A Food & Travel Blog

On Eating Meat Book Review – and Fire and Flavour from Adelaide’s Chef Nu

19/07/2019 | By

I check out two new books this week – Matthew Evans’ confronting, but inspiring ‘On Eating Meat’, and the heartwarming collection of family-inspired recipes in from chef Nu Suandokmai in ‘Fire and Flavour’.

 On Eating Meat by Matthew Evans

Australian chef, farmer and food critic Matthew Evans, of Fat Pig Farm, has a new book out and it’s going to ruffle some feathers. 

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Cologne Cathedral, Germany

16/11/2015 | By

Cologne Cathedral – a spectacular example of Gothic architecture. 

Cologne Cathedral - really big

Cologne Cathedral – huge.

For a very lapsed Catholic, I seem to spend a lot of time in churches when I travel.

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Book Review – Backyard Bees – A Guide for the Beginner Beekeeper

25/07/2014 | By

I’m not going to beat about the bush with this review of “Backyard Bees – A Guide for the Beginner Beekeeper” by Doug Purdie (Murdoch Books, 2014) – I absolutely love this gorgeous, comprehensive and timely book about backyard beekeeping.

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Cookbook Review – delicious. Spice, Slow & Indulge

02/05/2014 | By

These three little gems – the delicious. Spice, Slow and Indulge collection from ABC Books – arrived in my letter box just before Easter, in the same week as I received the brilliant KitchenAid Pasta Roller Set. The planets aligned, my cooking mojo was rising and the husband was away at the Byron Bay Blues Fest, leaving me with plenty of spare time, so both the books and the pasta rollers got a thorough workout!

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Cookbook Review – Serge Dansereau’s “Seasonal Kitchen”

18/10/2013 | By

"Seasonal Kitchen" Serge Dansereau

I’ve been a fan of Serge Dansereau’s ever since I ate at his iconic Sydney restaurant, The Bather’s Pavillion, about ten years ago and was struck by the freshness and vibrancy of his food. A Canadian by birth and now an Australian citizen who has been a leader on our culinary scene for over 30 years, Serge has been called ‘the father of the fresh food movement’.  His long-held conviction that great food needs quality ingredients led him to be one of our first chefs to seek out and encourage the production of new and emerging varieties of fresh produce, blazing the trail for all those who value the diverse, high-quality, seasonal produce that is found so much more easily today.

Serge’s “Seasonal Kitchen” is his most recent book and is another lovely hard-backed edition from ABC Books and Harper Collins Australia. It features beautiful images from William Meppem (who has worked on several of Dansereau’s previous books) and focuses on the seasonal Australian produce which inspires him, with recipes grounded in his classical cooking techniques, but which embrace the wider world. Under the influence of the cuisines of China, India, Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia Serge shows us how to take a modern-day dish and turn it from a good recipe to a great one, no matter the season. Following a tried-and-true format, Serge takes us through each of the seasons in turn, highlighting the best produce of each and using his skills to help us make the most of them. He does this course by course, including a selection of the necessary basics and his chef’s notes at the end of the book.

Serge Dansereau's Roasted Salmon with Saba, from "Seasonal Kitchen"

The techniques he uses are well within the reach of even a basic cook, and with seasonal stunners such as artichoke & steamed lettuce with thyme and anchovy butter sauce for spring, apricot and ricotta lemon slice for summer, mushroom soup with ricotta and sorrel dumplings for autumn and roast pork shoulder with fennel and cumquat and ginger sauce for winter, there’s no reason why any of us can’t be wowing everyone who sits down at our table all year round. I think what I love best about this book is that Serge takes a few simple, fresh ingredients which we can all find relatively easily and, with a little imagination and skill, turns them into a sophisticated dish that anyone can be proud of.

The recipe I’ve chosen to share with you is a prime example of just that principle – fresh, quality ingredients, simply, but thoughtfully prepared to show them off to their best advantage. We had this roast salmon with green beans, pancetta and saba for our family dinner last night, but I’d be just as happy to offer this to dinner guests. Don’t be put off if you can’t get hold of saba – just substitute vincotto or a very good balsamic reduction. As you can see from my photo, I added some fresh asparagus I bought from the farmers market, so don’t be afraid to play with this a bit.

Roast Salmon with Green Beans, Pancetta & Saba

Saba is similar to vincotto or balsamic vinegar, which are both appropriate substitutions.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Serge Dansereau - from his new book "Seasonal Kitchen"

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch shallots spring onions
  • 4 x 180 gm 6 oz. salmon fillets, skin off
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 400 gms 14 oz. green beans, blanched
  • 1/4 cup saba
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Trim the spring onions, removing roots & green leaves, leaving about 8 cm of white part.
  • Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  • Pat fish dry with paper towel. Lay 2 strips pancetta side by side & place salmon on pancetta. Fold one end of the strips of pancetta over the fish, then roll the fish over to complete the portion. The pancetta folds should be on the underside of the fish.
  • Heat half the olive oil over a medium heat in large frying pan. Place the fish, service side down, in the pan, pressing to ensure complete contact with the pan. Cook for 4 minutes, before turning carefully and cooking for another 2 minutes.
  • Remove the fish from the pan, place on an oven tray and put into the oven for 4-5 minutes.
  • Fry the spring onions in the remaining oil until golden, add beans and saute for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the beans and place onto 4 plates, top with the salmon and drizzle with the saba.

 

 

 

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Cookbook review & a Lime Tart from Divine Vegan Desserts

19/03/2013 | By

Wickedly indulgent, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, decadent – these are not words that I usually associate with vegan food.  The words wholesome, nutritious and healthy are more likely to spring to my mind in association with this particular dietary regime – and don’t the latter descriptors actually preclude the former?  Read on, dear friend, because I might just have been wrong!   To be perfectly honest, I have always found the concept of veganism (or any restrictive form of diet) a little confronting – cutting myself off from entire food groups is not something that this greedy girl could ever contemplate.  So when a copy of Wakefield PressDivine Vegan Desserts” found it’s way into my inbox for reviewing I was a little unsure how to approach it.

Well, it turned out that was simple.  It seems that finishing off a meal with a sweet treat is not out of the reach of those who are endeavouring to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle (and even those who aren’t) and after a quick flick through these lavishly illustrated recipes I was making a list of what I would make first!  Many will be relieved to know that vegans don’t proscribe chocolate and the recipes, all dairy and egg-free, with many gluten free, low sugar and nut-free choices, are enough to lift the spirits of any dessert-lover and go a long way towards redeeming the reputation of the dessert course.

Apparently, most vegan recipe books are from overseas and contain ingredients which can be difficult to source here in Australia.  Author Lisa Fabry avoids the use of these and explains clearly and simply how to make brilliant dairy free desserts with ingredients many of us will already have on hand – or at least be able to source easily.  Fabry originates from London, but now lives in Adelaide indulging her two great passions – food and yoga. She shares her own dishes, plus a selection of vegan desserts being created by chefs in cafes, restaurants and cooking classes from around the world.

The book begins with a guide to the key ingredients in vegan baking, some baking tips and how to substitute natural colours for artificial in your cooking.  It is divided up into chapters covering baking, tarts, pies, puddings, fruit dishes, ice creams and sorbets, custards and creamy desserts and small treats, with each dish beautifully photographed.  The range of desserts is extensive and covers everything from wickedly indulgent Double Fudge Pecan Brownies, to decadent melt-in-your-mouth Banoffi Tarts and a traditional creamy, custardy trifle.  I challenge anyone to resist these dishes – they look, er, divine!

I road tested a couple of the recipes – the Las Vegan Sour Cherry Muffins and (in a diversion from my usually predictable preference for chocolate) the refreshing Lime Tart.  The muffins rose perfectly and were deliciously moist and sticky, without being too sweet, but the Lime Tart was the absolute winner.  It was so quick to make, with at-hand ingredients and has a delicious zesty zing to it.  I’d happily serve it to anyone as a dinner party dessert – even those who are cynical of raw foods.  This would certainly change their minds.

I can’t say this book would convert me – I still find veganism far too restrictive and just a little confusing – but it certainly is proof that a vegan diet can have plenty of indulgence in it.  Divine Vegan Desserts is perfect for those who are interested in pursuing a healthier diet, but reluctant to give up on their sweet tooth.

Lime Tart

A gorgeous, summery, zesty, dessert tart that comes together quickly and will please everyone.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert, raw, vegan
Author: From Lisa Fabry"s Divine Vegan Desserts

Ingredients

  • Base
  • 1 cup 140 gms brazil nuts
  • 1/2 cup 50 gms dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup 70 gms medjool dates, chopped
  • Filling
  • 2/3 cup 90 gms raw cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 1 medium avocado about 120gm flesh
  • pinch of salt
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup 80 mls agave nectar
  • 1 tsp lime zest plus extra for garnish
  • 2/3 cup 160 mls lime juice or lime/lemon combined
  • 1/3 cup 80 mls coconut oil

Instructions

  • Grease 4 individual tartlet pans or one 23 cm fluted pan.
  • For the base, place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until you can pinch the mixture together and it sticks. Press firmly into the pan and refridgerate for at least one hour.
  • For the filling blend all the ingredients, except the lime juice and coconut oil, in a food processor until very smooth and creamy.
  • Melt the coconut oil.
  • Gradually pour the lime juice and then the coconut oil into the processor while the motor is still running.
  • Pour over the crust and refridgerate for at least 3 hours, or place in the freezer for 1 hour.

 

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