Panettone & thank you

Thank you

For sharing this year with me. It has been an experientially rich year. There have been many aspects that I have loved and am deeply grateful for. And I want to list some of those here.

I am grateful to all the people that bring together community and that help to create it. Those that plan and coordinate, invite and facilitate.

The Culture Club facilitators Meg and Su, who bring the joy of food making, preserving and sharing with others, as a regular event. It was here that I was inspired to make Labneh cheese balls, covered in sesame seeds and fresh herbs.

To Patrick who coordinates the community garden working bees, where seeds are sown and conversations are made and knowledge is shared. It was at one of these events that I was told about a beautiful old, large and very productive Mulberry tree. And from it I harvested a plenty and made delicious jam that kept us warm during the winter months.

To the couple at Newlyns, John and Fay, who share their abundant fruit with me from their highly productive fruit forest. I made apple jelly and quince paste, plum jam and dried nashis from your bounty.

To Speedy, who shared a most precious, precious gift with me. A secret, a discovery, a place, a rare location where Morels can be found. And although I have been a poor student, and failed to visit the site this year, thinking I still had time, I endeavour not to let this gift be wasted next year.

To Nel at the Community Neighbourhood Centre, who supported me to deliver Italian conversation classes this year. You are such a pleasure to work with, you make it all easy and pleasurable and great fun.

Lemony Leslie, who allows me to enter her gate, when she is not home, to harvest lemons from her back garden. I use lemons on a very regular basis, for preserving and for cooking. As my lemon trees are still very small. I have harvested kilos and kilos of lemons from her generous tree. In fact I can’t get enough. And if you have a lemon tree that drops its lemons because you don’t need many, and you are happy to share…well I would really enjoy hearing from you. .

To Mara my neighbour who works so tirelessly to create magical circus experiences for my youngest daughter and who shares her harvest with me.

To Ralf, my love, who can build anything, fix everything, and who is helping me to create a warm, vibrant and dynamic home. Where garlic can be grown, and tomatoes planted. Where fruits can be dried and planted. You have built this home with your hands with your care. You are amazing. Thank you for the kitchen you are building. It is a dream kitchen for me because you have made a perfect place for my compost bin, and a nook for my new preserving kit, shelves for pots and a draining rack making it easy for me to stack (our dishes).

To Ahlia and Artemisia my daughters. Thank you for being mine…for now.

My social media posts are always focussed on the things I love and that make me feel good. On aspects of life that inspire me and make me soar. My focus is always on sharing information and skills and in fact I want to focus more on that with time.

I joined social media years ago because I knew that I wanted to one day be able to bring people together around themes of cooking, harvesting, baking, preserving and growing, and I knew that to do that I needed to let people know what I was up to, what I love and what inspires me.

Is my life perfect? Is it free from pain and tears? Absolutely not. I think few of us are spared. But so far…so far…I’ve been given the chance to thrive and I am so grateful for this and am so aware of this that I am making the most of it.

Happy New Year to you and a big thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.


I have been making a sourdouhg panettone for Chirstmas over the past few years. I really enjoy the process and am enjoying the outcome absolutely heaps.  This years panettone has been the best. I made four in fact and we have been eating it for breakfast and afternoon tea, lightly toasted and buttered and devoured.


You begin by making a milk starter (rice milk, almond milk, soy) the recipe I have used is from Yoke Mardewi’s book Wild Sourdough: the natural way to bake. See Yoke’s website for details                                 I have enjoyed this book very much. In fact it is the book that got me started. The starter is made using a rye starter culture and adding to it white flour and whole milk. Once the leaven is active as shown in this picture, with bubbles on the surface and throughout the glass jar. You can then begin to start making your dough.


The day before your leaven is ready, you need to mix all the dried fruits you plan to use and soak them in alcohol. Yoke recommends Marsala, Cointreau and vanilla. I have found this combination to be very delicious and reminiscent of the panettone of my childhood.


I have adapted Yoke’s recipe a little to suit my needs. I use a large glass bowl and combine flour, water and leaven first until well mixed. I use my hands. I let it rest for 30mins. Then I add to it the whole eggs, the egg yolks, salt, sugar and milk. I added more milk than the recipe required to increase the moisture in the dough. I use digital scales as they make the process super pleasant and easy. I mix well with my hands. See below.


I keep the dough in the glass bowl the entire time and fold the dough onto itself until I have completed one turn. Then I let the dough rest for 30mins. I return every 30mins (for a total of 6 times) to fold the dough onto itself while in the bowl, completing one rotation of the bowl each time. I learned this technique from another wonderful book called Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson, and I have found it to be an excellent way to develop gluten when working the dough by hand.

You will know when the gluten in the dough is well developed because when you grab the side of the dough and stretch it out to do a turn, it will stretch 40cm or more out of the bowl. It is at this stage that you add the fruit medley that has been soaking overnight. Fold in and distribute well.


Well mixed, it is now ready to pour out onto the table and cut, to make two panettone.


Panettone dough ready to cut. This tool shown, is excellent for working with bread dough and pastry.


The dough preshaped, then allowed to rest for 30mins, then shaped again and placed in either a proofing basket or in my case in a ceramic bowl lined with grease proof paper.


I have been using a Dutch Oven to contain moisture and to help me achive a more open light crumb.The Dutch oven has a shallow fry pan and a deeper saucepan. You lift the bread into the shallow fry pan using the grease proof paper and seal with the heavy deep saucepan.


An initial 20mins at 230 Celcius and a further 30-35 mins at a much lower 185 Celcius. You absolutely do not want the fruit to burn on the surface of the bread. With fruit breads it can be a little more difficult to tell when it is ready to take out of the oven. I used a skewer as I would with a cake to check that the dough was well cooked.

I feel that this picture does not fully capture the deliciousness of the panettone as I cut it a bit roughly. However it was the panettone of my dreams, moist, light and very rich in flavour.