Category Archives: Book Reviews

Favourite food fiction

The_Grass_Harp_Turman_Capote_food_fiction

The Grass Harp by Truman Capote

I was one of those bookworm kind of kids who used to read into the night with a torch under the bed covers, completing entire books by 4am, them dreaming myself into them in for the last remaining hours of sleep. As my gastronomic interests flourished so too did my interest in food fiction. I now have a vast library of books that are thematically based on food: from novels, to memoirs, and manifestos that expose the ugly inner workings of factory farming, hierarchical restaurant kitchens, and multinational monopolies that have hijacked the world’s food basket for commercial gain. But it’s food fiction that gets me every time.

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Chin Chin: The Book — for high voltage Thai food lovers

Chin_chin_cookbook

To all the Thai food enthusiasts out there who like to precede the eating of this dynamite cuisine with the paste pounding, spice grinding and hours of preparation that it generally requires: hold onto your knickers because here’s a cookbook that is potentially going to blow them right off.  Continue reading

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From India: a cookbook worth coveting

From_India_Kumar_Mahadevan

With its beautiful blue, intricately designed, padded cover, From India: Food, Family & Tradition by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan is a cookbook worth coveting.

I’m a big fan of the Mahadevan’s work. We’ve visited their first restaurant, Abhi’s in the Sydney suburb of Concord, for a number of years. We’ve taken friends there, celebrated birthdays there, consumed festival banquets there, and it’s fair to say we’ve never been disappointed by a meal.  We’ve dined at its higher-end sibling, Aki’s, and I’ve ripped Kumar’s recipes out of newspapers, so it’s about time that they pulled their finger out and published a cookbook! Continue reading

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Nino Zoccali’s sweet pea ravioli with gorgonzola cream and burnt butter

Nino_Zoccali_Sweet_pea_ravioli_ gorgonzola_cream_burnt_butter_Pasta_Artigiana

Nino Zoccali’s sweet pea ravioli with gorgonzola cream & burnt butter

A platter of large, square ravioli on a table of seven as part a shared meal is dangerous business, particularly if it’s Nino Zoccali’s ravioli. Zoccali’s sweet pea ravioli with gorgonzola cream and burnt butter was part of a shared Italian feast at the Crave Sydney International Food Festival gala dinner. We each got one piece of ravioli: a silken pocket that ebbed on the tongue, secreting the subtlest hint of fresh pea that was coddled in a just rich enough gorgonzola cream sauce. Smack your lips, and it was gone. The platter with two remaining squares sat on the table between myself and my neighbour. With no pretence of table etiquette — we couldn’t offer them around, what if they were accepted? —  we each went in for one of the two remaining parcels.  Blink your eye, and they were gone. Continue reading

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A toast to the man who invented Vegemite

The_ Man_Who_Invented_Vegemite_Cyril_Callister

“More jars of Vegemite are sold each year than there are men, women and children in the entire country. But most would struggle to name the man who invented it.”

Jamie Callister, the author of The Man who Invented Vegemite, has a point. Many Australians remember the advertising slogan “happy little Vegemite” and the iconic radio jingle that first played in 1954. They can hum along to the Men at Work hit song of 1982, Down Under, with its reference to a Vegemite sandwich. They can pick out the bright yellow lid and labelling of the black, sticky spread from the far end of a supermarket aisle, and are likely to know it’s rich in vitamin B.
But unlike Vegemite itself, Cyril Percy Callister – a humble chemist from country Victoria who created the spread – isn’t a household name. Read the full article here.

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