Local chef celebrates festive season with zest

December 11, 2023 BY

Grab a spoon: Naomi Dawson’s go-to Christmas dessert is a mini pavlova with her own homemade lemon curd and summer fruit. Photo: SUPPLIED

RUN by two local friends, simple and delicious food is the core philosophy of Strathfieldsaye eatery Forage.

Naomi Dawson and business partner Tim Pitson created the cafe to be a haven of sustainable food in their community.

“We like to offer good old hospitality,” Dawson said. “Our chef’s will come out to serve the customers and the front of house will come into the kitchen, so we have a really good connection with the customer.”

Dawson and the team at Forage work with the seasons and change the menu to reflect what ingredients are available at the time, some of which come from her own 22-acre property.

“We bring in what we can and show everyone and try and make everyone eat as seasonally as they can,” she said.

For Dawson, the satisfaction of cooking comes from working with simple ingredients to create something delicious and said she enjoys the challenge of using fresh produce her regulars bring in.

“At the minute we’re getting a lot of rhubarb and the last of the lemons and we’ll just swap it for a jar or lemon curd or some cakes,” she said.

“People bring us stuff and they feel like they’re doing something good because it would just go to waste, and so we’ll just put a rhubarb and apple crumble porridge on.”

With the festive season upon us, Dawson is getting ready to make her baby pavlovas, a tradition that she’s grown into over the past 10 years living in Australia.

“I’ll do like a meringue with our lemon curd, poached peaches, strawberries, ice cream,” she said. “So it’s a little bit naughty but people don’t mind that around Christmas.”

The homemade lemon curd is the star of recipe, and Dawson recommends keeping some on hand to eat over ice cream or out of the jar with a spoon.

“It’s so good, I remember growing up as a kid just having it on toast, I mean it’s not the best thing but it’s delicious,” she said.

Dawson’s lemon curd can be bought from Forage at 917 Wellington Street in Strathfieldsaye, or try and make your own!


Forage lemon curd

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

220g sugar

1 tbsp lemon zest

½ cup lemon juice

150g butter, cold and diced


Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, zest, and juice in a saucepan.

Heat until the sugar dissolves.

Reduce to a low heat and add the butter a few cubes at a time whilst whisking continuously.

Once all butter has been added, keep whisking over a low heat until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Strain and then cover and leave to cool.


“I love this recipe because people always have an abundance of lemons on their trees that you can freeze the juice from and make this recipe all year round. It’s super versatile you can have it with pavlovas, ice-cream, fruit, on toast, in cakes or even just straight from the jar. It’s just a classic.”

-Naomi Dawson, Forage