Monthly Archives: January 2011

Hormone-free beef: what’s the catch?

black angus beef calves

Black angus calves (

It has been difficult not to miss Coles’ latest marketing bonanza: no added hormones in its beef. Since January 1 all Coles fresh beef has been free of hormone growth promotants (HGPs) – an Australian supermarket first, no less!  But what does this really mean? Continue reading


Filed under Food Issues

Laos: a culinary trail

Night market Luang Prabang Laos

Night market, Luang Prabang, Laos

If there is a national pastime in Laos it’s snacking, so this south-east Asian hideaway is the perfect destination for those with an appetite for gastronomic adventure. Our trip was defined as much by the local dishes we devoured as it was by the places we explored and the culture we tapped into. Here are  my top ten gastronomic memories of Laos. Continue reading


Filed under Gastronomic Travels

Must Eat

Must Eat by Russell Blaikie

Must Eat by Russell Blaikie

I used to be an impulsive cookbook purchaser. I’d see one that looked good, have a quick flick through, and buy it if a couple of the recipes looked enticing. But lack of room on the bookshelf, laundry bench, and an entire kitchen cupboard put an end to such reckless spending.

I vowed never to buy another recipe book on a whim. The new rule was that I had to wait, research the book, read reviews, look at it – longingly – at least half a dozen times, after which I could splurge if I still felt the urge – and more often than not, I didn’t.

The strategy was working well until I discovered Must Wine Bar in the Margaret River, the regional wine bar and bistro belonging to renowned West Australian chef Russell Blaikie. Continue reading

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Filed under Book Reviews

A Must for dinner in Margaret River

Must wine bar Margaret River

Must wine bar, Margaret River

Must bistro and wine bar has got a captive audience at Margaret River. The town hosts two large, boisterous pubs, several providores, a couple of restaurants and cafes, and a fudge factory on the main drag, but little to write home about when it comes to small, stylish dining options with a boutique bistro feel.

The local movers and groovers must have popped Champagne corks when Must Margaret River filled the void in the West Australian wine region two years ago.

Must is the sibling of the decade-old hotspot of the same name but even bigger fame in Highgate, Perth, and it has certainly cornered the market – there’s nothing else this suave and sophisticated within spitting distance of Margaret River’s swanky wineries. Continue reading

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