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Beautiful and historic, the Rocks precinct is the perfect place for weekend strolling, gallery visits, market trawling and lazy lunching. Nestled between Sydney Cove and Walsh Bay, a walk in The Rocks affords some spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It’s a popular area for tourists and on market days it can be hard to navigate your way amongst streaming tourists, but well worth the effort if only to admire the sandstone beauty and historic charm of the area. A walk taken further afield to the backstreets will take you through some quaint looking alleyways and winding staircases, with more expansive views of the harbour the higher you climb. On this occasion, we walked all the way around to the Walsh Bay area, an urban industrial locality home to numerous performing arts venues, theatres, restaurants and other gentrification projects. At the inner core of this harbour strip between the historic Rocks and Walsh Bay area lies the infamous Sirius Building, a 1970s concrete apartment block built to house public tenants displaced during redevelopment projects of the 1960s and 1970s. Residents of this one and only high rise building in the Rocks will be safe to stay until 2030, when ownership transfers back to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. It will be interesting to see what comes of the building then. Other public housing properties remain in the area and many are marked with yellow ribbons in doors and windows, signifying opposition to redevelopment plans in nearby Millers Point and Barangaroo.

If you have the energy to walk up the hill to Sydney Observatory, you’ll be rewarded with some great views of the city and the harbour, not to mention the sky. Also, you will feel righteous enough to stop off on your way  back down at Le Renaissance French Patisserie for some delectable macarons and super-fine pastry treats.For lunch in the Rocks, my favourite spot is the MCA Cafe and Sculpture Terrace at the Museum of Contemporary Arts. With a seasonal menu, a stunning view of the harbour and contemporary art exhibits at your fingertips, you simply can’t go wrong.

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I’ve been doing some baking of my own this weekend for my sister’s birthday. This recipe for Chocolate Brownies is tried and true in our family. I added a little bit of extra dark chocolate this time around, but they are delicious with or without it.

Chocolate Brownies, Tried and True

150g butter

1 1/4 cups castor sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

3 eggs

1/2 cup plain white flour

100g dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsp pure icing sugar

Preheat oven to 160°C and grease and line a 23cm square baking tin. Melt the butter, sugar and cocoa together over a medium heat and the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl, then add in the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the plain flour, followed by the chocolate pieces. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely, then dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.

 

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