Monthly Archives: October 2011

Indochine: exploring a culinary legacy


Luke Nguyen's Indochine

Move over Songs of Sapa. There’s a new cookbook on the bench –  Indochine. Baguettes and bánh mì: finding France in Vietnam – and it’s taken prime spot on the cookbook stand in all its emerald-green cover jacket glory. Continue reading


Filed under Book Reviews

Alpaca: from fluff ball to boutique meat


Millpaca _alpaca

Millpaca alpaca (courtesy Millpaca Farm)


Alpaca are best known for their cute looks and gossamer fine fleece, not their eco-friendly soft hooves and virtually fat-free flesh. But these latter traits have carved out a new market for the South American import: boutique meat. Continue reading


Filed under Produce

Where there’s a will (and lots of spinach) there’s a whey


We’ve been eating a lot of spinach lately. It’s growing like a weed in the veggie patch. The more I harvest, the more it grows. We’ve been eating a lot of ricotta too; they’re perfect bedfellows. So when I heard about a cheese making demonstration that would teach the intricacies of making ricotta, mozzarella and mascarpone, I booked myself a seat. I was spurred on by the $9.80 price tag on a single ball of buffalo mozzarella I’d bought at my local delicatessen a few days prior. It was an expensive topping on spinach and ricotta cannelloni (a Jamie Oliver recipe that’s totally worth a road test) and the thought of making both cheeses and growing my own spinach for the dish was a challenge I couldn’t pass up. Continue reading


Filed under Produce

Ethical meat eaters: be out and proud

Last Saturday I found myself at two extremes: sampling crispy pig’s ear, pig trotter croquettes, and blood sausage courtesy of Frank Camorra of Movida fame by day (at the Crave Sydney International Food Festival’s World Chef Showcase), and listening to Jonathan Safran Foer – author of Eating Animals – discuss the atrocities of factory farming and the ethics of eating meat by night (at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas).

So, how do i reconcile such conflicting behaviour? I pondered that on the way to Safran Foer’s sold-out event at the Sydney Opera House. Continue reading


Filed under Food Issues

Bilson: from bo-ho to culinary boffin


Insatiable by Tony Bilson

If gastronomy is the appreciation of good food and wine, Australia has no bigger gastronome than Tony Bilson. The 67-year old started at an early age. Raised by a family of hedonistic hard drinkers – even uncle Lionel the priest “drank good Scotch” – his family’s love of a good drink and fine restaurants “seeped into my fabric” he says in the opening chapter of his memoir Insatiable: My Life in the Kitchen. Continue reading


Filed under Book Reviews