Tickets are flying out the door for the Cuisine NOW Gala Dinner on Sunday 17th January held at the water’s edge in the green-friendly surrounds of Doltone House. It’s a seven-course degustation with each course being prepared by a different master chef, and wines selected by Tony Bilson. Plus of course you can still book in for a master class or two; I’m off to see the three Michelin starred Philippe Mouchel myself on January 14th. Tony Bilson credits him as “the best French Chef in Australia with an enormous skill set,” and with his restaurant Brasserie (Crown Casino) being Melbourne based, this is a great opportunity for Sydney-siders to see him in action. www.cuisinenow.com.au
Clover Moore sadly didn’t make the opening of her wet dream of a venue, the Berkelouw Wine Bar, where at long last people with (refined) tastes can drink Chardonnay and bury their nose in a book. Co-owner Gary Mullins explains the “aim was to create a relaxed meeting place where you can appreciate the best of what life has to offer – live music, wine and delicate tasting plates.” During summer you’ll be tasting wines from the Orange region, including the 2006 Borrodell Sparkling Pinot Noir which went down a treat with some Maffra Cheddar. While you’re there (Thurs-Sun, 1pm-10pm), do check out the developed food and wine section below. I found some great holiday reading… you might even find a few of the titles below.
Level 1, 70 Norton Street, Leichhardt (0438)644 622 www.berkelouwwinebar.com.au
The best of the battalion of books that landed on my desk this month is Valli Little’s useful, modern guide to beautiful dishes for those suffering under a busy lifestyle. ABC Delicious: Quick Smark Cook (RRP$39.99) stands out with a nicely presented, appetising selection of recipes that are far from mundane. I’m curious enough to give the Caesar Salad Soup a bash, and I predict the Egyptian Baked Eggs will get a look-in for a recovery breakfast some time soon.
If you’re finding the purse strings a bit tight this Christmas, buy yourself a copy of Bake Me I’m Yours… Chocolate (RRP $24.95) and make baked gifts that will impress your gal pals. Darling chocolate paste ribbons take brownies from tasty to terrific; plus there are instructions for tempering chocolate, leading to all manner of gorgeous lollipops and festive clusters on decadent chocolate cakes!
What home doesn’t need a user-friendly comprehensive cocktail guide like Brian Lucas’s The Big Book of Cocktails (RRP $39.95)? If you’re still shopping for Xmas, this colourful tome is the perfect gift – and hopefully one where the giver will reap the benefits of better entertaining! I’m a bit keen on trying a Grape Escape, made on Brandy, green grapes and champagne.
Pants Off Salmon (RRP $19.95) is a catchy title for Queenslander Alex Bragg’s slim cookbook aimed at blokes wishing to impress their lady friend. Well ‘impress’ is a nice way of putting it. I’m afraid the poor quality pictures, below average presentation and wince-worthy comments like “Doesn’t take long to prepare or cook so you can spend more time on the ‘get to know’ you couch…” were a bit off-putting for me – but I’m not the intended audience. From a chick’s perspective, being dished up Tuna Pasta would make sure my panties stay on whilst I dial for a Crust pizza!