City trip Recipes

a day at Balmoral Beach & classic lamingtons

February 2, 2017
sunrise balmoral beach

At last I am sharing this long overdue post about Balmoral Beach and Mosman where I lived last year. And this before I share with you photos of my recent kitchen makeover here in Paris.

When I first met Mayumi in her home, I fell in love straight away with the big windows, the light in the kitchen and all her quirky decoration including her indoor garden. A broken le creuset cast iron pot had become a flower pot. Similarly an old weber barbecue welcomed a cute collection of succulents. Everything has a second life with Mayumi, it’s like being in an antique shop! So when she told me spoke French because she had learnt to become a pastry chef in France for 5 years: this place was perfect for me!

It was my first time to live on the northern side of the Harbour bridge. I did like very much the Eastern suburbs for their beautiful coastal walk with ocean views but I ended up loving living in that area: I got to discover Mosman and Balmoral Beach. Not only, I enjoyed being close to the beach and the endless walks possibilities along the harbour, but I made a great friend for life. Here are a few photos which I hope you will enjoy.


Time at home

mosman home

mosman home

Our little kitchen corner was my favourite spot for breakfast and everything else in fact! My regular breakfast has become a mix of different influences: tartines with butter and jam and/or oeuf à la coque with Greek yogurt, home made apple purée and granola.

breakfast at home

Naturally, Mayumi & I got busy in the kitchen: one day making a plum tart, preparing Japanese gyoza or soba noodles to eat with our friends, another time making pesto when I brought back way too much basil from a friend’s house and very often French patisseries. I learnt so much from Mayumi. We shared many great baking moments and I miss them everyday. But we are planning to get together soon for more baking and photography!

home cooking

mayumi & me


Time for a morning walk or an afternoon nap at the beach

The beach was only a short stroll from our place: 10 min downhill and a bit more on the way back! One morning I managed to get up early and met Mayumi at her work to enjoy the sunrise and early walk at the beach. The sky colours were amazing. I loved watching the first swimmers and rowers, then the joggers and walkers. So many people very early in the day, even on a weekday! I also liked the little island in the middle of the bay you can find some secluded spots and enjoy nice views over the harbour and the beach.

widow on the beach

sunrise balmoral beach

sunrise balmoral beach

Balmoral beach island


Time for coffee

You can find three good places at the beach where you can enjoy coffee/tea with a view. They tend to be packed at the weekends, so book or come early.

My favourite spot is on the deck at the Boathouse,

boathouse balmoral beach

boathouse balmoral beach

coffee boathouse

At La Repubblica, you can also enjoy sitting outside in the sun,

At the Bathers’ Pavilion (where Mayumi used to work), you can choose between the kiosk (take away), the café and the fine dining restaurant. We tried her delicious Paris-Brest at the Café with Céline (Clyne) and I had my last meal there with all my girlfriends. Mayumi had spoiled us with a great selection of desserts!

balmoral beach bathers



Time for baking

Classic lamingtons – recipe by Donna Hay

I had always enjoyed the already made lamingtons with tea or coffee at coffee shops. Even in London, my local was serving some (the owner is Australian, which explains why…). So I had to make some myself!

When I first did lamingtons with my friend Catherine it was a total disaster as they ended up too flat: of course we did not whisk the eggs long enough. The second trial was much better!


Prep time: 20 min / Cooking time: 25 min / Resting time: overnight + 1 h


1 ⅓ cups (200g) plain flour
½ tsp. baking powder
8 eggs
1 cup (220g) sugar
100g unsalted butter, melted + 75g extra
3 cups (450g) icing (confectionner’s) sugar, sifted
¾ cup (90g) cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
¼ cup (60ml) milk
Desiccated coconut, to coat


1- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Sift the flour and baking powder three times. Set aside. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes or until thick, pale and tripled in volume. Sift the flour over the egg and sugar mixture and gently fold through using a spoon. Fold through the melted butter.


2- Grease 2 x 20cm square tins and line the bases with non-stick baking paper. Divide the mixture into tins and bake for 25 minutes or until the cakes are springy to touch and come away from the sides of the tins. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cut the sponges into 6cm squares.


3- Mix together the icing sugar, cocoa, water, milk and extra butter in a large bowl. Place the coconut in another bowl. Roll the sponge squares in the icing and then in the desiccated coconut. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and refrigerate until set. Makes about 18.

Note: you can bake the sponge cakes the day before.

mosman and view

View over Balmoral Beach and North Head in the distance

mosman and view

Our street with the ocean in the distance

If you want to read further on Balmoral, check this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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  • Reply Mayumi February 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    A la la!!! I really miss you Sandrine! And all photos of you are memorable. I remeber the day you woke up and came down to my work place and had coffee and taking photos from balcony. Every moment we spent were delightful. I am very lucky to meet you and will be friend for life for sure!! I am fan of your style and photos!! On se vois a bientot..En France? Au Japan ? En Australia?

    • Reply Sandrine February 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Yes that morning was special!! thank you for all your kind words and of course we’ll see each other again soon somewhere!! xx

  • Reply Jen February 4, 2017 at 3:12 am

    We miss meeting you down the beach Sandrine! … and we also miss Mayumi’s “leftovers” …!! love your photos, and can’t wait to try your lamingtons recipe when it cools down enough to bake again .. I haven’t made lamingtons since I taught an Australian culture class at Alex’s preschool … 20 preschoolers having a turn of the electric mixer – the teachers almost fainted in fright. But the eggs were well and truly beaten!

    • Reply Sandrine February 14, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks Jen! I did not invent anything though (it’s Donna Hay’s recipe). If you have a better one do tell me! I can imagine the scene!! Hope the weather has cooled down by now…xx

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