Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

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Beer o’clock for Steph

June 25, 2009

stephbeerAfter an annoying absence in their online content last week, happily the SMH has posted the Empress’s 3-of-a-kind column again this week.

This week she’s got her beer goggles on. Specifically, to examine food cooked with beer, from shanks to pork hock to beef & Guiness pie (mmm).

Pop along and have a look here.

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Fishy business

June 3, 2009

steph1The Empress Clifford-Smith turns her attention to small and salty fish in her column this week – and oh my, how good does that little sardine number from the Burlington look?

You will find Steph’s Good Living column here.

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Ah, piggsy…

May 21, 2009

The Empress explores her passion for pig once again, in this week’s 3-of-a-kind restaurant column in Good Living. Pork hock and knuckle – French, Asian & Polish. Mmmm.

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Empress online at last – keep her there…

May 16, 2009

stephSteph’s 3-of-a-kind restaurant column for Good Living in the Sydney Morning Herald is finally up online – go visit to get the clicks happening and make sure it stays that way.

After the sheer joy of our Lao trip to the west where we encountered the sticky rice heaven of Song Fang Khong, I look forward to our next suburban adventure with the Empress, which I believe is going to be a Filipino fiasco of some kind … can’t wait. 

Also, my thanks to her for pointing out yet another excellent-looking whole orange cake recipe here. And it’s a non-boiler, for you extra-idle types…

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The empress’s column

March 24, 2009

It’s a source of continual frustration to me that the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living online section does not include the regular ‘Three of a kind’ column by Stephanie Clifford-Smith, she of the chick pea majesty …

Anyway – if you are a Sydneysider, get today’s paper and check out the Empress’s three Miang kham recommendations, page 8 of Good Living. The pics alone will have you desperate for one of these delectable little wrapped-up morsels of spicy Thai goodness… not to mention the Empress’s always concise, witty and knowledgeable summations. Knows her miang kham from her tom yum, that one.

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In praise of salt

March 19, 2009

saltHave you noticed how, if you cook a meal for folks who like eating but aren’t as obsessed with cooking as One is, that they often rave about the incredible flavours you produce? I realised early in my cooking career that this has sadly little to do with how amazing the fish/snags/bombe alaska really is, and more to do with the fact that the said dish is seasoned. i.e., contains salt (and my second love, pepper).

I am frankly astonished at the number of people who don’t cook with salt at home but always find restaurant food and food at cooky friends’  houses delicious. It’s SALT, people. Delicious, crunchy, subtle or serious – it’s salt that underlines every bit of good cooking I’ve ever done.

I’ve been discussing with my chick pea empress friend Steph (the best all-round cook I know) the whole salt-scare issue. We are both firmly of the view that unless you have high blood pressure – when it really does matter that you cut down on salt – then one should go for one’s life on the salty goodness. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Adriatic Salad and other fictional foods

March 4, 2009

adriaticsalad1When my novel The Children came out I received several very gratifying emails from readers who particularly liked the family barney in the fictional country town of Rundle’s RSL Club restaurant, which featured an escalating  argument between two adult siblings, Mandy and Stephen, sparked by a dish on the menu described thus: ‘Adriatic Salad: Cajun prawns, sweet potato, snow peas and lime mayonnaise.’

For some reason, lots of people liked the sound of this dish. A couple of people even wanted the recipe. That salad actually exists, in a motel restaurant in a country town that will remain nameless, where I did a bit of research for the book – it seemed too good to be true, so I pinched it.  I quite enjoyed writing that scene actually – and now I find myself scanning menus hopefully at all times now for fictional fodder. Tricky though –  it would be so easy to repeat oneself, but there’s such a wealth of material out there I’m not sure I will be able to resist bad menu items for the book I’m writing now (I’ve got three words to say to you, Kimmy: Gourmet Pizza Kitchen).

On the topic of food in fiction, here is a wonderful New Yorker article by Adam Gopnik about cooking real dishes after  their fictional appearances in books, with varying results. He says, for example, of the eponymous dish from Gunter Grass‘s Nobel-provoking novel The Flounder:

Eating Günter Grass’s flounder was actually like reading one of his novels: nutritious, but a little pale and starchy.