Das Platforms / Contemporary Art

Artists on FOOD

by Artists Respond

22 Dec 2011

This month we asked artists Julia Holderness and Petrina Hicks to share with us their favourite recipes:

Julia Holderness - Saturday Morning/Midday Bircher Muesli

This is a recipe which has developed every Saturday over about five years. We take it back to bed with the weekend paper and several cups of strong coffee. It’s definitely an interpretation of the original (which used cream or condensed milk), but it contains some of the key elements that constitute a Swiss Bircher muesli: rolled oats, grated apple and nuts. Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner served it to his patients in his hospital around 1900 as an essential part of the therapy. It was inspired by a similar dish that he and his wife had been served on a hike in the Swiss Alps, proving its tale of origin is as wholesome as the muesli itself. But seriously you can do anything after eating this muesli. Perhaps even leave bed. It’s a perfect meal, and interestingly I just discovered it is served as a light evening meal in some parts of Southern Germany.


  • Rolled oats (half a cup) 
  • 3/4 cup of water 
  • Lemon juice 
  • Raisins (a handful)Granny Smith apple (half) 
  • Milk 
  • Raw sesame seeds 
  • Raw whole almonds 
  • Orange 
  • Plain yoghurt 


The night before: 

Put half a cup of oats and some raisins in a bowl. Cover with water and squeeze in some lemon juice. Cover with a plate and refrigerate. 

In the morning: 

In the morning the oats will be nice and soft and the raisins plump. Grate the apple -- Granny Smiths are great because they are tart-- and mix through the oats. Add some milk. Toast a variety of nuts and seeds. My favourite combination is toasted sesame seeds and toasted almonds which I halve and chop into slivers. My non-stick small fry pan does a superb job of toasting these nuts. Chop half an orange into small chunks and add that on one side next to some plain yoghurt. 

Julia Holderness is an artist and one half of the collaborative Fitts & Holderness (www.fiitsandholderness.com). She moved to Sydney a year ago from Wellington, New Zealand and is currently on the board of Runway magazine.


Petrina Hicks - ORANGE AND ALMOND CAKE (Gluten free) 

Ingredients (serves 12) 

  • Melted butter, to grease 
  • 2 oranges 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar 
  • 300g (3 cups) almond meal 
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder 
  • Orange Syrup 
  • 1 orange 
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar 



Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a round 22cm springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line base with non-stick baking paper.

Place the oranges in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain. Coarsely chop oranges. Remove and discard any seeds. 

Place the orange in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. 

Use an electric beater to whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Add the orange, almond meal and baking powder and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. 

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. 

Meanwhile, to make the orange syrup, use a zester to remove the rind from the orange. Juice orange.
Place rind in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain. Return to pan with orange juice and sugar. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens. 

Turn cake onto a serving plate. Use a skewer to gently prick the top. Spoon over syrup. Cut into wedges to serve.