Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Jamie's Italian, Sydney CBD

I think any parents out there reading this will understand completely when I say that making it to your child's first birthday is a very significant milestone. It's one of those times in your life when you breathe a huge sigh of relief and say "Phew... We made it!" I'll be posting soon about little Roman's birthday picnic, but this post is about our parental celebration :)

To celebrate making it through our first year of parenthood, Mr Ladybird and I headed to Jamie's Italian on Pitt Street in the Sydney CBD last week for lunch (by ourselves - wahooo!) Sure, having lunch with Roman is nice and all... but so is just the two of us. No stress over high chairs; cutlery being jabbed in the eye, or glasses being sent flying from the table... just the two of us, like "the old days"!

I really enjoyed this meal. The vibe at Jamie's Italian is stylish and unpretentious. And the food is much the same - simple, delicious, and nothing over-the-top. Just good honest Italian food. Service was prompt and friendly too, which can often make or break a dining experience! We started with complimentary bread and lovely olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For entrees, we both had the zucchini flower special ($14.50)... a scrumptious stuffed and deep-fried zucchini flower with a rich tomato sauce and rocket pesto. I'm not usually one for anything deep-fried, but I can never say no to a good zucchini flower. The crumbed exterior was wonderfully crisp and crunchy, a nice contrast to the creamy interior of the flower.

For mains, Mr Ladybird enjoyed the pasta special - ravioli with asparagus, peas, mint, lemon zest and watercress $18.50. I enjoyed a small Pumpkin pasta ($12.50) which was wonderful.

Oh yes, and a cheeky side of Polenta Chips ($8.50).

And for dessert, Mr Ladybird and I shared a portion of rich Special Tiramisu ($9) coffee flavoured trifle with orange mascarpone and chocolate. Heaven!

All in all a lovely treat to ourselves on our son's first birthday. Thumbs up, Mr O!

I'll post again soon with some snaps from our little one's birthday celebration (and the cake of course!) Till next time...

Ladybird x

Jamie's Italian
107 Pitt St, Sydney
(02) 8240 9000 Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

Monday, 3 September 2012

Check out my website!

Hello dear followers...

It's been a very busy couple of weeks recently with some great orders, and I have also been busy finalising my website which is now LIVE!

To check it out, please visit:

Here are some recent additions to my portfolio...

This was a special order... the cake was eggless vanilla, and I made around 100 matching red velvet and chocolate cupcakes.

 A 35th anniversary corporate order for the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

A cute, diagonally striped cake.. and this soccer ball birthday cake in my delicious new flavour 'Caramel Lover' - caramel mud cake, salted caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache - mmmm! :)

A Ninjago themed chocolate cake for a little person...

And finally another addition to my bug themed monogram cakes... this time with pink and raspberry red stripes and ladybirds (of course!)

And two simple and elegant wedding cakes... Oh how I LOVE wedding cakes... hoping to make some more soon, so fingers crossed! :)

Stay tuned for another update soon! Have a great week everyone, and HAPPY SPRING! :)

Anna x

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Vegetarian Sheperd's Pie

This is absolutely, hands-down, my favourite veggie sheperd's pie recipe. All too often, veggie versions of meat dishes are very very disappointing, but not this one! This dish is packed with flavour (and protein!), and is lovely, hearty meal. You can also add a cheeky slosh of red wine if you've got a bottle open as it adds a great flavour. I make this quite often as it is equally tasty served the next day for lunch (or dinner again, if I'm feeling lazy...)

Vegetarian Sheperd's Pie with Cheddar and Lentils
serves 4 to 6


  • • 2 red onions
  • • 2 carrots
  • • 2 sticks of celery
  • • 2 cloves of garlic
  • • a small bunch of fresh rosemary
  • • 2 x 400g tins of lentils
  • • olive oil
  • • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • • 200ml vegetable stock, preferably organic
  • • 1.5kg Desiree potatoes
  • • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • • 150g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • • 100ml whole milk
  • • a pinch of nutmeg

  • Method
  • The following steps and accompanying pictures are from Jamie's website.

  • To prepare and cook your filling

    • Peel and roughly chop the onions and carrots
    • Trim and roughly chop the celery
    • Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves

    To prepare and cook your filling

    • Pick the rosemary leaves, discard the stalks
    • Finely chop half of leaves, put the rest to one side
    • Drain the lentils

    To prepare and cook your filling

    • Heat a large pan on a medium heat
    • Add a good lug of olive oil and the onions, carrots, celery and garlic
    • Cook gently with the lid on for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened

    To prepare and cook your filling

    • Add the chopped rosemary leaves, tinned tomatoes and stock and stir well
    • Bring to the boil, then add the drained lentils, reduce to a low heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until thick and delicious

    To make your mash topping

    • Peel the potatoes, cut them into halves and quarters depending on their size, and put them into a pan of salted, boiling water
    • Boil for about 10 minutes until tender
    • Stick a knife into them to check they’re soft all the way through

    To make your mash topping

    • Drain in a colander and return them to the pan
    • Grate the Cheddar cheese
    • Add the milk, butter, most of the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan

    To make your mash topping

    • Finely grate in a few scrapings of nutmeg
    • Mash until smooth and creamy

    To assemble and cook your shepherd’s pie

    • Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5
    • Transfer the lentil mixture to a large ovenproof baking dish
    • Spoon the mash evenly over the top, poke the remaining rosemary leaves into it to decorate and drizzle with olive oil

    To assemble and cook your shepherd’s pie

    • Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, then cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling

    And voila, it's ready to eat! Nom nom nom :)

    Tell me, dear readers, what sort of food do you like to tuck into on a cold and miserable winter's night?

    Anna x

Friday, 10 August 2012

Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

It's cold and miserable in Sydney at the moment... the sort of weather the sniffles set in and all you want to do is crawl into your doonah cave and hibernate, only to emerge for necessities... or cosy breakfasts and nice coffee.

I've been a little under the weather of late and trying to get back to good health but it is taking time. Part of the problem is I don't really have time to stop and rest and recuperate, but I think any mother in the world doing things without much family support knows what that is like!

Anyway, between short sleeps, looking after my baby and working on my business, I recently headed to Surry Hills for breakfast with Mr Ladybird. This cafe has been the talk of Sydney recently as it was voted Best Cafe by The Sydney Morning Herald's Good Cafe Guide 2012. So, ignoring the imminent parking headache, we headed to Surry Hills to check it out for ourselves.

The cafe's look and feel is quite industrial, and the open kitchen is so small - I was amazed! Make's me think that I have no right to complain about my small apartment-sized kitchen!

The menu is South American inspired with lots of unusual breakfast options, such dishes with salted caramel ice cream, quinoa, dulce de leche, tortillas..! Check out the menu here and you'll see what I mean. And the only thing I need to tell you about the coffee is that it's good, very good...

And our breakfast for the morning... Soft baked eggs with goat's curd, wilted spinach, ranchero sauce and rye sourdough ($16).

For me, it was the Baleada - free range eggs, queso fresco and black beans ($11). The picture doesn't really do it justice, but the flavour really packed a punch - yummm!

Quick service and definitely a different menu to go with excellent coffee. Not my personal pick for best cafe, but good to check out!

Reuben Hills
61 Albion St
Surry Hills NSW

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