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, […]

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 […]


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 […]