Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Mum's the word: books for cooks

Does your mum like to cook? Or does she simply enjoy the pleasure of flicking through glossy cookbooks? Here are a few of my favourite cookbooks that will make great gift ideas for Mother's Day. Earn a few extra brownie points and present mum with a book and a dish you've created from it. Aim high with Organum, by Peter Gilmore or keep it simple with Neil Perry's Easy Weekends and whatever you do, don't forget to wash up. She'll be even more smitten with the gift if she is not the one wearing the oven mittens.

For the joy of cooking …  Having Margaret Fulton in her test kitchen made Kate Gibbs the envy of cookbook authors around the country. This is the sort of cookbook that will be passed down through the generations, just like the recipes it contains. Margaret and Me brings the Fulton family's recipes to life by sharing some of the history behind them. With retro baking on the rise, Fulton - who has been nominated by the National Trust as a National Living Treasure - has clearly passed down her love of cooking to her grand-daughter who presents her modern take on comforting classics. Part cookbook, part memoir, the book is a personal account of growing up attached to the apron strings of one of the matriachs of Australian cooking. Nothing says 'I love you' like slow-roasted lamb shoulder or custard-filled profiteroles.
Margaret and Me is published by Murdoch Books ($39.99).

For mums who aim to outdo the neighbours …  
Peter Gilmore is executive chef of the three-hatted Quay restaurant in Sydney, included in S. Pelligrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list five years in a row. In Organum, Gilmore explores the idea of modern Australian cuisine with style and substance in a book that will make lovers of books for cooks purr with pleasure. With its sexy pseudo-suede cover, the book is literally bound to impress and, while many of the dishes sound simple, they are, in fact, complex creations that rely on flavour, texture, technique, aroma and innovation. Test your mettle in the kitchen with pork belly, milk curd, roasted koji, sesame, kombu and smoked pork rib broth. Alternatively, offer your mum a corner to curl up in while she strokes the pages filled with stunning food photography.
Organum by Peter Gilmore is published by Murdoch Books ($100).

For mothers who are partial to a food safari ... 
Enjoy a magic carpet ride around the world, exploring the diverse ingredients of 44 cuisines with more than 400 recipes.  Fans of Maeve O'Meara's TV shows should treat this re-released book like their culinary bible as the TV host and cookbook author takes readers around the globe to visit some of the most vibrant food cultures. In Complete Food Safari, O'Meara will take readers on glorious culinary adventures with dishes such as Peruvian humitas, pork knuckle with potato dumplings, and Hyderabadi chicken, which are just a few of the standouts. If you want to make your mum feel really special, book one of Maeve's magical safaris to Vietnam, the Greek Islands, Sardinia and Corsica.
Complete Food Safari, published by Hardie Grant. ($59.95)

For well-travelled matriachs …

Same Same But Different presents a range of signature recipes and family classics that all tell a story about Poh Ling Yeow’s life growing up in Australia with Chinese-Malay heritage. The book, which has been shot entirely on location in Poh’s own kitchen, is also a personal account of Poh and the real food influences in her life. Featuring recipes such as mussels with tomato and white wine and spaghetti puttanesca, Same Same But Different is a true reflection of how Australians eat and the way we might whip up a Greek dish one night, Italian another, Japanese the next night. This is for mums who love a table laden with offerings from many nationalities. Menikmati makanan anda
Same Same But Different is published by ABC Books ($39.99).

For women who enjoy wielding a pair of tongs ... 
King of the Grill is not just for those new to the art of no-nonsense barbecuing. This bumper collection by Ross Dobson, which draws on culinary influences from around the globe, celebrates that classic Aussie attitude to the barbecue that goes beyond the hiss of fat on the grill and cements this backyard ritual as a social occasion. As well as advice on temperatures and cooking times, techniques and utensils, the book contains recipes that are a step up from snags. If you thrill on the grill, step up to the hotplate and impress your mum with prawn and chorizo skewers, seared tuna with bay leaf and lemon or brined roasted chicken. Mums will approve that vegetables also share the spotlight.
King of the Grill  is published by Murdoch Books ($39.99).

For those with allergies ...
One in 20 children and two in 100 adults in Australia suffer with food allergies. Let Them Eat Good Cake is for Mums who must avoid gluten, dairy, egg and nuts or have someone close to them who fits into that category. The Good Cake Co's Corry Altclass and Nicole Amdur both have family members and close friends who suffer from allergies and struggled to find food that tasted good. Together, the pair have created a recipes that range from baked doughnuts to chocolate and beetroot cake. 'Cause if you're going to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free cake, you want it to taste good, right? An excellent addition to the bookshelves for those that must follow strict diets but don't want to miss out on the occasional guilt-free treat.  Let Them Eat Good Cake is available from www.thegoodcakeco.com.au

A book for the hostess with the mostess...  
Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to cook under the command of one of the country's best chefs without the pressure-cooker heat of working in a restaurant kitchen? Sepia is for those who want to take their culinary feats to the next level. Benn is justifiably famous for his restaurant, which won Restaurant of the Year 2015 and was awarded three chef's hats in The Good Food Guide. This book includes 66 of the chef's defining dishes which are based around four degustation menus. As well as testing your technical mastery, the book is an insight into Benn's background and includes stories from the culinary frontline. Experiment with magic elements such as beetroot glass, rhubarb gel and goat's milk foam. Sepia by Martin Benn is published by Murdoch Books ($75). 

Mum's the word for easy entertaining...
Necessity is the mother of invention. Acclaimed chef Neil Perry clearly saw a need for an essential entertaining cookbook with Easy Weekends. If you want to be in the good books, buy this cookbook for mum on Mother's day, which aims to inspire you not just to create meals but shared moments. The book progresses from Friday to Sunday and includes everything from a family stir-fry on a Friday night to lazy Sunday breakfast ideas. It is also the sort of tome that can be used as a blueprint book for those who want to expand the repertoire of dishes they cook for family and friends. It's a guidebook for all occasions.
Easy Weekends is published by Murdoch Books ($39.99).

For mums who plan dinner while enjoying breakfast...
This is a book for well-travelled mums who want to relive the days when they were backpacking through Turkey. Arranged in the form of a typical Turkish eating day, the book by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale takes readers to the heart of a cuisine that is still evolving to this day. This is a cookbook that has a lot to teach us - from the tradition and diversity of Turkish cuisine to the rituals, myths and folklore that lies behind 3000 years of Anatolian cooking. With more than 140 traditional and modern recipes, the book is for armchair travellers, too, as it was shot on location in Istanbul around Turkey.
Anatolia is published by Murdoch Books ($79.99).

For mums who like to plan ahead... 
Best-selling children's cookery writer Annabel Karmel is the queen of fuss-free tasty recipes for the whole family. In her latest cookbook, Karmel makes mealtimes a cinch with everyday ideas for light meals, snacks and lunch box treats. Those of us in a rut with their repertoire will appreciate the foolproof 'prep ahead' recipes that can be frozen, as well as ideas for leisurely weekend lunches. Favourites include chicken Karmel, nasi goreng and her best-ever banana cake. If you want to totally spoil your mum, take her out to the nearest InterContinental near you and have all the work done for you. Karmel consulted on the InterContinental's Planet Trekkers menu, which is exclusively for children. Annabel's Family Cookbook is published by Random House Australia ($45).

Something your nonna will treasure... 
Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak have been very generous in sharing Puglia. You see, the locals have been very protective about sharing cooking secrets from the region nestled in the heel of Ital. But as this beautiful book shows, it's no wonder the Pugliese have been protective about their sharing the food of Puglia. The book is divided into chapters marked antipasti, pasta, pesce e fruitti di mare (fish and seafood), carne, insalate, pane (bread), verdure (vegetables) and dolci e bevande (desserts and drinks). For food-focused travellers, this is the sort of book that will inspire a trip to Italy. It will also open your eyes to a whole new world of Italian cooking. Sharing Puglia is published by Hardie Grant ($49.95).

If you’d like to win a copy of Poh Ling Yeow’s book Same Same But Different, simply subscribe to www.carlagrossetti.com and, in 100 words or less, tell me what your signature ‘same same but different’ take on a family classic is. Email entries to carlagrossetti@optusnet.com.au with Same Same But Different in the subject line. Winners will be notified by email.  

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Where to take mum on Mother's Day

With Mother's Day less than a week away, this is a guide for all those Last-Minute Larrys and Larissas who want to show their mum they care. Of course, you don't need to spend any money to make your mum feel special - most are chuffed with a handmade card - but if you do want to splash a bit of cash there are a range of eateries that feature special Mother's Day menus to suit most budgets. From high-end hotel restaurants to purveyors of pub grub, the following list of restaurants to take mum to - located in Sydney's north, east, south and west - will demonstrate your devotion.

Outsource Sunday lunch at The Royal Botanical in Leichardt.                            Image: supplied

Nothing says 'I love you' more than the complimentary glass of G.H. Mumm champagne on arrival at The Royal Botanical in Leichardt. Treat mum to a traditional Sunday roast or a martini and manicure package for $25.

Cash in on that prime location at The Collaroy Hotel with a post-brunch walk along the beach.
You can also show your special devotion on the north side of Sydney by taking mum for a walk along Collaroy Beach and surprising her with a brunch booking at the pretty Pelican Pavilion at The Collaroy Hotel. The Mother's Day menu ($35 per adult; $15 per child) includes fresh seasonal fruit, pancakes, chocolate croissants, muffins, bacon and egg sliders, ham and spinach frittata and a potato galette with smoked salmon.
The Forest Lodge Hotel caters to the alt inner-west crowd who now frequent their fave pub with their children.

Inner-westies can make life easy for mum on Mother's Day at the Forest Lodge Hotel, affectionately known as the Flodge. Here, as well as enjoying a complimentary glass of bubbles and a long-stemmed rose, you can kick back and be waited on with the legendary Sunday roast options of lamb shoulder with rosemary potatoes or pork belly with kumara fries, roasted apple and greens and chilli jam ($17).

If it's a casual pub lunch you're after, Northie's Hotel, in Cronulla, has embraced the Mother's Day lunch. Image: supplied.
For those in Sydney's south, Northies Hotel has set up a family portrait photo booth for Mums who want to capture the moment. There will also be a live jazz band, cheese board specials and a free glass of sparkling wine. Children under the age of 12 are kept happy with a special kids' menu and there is a ping pong table for family tournaments.

The Ivanhoe Hotel in Manly is renowned for dishing up top pub grub.

The Ivanhoe Hotel in Manly is another great place to go to avoid the washing up. This is for mums who prefer a casual get-together. A menu featuring classic pub favourites - steaks, seafood, pasta, salad, burgers, pizza and fish and chips - will please everyone in the family especially the mums, who will be treated to chocolates.

The Royal Leichardt 156 Norton St, Leichardt 2040. 02 9569 2638, royalleichardt.com.auThe Collaroy Hotel, 1064 Pittwater Road, Collaroy, 02 9982 3924, collaroyhotel.com.auThe Forest Lodge Hotel, 117 Arundel Street, Glebe. 02 9660 1872, forestlodge.com.au
Northies Hotel, cnr Kingsway & Elouera, Cronulla 02 9523 6866, northieshotel.com.au
The Ivanhoe Hotel, 27 The Corso, Manly, 02 9976 3955, ivanhoehotelmanly.com.au

Pei Modern has created a special Mother's Day menu that will please discerning palates.   Image: supplied.
Reward mum for all her years of toiling in the kitchen with a booking at Pei Modern. Enjoy the theatre of watching chef Matt Germanchis and team in the open kitchen as they prepare a five course lunch including Holmbrae duck, mulloway, prawns with fermented corn and a delicious black forest to finish. ($110 per person, includes a glass of bubbles for Mum; kids $40.)

Bag the leather banquette at Giro Osteria in Cronulla and linger over a sumptuous set menu. 

Impress your mum on this, the festa della mamma with a set menu at Giro Osteria, in Sydney's south.  Start with a glass of prosecco followed by the chef's selection of salumi and antipasti followed by a traditional Italian Sunday roast of beef with autumnal vegetables for $65 per person. To finish, enjoy mocha tart with mandarin and mascarpone followed by a walk along the beach to Wanda.

Start your Mother's Day extravaganza at the bar at Sake with steamed edamame and a cocktail. Image: supplied.
You can also spoil mum at Sake Restaurant and Bar in The Rocks for an a la carte lunch or dinner along with selections from the extensive wine, cocktail and sake list. Chef Shaun Presland worked for the celebrity Japanese-American chef Nobu Matsuhisa whose influence is evident with dishes such as the kingfish with yuzu soy topped with green jalapeno and coriander or the wagyu beef tartare with fried egg puree and jalapeno chilli. Find a little piece of Japan inside this heritage sandstone building, which has all the ingredients for a great time.

Get mum to glam up for brunch at The Gantry on Mother's Day.                Image: supplied.

The Gantry Sydney brunch will also make mums swoon, especially as it includes unlimited sparkling wine ($99) and French Champagne ($129).  The bountiful brunch-time buffet includes freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters, chilled Queensland prawns served with Marie Rose sauce, local cheeses, Tasmanian smoked salmon and a selection of hot and cold foods.

Ooh la-la ... encourage mum to play dress-ups ahead of the Ananas experience.                   Image: supplied
Forgo crumbs in the bed in favour of indulgent French fare paired with matching desserts and a selection of wine, Champagne and cocktails at Ananas Bar and Brasserie. Channel Manu Fieldel when you order Escargots, Le Pate de Campagne and Les Langoustines off the menu.

Pei Modern, 199 George St, Sydney, NSW 02 9250 3160, peimodern.com.au

Giro Osteria, 3/1 McDonald St, Cronulla, 02 9523 0137, giro-osteria.com.au
Sake Restaurant + Bar, 12 Argyle St, The Rocks, Sydney 02 9529 5656, sakerestaurant.com.au
The Gantry, 11 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay 02 8298 9910, thegantry.com.au
Ananas Bar + Brasserie, 18 Argyle St, The Rocks, Sydney 02 9259 5668, ananas.com.au

Flying Fish Restaurant has one of the most scenic backdrops for a mother's day feast.             Image: supplied

Flying Fish Restaurant wants to treat the city's amazing mums with an indulgent four-course feast priced at $165 per person. Executive chef Stephen Seckold's mum-inspired menu features signatures such as seared tuna, grapefruit, black pepper caramel, crisp pork or Cone Bay barramundi with dahl and spinach with ambarella chutney and a decadent Valrohna chocolate brownie, hot rum espresso mousse, with tonka bean ice cream.

Bring your bathers and do some bombies off the wharf near to the Manly Wharf Hotel.            Image: supplied
You can also treat your mum to harbour views this Mother’s Day at Manly Wharf Hotel. The whole family will enjoy the relentless rhythm of the water hitting the wharf as they tuck into tuna nicoise, slow-braised pork ribs and roasted potato and garlic ravioli. As a special treat, every mum enjoys a complimentary glass of sparkling when purchasing a main meal.

Eastern Suburbites are pleased that Merivale extended its empire into their 'hood.                   Image: supplied
Yes, the Coogee Pavilion is a bit clubby. But who cares? It's got so many niche nooks and is a lot of fun especially when you have children in tow.  Elbow the backpackers out of the way for a game of wall scrabble, commandeer the giant Jenga pit for the pure joy of it and then outsource the cooking and cleaning to one of the many food outlets under the dome-shaped roof. If it's sweeping views you are after, head to the rooftop bar to ooh and aah over sun, sea and sky. Both Coogee Pavilion and Papi Chulo invite guests to add a love-filled note or image on Instagram and tag #merivalemums or add their heart in person to the growing tree to go in the winning for a $50 Merivale gift card.

Jonah's is one of the top spots in Sydney to enjoy food and wine with a view that thrills. Image: supplied.
Jonah's at Palm Beach is another great place to enjoy the soundtrack of the sea. If you can afford to splurge, book a night's accommodation in the boutique hotel so mum can enjoy a lie-in ahead of lunch. The day will still be one to remember with a special $140 feast that includes a glass of Taittinger Champagne and three-course meal. Enjoy the spectacular view while eating some of the freshest seafood in town. Expect big things with executive chef Logan Campbell and head sommelier Luke Collard at the helm.

Enjoy a three-course seasonal lunch at one of Sydney's best beachside locations: The Bucket List. Image: supplied

Forget heart-shaped eggs and lukewarm tea and shout mum to a three-course lunch at The Bucket List, Bondi. The Bucket List is offering three shared courses to enjoy with the family that as well as being budget-friendly will give mum bragging rights on Instagram. Who needs carnations when you can offer mum that view? The $69 per adult feast includes a cold seafood platter, roast chicken with autumn veggies, autumn fruit and hazelnut crumble with passionfruit mascarpone. There is also a more affordable option for kids: $20 for fish and chips and ice cream.

Flying Fish Restaurant + Bar, 19-21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont. 02 9518 6677, flyingfish.com.auManly Wharf Hotel, Manly Wharf, East Esplanade, Manly 02 9977 1266, manlywharfhotel.com.au 
Jonahs, 69 Bynya Road, Whale Beach, 02 9974 5599, jonahs.com.au
Coogee Pavilion, 169 Dolphin St, Coogee, 02 9240 3000, merivale.com.au/coogeepavilion

Bucket List Bar, Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach 02 9365 4122