen anything like it before!

Overall, it was a fantastic day! I've always loved markets, and this was no exception! It was also lovely to meet some other bloggers, and for once we didn't feel ridiculous walking around with our DSLRs, iPhone cameras, and taking a ridiculous number of pictures! I'm sure people thought we were tourists!

A huge thankyou to Nuffnang and the South Melbourne Market for hosting us! I will definitely be back!