On the days before Christmas…

A successful Christmas meal is dependent on careful timing, and its preparation is an important part of the Christmas day ritual. The reason why my family leave our feast until later in the day is so we have time to set the table, prepare and cook the turkey, vegetables and make the the creme anglaise. … Continue reading

Are you ready for Christmas?

I’ve hung the wreath on the door, taken the tall gold angels out of the cupboard and placed them in the hallway. Today I’ll take down the boxes filled with Christmas decorations and brush off the dust.  Guaranteed, there’ll be lots of sneezing. So begins another Christmas.  My mother actually prepares for Christmas all year … Continue reading

Berried Treasures

The day I fell off a donkey and into some blackberry bushes is one I shan’t forget, nor recommend. Just what  those blackberry bushes were doing right in the middle of a grassy paddock, I don’t know. When the settlers introduced the blackberry to Australia, little did they realise it would be declared a noxious … Continue reading

Stoned on Fruit

Of all the stone fruits, the peach is the one I love most.  The others – nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries, come a close second, though, because I am a devoted fan of all stone fruits. I think they’re best eaten fresh. And, as I mention in The Cook’s Garden, they also make lovely gifts, … Continue reading

Do Mangoes like poetry?

In my latest book, The Cook’s Garden, there’s a poem by Richard Tipping which goes like this: mangoes are not cigarettes mangoes are fleshy sinful passionate fruits mangoes are hungry to be sucked mangoes are glad to be stuck in the teeth mangoes like slush & kissing mangoes are not cigarettes mangoes are idiosyncratic seasonal … Continue reading

Just Mad About Jamie

It’s 6pm and already a long queue has formed outside Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Pitt Street, Sydney CBD. City workers, eager to get home,thread their way through the crowd. Despite initial concerns that Aussies wouldn’t want to queue, they’ve been happy to do so ever since it opened a few weeks ago.  A long wooden … Continue reading

The Family Meal with Ferran Adria

When I was invited to the launch of Ferran Adria’s new cookbook a few weeks ago, I expected to find something magnificent, though not a cookbook I would ever take into the kitchen and cook from. Adria, after all, is the former chef and driving force behind El Bulli in north-east Spain, often proclaimed the … Continue reading

Milton-Ulladulla Harbourfeast

THE Milton-Ulladulla region will celebrate the return of its annual food and wine festival this weekend. Harbourfeast will kick off with a festival dinner at Cupitt’s Winery on Friday, November 4 and will continue the following day (Saturday, November 5) at the Ulladulla Civic Centre, showcasing the very best the Southern Shoalhaven has to offer … Continue reading

Hallowe’en: it’s not quite what you think

Last week, a fellow twitterer sent me this message:  “Couldn’t we pass on the Halloween pumpkin carving? Flooded with enough US culture already!” He was referring to a query of mine on the Mini Chef Facebook page: “Have you ordered your Halloween pumpkin yet (in time to practise your carving skills)?” I had to remind … Continue reading