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Exports, The Australian, Writing portfolio

The downside of taking the China option

Kerrie Richards says quality and specifications aren’t up to scratch FACING a strong dollar and the prospect of increased input costs from the federal government’s proposed carbon tax, the big concern for many local manufacturers is the threat of low-cost competition from China. But as Queensland manufacturer Merino Country has found, China has as many disadvantages as advantages for many Australian manufacturers of clothing. Kerrie Richards, managing director and owner of the merino clothing manufacturer, says the company is pinning […]

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Kicking Indian food clichés

What’s your favourite Indian dish? Chicken tikka masala? Rogan josh? Naan bread? Indian restaurants have huge menus full of these and other popular dishes from the north of the country, but most ignore the delightful vegetarian spiced food from the south, and the wondrous array of fish dishes from a country with 6,100km of coastline on the mainland alone. By moving away from the staples of the north, Atul Kochhar has changed the way Indian food is perceived. In 2001, […]

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The wonder of Arzak

Restaurants are fickle things with short life spans. Even the most successful often close at their peak. But, in this world, Arzak Restaurant in Spain’s San Sebastián has been a constant since it was established in 1897. And what is more remarkable is that, four generations later, it is still in the Arzak family’s hands and has held a prestigious three Michelin stars since 1989. Today, the latest generation of Arzaks in the kitchen is Elena, who works in tandem […]

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Bompas and Parr’s art of jelly

Meet the jellymongers, Sam Bompas and Harry Parr. The old Eton College pals have taken the UK party scene by storm with their flamboyant jellies, bow ties and jelly-stained trousers. Whether it’s flooding the ground floor of a stately home to make a giant cocktail navigable only by boat, or inspiring the world’s top architects to make jelly, the jellymongers recently also enchanted Melbourne with their brightly coloured, often alcoholic, and very wobbly creations. They whipped up funeral jellies for […]

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Defining Irish fare

It’s butter. Rich creamy butter, the product of Ireland’s rich emerald green pastures, that excites Rachel Allen, the woman who put Irish cooking back on the map, and who recently visited Australia as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. “I always come back to dairy.” says the TV chef, cookbook author and champion of local artisan produce. “I love our butter. I love our cream.” Then there’s the seasonal foods. “That meal, the last of asparagus, the first […]

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The foodies’ guide to Chinese New Year

Just as Christmas is the most important festival on the Western calendar, Chinese New Year is the most important on the Chinese one. It’s about the family coming together to feast on New Year Eve, honour their ancestors and wish for prosperity. Unlike the Western Christmas and New Year, it doesn’t fall on a set day, but follows the lunar calendar; the first day being the new moon, when the moon still isn’t visible, and ending on the 15th day […]

Art, In The Black, Writing portfolio

Art for art’s sake

There’s a strange thing about art. Try to make money from it and you probably won’t. But start slowly, steer clear of the word “investment” and the works you buy could appreciate. That’s the message from collectors great and small, and from specialists such as art dealer and author Michael Reid. “In my 10 years of writing for the business section of The Australian I never mentioned the ‘i’ word once,” says Reid, author of How to Buy & Sell […]

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Robbie Burns Day

There are many jokes about the Scots, kilts and Robbie Burns Night. Some say Burns Night, a tradition which began in the early 1800s, is an excuse to have a piss up and dress up in kilts. But, nowadays, it’s really about poetry (and an excuse to throw on a kilt) and a country’s romance for the poet Robbie – or Rabbie – Burns who was born on the January 25, 1759 and died, prematurely, aged just 37 following dental […]

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The whole beast

While the default Christmas dinner option for many people is a golden-brown roast turkey, it is perhaps a strange dish to have imprinted on the national psyche. Now, cooks are escaping the mid-summer kitchen heat and taking to the outdoors, ramping up the traditional barbecue by roasting whole lambs, pigs and goats, which are the ideal size for the backyard. They provide a real “wow” factor, being roasted on the spit and presented whole on the table. Twitter food adventurer […]

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A vegetarian summer

Summer marks barbecue season in Australia. But it’s a tough one for vegetarians and vegans who’d do anything to avoid a barbecue soaked with animal fat, and who’d prefer tasty food over another nut roast. Melbourne-based naturopath Gill Stannard says there is a dearth of Christmas vegetarian recipes on the internet – most are just plain stodgy or try to mimic northern hemisphere winter recipes. What Stannard looks forward to eating is really fresh, seasonal organic vegetables with flavoursome young […]