January: a month in food

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January was a month of shorts and summer tops, barefootedness and cold beers, and an ever-advancing beer o’clock. I kicked off the month reading White Truffles in Winter by N.M.Kelby and ended it with a cracker of an Australia Day feast with friends in our sun-filled back garden.

In between there was lots of cooking — Thai and Indian dishes in particular, which seemed in keeping with the hot, dry, parched Sydney summer.  Continue reading

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Filed under Reflections, The Veggie Patch

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

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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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Filed under Book Reviews, Chefs, Cuisines

An Australia Day tribute to food-related Aussie-isms

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Morno — it’s my all-time favourite Aussie-ism and just so happens to be food-related. It’s the abbreviation of morning tea, armed with the suffix ‘o’ — which is an endearing Aussie trait. It’s often referred to in the plural —mornos — and is a word tossed about a lot in blue-collar industries, where workers down tools mid-morning to refuel. I love the word. It’s just so adorably Aussie, as is the practice of shortening a word then adding the suffix  ‘ie’ — think veggie (vegetable), cozzie (swimming costume), sickie (day off work, sick). Sometimes the ‘o’ and ‘ie’ are interchangeable — think  rellie/rello (relative).

As an Australian who grew up in England and returned to Oz in early adulthood, I find Aussie-isms — Australian slang or colloquial expressions — particularly beguiling. I especially love food-related ones. Here’s a few. Continue reading

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A retro food fix: crumbed oysters

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It’s a little passé, but i love crumbed oysters. I know that hardcore oyster aficionados will roll their eyes with disdain. I know also that oysters eaten in the nude (the mollusc that is, not the eater), with just a splash of lemon, are a delicacy (I love them that way, too). But at the moment i’m going through a crumbed oyster phase — so don’t try to talk me out of it.

I take the pearly bodies, dust them with flour, dunk them in egg wash, douse them with breadcrumbs — the big, ‘Panko’, Japanese-style crumb — then dip them, fleetingly, into a pan of molten oil. It should take a matter of seconds for them to metamorphose to light, golden brown. Continue reading

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Filed under Produce, Recipes

An Amritsari food safari with Anjum Anand

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Surjit Singh, of Surjit’s Food Plaza, in Amritsa, India (Photo: Aparna Jayakumar)

Surjit Singh likes bold colours. From his deep-red turban to the purple wall in the kitchen of his restaurant in Amritsa, capital of the Indian state of Punjab, colours are an extension of his exuberant character.

When a photographer from our group went into the tiny kitchen – on display behind glass at the back of the restaurant – Singh was there in a flash.

His impromptu photo shoot performance included plunging metre-long skewers of chicken into the tandoor oven, pulling out others loaded with charred meat, shoving his subordinates out of the camera shots, smiling and working the shoot like a supermodel.

But his unstained shirt told the real story: Singh doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen. Not any more. Read the full article here.

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Filed under Chefs, Cooking classes, workshops, masterclasses, Cuisines, Gastronomic Travels