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  • 05/05/15--23:36: Introduction
  • At home I have a kitchen shelf almost buckling under the weight of cookbooks, old and new, but I have always felt that one title was missing. Many are the times that I have reached for a book that would not only provide recipes for what to cook, but inspiration on how to put an entire menu together, from the canapes through to the dessert.

    Things eventually came to a head when I awoke from a restless sleep early one Saturday morning to the daunting prospect of six friends arriving later that evening for supper. What should I serve as the entree? What could I cook as a complementary main? Oddly, it was my complete lack of inspiration early that morning that ultimately provided the inspiration for this book.

    It was also born of a love of entertaining that I can trace back to my Sydney childhood. Some of my happiest and most abiding memories from that time are of watching my parents welcome friends into our suburban home. The gold-plate cutlery would come out. The fine china would also make a rare appearance. Dad would put on some Frank Sinatra or Elvis, while Mum would spike the ice cubes with gin. Back then, I would watch with wide-eyed wonder as Mum spent hours preparing the food - some curried snapper with a garnish of tinned pineapple, perhaps, or flambeed bananas. It all seemed very exotic at the time.

    Just before the guests arrived, I would rifle through Mum's wardrobe, plucking out outfits for her to wear. Then I would stand peering up from the tiled bathroom floor as she styled her hair and put on her make-up, with some fabulously seventies flourishes. Late into the night, I would listen to laughter coming from the lounge room. Then, early the next morning, I would creep out of my bedroom, finish off the leftovers and go in search of any stray After Eights left scattered on the table. To my impressionable young mind, entertaining seemed glamorous, beautiful, fun - and the height of sophistication. It sparked my imagination even then.

    My fascination with fashion grew from an early age, too. When an older sister rook me down to the local newsagent and invited me to pick out something to read, I ignored the shelves of comic books and pointed a precocious finger in the direction of the latest issue of Vogue. I watched Moonlighting and Dynasty, out of a strange, pre-adolescent enthrallment with Cybil Shepherd's power-suits and Linda Evans' sequined eveningwear. At the age of eight, I decided to give myself the grand title of 'family fashion consultant', and found what I thought were willing clients in my elderly aunties.

    From the suburbs of Sydney, the journey into the fashion industry took me on a strange and circuitous route. To the Himalayas in northern India, for a start, where I spent two years with the exiled Tibetan community in Dharamsala. Setting out in search of spiritual enlightenment, I soon found myself chanting with Tibetan monks in their mountain-top temples and chilling out on the beaches of Goa. I not only immersed myself in the mysticism of India. Its lavish colours, fabrics and crafts were also irresistible. So, returning to Sydney I was filled with a new sense of purpose: I would launch my own textile business, from which my fashion label grew.

    Joining me on that meandering journey have been some wonderful, food-loving friends and relatives. Flatmates who were serious foodies. Generous parents who prided themselves on their hospitality. Colleagues in the fashion industry with refined tastes and exquisite style. Old pals, like the internationally acclaimed chef Matt Moran, who has turned cooking into an art form. A husband who works as a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and who considers himself a world authority on food - based not so much on his knowledge of local cuisines as an insatiable level of consumption. 

    So this book brings together three things I have come to cherish and hold dear: food, fashion and friends.

    It sets out a variety of recipes, menus and styling suggestions for a range of meals and events: the quintessential dinner parry, the relaxed weekend brunch, a kids' parry, an elegant afternoon tea, a simple country picnic. Some are straightforward. Others are much more intricate and sophisticated: more 'happy to slave all day' than 'throw it quickly together'.

    Likewise, the food ranges from the really simple to the really complicated. There are the scrummiest chocolate cookies, pork roasts and lobster sandwiches. Then there are recipes for souffles, meringue cakes and rabbit ballotine. There are new twists on old favourites, such as macaroni cheese and the good old fondue. I have also managed to prise out some of the secret recipes from my favourite restaurants, such as the panna cotta from Italian restaurant Vini, in Sydney's Surry Hills. You can decide whether to serve the suggested menus in their entirety or choose individual dishes to present on their own. To make the most of these delicious recipes, I encourage you to use seasonal, organic produce wherever possible. Nor only is it better for you and the environment, it simply tastes better.

    Just as the flavours and food come from all over the world, so, too, does the sense of fashion and style. There's inspiration from the flea markets of Paris to the vintage fairs of Manhattan; from the villages of rural England to the urban grunge of inner London; from the boutiques of Tokyo to the coastline and harbour of Sydney, which always draw me home.

    The props have come from all over, as well: beautiful antiques, family hand-me-downs, sails from a shipyard, spray-painted backdrops, discarded milk crates and the occasional, bewildered cow.

    Good food is best served with a great soundtrack. For that I have turned to my musical guru, Gary Sinclair, who always looks after the sound at my fashion shows. Again, there's everything from Pink Martini to The Velvet Underground, from Vivaldi to Massive Attack.

    When it comes to entertaining, I would never claim to have all the answers. Far from it. There have been times in my kitchen when things have gone disastrously wrong, such as the night when the rice I was cooking stuck to the bottom of the pan and I tried to pass it off as smoked risotto - a recipe which, needless to say, didn't make it into the book.

    For all that, I hope that Food, Fashion, Friends will enthuse and inspire. This book, remember, grew from a gap on my kitchen shelf I hope it will fill that vacant slot on yours.

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    You can’t host a high tea without serving a decadent cake. Here are two of my favourite recipes (see also Rhubarb Meringue Cake recipe): both delicious showstoppers with true ‘wow’ factor.


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and lightly flour a 20 cm round cake tin.
    2. Sift the flours into a bowl. In a separate large bowl, use an electric beater to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and then the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Gently fold in the flour, then add the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool before icing.
    3. For the earl grey icing, place the teabags in a small bowl and pour over the boiling water. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool completely and allow the flavour to infuse, then squeeze each teabag to extract the liquid. Place the butter and icing sugar in a separate glass bowl and use an electric beater to beat until pale and fluffy. Slowly pour in the tea infusion and beat for 1 minute more. Use a small spatula to spread the icing over the top of the cake, creating small peaks as you work.
    4. To serve, decorate the cake with flowers of your choice.
    Fleur Wood
    Serves 8

    225 g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour

    100 g (2/3 cup) plain flour

    240 g butter, softened

    170 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

    zest and juice of 2 lemons

    3 eggs

    flowers, to decorate (optional)


    4 earl grey teabags

    2 tablespoons boiling water

    100 g butter, softened

    160 g (1 cup) icing sugar, sifted

    Food, Fashion, Friends

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    Sweet sorbet with a twist of lime works beautifully with the dry sparkling wine.


    1. Place the caster sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove sugar syrup from the heat and allow to cool.
    2. Place the sugar syrup, watermelon and lime juice in a food processor and blend for 1 minute. Transfer to a glass bowl and freeze for 1 hour.
    3. Using an electric beater, whisk the sorbet until it breaks up, then return to the freezer for a further 30 minutes. Repeat this process twice more, whisking every 30 minutes.
    4. Whisk the egg white in a clean glass bowl until soft peaks form. Using a metal spoon, stir through the watermelon mixture and then whisk with an electric beater until well combined. Cover tightly and freeze overnight.
    5. To serve, spoon the sorbet into glasses and pour over the prosecco.


    Two simple sandwiches cut into gorgeous butterfly shapes. Lobster is an indulgent treat, but you’ll find a little goes a long way in these delicate little bites.


    1. For the lemon mayonnaise, place the yolk, mustard and lemon juice in a glass bowl and whisk until well combined. Slowly pour in the olive oil, continuing to whisk until thick and well combined.
    2. Combine the lemon mayonnaise, lobster and chives in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Butter the slices of bread. Add the lobster mix to half of the slices and top with the remaining bread.
    4. To serve, cut the sandwiches into butterfly shapes using a butterfly-shaped cutter, and garnish with the extra chives.




    1. Using a butterfly-shaped cutter, cut a butterfly from each piece of bread. Toast the butterflies under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.
    2. Using a sharp knife, cut 6 of the butterflies in half (down the spine of the butterfly) and set aside - these will be the wings. Place a teaspoon of pate in the middle of each whole butterfly and stick a set of wings into the pate to sit at a 45-degree angle.
    3. Sprinkle with parsley and add more pate to taste, if desired.
    Fleur Wood
    Serves 6


    110 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar

    360 g (2 cups) roughly chopped seedless watermelon

    2 tablespoons lime juice

    1 egg white

    750 ml prosecco


    250 g cooked lobster meat, finely chopped

    1 bunch chives, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    40 g butter, softened

    12 slices white bread


    1 egg yolk

    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    1 teaspoon lemon juice

    250 ml (1 cup) light olive oil


    12 slices rye bread

    220 g good-quality pate

    2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (optional)

    Food, Fashion, Friends

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    Making your own choux pastry can seem daunting, but it’s an art worth mastering. I think it’s actually a lot easier than some pastry chefs would have you believe.


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
    2. For the choux pastry, combine the butter, salt and 180 ml (3/4 cup) of water in a small-medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour, stirring to combine. Return the pan to the heat and stir over medium for 3 minutes or until the mixture starts to come away from the sides of the pan.
    3. Transfer the mixture to a deep bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, while adding the eggs one at a time. Spoon 12 heaped teaspoons of the choux mixture onto the prepared tray. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
    4. Meanwhile, place the quail eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Place over medium heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until the eggs are cooked and soft in the middle. Remove the eggs from the saucepan and allow to cool before peeling. Cut in half and set aside.
    5. For the truffled mushroom, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir through the truffle.
    6. To serve, slice the top off each pastry and spoon in a teaspoon of the truffled mushroom. Add half a quail egg, garnish with caviar and top with the pastry lid.
    Fleur Wood
    Makes 12

    6 quail eggs

    40 g black caviar


    20 g butter

    200 g button mushrooms, finely chopped

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    1 black truffle, finely chopped


    60 g unsalted butter

    pinch of salt

    125 g plain flour, sifted

    3 eggs

    Food, Fashion, Friends

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    If the choux pastry seems too complicated, try this instead. If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with different fillings: custard, cream or strawberry mousse are all delicious alternatives.


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
    2. Cut eighteen 7 cm x 6 cm rectangles from the puff pastry sheets and place on the prepared baking trays. Lightly sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden.
    3. Place a tablespoon of chocolate mousse on top of six puff pastry rectangles, then top with another rectangle. Add another tablespoon of mousse and another rectangle to create a stack, as shown.
    4. Dust with icing sugar, to serve.
    Fleur Wood
    Serves 6

    3 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry

    2 tablespoons caster sugar

    1 x 300 g tub good-quality chocolate mousse

    icing sugar, for dusting

    Food, Fashion, Friends

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  • 05/06/15--00:26: Rhubarb meringue cake
  • Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 22 cm springform tins and line with baking paper.
    2. Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a bowl. In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and 200 g of caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and then the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk. Divide the cake mixture between the two prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, continuing to beat until thick and glossy. Fold through the food colouring to create a pink swirl.
    4. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes and then remove the springform sides. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place one cake on its tin base on the tray. Using a spatula, gently top one sponge with the egg white mixture and create a peaked effect. Return the cake to the oven for 10 minutes or until the egg white is starting to brown. Set aside.
    5. For the rhubarb cream, place the rhubarb, vanilla seeds, sugar and 1 tablespoon of water in a medium saucepan. Cook for 6-8 minutes over medium heat or until the rhubarb has softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Whip the cream in a bowl, then stir through the rhubarb.
    6. Place the plain sponge on a serving platter and dollop over the rhubarb cream. Carefully balance the meringue sponge on top. Serve.
    Fleur Wood
    Serves 8

    250 g (1 2/3 cups) plain flour

    45 g (1/4 cup) cornflour

    3 teaspoons baking powder

    200 g butter, softened

    440 g (2 cups) caster sugar

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    8 eggs, separated

    60 ml (1/4 cup) milk

    1 teaspoon rose-pink food colouring


    4 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 2 cm pieces

    1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

    1 tablespoon caster sugar

    150 ml thickened cream

    Food, Fashion, Friends

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    Simon Bryant's follow-up to 2012's bestselling Vegies is another vibrant, inspiring collection of recipes – this time with vegies, grains and pulses centre-stage.

    Simon guides you through the seasons, sharing brilliant tips for selecting the finest produce and revealing the best techniques to make your ingredients really shine. He delivers original takes on vegie favourites - including Baked kale carbonara, Pumpkin, chickpea and tahini soup, and Smoked tofu kedgeree - and introduces exciting new flavour combinations, such as Fennel and star anise broth, Seaweed and blue cheese fondue and even Chocolate and lentil brownies.

    With influences spanning the globe, from Japan to India, the Middle East to Mexico, Vegetables, Grains and Other Good Stuff is vegie cooking at its very best - inventive, exciting and absolutely delicious. 

    248 pages
    Date Published: 
    3D Image: 
    Available in eBook: 
    Author Images: 
    Sort Title: 
    Vegetables, Grains and Other Good Stuff

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    This soup is a recent addition to my repertoire. The hero is the green garlic, which delivers all the thrill of eating tons of garlic but without the social repercussions. Green garlic is just immature garlic, comprising a single bulb (as no clustering of bulbs has yet formed), a sweet stem and edible skin. You will see it in the garden before the heat starts to mature the garlic; it looks like a spring onion with a bulbous base. In this recipe, the tarator tempers the garlic with its smooth nuttiness, while also working to baffle (in a friendly way) the intense greenness of the soup. 


    1. For the tarator, soak the bread in ½ cup (125 ml) of water for 5 minutes, then gently squeeze it dry. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, pound or pulse the bread, walnuts, olive oil and salt to the consistency of chunky peanut butter, then fold in the lemon juice and vinegar.
    2. Peel the garlic to remove the tough outer layers, then nip off any little roots at the base. Chop the stem into 2 cm lengths and cut the bulb in half. 
    3. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sweat the garlic for 5 minutes or until soft, then add 1 litre of water and the salt. Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes, then fold in the spinach, using tongs to push it under the water. Remove from the heat after 30 seconds and use a stick blender to puree until smooth. 
    4. Divide the soup among bowls and dollop a couple of tablespoons of the tarator on top. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This soup is also delicious cold. 
    Simon Bryant
    Serves 4

    6 bulbs (about 240 g) green garlic, with 10 cm stems

    ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

    2 teaspoons salt flakes

    200 g baby spinach


    3 slices white bread

    120 g walnuts

    150 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

    1 teaspoon salt flakes

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

    Vegetables, Grains and Other Good Stuff

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    When you have done everything you can with strawberries – enjoyed new-season ones fresh, baked with them, chucked them on your yoghurt or cereal every morning, made jam – then it’s time to throw a few on the barbecue. This method is perfect for ‘imperfect’ fruit, the end-of-season stuff that isn’t pristine. 

    Tarragon, black pepper and strawberry with a touch of vinegar is a (polygamous) marriage that sees the fruit pushed to a whole new level. And once they are smoked up on the grill, they are ready to fight it out with the wild rocket. I say this because wild rocket is unapologetically peppery and robust, nothing like its broad-leaved relative. The latter is pleasant but, let’s face it, it’s the rocket you have when you don’t really want rocket!


    1. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then leave to macerate for 10 minutes. 
    2. Meanwhile, preheat a grill to high and toast the pita on both sides. Leave to cool, then rip it up and place it in a large bowl with the rocket, onion, almonds, mint and basil, tossing until well combined.
    3. Heat a chargrill pan over medium–high heat. Fish the strawberries out, reserving the marinade. Chargrill them for 3–4 minutes, kicking them around a bit to colour all sides. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
    4. Add the strawberries and the reserved marinade to the salad and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately. 
    Simon Bryant
    Serves 4 as lunch or 6 as a side

    500 g strawberries, hulled and halved

    1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

    ½ teaspoon salt flakes

    ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

    200 g wholemeal pita bread

    50 g wild rocket (it may be flowering in summer – bonus!)

    ½ red onion, finely sliced

    2/3 cup (110 g) toasted and lightly crushed almonds

    handful of mint leaves, torn

    handful of basil leaves, torn

    Vegetables, Grains and Other Good Stuff

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    Commercially produced versions of this chocolatey treat often contain a bunch of nasty numbers among the numerous ingredients, as well as gelatine. Fair enough, our demand for food with a long shelf-life on tap 24/7 may push manufacturers to commit all sorts of food crimes, but I say just make your own. Dark chocolate, cherry and coconut is a classic flavour combination and you will find yourself very popular around grown-ups who are still little kids inside. 

    For me, big, fat juicy cherries are synonymous with Christmas Day. However, once the festive rush is over some industrious growers get busy and the first farmers’ markets of the year offer some ridiculous indulgences. Cherry juice is an unmissable luxury and I always grab a couple of bottles, but if I see maraschino or glace cherries I generally back away very slowly from the vendor – they just scare me. During processing, the water content is replaced with sugar syrup and I feel it’s a culpable offence to subject the most magnificent of all stone fruits to sugar hell. 

    Dried cherries are a different ballgame, however. None of the tartness of the sourer varieties is lost, the tannins get pushed to a new realm and the residual sugars take on a complex caramel flavour, plus the texture becomes pleasantly chewy. If you fancy it, you can also make your own dried cherries by pitting 600 g of fresh cherries and baking them in a 170°C oven for 30–40 minutes or until they’ve lost 50 per cent of their moisture. In this recipe the dried cherries are then plumped up in verjuice, which just adds to the intensity.


    1. Bring the verjuice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the dried cherries. Cover and leave for 10–15 minutes to plump up. Stir in the honey and coconut oil, then return the pan to low heat and warm gently, stirring until smooth.
    2. Line a 25 cm × 20 cm baking tray with baking paper. Transfer the cherry mixture to a food processor, add the coconut and blitz until it comes together in a ball. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tray, pressing firmly to ensure it binds. Place in the freezer for 1–2 hours. When firm, remove from the freezer and cut into 12 bars, about 10 cm × 4 cm. 
    3. To melt the chocolate, bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then remove from the heat and set a heatproof bowl on top. Place the chocolate in the bowl and leave to stand, stirring occasionally, until melted. Brush the melted chocolate over the top of the bars, coating them evenly. 
    4. Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month. 
    Simon Bryant
    Makes 12

    1/3 cup (80 ml) verjuice

    300 g dried cherries

    ½ cup (125 ml) runny honey

    1/3 cup (125 ml) runny honey

    300 g shredded coconut

    200 g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa), finely chopped

    Vegetables, Grains and Other Good Stuff

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  • 05/18/15--00:17: Introduction
  • I’ll start with confession: I don’t believe what you choose to eat is a world-shattering, completely defining characteristic of who you are. Frankly, I am grateful for food, period. When so many less fortunate people go to bed hungry, it seems a little indulgent to bang on the way we do about this or that dislike, dietary preference or culinary craze. 

    It is my job to cook and I love it. Yes, I am slightly obsessed with food, but I endeavour to keep my fanaticism in check. I believe everyone has the right to choose what they eat, be it for reasons of religion, ethics or health. However, my food preferences are just that: preferences. I am mindful that if someone cooks for me, it’s a nice thing. I was brought up to be grateful for the offerings at the table, whatever they are. For this reason, I will accept your hospitality and eat as your custom dictates and generally finish whatever is on my plate and be genuinely thankful. I guess if you had to stick a label on my head, it would read ‘situational flexitarian’. 

    I don’t believe in diets. In my opinion, we all know what to eat. If it’s fresh, free from numbers, fairly unmolested and something that societies have relied upon for centuries, it’s probably okay. And it’s going to let you know you’re on the right track because you will feel okay. It’s that simple. 

    Professionally, I have access to just about any food under the sun. I’m a chef and we are food dealers. We make phone calls in the wee hours of the night, we drive miles down dusty tracks to meet people who don’t speak much but have what we want. We rendezvous in dark loading docks and hand over wads of cash to dodgy-looking people for the good gear. We have even been known to get up early in the morning (heaven forbid) to get first dibs at the markets. Some of these ingredients – the vegies, grains and other good stuff – I squirrel away for my own cooking at home. And this is what I cook. 

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  • 06/04/15--16:38: Shannah Kennedy
  • Ten successful years in the corporate world – two in the Money Market and eight in high-level sports management and sponsorship – made Shannah Kennedy the very definition of a high achiever.

    Shannah worked with more than 100 world-class athletes through her management, PR and sponsorhip roles, flitting around the globe, in a 24/7 role that never slowed down. Outside of work, Shannah juggled fitness, finances, friends and relationships with her demanding career. 

    And then, her body delivered a devastating reminder that she needed time to 'breathe'– that she was not a machine. Ten years on, Shannah is an Advanced Certified Coach and NLP Practitioner. Her ability to directly empathise with high achievers has Shannah in constant demand with entrepreneurs, executives, managers, celebrities and professional athletes. 

    As a professional coach and author, successful business owner and sought-after corporate speaker, as well as a wife, mother, runner, investor and hobby creator, Shannah has mastered the art of balance. She offers her clients, and now her readers, an opportunity to achieve simplicity, structure and success in life. 

    For more information see

    Life & Style
    First Name: 
    Last Name: 

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  • 06/04/15--17:52: The Life Plan
  • Discover what you really want in life and how to get it! Do you want to live with purpose and achieve your life goals?  In The Life Plan, leading life coach Shannah Kennedy sets out a step-by-step strategy to help you identify your true self and values, declutter and simplify your life, improve your time management and create structures that will help guide you towards your goals and visions. 

    This hands-on workbook includes questionnaires, charts and exercises and will become a valuable record of your life goals.

    'Shannah is one of the best life coaches I have come across.  She delivers practical and useful tools to help you be the best version of yourself.' Deborah Hutton, Media Personality 

    'People managers need life skills so they can successfully mentor and motivate others to take charge of their lives.  This is the perfect handbook for every leader.' Colleen Callander, CEO of Sportsgirl 

    'An excellent resource to draw on for great performance in life.' Dean Gosper, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia 

    Photography by Sharyn Cairns

    Life & Style
    240 pages
    Date Published: 
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    Available in eBook: 
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    Life Plan

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  • 06/04/15--18:18: Defining your values
    1. Select: Identify your top ten values, choosing from the box below. Don’t spend too much time agonising over your decisions: go with your gut instinct.
    2. Prioritise: Prioritise each value from one to ten. Focus on your top five and briefly define what each one means to you.  
    3. Contemplate: Read each value slowly, letting the meaning of each word sink in so that you fully understand what each one means to you. 
    4. Define: Select your top three values and write them down. Commit them to memory, as they will now act as your decision-making blueprint. You also need to define the single value that is most important to you.  
    5. Commit: Work out what you need to add or remove from your life and what you need to change to reflect these values.

    *I program my phone to greet me with my values each morning. It is an instant reminder that all my decisions need to be in alignment with my values. They then become confident decisions, and I become a confident decision-maker.


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  • 06/04/15--19:25: Identifying your drainers
  • Think about the following aspects of your life – whenever your answer to a question is ‘no’, this indicates a drainer. Work to make all your answers ‘yes’.

    1. personal environment

        - Is your living space clean and inspiring?

        - Is your wardrobe tidy and are all of your clothes clean, pressed and in good repair?

        - Have you cleaned out your storage space and thrown away anything you haven’t used in two years?

        - Do you have fresh air and comfort in your home?

        - Are your bed, pillow and bedding clean, comfortable and conducive to a good night’s sleep?

    2. Finances

        - Do you have a budget or know your cost of living?

        - Do you pay your bills on time or make arrangements with creditors?

        - Are all of your receipts, invoices and financial records filed and in order?

        - Do you have an automatic savings plan to save at least 10 per cent of your income?

        - Do you pay off your credit card debt in full each month? 

    3. Relationships

        - Do you tidy any loose ends with your partner, parents, siblings and friends by having open, honest and authentic conversations?

        - Do you let the people you love know how important they are to you?

        - Have you let go of any relationships that drag you down or damage you?

        - Do you make requests rather than complaints?

        - Do you respond to phone calls, letters and emails promptly, even if your response is brief?

    4. Wellbeing

        - Does your diet include fresh fruit and vegetables, and provide you with enough energy?

        - Do you avoid excess tea, coffee and alcohol?

        - Do you exercise for 30 minutes at least three times per week?

        - Do you get enough sleep at least five nights a week?

        - Do you have a holiday at least once a year?

    5. Fun/creativity

        - Do you invest in personal development?

        - Do you laugh every day?

        - Do you have a hobby?

        - Do you plan regular fun activities with your partner, family and friends?

        - Do you dream big dreams and work on realistic ways to make them happen?


    *Clear the clutter. Delete the drainers. Get clarity.

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  • 06/04/15--19:47: Clutter
  • Clutter can make you feel stuck. When it accumulates in your living space it really has an effect on your state of mind, reminding you of all those things you mean to get around to, but somehow never do. They add up in your mind until suddenly there are just too many and the result is that none of them get done. Clutter makes it hard to relax and feel motivated at home, and it can even affect your social life if you’re too embarrassed to have people over. 

    Quick clutter fixes

        - Declutter paper – books/magazines/filing.

        - Mantra of one new thing in, one old thing out.

        - Clean up one room at a time.

        - If you take it off, hang it up.

        - If you open it, close it.

        - If you use it, clean it.

    How to stay clutter-free

        - Review your list of drainers monthly.

        - Aim to move each answer from ‘no’ to ‘yes’.

        - Diarise time to maintain your personal environment, finances, relationships and wellbeing.

        - Create a system to achieve all of the tasks you’ve set yourself to clear the drainers from your life.


    *Do not underestimate the satisfaction that can be derived from doing small, seemingly inconsequential tasks.

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  • 06/09/15--00:18: Lemon Tart
  • Method

    1. Make and chill the pastry as instructed. Roll out the chilled dough and use to line a 20 cm flan tin with a removable base. Chill the pastry case for 20 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the chilled pastry case with foil and pastry weights and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes.
    3. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Meanwhile, beat the sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice and rind until smooth, then fold in the cream. Fill the warm pastry case with the lemon mixture, taking care not to overfill it. Bake until the filling is set around the edges but still wobbly in the middle (this will take anywhere from 25–45 minutes, depending on your oven). Remove the tart from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature to allow the filling to set completely – it should be the consistency of a very ripe brie, yet firm enough to cut into portions. Refrigerate for an hour or so if necessary to help set the filling. Serve dusted with icing sugar.


    Makes enough to line a 20–24 cm tart tin

    This recipe makes a very short, flaky pastry with a light, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It is a great all-rounder and can be used in a whole variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury. It’s the pastry I make ninety-nine times out of a hundred because it’s not only so good but so easy. I like to chill the pastry case in the freezer, as this ensures it is really well-chilled before it goes in the oven.

    This pastry rises beautifully and is really light and flaky, which is great if you’re making a tart or a pie, but if you want a flat pastry, like a thin pizza dough, a good trick is to ‘inhibit’ the pastry as it cooks. To do this, carefully open the oven halfway through the cooking (when the pastry is beginning to rise), take out the tray for a moment and press down on the pastry with a similar-sized tray or a clean tea towel, then return the tray to the oven. This will stop the pastry rising too much.

    1. Put the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor, then pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and pulse again until the dough just forms a ball. Carefully wrap the dough in plastic film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes.
    2. Roll out the dough until it is 5 mm thick, then use it to line a 20 cm tart tin with a removable base. Chill the pastry case for 20 minutes.
    3. To blind bake, preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the pastry case with foil, then cover with pastry weights. Blind bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and pastry weights and bake for another 5 minutes.
    Maggie Beer
    Serves 8

    1 x quantity Sour-cream Pastry (see page 138 in the book or below)

    150 g castor sugar

    9 egg yolks (from large, fresh free-range eggs)

    1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice

    grated rind of 1 lemon

    600 g creme fraiche

    icing sugar (optional), to serve


    200 g chilled unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces

    250 g plain flour

    1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream

    Lantern Cookery Classics: Maggie Beer

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    Please note the following revision:

    We’re very sorry that the Lemon Tart recipe included in the contents page of Lantern Cookery Classics: Maggie Beer does not appear in the book. It’s such a delicious recipe that we’re including it here for your reference. If you have any concerns, please contact us directly at

    Lemon Tart, page 445 (Maggie's Harvest), page 83 (Maggie Beer's Winter Harvest Recipes)
    600 ml cream should be 600 g creme fraiche

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  • 07/01/15--22:54: Bed time
  • Against a setting of all-white decorative elegance, a contemporary off-yellow bed by Turkish designers Autoban provides an inspired centrepiece. The bed’s curved wings have a poetic quality that complements the elaborate plaster and timber mouldings.

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