Cooking

Cheese, Ingredients & produce

The top 10 Australian cheeses

Billy the goat cheese This is a guest post by Laurie Gutteridge. He runs the Taste Cheese website and blog and the splendid cheese room at Innocent Bystander in the Yarra Valley. You can also follow him on Twitter as taste_cheese. (If you have something on value to say I’m open to guest postings – send an email. Ed) My criteria when looking for a cheese? It starts with the understanding that a holistic view encompassing everything from the farming […]

Butter, Ingredients & produce

The Butter Factor

Butter’s come a long way since Marlon Brando first used it as a lubricant – just as cheese has come a long way since it was imported into Australia in tins. We now have our first legally made unpasteurized cheese – known as C2 – available from Bruny Island Cheese. And for the first time the Australian Cheese Awards have recognised a really decent local cheese – Jindi Old Telegraph Road. The long slow march of the cheesemakers is now […]

French, Japanese, Melbourne, Molecular cooking, Restaurants

Heirloom – one foam too far

Heirloom looks great but the food needs to be simpler. The best French chefs are Japanese nowadays, they say. But they aren’t French they are Japanese. They are just cooking French-style with the addition of Japanese ingredients. Meanwhile, the best French chefs are now open in Japan. They rock. Or at least Michel Bras does, the man who is one of the inspirations for local, sustainable super-natural cuisine several decades before Noma had even been dreamt of. And now this […]

Cooking, fish, Ingredients & produce

Simply garfish

These garfish, with their long beak-like noses are stunning glistening, shiny fish. There aren’t the cheapest in the markets but at under $17 a kilo right now they aren’t the most expensive fish either. The white meat is delicate and the best way to cook them is to keep it simple. Here we rolled them in seasoned flour and pan fried them. That’s all. And they were served with a squeeze of lemon, the new season’s asparagus, herbed butter and […]

Baking, cafe, Fitzroy North, Melbourne

Canelés: the next big thing?

Canelés: the new thing? Once it was donuts for me. Then a rainbow cornucopia of macarons. Now it’s Canelés, this particular one from Dench Bakers in North Fitzroy. To me they have the look of a barnacle or some such other marine creature that you have to chisel off a rock. But they are in fact gorgeous soft brioche-like confections soaked in custard and caramelized on the outside. They are a small snack but big enough for your partner to […]

Cooking, olives

The humble olive: how to cure your own

Three years ago I went on a boozy winery tour with a busload of artist mates. Somehow along the way I managed not only to buy two small olive trees, but also two magnificent French oak wine barrels to plant them in. Once I had persuaded the bus driver to let me manoeuvre the barrels onboard, I also had to convince the other passengers to help me load them off and back on at every winery so we could exit […]

truffles

First truffle of the season

It was an urgent call to action the other Friday from Prahran Market’s Twitter stream: “Stop press! Black WA truffles in an hour ago! These were in the ground this time yesterday! Damian puke (sic) mushrooms” Pretty soon I was on the tram from South Melbourne to pick up the car in St Kilda. The tram terminating at Mart 130, I marched across the Albert Park and was drenched for the first time that day to pay $60 for 15 […]

Ingredients & produce

Tomato season means it’s time to make passata

There’s a rumour that Melbourne hospitals lay on extra staff in the Emergency Department at this time of year. Yes, it’s tomato season and given our vast migrant population, there will invariably be a few home-bottling and canning disasters. Every Italian family will be firing up boiling vats of tomatoes in the backyard, and making a day of it. Think of Looking for Alibrandi. Young and old they’ll all be there; along with food, wine, music and arguing, making the perfect […]

fish, Ingredients & produce

Vietnamese BBQ makes a perfect perch

There’s a bad joke among old skool strawberry nosed newspaper sub editors when training newbies. “Fresh fish sold here” is the sign above the fish shop. “Fresh” can be removed because of course it’s fresh. “Here” because that’s obvious. It’s a shop, so lose the “sold”. And the “fish” because you can smell it a mile away. It’s a lesson in brevity that I’m ignoring because I can. This particular fish I didn’t smell,or even see coming. I didn’t even […]