Category: Cooking

Chocolate, East Brunswick, Lygon St, Melbourne

M. Truffe goes Willy Wonkers

M. Truffe: now open at 351 Lygon St (in addition to Smith St, Collingwood) It’s a dream come true, Thibault Fregoni aka Monsieur Truffe tells me. It’s the first day his new cafe and chocolate factory (351 Lygon St, near Blythe St, behind a red door but without any signage yet) is open and he is excitedly showing us his new toys. When I say factory I should explain. To date most people in Australia are chocolate melters, including M. […]

Chocolate, coffee, Fair trade, Ingredients & produce, Tea

Q: Does Fairtrade matter in Australia?

A: It didn’t used to but increasing in Australia we are buying into the idea of Fairtrade, as these charts show. This week Harriet Lamb director of the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK is visiting Australia, a leader in certification of the ethical sourcing of products. The fact is that Europe has been leading the world in sourcing Fairtrade goods for some 18 years while in Australia in the past five or six years we have only come to buy […]

Cooking, Ingredients & produce, Wine

Gambling with padrons

Padron peppers: are you game? A box arrived in the post, a big one, packed with padron peppers. They were plump, bright green ones, picked the day before by Garry Crittendon, the pioneering winemaker on the Mornington Penisula, who first planted vines there in 1982 at the age of 28. These padrons were far larger and more vibrant in color than any I’ve seen for sale in some of the better food stores and in Melbourne’s markets. They looked and […]

Books, Molecular cooking

Modernist Cuisine and how to buy cookbooks

There are plenty of reasons to buy Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. The trouble is that all Australian retailers rip us off so I would, when it becomes available, buy it online If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is the brainchild of former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold who holed himself up in a 1670 sq m warehouse with assorted chefs, geeks, scientists, cheffy geeks and food journalists to create the definitive six volume […]

Cooking, Preserving

Last of the summer jam

It’s late in the season and the blackberries are almost over. I love this time of year. It’s a time for blackberry and apple pie. And jam making, a wonderful way to preserve any fruit. We used to stomp through blackberry bushes making prickly mazes, hooking far flung fruit with walking sticks collected from dead relatives. We’d return home grazed, pricked and with purple fingers and lips from scoffing the sweet fruit. Jam making should be simple – for most […]

Baking, Easter, Melbourne

The great Easter bun hunt

I love this time of the year because I can indulge in hot cross buns. I love their spiceness combined with the sweetness of raisins on soft buns. Naturally, things have come a long way since I first ate them as a kid toasted, spread with a thick chunk of butter (we always at Lurpak slightly salted in those days) with home made blackberry jam and indoctrinated by Catholic brothers. Nowadays there are so many variations from chocolate chip to […]

Crown Casino, fish, Fish restaurants, Melbourne

The Atlantic storms into Crown with Cooke

Through the fishnet, Southbank at sunset. For a country girt by sea, how few really great fish restaurants are there in Australia, let alone Melbourne? Come to think of it how few fish restaurants are there at all, beyond fish and chip shops? Bacash in South Yarra is famous for fish. As is Esposito in Carlton, it’s baby sister St Peter’s and the Albert Park Hotel and all are worth the detour. Donovan Cooke barking orders at the pass. Then […]

Cooking

Simple beetroot, carrot and goats cheese salad

A salad fit for @tammois’ pagan house burning tonight. One of the secrets of good cooking is to know how to pack flavour into a dish. In the bad old days of my childhood the school dinner lady boiled the crap out of beetroot and doused it in some kind of industrial vinegar. Needless to say I hated this particular root vegetable. But now I’ve come to love it. First, I don’t cook it but roast the beet, which concentrates […]

Albert Park, Butter, Melbourne, Restaurants

The Point: old vs new

Old: Poached egg, white polenta and black truffle It’s a nice idea. Pit the old school talent of your executive chef versus the new technique-led talent of a young chef. Tonight it was at The Point pitting the old school butter soaked technique of executive chef Scott Pickett versus Ryan Flaherty who has worked at Arzak, El Bulli, The Fat Duck and a few other avante garde style restaurants. New: 63c egg, blackened corn and jamon Winner: Old: Poached egg, […]