Not Quite Nigella – The Autobiography
Not Quite Nigella – The Autobiography

Not Quite Nigella – The Autobiography

“What a gorgeous property with the most amazing views” I commented to hubby, as we step out of the private lift which had just deposited us at the penthouse suite of the Diamant Boutique Hotel, Potts Point.

Diamant Hotel Potts Point

Diamant Hotel Potts Point

We were visiting this prestigious boutique hotel as guests of Lorraine Elliott and Penguin Publishing for the launch of her already popular autobiography “Lorraine Elliott” “My Path to Happiness through Baking and Blogging.”

Image courtesy of the Diamant Hotel

Image courtesy of the Diamant Hotel

We spent the first few minutes admiring the view from the penthouse deck.  Being 12 floors high and perched at the top of William Street afforded the property some of the most spectacular views over Sydney that I have seen.  The highlight being a clear view of the Harbour Bridge, lit up in all it’s night time glory.

Diamant Hotel Sydney is part of the 8Hotels Collection of boutique properties, each hotel in the range is simply stunning. I have included a link to 8hotel’s website so that you can admire the luxury for yourself. As I was perusing the 8hotels properties available in Paris, Bali and Fiji I couldn’t help but notice how reasonable the pricing was when you book directly online.

Not Quite Nigella Book Launch

Not Quite Nigella Book Launch

Inside Mr GG was offered a beer, and Mr NQN introduced me to three lovely, albeit slightly crazy food bloggers that I have followed, but never met before.

They were all busy helping to prepare food. Catering for this event was organised by so many gorgeous and very generous people.

The kitchen preparation were in full swing everyone was working together, laughing and having fun like the best of friends.

Lorraine Elliott Book Launch

Lorraine Elliott Book Launch

Just then I heard the voice of the Domestic Goddess herself, the lady of the hour, for whom we were all here to celebrate with, Miss Lorraine Elliott, AKA “Not Quite Nigella.”

I have read Lorraine’s book and thoroughly enjoyed every story and am anxious to try each new recipe she has shared.

Not Quite Nigella's Autobiography

Not Quite Nigella’s -An Autobiography

In fact I downloaded the book through iTunes late one night and despite being exhausted I simply couldn’t put it down. Blurry eyed (…and after the iPad had hit me in the face twice,) I had to relent, I saved the remaining 80 pages for the morning. The autobiography is a book for everyone.  Bloggers will love the story of success and the helpful blogging tips through out the book.

Foodies will enjoy the delicious recipes Lorraine has shared for the first time in the book. Travellers will delight in stories of food adventures from all over the world.

Guests Enjoying the book Launch for Lorraine Elliott

Guests Enjoying the book Launch for Lorraine Elliott

As you would expect from the Queen of all Food Blogs the food was exquisite.

It started with the most gorgeous charcuterie platter featuring various styles of sliced salami and most delicious ham I have ever tried. The ham, OMG!! it was crazy good, I can barely begin to describe how succulent the meat was!! The texture was as tender as smoked salmon. It instantly made every other ham I have ever tried seem tasteless and dry by comparison, I have never known a ham to melt in my mouth before but I promise this did. So who is the providore of such delicacies. Tania from “My Kitchen Stories had sourced the meats from Narel Smallgoods and Pino’s Kogarah. If you are based in Sydney I would strongly suggest a visit to their stores and café.

 Charcuterie Platter by Pino's Kogarah

Charcuterie Platter by Pino’s Kogarah

Along side the charcuterie was a beautiful wooden crate full of freshly baked breads. Anyone who follows Celia on Fig & Lime Cordial would know about Priscilla the sourdough starter. Celia baked some gorgeous sourdough focaccia and ciabattas from her amazing starter which has been travelling the blogosphere.  The breads were served with the meat to one sides and some glorious cheeses, tapenade and olives on the other. I am sure I over indulged in the beautiful brie, but I couldn’t resist loading up a slice of ciabatta with brie, then dribbling the amazing truffled honey over the delectable construction.  The piece de resistance being the gorgeous truffled honey!

Cheese Platter

Cheese Platter

I am told the lovely Tania from My Kitchen Stories was also responsible for delicious fare sourced from Lario International, a company which imports the most sort after gourmet products.

As guest continued to arrive I decided to chat with my fellow food bloggers. Bec from Intolerant Chef was busy preparing the filling for Peking Duck Pancakes and Duck Sang Choy Bow.

Sang Choy Bow

Sang Choy Bow

I was very lucky to snap this picture, these were very popular amongst the guests.

Peking Duck Pancakes

Peking Duck Pancakes

The next dish to have me salivating was the BBQ Haloumi topped with smoky chorizo and sweet fig. David from Xanthi’s had been busy preparing these on the balcony overlooking the city lights. They were just as stunning as the view. I didn’t managed to get any pictures as each time the waitress brought around a platter, I put one in mouth… and failed to take a picture.  Sorry folks, they were to good!

Xanthi Lamb Cutlets

Xanthi Lamb Cutlets

I did however manage to control myself long enough to photograph the perfectly Frenched lamb cutlets. These tender succulent cutlets were a taste sensation, they just melted in your mouth.  The smoky charred flavoured enhanced by the hummus and roasted eggplant topping.  The dishes were prepared and presented with all the style and flair you would expect from this prestigous hatted restaurant.  Needless to say I now have Xanthi at the top of my “to do list ” in Sydney.

Porcini Risotto

Porcini Risotto

In the meantime Charlie from Hotly Spiced was busy putting the finishing touches on the Porcini Rissoto. It is funny how I already feel as if I know each of the food bloggers personal just through the years of reading their blogs.

Charlie with Risotto

Charlie with Risotto

Charlie also prepared some mini gluten free and dairy free frittata’s in two varieties. Once again I apologise for the lack of images.  Perhaps Charlie will include them on her website.

Steamed Dumplings

Steamed Dumplings

Busy at the steaming station was Tania from My Kitchen Stories.  She had prepared dumpling’s and these were presented beautifully on spoons with pickled ginger and soy sauce.

Through out the evening Celia from Fig &  Lime Cordial could be found buzzing around the kitchen helping out, she would stirring the pots, and stirring the girls, always with a cheeky smile  😉

Charlie and Celia's Halo

Charlie and Celia’s Halo

I found it very amusing that the image I have of Celia with her delectable chocolates, shows her with a halo over her head. I really don’t know how that got there… she was a little devilish in the kitchen, certainly no angel 😉 Although her Mille Feuille Milk Chocolates were so delicious, the wafer layers had a lovely crisp bite, and the chocolate was so sweet and creamy. You could even say they were “heavenly”.

Lorraine Elliott Book Launch Cake

Lorraine’s Book Launch Cake

The evening flew by, as it does when your chatting with such lovely people.  It was time for speeches and then the cutting of the cake. The cakes was a masterpiece, a 3D version of Lorraine’s book. This masterpiece was created by another friend, Linda Harden from Whimsical Cakes and Cake Masters as a special gift to Lorraine.

Lorraine gave a very touching speech, thanking all those who were instrumental in helping her achieve success in her blogging, baking and writing career. We toasted to the success of her book with wines supplied by Sensi wines, Direct Wine Cellars. Not just any wine of course, but gorgeous Tuscan wines from the Tuscan Vineyard Sensi Vini.

Lorraine Elliott Book Signing

Lorraine Elliott Book Signing

As Lorraine signed copies of her book I looked around the room. I couldn’t help but think that lovely people attract success, and other lovely people into their lives. Here we had a room full of gracious genuine guests. People who were gathered to cheer the success of someone they admired; happy to help in whatever way they could to make the evening a resounding success.

Congratulations Lorraine on a wonderful Book launch,, and a fantastic autobiography. Something tells me there will be more books to follow.

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  1. Julie, it was so nice to meet you, and didn’t we have fun! I don’t know what you’re implying though, everyone knows I’m a saint. 🙂 The food was amazing, but I missed out on the haloumi! Wasn’t the view breathtaking? And can I just say, that photo of Lorraine is just wonderful, she looks like a movie star! Come back to Sydney soon and play with us! xx

    • LOL!! I will have to come back soon, it was such a wonderful group of people, I couldn’t stop smiling all night!!

      …and yes, Loraine does look like a big screen siren in the photos, I was really pleased with how they came out… but then she is gorgeous 😉

  2. Yay to the book launch and how exciting that it’s finally hit our book shelves! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!!

  3. Thank you so much Julie for your lovely words and for being there! I was so chuffed that you flew down all the way just for my little event! 😀 And I loved your photos too! Thank you for being so kind and gracious 🙂 xxx

  4. P.S. Next time you’re back in Sydney, I’ll take you to Pino’s!! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful event and I’m so glad there was a big launch for this book. I loved reading every word of it and the crew in the kitchen? – they are all my heros. 🙂

  6. Don’t you just love that cake. I’m enjoying reading about the launch, and I will get the book… but hard copy or for the iPad… decisions, decisions!

  7. Hi Julie, it was so lovely to meet you and the very tall Mr GG. What a great post! You took some wonderful images and certainly captured what a great time it was. I love Celia’s halo – hysterical! It was such a lovely evening I would love to do it all again – time just flew by all too quickly. I do hope we can catch up soon xx

  8. What an awesome book launch! I don’t think I’ve gone to any cocktail parties that served such amazing food and it wouldn’t have happened without the help of some wonderful friends like yourself Julie who flew all the way to Sydney 🙂 Like you I finished the book within 2 days and even took it with me to work and was reading it during my lunch break!

  9. Julie, I found this to be a good read and a valuable source for learning about other food stores in Sydney. I didn’t know about Linda Harden’s cake decorating school- looks like they produce some amazing cakes there!

  10. I cannot wait to get her book my friend, loving this post and all of the fun from the book launch 😀


  11. What a great event, happy people and Lorraine looked stunning…just a gorgeous lady! I am happy to hear that the book is fantastic…will have to order it!

  12. lovely post on lorraine’s book launch! i cant wait to get my hands on a hardcopy! i knowwhat you mean by you feel like you know the bloggers via blogging althoguh you havent met them in person. but when you do, its 10x the fun!

  13. Hi Julie, what a lovely blog you have here!
    So many of my food ‘heros’ in the one kitchen, what a wonderful party that must’ve been!

  14. It sounds like a perfect event and the food, of course, did look beyond reproach. I love that cake! A big woohoo for supportive friends! I’m glad you had a good time.

  15. Aw, I am so, so happy to see these book launch posts! Lorraine is a hero amongst food bloggers (a gorgeous, generous and talented one!) and I can’t wait to start reading her book! Also glad that I managed to find your beautiful blog through the blogger links on these posts. Amazing recipes. Can’t wait to look through your archives!! xx

  16. Hope you are getting a commission for promoting Ms. Elliot’s book, Julie. After my blogging duties are done, I’ll download Not Quite Nigella to my iPad=)

    Happy to read and see the link for the Diamant Hotels…A visit to Paris is long overdue =)

    Last and not least, thank you for sharing the gorgeous photos of the views and the food. Truffled honey – yum!

  17. NICE!! Will love to dig into the book too.

  18. I’m incredibly happy for Lorraine and her new book! I will buy it eventually when uni is not as stressful 😛


  1. […] see Charlie’s post on the book launch, take at Hotly Spiced here! Also Julie’s lovely post on Gourmet Getaways is here too! Celia’s recipe for her focaccia is on Fig Jam and Lime […]

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