FREE Printable Game of Thrones Chatterbox / Paper Fortune Teller / Cootie Catcher

I forgot all about 'chatterboxes' (also known as paper fortune tellers or cootie catchers) until my nieces and nephews came down for a visit to Sydney last Easter.  We were in the pub one afternoon (it was a holiday, it was one solitary drink, so stop shaking your head) and in an effort to entertain my nephew Sam my fab pal Susie was showing him how to make origami birds, and then a cootie catcher.  He loved it.  I made him another the next day.  I remembered how much I liked them when I was a kid.  Hell, I liked them now.

So, I asked the lovely people at Ta Ta Dearie if they produced any at all - turns out they offer a personalised range for weddings as table place settings.  I wish I'd had that at my wedding, they would have been fab.

But I digress, if you are putting together a Game of Thrones dinner then why not make a couple of Game of Thrones chatterboxes for the table?  Our friends at Ta Ta Dearie have created one just for us and it's completely free to download.  Just click below.  Don't know how to make them?  No probs, just follow the video at the bottom of this post.  

FREE Downloadable Game of Thrones Menu

I've recently been lucky enough to be contributing to Sydney's leading food blog 'Noodlies', and one of my articles has been on how to throw a 'Game of Thrones' dinner.  You can check out the recipe ideas here.

If you want to have a go at throwing a dinner for friends based on the ideas contained in the blog you might want to take advantage of a downloadable menu produced by our friends at Ta Ta Dearie.  This completely free downloadable pdf will help add a sense of occasion to the proceedings, and keep your guests guessing what dishes you've prepared.  Just invest in some nice quality paper and you're away!

Printable 'Game of Thrones' Bunting

I recently threw a Game of Thrones themed dinner party, (you can read the menu and recipes here), and to help create the Westros feel, those lovely people at Ta Ta Dearie have kindly designed some free printable bunting.  It's easy to make, just download the Ta Ta Dearie printables and follow the instructions below. 

What you need:
Print outs x 2 of the downloadable bunting
5 metres of ribbon or string
Double sided tape
Scissors or a craft knife
If using a craft knife you'll need a steel rule and craft mat.

Download your printable bunting below by clicking the 'download original pdf' tab at the bottom of the box below.
First off, having printed out the printable bunting cut out the coats of arms so that as below - you want to have it so they are connected at the top so you can fold them over the ribbon. 

Score each lightly along the 'hinge' (so it is like an apex roof). 

Next take a piece of double sided tape and stick inside and at the top of the fold leaving a little gap for the sting or ribbon.  Please the ribbon / string in the gap.  Measure a ten cm gap and repeat all the way along until you've used up all your coats of arms. 

Voila, you've your 'Game of Thrones Bunting'! 


If you live in Australia you will have probably seen on the news the recent explosion that happened on a convenience store on Darling Street in Rozelle in which three people tragically lost their lives while others escaped with only the clothes they were standing in.

Nearly a week on, the community is trying to come to terms with what has happened.  Many business have reopened again and it is important that we support those who have managed to open.  There are many stories of business supporting one another.  For example Corner Bar is offering shifts to people from the other cafes which are not able to open at present.   



Although Darling Street is closed off to cars between Beattie Street and Victoria Road, most of the stretch is accessible to pedestrians at present.  Rozelle is a wonderful community and at weekends is particularly buzzy, it is hard to believe it is just ten minutes on the bus from the CBD, it has such a village feel.  So please, come on down and support the businesses which have been able to reopen, as well as those on the other side of Darling Street.

Belle Fleur on Darling Street in Rozelle - open for business


If you're at a loose end one weekend, then may I point you to my walking food tour podcast of Rozelle and Balmain which you can download here.  There is only one stop on the tour which you cannot access and that is Stop G.  This was just a point of reference for some history of the local area (you can still listen to the history of it on the pod tour, you just won't see the building).


If you are doing the tour, then after Rozelle Public School (Stop F) walk along Darling Street past the Commonwealth Bank and turn left on to Merton Street and walk down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill turn right and by the mini-roundabout on the opposite side of the road you'll find Stop H - Adriano Zumbo.

The tour is focused on foodie places, but Rozelle and Balmain has a whole host of fantastic shops you can browse in along the way if you feel you need a break from the gourmet trail.  Be sure to check out Tali Gallery at 667 Darling Street.


The podcast is completely free, but if you enjoy the tour then please think about donating to Rozelle Fire Appeal which is a fund which has been set up to support those affected by the crisis. 


So armed with your map (BELOW) and downloaded podcast, it’s time to don your sensible walking shoes, bring your appetite, and start exploring Rozelle and Balmain's best foodie gems.

A) TOUR START POINT, Rozelle Junction, corner of Victoria Road and Darling Street To get to Rozelle Junction from the CBD, you can catch the several buses, including the 500, 502, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 510, 515, 518, 520, M50 and M52. For full details and bus timetables, visit

B) Herbies Herb and Spice Shop, 745 Darling Street, Rozelle Think of any herb or spice, Herbies is bound to have it, plus all its blends and spices are made at the shop with none of those nasties you often find like MSG, starches, free-flow agents or additives, so you know you're getting the best quality.Mon to Fri, 10am to 5pm Sat, 9am to 4pm Sun, 10am - 3pm

C) Essential Ingredient, 731-735 Darling Street, Rozelle For home cooks this place is heaven, stuffed for of kitchen gadgets, dream cookware and also luxury ingredients. For the bolder cooks there are tins of snails, while bakers and sugarcrafters will adore the sugarpaste offerings.Mon to Wed, and Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm Thursday, 9.30am-7pm Sat, 9am-5pm Sun, 10am-4pm
Foodie Walking Tour Podcast Rozelle Balmain Essential Ingredient

D) Victoires Boulangerie, 660 Darling St, Rozelle This small French bakery boasts, at least in my opinion, the best croissants in Sydney. Fluffy, buttery and fresh, Victoires is simply a slice of Paris in the heart of Rozelle. Mon – Fri, 7am-7pm Sat & Sun, 7am-6pm

E) Belle Fleur, 658 Darling Street, Rozelle Drawing on four generations of chocolate-making expertise, Belle Fleur's creations really are works of art worthy of a chocolate window in Belgium. Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm Sat, 9am to 5pm Sun, 10am-4pm
Foodie Walking Tour Podcast Rozelle Balmain Belle Fleur Chocolate Shop

F) Rozelle Weekend Markets at Rozelle Public School This popular weekend market is not strictly a foodie haunt (though you will find a selection of food stalls on the right hand side as you enter the market offering everything from dimsum to egg and bacon rolls), but it is a great place to trawl for bargains including vintage cookbooks and retro cookware. Sat & Sun, 9am-4pm


H) Adriano Zumbo, 114 Terry Street, Rozelle One of two Adriano Zumbo cafes in the area, the Rozelle branch features a small seating area with viewing window into the chefs at work (pictured at top of article). Enjoy one of the celebrity chef's famous macarons and a coffee while watching the professionals create their works of art. Mon-Fri, 7:00am - 4:00pm Sat & Sun, 8:00am - 4:00pm

Foodie Walking Tour Podcast Rozelle Balmain Adriano Zumbo 4

I)Elkington Park / White Horse Point / Dawn Fraser Baths A short historical diversion, to consider the White Horse Point outlook and the romantic fable behind its name, and the heritage listed Dawn Fraser Baths. Opening times not applicable.

J) Riverview Hotel, 29 Birchgove Road, Balmain The pub where famous Balmain resident Dawn Fraser was landlady from 1978 to 1983, this friendly relaxed pub is the perfect place for a refreshment pitstop. Mon-Sun, 12pm-late

Foodie Walking Tour Podcast Rozelle Balmain Riverview Pub

K) Ralph’s Delicatessen, 337 Darling Street, Balmain Operating for the last 42 years, Ralph’s could easily be considered a Balmain institution. Opened in 1972, this family-run shop is an Aladdin’s cave of fantastic hard-to-find ingredients, including imported brands. Mon-Sat. 8am-8pm-ish Sun- around 8.30am – 8pm-ish

L) The Workers, 292 Darling Street, Balmain This funky bar venue is a nod to this area’s Labor Party history. Originally part of the Unity Hall Hotel at 290 Darling Street, The Workers was at one point the Trades and Labor Hall, where in 1891, the Labor Electoral League (now the Australian Labor Party) was formed. As well as a funky atmosphere make sure you try the fantastic sliders. Weds, 5pm-12am Thurs, 5pm-late Fri & Sat 5pm-3am Sun, 12pm-10pm

Foodie Walking Tour Podcast Rozelle Balmain The Workers 4

M) 281 Darling Street, Site of Burns Grocer / Bertoni Café We touch on some history as we reflect on shopping in the 1930s at the site of the former Burns Grocer. We also recommend the current occupant, Bertoni Cafe, particularly the heavenly cannoli and Italian style donuts. Mon-Sat, 6am-6.30pm Sun, 7am-6.30pm

N) 272 Darling Street, former site of Powell Drinks Bar Another historical element of the tour, we consider the former site of the Powell Drink Bar, a popular place for gathering and enjoying sodas in the 1930s. Opening times not applicable.

O) Elmstock Tea, Shop 19, 242 Darling Street, Balmain Established in 1979, Elmstock is passionate about tea, with a rich history of continuous involvement in tea selling over five generations. Mon & Tues – CLOSED Weds-Fri, 10.30am-5.30pm Sat, 10am-4pm Sun, 12pm-3pm

P) The London Hotel, 234 Darling Street, Balmain Established in 1870, The London boasts a thick Jarrah wood bar and has a veranda which offers stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Mon-Sat, 11am-Midnight Sun, 12pm-10pm

Q) Bacchus Food and Wine, 207 Darling Street, Balmain Bacchus offers beautiful foods including wonderful olive oils, pastas and breads, through to cheeses, and an extensive range of wine. In their own words they ‘prefer to showcase only the best’. Mon – CLOSED Tues-Fri, 11am-7pm Sat, 10am-5.30pm Sun, 10.30am-4.30pm

Foodie Walking Tour Podcast Rozelle Balmain Bacchus

R) The Balmain Watch House, 179 Darling Street, Balmain The Balmain Watch House was originally built in 1854 as a police lock-up, in what The National Trust of Australia described as ‘arguably one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Sydney at the time’. It is Sydney’s oldest surviving lockup. Opening hours not applicable.

S) East Village Hotel, 82 Darling Street, Balmain East Established in 1875, under the name ‘The Commercial Hotel’, this pub was originally licensed by a man called Fred Leach, who was a local baker. Today operating as the East Village Hotel, this pub boasts a good selection of craft beers and great food. Mon-Thurs, 12pm-11pm Fri & Sat, 12pm-Midnight Sun, 12pm-10pm

Tour ends. To get back to the city from here you can either catch the bus a few doors down from the East Village Hotel (on the same side of the road), or walk down to the end of Darling Street, where you can catch a ferry from Balmain East ferry wharf. To plan your return journey visit

Click on play to listen or download the free podcast here.


We’ve made every effort to check details for this tour, and all information is correct at time of publishing. Apologies if details change after that (if we could buy a crystal ball so we could see into the future and solve this problem we would invest one!). If it is a public holiday we suggest you double check opening times. For information on resources used in researching this tour take a look at our bibliography. Music and sound effects courtesy of Audio Blocks. Aeroplane Jelly jingles from Aeroplane Jelly website.

Appearance on the 2SER Breakfast Show's 'Weekly Feed'

So  a week and a bit a go I was on the 2SER Breakfast Show with the lovely Mitch Bryant to speak to him for the 'Weekly Feed' segment. 

The weather was really rather ghastly that weekend and subsequent Monday, so we spoke about preserving (both jams and chutneys) as well as infusing alcohol with flavours ready for Christmas. 

My UK friends who have listened to the segment have questioned whether my accent is taking on an Australian twang (it's not - really not), and the use of the Australiaism 'daggy' (what can I say, I watched a lot of 'Home and Away' when I was a kid, though I've yet to hear anyone here actually use the phrase), but in general it seems to have been well received (to my face at any rate). 


FREE PRINTABLES - Labels for Homemade Preserves

If you're giving homemade preserves as a gift you really want the person to know it's been made by you with love (that's not showing off by the way, it's perfectly fine to want someone to know you haven't just picked it up at the weekend food market).

If you want them to know they are receiving homemade loveliness, try our free printable labels.  This template is for 3.33" round labels, which I believe are Avery 529.  Simply scroll to the bottom of the page and in the bottom right of the grey box below you'll see a button 'Download Original PDF'.  Open and print on your labels.  Job done!

Strawberry and Champagne Jame - Preserving Time Part 1

Long before it enjoyed a retro cool revival (along with dress making, baking and crafting), I have ritually made jams and chutneys, and generally sung the praises of preserving.  It is probably linked to childhood, I have vivid memories of cooking with my Mother when I was at a very young age, and I have particularly fond memories of jam making.  I would stand on a stool with Mum, and test with a finger on a frozen saucer to see if the jam had set yet.  It seemed magical.  It still does.  The smell alone can transport me back in time to 1980s England. 
If you've never made jam before don't think that it is difficult.  It really isn't, it takes a little time, but actually it's straight forward.  Also, don't believe the gadget hype.  You don't need a specialist 'jam maker' to produce jams.  You don't even need a preserving pan - a large saucepan with a decent bottom would do for first timers giving it a go.  And you don't need to buy pectin sugar or add pectin to your jam to make it set, it's an extra expense you don't need.

What you might need to invest in is a few preserving jars (or else start saving empty jam and sauce jars when they're empty), and the only other you might want to consider if you can spare a few bucks is a jam funnel.  I say this as someone who is a self-confessed clutz who has several 'jam scars' when bottling the finished product.  If you're clumsy like me, invest in a jam funnel.  It will save you from painful burns.

The recipe below is the simple three ingredient method my Mum always used, but with one little addition to add that extra touch of indulgence - Champagne.


1.5kg firm strawberries
1kg castor sugar
Juice of 2 lemons and pips
2 tablespoons of Champagne or sparkling wine.

This recipe makes around 1.5kg of jam, so you will need enough jars for that amount. You can buy one or two large jars, of lots of smaller ones.  I always make a few small jars that can be used as last minute gifts for people.


1) Hull the strawberries and then wipe them clean with a piece of damp kitchen paper.  Don't wash them else you will have trouble getting the jam to set (because it will water down the pectin).

2) Put the strawberries in the preserving pan (or large heavy bottomed saucepan) and sprinkle them with the sugar.  Leave them overnight covering the pan with a tea towel.  By morning most of the sugar will have dissolved. 

3) Pop six saucers in the freezer

4) Place the pan of strawberries on a low heat to melt when is left of the sugar, giving an occasional stir.

5) When the sugar has disolved completely add the lemon juice and lemon pips wrapped in a muslin /spice bag (use a clean hanky if you don't have one) then whack up the heat.

6) Time for 8.5 minutes, then take one of your saucers from the freeze. Take a teaspoon of the jam mixture, pop it on the chilled saucer and allow it to cool for a minute.  If it forms a crinkly skin then it is set.  If it isn't then boil for a further 3 or 4 minutes before trying again.  Keep repeating until you get to the 'crinkly skin' stage.  Don't worry if it takes a while, it often can - I have never yet have a jam set on the first try.

7) Once you've reached the 'set' point, remove from the heat, then skim off any foam from the surface.  When that is done stir in the Champagne. Leave the jam to settle for 15 minutes.

8) Next you need to sterilise the preserving jars.  Some people get rather worried about this, but it really is very simple.  If you have a dishwasher simply pop the jars and lids in it and put it on a hot wash.  If you don't have a dishwasher, wash your jars in warm soappy water, rinse with warm water, dry, then pop into a  oven at 150 degrees 10 minutes.

9) Transfer the jam to the warmed jars (the jars must be still warm from the oven) and seal.

10) Once the jars have cooled down you can label them up.