Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrity dish … Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill, spice wizard, author and proprietor of Herbie’s Spices

If you are passionate about what you cook and serve your friends and family, you’ll be very familiar with Herbie’s Spices. If you live in Sydney you’ve certainly been to Herbie’s delightful shop in Rozelle. And if you don’t live in Sydney, you are probably glad that his herbs and spices are stocked at your local gourmet deli or food store and also available mail order via his website.

Ian is Australia’s leading authority on herbs and spices. He produces hundreds of spices, herbs, extracts, pastes and blends as well as books and dvds.

Speaking of books, Herbie and I have co-written a book, Just Add Spice (Penguin) which is being launched this week! Just Add Spice contains 100 recipes to show you how to expand your repertoire and spice up simple dishes using enticing herbs and spices, all with wine matching notes. This book also debunks the myth that it is difficult to match wine with spiced food.

Just Add Spice is available in bookshops and department stores now for $49.95.

Here are Herbie’s answers:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Going bananas

You might have seen a recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald about Australia’s most googled recipes.

I wasn’t really surprised that the twenty most googled recipes are old fashioned favourites including a couple of asian and Italian classics. Amazing too the inclusion of playdough – but it’s many years since I had to make it for my kids.

Here is the list from the story:
Banana cake
Banana bread
Pumpkin soup
Chocolate cake
Anzac biscuit
Potato bake
Fried rice
Apple crumble
Lamb shanks
Butter chicken

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrity dish … Serge Dansereau, Executive Chef & Owner, The Bathers’ Pavilion

Serge was enticed to Australia from Quebec in 1983 as part of the opening team for the Regent Sydney (now Four Seasons Sydney). While he was there he received many accolades – Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef of the Year in 1989, three toques for Kable’s in 1990 and, in 1994, he received the Sydney Morning Herald Special Award for Excellence.

French Canda’s loss was definitely Australia’s gain.

Then in 1999, Serge crossed the harbour and became co-owner and executive chef at one of my favourite Sydney restaurants, The Bathers’ Pavilion at beautiful Balmoral Beach which encompasses a restaurant, chef’s table, café, kiosk and two special function spaces.

Serge has written three lovely cookbooks and has a fourth on the way later this year. I love his style of cooking and respect for produce and can’t wait for his new book!

What is your earliest food memory: My earliest food memory is probably the fish cooked by my father after the numerous camping and fishing trip he took us on; I love nature and camping but I do not think I have the patience for all day fishing especially for ice fishing, something he was very keen to take us on in the middle of winter in Canada!

What is the strangest meal you’ve ever been served: I remember having worked at The Regent in Hong Kong and the kitchen crew took me after work for their usual Mah-jong games and a meal in a secret den that also served food; they took great pride to order and feed me all type of strange food but I will never forget the fluorescent baby snakes, there was no way to say no, so I made the best of it but it did look radioactive.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hunter Gatherer’s wild Sunday lunch

The Hunter Gatherer regime is not new … it is millions of years old and its elements are efficient and opportunistic:

Hunter: consuming animal flesh short-circuits the effort of turning plant cellulose into essential nutrients such as amino acids, minerals, electrolytes and fats.

Gatherer: natural abilities of observation, smell, taste and memory to guide food choices that deliver digestible plant based nutrients including carbohydrates and vitamins, augments and supports the hunter element.

To exist on this style of diet in the modern world requires a bit of tinkering. The challenge is never to reach for the packet or the nutrient added meal. It provides for all foods to be hunted and gathered at the local butcher, greengrocer, fishmonger, delicatessen or garden, river, sea, field or woodland – nature’s a la carte.

There really is a diversity of food available in your backyard, the paddock, the water or your local providore – ask yourself could I have gathered or hunted this? The regime presents a wide range of raw foods (that can be fermented, dried, cured, smoked, separated, curdled or crushed) and adapted to suit global cuisines and personal preferences.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ArtyBra® is doing it for the girls

“Do you want to help raise money for Blue Mountains Cancer Help by letting your imagination run wild and creating or decorating a bra?”, asked my persuasive friend Pam Seaborn, co-ordinator of the ArtyBra project.

I loved the concept “doing it for the girls”. Said “yes” straight away as I do to any worthy charity, especially this one because I am an Ambassador for the Breast Cancer Network Australia too. Moreover I liked the fun aspect involved. I struggled for awhile with the idea of decorating a bra – not really my thing and not so foody. Then I thought about how I could do it to convey who I am and what I do. Off I went to Chinatown and Vinnies to buy some cutlery and the like.

Then I enlisted my good friend and wonderful artist Bruno Grasswill  to execute my idea.

My creation – love the watermelon wooden spoon!