One of the lovely things about writing a magazine food and wine column is that I get to regularly meet and interview local artisan producers and inspirational entrepreneurs. Amongst those are fabulous women like Phillippa Grogan who so generously gave me her time to answer a few questions for the spring edition of Latte Magazine.
If you live in Melbourne, chances are that you’ve eaten Phillippa’s signature breads, pastries or enjoyed other sweet treats and provisions such as muesli and dukkah at one of her cafe/bakeries in Armadale or Brighton. Phillippa began business from a small shop in Armadale in 1994 and since then has it has grown into a successful bakery empire which now supplies wholesale products across the country. Phillippa can now add ‘cookbook’ author’ to her string of successes with the release of Phillippa’s Home Baking earlier this year which she has written with Richard Cornish.
This gorgeous book is full of beautiful photography and over 140 recipes and has something for everyone, for every occasion from Anzac cookies, red velvet cakes and slices through to sourdough starters and savoury dishes. Phillippa includes detailed how- to instructions for your kitchen basics and many recipes are accompanied by family and travel stories.
My favourite so far has been the Raspberry Coconut Tea Cake. The raspberries give the cake a beautiful purple hue and slice goes well with a dollop of clotted cream or simply by itself with nice cup of tea. I’m looking forward to working my way through the rest 🙂
Now, over to Phillippa….
What is your favourite winter dish and why?
It has to be a vegetable based stew-style soup like a minestrone, soup au pistou (if early winter when the basil is still good) or a lentil soup made with dry smoked bacon, celery and leek. Flavoursome soups are very popular in our house.
I love these because I can make a large pot , enough for 2-3 meals, one version is served baked in shallow baking dish with chunks of good bread tossed in a fresh-herb flavoured oil tossed through always served with grated pecorino or Parmesan. It is such a great way to have a heavy dose of vegetables and makes an easy healthy lunch in a thermos for children.
What is your favourite Australian food destination and why?
The ‘Veg Out’ Farmers Market in St Kilda. Here you can find fabulous fresh produce sold by producers who take great care in growing or producing the most flavoursome produce they can . Because they sell direct to the end user, they can grow varieties that are superior in flavour and texture to the mainstream varieties that are grown primarily for their long shelf life rather than flavour profiles. Examples are Greenvale pork, Glenora produce vegetables and Di’s rhubarb
What is you most memorable dining experience anywhere in the world?
I have a few actually! My top three are:
-In Auckland New Zealand on my 16th birthday when my mum prepared a special dinner of Lobster Thermodore followed by Bomb Alaska
-In February staying at Longitude 131 dining under the stars on a warm evening with a dingo pup roaming around, didgeridoo playing by local indigenous tribe and incredible dinner cooked using fantastic produce by extremely competent chefs in the dark , in an open ‘kitchen’ using head torches
-My husband who rarely cooks found a delicious recipe for boned quail stuffed with fennel sausage baked in stock wrapped in vineleaves. He made it while away on holiday staying at a beach house and it was clearly cooked with effort and love. It became his go to recipe or a while.
* Disclaimer – I received a copy of the Phillippa’s Home Baking to review as part of Latte’s spring edition. These views are my own and I was not asked or paid to promote Phillippa or her book. I just really enjoyed it!
Phillippa’s Raspberry Coconut Teacake
Serves 8- 10
135g desiccated coconut
200g fresh or frozen raspberries
300g caster sugar
225g self-raising (all purpose) flour
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line the base of a 21cm x 11cm loaf tin with baking paper and butter and flour the sides
- Place the coconut, milk, raspberries, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix with a whisk or wooden spoon to form a smooth batter.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1 1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and rest in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices and serve plain or with butter.
- Blend 5 raspberries with 100g icing sugar with a teaspoon of boiling water to achieve a runny consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake and finish with a handful of toasted coconut