recipe testing

An enjoyable part of my job is testing recipes for other chefs. I recipe test for The Melbourne Magazine and for Sunday Life. Of course, all the food that I style is also basically recipe tested, as we cook everything from scratch, as per the recipes. I enjoy editing recipes, to make them easier for the home reader to understand.

For my work with Real Living magazine, I test my own recipes before our photoshoots. Luckily, I have some great people assisting me -thanks Jags, Fiona and Marnie!



Susanne recently picked some organic apricots for me. They were small and uneven in colour, flecked with brown spots, hardly looking like the perfect specimens in the fruit shop. I decided to poach them in a light sugar syrup (1 cup sugar to 2 cups water) to which I added 1 split vanilla pod, 1 piece of lemon rind and 6 lightly bruised cardamon pods. When the syrup was hot, I added the halved apricots and then took the pan off the heat, allowing the apricots to poach very gently. The flavour was better than any apricots I have ever had before. I would have passed over these apricots at the market, simply based on their appearance. Quite an interesting lesson.


This is my apricot passionfruit jam. Actually, the recipe uses dried apricots, so you don’t need to make it whilst apricots are in season. I have previously published this recipe in the Epicure section in The Age newspaper. Here is the recipe again for those who are interested.

Apricot passionfruit jam


This recipe was handed down by my jam-making friend, Kat. The dried apricots give this jam an intense flavour. Try to use some good quality Australian dried fruit, if you can.


500g dried apricots

6 cups water

1 ½ kg sugar

½ cup passionfruit pulp




  1. Chop fruit and cover with water. Soak for 24 – 36 hours.
  2. Transfer to large saucepan and bring to boil.
  3. Add sugar and boil until set (30 – 50 minutes).
  4. Remove from heat and add passionfruit pulp.
  5. Stand for 10 minutes, stirring now and again to distribute.
  6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal.


makes approx. 7 x 250ml jars