It’s Week Two and we are heading to Australia’s outback and beyond. After a brief stopover to explore Sydney’s hot spots, you’ll head out into the wild starting with an adventure-filled few days in the rugged Blue Mountains before travelling to the spectacular desert landscape of Uluru. Not only will you explore Ayers Rock, you’ll learn about Aboriginal culture and the spiritual significance of this sacred land. The journey ends in Port Douglas, one of the gateways to discover the kaleidoscope of colourful corals of the Great Barrier Reef.
Check out the full itinerary here
Method for the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C/gas 4.
- Grease and flour a 20cm x 30cm pan, then line it with baking paper.
- Using an electric hand-mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla together until light and thick (this should take approximately 3 minutes).
- Add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture gently combining the ingredients with a rubber spatula. Slowly add the melted butter, mixing with the spatula until completely combined, then pour the mixture into the pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the pan onto a cooling rack. Once cool cut the sponge into even square-shaped pieces of around 4-5cm. Put the cakes in the fridge for few hours or leave overnight in a Tupperware, a slightly less fresh cake makes it easier to dip into the icing.
- Prepare a bowl for the sponge pieces, the icing, the coconut and a cooling rack over a sheet of baking paper (to catch any drips!)
- Sieve the icing sugar and the cocoa powder into two separate bowls.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan Stir the milk into the melted butter, followed by the cocoa powder, whisking as you go. When the cocoa powder has dissolved, add the icing sugar slowly, and whisk to avoid lumps.
- Pour the chocolate mix into two bowls, so when the first mix gets full of crumbs you can swap over.
- Working fast with a fork, dip the cake pieces into the chocolate icing ensuring they are completely coated. Next roll them in the coconut to lightly coat them.
- Place the cake cubes on the cooling rack to drain.
- Pop the cakes in the fridge to set, bringing them back to room temperature before serving.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 with your baking tray inside to heat up.
- Mix the flour, rosemary, salt, oil and 225ml/8fl oz water in a bowl until you make a dough.
- Dust your surface with flour and put the dough on top and flatten out.
- Place the olives in the middle of the dough, and squash them down a bit. Fold the edges of the dough over so that you encase the olives. Then turn the dough over and work in the olives.
- The dough may feel quite wet with olives, so just continue to squash any loose olives back into it. Add a handful of flour to it if it is too wet.
- Mould the dough into a 20cm round and place on the baking tray.
- Roll the handle of a wooden spoon in a little flour, then holding it horizontal to the loaf, press down onto the dough to make an indent almost to the bottom of the tray.
- Turn the wooden spoon so that it is at a 90 degree angle to the original line and push down again to make a cross. Do this two more times so you have eight wedges.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes and serve warm.
Picnic at Hanging Rock - TV , Amazon prime
This is a re-imagining of the classic 1975 Peter Weir film and also based on the novel of the same name. This explores the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and their governess in 1900 and the impacts and ripple affects on those around them.
Shine – Film
This is an iconic film starring Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush which tells the story of brilliant pianist David Helfgott and his struggles with family and mental illness.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the desert – Film
This joyous 1994 film follows two drag queens played by Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce and a transgender woman, played by Terence Stamp, as they journey across the Australian Outback in a tour bus that they have named "Priscilla", along the way encountering various groups and individuals.
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin
Part memoir, part novel this is the enchanted tale of Chatwin’s travels through Outback Australia across the songlines, the unseen pathways that criss-cross the country. The purpose of his journey is the search for meaning in the songs that the Aboriginals passed along these ancient lines which told of the mysteries of their culture, origins and religion, and we read of Chatwin’s pursuit of the songs’ connections with nomadic travel.
The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas
Can slapping a child ever be justified? This is the question that sends an Australian community into spiral when a man punishes a friend’s son for misbehaving by slapping him at a barbeque. The novel offers the opinion of eight different characters and their reaction to this controversial event.
April Fool’s Day, Bryce Courtnay
In his book April Fool’s Day, Australian author Bryce Courtnay writes a tribute to his son, Damon, who passed away on 1st April 1991. The book tells of Damon’s enduring struggle as a lifelong haemophiliac who contracted HIV/AIDS through an infected blood transfusion and the suffering that followed. A beautiful, powerful, thought-provoking book that honours Damon and his belief that love will always conquer all.