Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic, 13 Dec 2009

If you go down to the park today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the park today
You’d better go in disguise.

For ev’ry blogger that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day of the Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic!

Grab Your Fork and Chocolatesuze sent out the call (although not in a musical fashion as I’ve depicted above) and about fifty Sydney Food Bloggers responded. With me not knowing anyone, I had natural reservations and the usual social anxieties about attending. But of course, I reasoned with myself, if I never attend these gatherings then I will forever not know anyone. I needn’t have worried because I discovered that Sydney’s food bloggers are a friendly lot and I was not left for a single moment without someone to talk to.

We were asked to bring along either a sweet or savoury plate for sharing, and at least one zealous blogger brought along both. So what does a food bloggers’ food spread look like?

And what do Sydney’s food bloggers look like?

Sydney Food Bloggers Anonymous! (Photo above courtesy of The Heart Of Food.) If you look really hard you may just be able to spot me.
So having decided to attend, I was faced with the question of what to bring. Buoyed by my recent macaron success, I thought these would be the perfect choice but in the process of making them the night before I suffered epic macaron fail! I knew they weren’t going to turn out from the moment I went to pipe them as the batter was just too stiff and sticky. What I ended up with was a batch of chewy, crackly-topped, chocolate almond biscuits instead.

While it would have been quite acceptable to take these along, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wanted happy food but these poor guys just looked so dejected! So, on the morning of the picnic I instead made a batch of sunny, bite-sized lemon cakes and sprinkled some salt flakes on them to remind me of those lemon sandwich biscuits. This is a great staple recipe for people like as it doesn’t call for milk – one of the things which ‘normal’ people constantly have in their fridge that I don’t. It is also highly adaptable for use with other citrus juices and the addition of poppyseeds or dollops of citrus curd. The resulting cakes are damp and almost syrupy, and can be made as one large cake baked in a round tin at the same temperature for about 45 minutes.

The game of the day was Kris Kringle that allowed for the ‘stealing’ of already unwrapped gifts. I cannot remember who stole my original gift of stainless steel kitchen soap, but what I ended up with was a chocolate calculator and a dark chocolate Kit-Kat. Thank you to my unknown gifter (I’ve already worked my way through the Kit-Kat) and I hope my ‘theif’ is making good use of the soap!

With all the food on offer, there was bound to be leftovers to be swapped and taken home at the end of the day. I came away with gingerbread from Penguin Says Feed Me, melting moments from Pass The Peas and raspberry ripple cupcakes from I Am Obsessed With Food.

I also took home lots of faces and real names to put to blog names. Thank you once again to both Helen and Suze for organising everything for such a momentous gathering. Even newbies like me felt most welcomed.

Mini Lemon Cakes (makes 24-36 depending on how high you fill the tray cavities)
(apologies as I’ve had this recipe so long that I can’t remember where it comes from)

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup  self-raising flour, sifted
  • ¼ cup plain flour, sifted
  • 125mL lemon juice
  • salt flakes (optional) 
  1. Preheat oven 180°C and lightly grease a mini-muffin tray.
  2. Beat butter with lemon rind and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Stir in the flours in two batches, alternating with the lemon juice.
  4. Divide batter across the holes of the tray and top each with a few salt flakes (if using). Bake for 8-10 minutes until cakes start to shrink away from the sides – the tops will NOT brown.
  5. Remove tray from oven and let sit for a few minutes before transferring cakes to cool on a wire rack. Take care when doing this as the cakes will still be slightly adhered to the tin – a toothpick works wonders in helping to lever them out.
  6. Cakes can be stored in an airtight container and are best consumed within five days. 
merry Christmas, happy cooking & happy eating!


  1. We would have eaten the macarons regardless of how they looked! Although, the lemon bites looked delicious too! Great to meet you!

  2. hehe i like the song lyrics. could be our blogging anthem! the kit kat calculator would make me hungry for chocolate every time i use it :-)

  3. Have you recorded the jingle yet? ;-) Shame about those macarons; what did you end up doing to them? I hope you gave them a good talking to for misbehaving and not turning our right!

  4. oh i agree - macaron mishaps make the tastiest macaroons! i didn't get to try your lemon cakes, but now i wish i did. next time we'll have to have food tags in addition to the name tags, so everyone knows who made what and what it is!

    so glad you could come along and yes, if there's one thing that food bloggers know how to do, it's how to cater for a party! lol

    have a lovely christmas :)

  5. Aww no they still look totally edibly good! :) Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a fantastic new year and looking forward to reading spoon fork and chopsticks after Christmas!

  6. Hey Trissa! Ahhh, you're too kind! Lovely to have met you as well. You're just as lovely a person in real life =)

    Hi Simon! Haha, it could only be an anthem if we staged a picnic in a park every year =p And I haven't used the calculator yet because it's meant to smell like chocolate - I'm worried it'll make me hungry for chocolate every I use it too!

    Hey Joey! Perhaps we could all just chant the lyrics at food blogger gatherings? =p The failed macarons ended up being eaten as is and made into ice-cream sandwiches - the husband liked them!

    Hi Helen! To add insult to injury, a few of the 'macarons' decided to grow feet during baking! >< But I do think buffet-style food descriptors may come in handy in future =)

    Hey Lorraine! They were still most edible, just not very pretty to look at =p And merry Christmas to you again too!


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