Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Potent, irresistible and ever so smooth.  You might think I’m talking about one of the world’s legendary womanisers, and why not?  Indeed, the 18th century Casanova had a penchant for chocolate.  Apparently he consumed gallons of the liquid stuff and is alleged to have served it in much the same way that today’s playboys hand … Continue reading

On Becoming A Food Writer

“The words, Rogers! The words!” The news editor’s voice boomed across the wide open plan office. He stood up and ambled down the line of desks in the centre of the room, banging loudly on each desk with a rolled-up newspaper. A couple of the cadets sitting in front of me jumped nervously. George Williams … Continue reading

The Sensual Art of Nyonya Cuisine

I’ve come to talk to Carol SelvaRajah about her recently released food memoir, Dining with Dragons. SelvaRajah grew up surrounded by Nyonya cooking at her childhood home in Klang, Malaysia, and is an expert in this unique and elaborate cuisine. As I approach her home, a fragrant nutty smell beckons me inside and up the stairs. When … Continue reading

Apples of Love for Valentine’s Day

A tiny village in Valencia, Spain, hosts a tomato festival, La Tomatina, each year at the height of summer.  Actually it sounds to me more like a tomato war than a celebration of the most popular fruit vegetable in the world. At the last festival 30,000 people from around the world descended on the small … Continue reading

Kong Hee Fatt Choy!

I was running late for my appointment with Carol SelvaRajah, one of Australia’s leading exponents of Nonya and Malaysian cooking. When I arrived, she was on the phone to her brother in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Abel Arumugam. She opened the front door, waving me in, while continuing with the instructions for chicken rendang. “After you’ve … Continue reading

The Best Summer Birthday Cake Ever

It’s been a long hot summer Down Under. In fact it’s been the hottest month of January ever recorded. One night, a couple of weeks ago, was the warmest January night in Sydney ever (records for the city go back to 1858). And right in the middle of the month one of my grand-daughters turned … Continue reading

Endangered Cuisines: Yogyakarta’s Gudeg

Food is a wonderful vehicle for discovering a country and learning about history, culture, and the always-evolving relationship between the edible elements of the landscape and the development of local identities. As the Sumatran-born food and cookery writer Sri Owen points out in her informative book Indonesian Regional Food & Cookery, ‘To write about food is … Continue reading

Halloween

Halloween is looming. Mischief, witchcraft and magic are brewing.  The kids are carving out Jack O’Lanterns, dreaming up tricks for trick ‘n treating and donning black pointed hats and masks. Most of us today think of Halloween as an American custom, but did you know it’s actually the popular Scottish name for October 31st, the eve … Continue reading

Yogya Delights

It’s mid-morning by the time we leave the Sultan’s Palace in Yogjakarta and head out of town. Driving through the busy streets of this bustling university city of three and a half million people in Central Java, Indonesia, is no easy feat and I’m relieved it’s not me who’s driving. Even though we’d arrived early … Continue reading

New Bali, Beyond Bali

We were lucky to fly out of Bali on Monday.  If it had been Tuesday, we’d have been stranded along with hundreds of others (including many Aussie kids on school holidays) at Ngurah Rai International Airport south of the capital, Denpasar. Mt Rinjani, situated on the nearby island of Lombok, had blown its top and … Continue reading

Gaziantep: The Soul of Turkish Food

The long table is set for breakfast. There are crinkly black olives, round brown olives, squares of fetta cheese, tomato wedges, cucumber crescents, creamy natural yoghurt, muscatels and almonds, soft white bread rolls, bowls of apricot nectar and honey, and a çaydanlık (or Turkish double teapot, similar to a samovar). Lightly scrambled eggs are served separately … Continue reading

Bulgur: the first convenience food

On a recent trip to Gaziantep, a bustling, vibrant city of 1.8 million people in south-eastern Turkey, I made some astonishing discoveries. I’d been invited to Gaziantep for the city’s very first Bulgur Festival, a celebration to highlight the city’s recent addition to UNESCO’ s Creative Cities Network for gastronomy. Described by locals as “yellow … Continue reading

Carol SelvaRajah on Dining with Dragons

I was running a little late for my appointment with Carol SelvaRajah, one of Australia’s leading exponents of Nonya and Malaysian cooking. When I arrived, she was on the phone to her brother, Dr Abel Arumugam, in Malaysia. She opened the front door, waving me in, while continuing with the instructions for chicken rendang. “After … Continue reading

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

We’d only just made our way out through Sydney’s heavy morning traffic along the Princes Highway when a news bulletin informed us that a truck carrying 26 tonnes of cheese had overturned, prompting the closure of part of the Princes Highway on the NSW south coast. The truck overturned last night closing the road in both … Continue reading

One-a-penny, two-a-penny…

Have you ever smelt hot cross buns baking in a home oven?  If you have, you won’t have forgotten for the aroma is irresistible. And if you’ve actually eaten a spicy, buttery but-oh-so-light bun, fresh from the oven, you’d find it hard – if not downright impossible – to go back to those tasteless doughy … Continue reading
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