Recently in Cooking Inspiration Category

 

Ottolenghi

By Ms.Gourmet on April 21, 2009 7:32 AM
I have wanted a copy of Ottolenghi the Cookbook since I first head about it late last year. My girlfriend Jacqueline was given a copy for her birthday in January and has been raving about it ever since. So the other day while I was at her house I quietly slipped it into my bag while her back was turned. No need to freak as we often help ourselves to each others bookshelves!

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On the weekend I had my own little Ottolenghi feast. I now see why everyone has been raving about Yotam and Sami as their food is 'literally, a feast of bold colours and generous gestures. It is driven by an unapologetic desire to celebrate food and its virtues, to display abundance in the same way that a market stallholder does: show everything you've got and shout its praise whole heartedly'.

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Their food is straight forward, yet highly inventive. It is 'made and served by a group of people who love preparing food as well as indulging in it, gorging on it, chatting about it endlessly. It is a way of life, somewhere between a healthy obsession and a bad habit we can't kick'. With a focus on the Mediterranean - they strive to 'surprise and stir'. They do so by 'using bold flavours and daring colours, no apologies'.



 

The Cooks Larder

By Ms.Gourmet on January 16, 2009 7:49 AM
If I had to choose anywhere else to live in Australia I would choose the funky, laid back beachside suburb of Avalon on Sydney's Northern beaches. Rumour has it that Avalon was apparently named after the legendary island that King Arthur's sword 'Excalibur' was forged and where he was taken after he was wounded at the Battle of Camlann (the things you read about in a food and lifestyle blog)!

Avalon is an idyllic suburb surrounded by picturesque hills overlaid with native gum trees. It boasts excellent views of both the Pittwater and Pacific Ocean and throughout the summer you will find sun gatherers and great surf. Avalon has excellent food, relaxed cafés and a variety of eclectic shops that you can spend hours rummaging through.

Hence, one of the stores I return to time and time again is The Cooks Larder on Old Barrenjoey Road.  Samantha and Dugal Mackie the owners of this lovely establishment are both passionate about food and are eager to share. So if you enjoy cooking or simply love to eat The Cooks Larder is your destination as it's a 'unique space combining a food store, delicatessen, cooking school and café'.

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What I love about this place is that the quality of the food is excellent. There is also a definite Mediterranean emphasis that is evident in the products that are available at the deli. The relaxed atmosphere and Samantha and Dugal's food knowledge is also impressive. Without fail you can 'expect to find a knowledgeable staff member always on hand to assist with any cooking, food or entertaining advice and should you need more, there is a cooking class for every occasion and level of skill'.

So if Barcelona is a bit out of your reach maybe you should consider booking into one of the classes that are on offer at The Cooks Larder?  For those parents in Sydney who are at a loss during the school holidays why not enrol your budding little cook into one of the Junior Cooks classes?

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Cloudberries, Venezia & Piri Piri starfish...

By Ms.Gourmet on December 23, 2008 7:00 AM
Today I had a couple of hours to myself so I decided to pop into town and get the last couple of Christmas presents. I was on a specific mission and needed to get presents for two of my young nephews. Hence, after walking around aimlessly for an hour and a half around various toy departments picking up and then putting down assorted bits of Thomas, Bob and John Deere paraphernalia I suddenly felt quite overwhelmed by the task at hand and the growing number of people around me doing the exact same thing!

What was I thinking? Where had my common sense gone and what about my eCommerce prowess? As I fought my way past three hundred or so moaning children and some very frustrated parents stuck in an unmoving queue waiting to get a look in with Santa, I found myself in need of both fresh air and space. Forget the Christmas cheer, Santa's helpers and the string quartet playing carols in a lame attempt to lull shoppers into a false sense of consumer peace. I needed to get on an escalator and get out of there!
 
Moments later I found myself quite unapologetically at 'Food Glorious Food' in David Jones. Almost instantaneously my breathing began to regulate and my head began to clear. What about the Christmas presents for the nephews?  Blame the several hundred whining children for a start! That was enough to frazzle anyone's concentration and dampen ones joyful shopping mood. Not to worry boys your aunt will get things sorted in a jiffy with a little help from eBay!

At any rate, I was quite pleased to find in amongst all the other gourmet finds that David Jones have finally decided (quite sensibly I might add) to put a Cook Book section in Food Glorious Food. Ah - what better way to calm ones nerves then to flick through the latest cook book releases with a glass of wine and a wedge of taleggio? I had a quick flick through Jane Webster's new book 'At my French table' and Christine Manfield's 'Fire - A World of Flavour' before settling on Tessa Kiros' sumptuous book called 'Venezia' (it was marked down by 30%).

Image source - Tessa Kiros 'VENEZIA' (2008).

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'To blog, or not to blog...'

By Ms.Gourmet on December 15, 2008 7:00 AM
'To blog, or not to blog' that has been the question for some time now and I suppose the sheer fact that here I am signifies both my response and resolve to that question. To those nearest and dearest to me who ask 'why blog and why now' well the answer to that is quite simple - I needed an outlet, a place of my own where I could vent my gastronomic spleen, explore idea's and open myself up to new possibilities. The other real issue is that I have been aware for some time of my ardour towards all things food related. So rather than continue to bore and burden you and potentially run the risk of sounding passé, I thought that this platform - 'blogging' (there I said it) may serve us both well.

I am not a chef or professional cook. My qualification is that I love to eat and I firmly believe that one can't ever cook well unless you love food and in turn eating. Not only do I love to eat and cook, but I also love to read
cook books, flick through food magazines, watch cooking shows and trawl through food related websites. Sad I know but what can I say - I am 'Food-Centric'. That's why I suppose I prefer to utilise precious shopping time hunting down exceptional ingredients, explore gourmet food stores, cheese emporiums, boutique bakeries, gorgeous cafes and exclusive delicatessens. Finding the latest kitchen gadget, vintage enamel ware and perfect blend of coffee has also proven to border on neurotic.

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