AGFG at Festivale

Keep up to date with everything Festivale here! We will be updating our travels as we go, remember to also follow us at our instagram and twitter

This delicious morsel was devoured at Mud Bar & Restaurant in 2015. Slow braised Driver's Run Lamb with celeriac purée, roast red capsicum, tomato, sherry, Laban, mint and parsley.

Thursday 5pm Update:

We've just landed in Launceston and we're on our way to Festivale's Opening Ceremony. Photos coming soon! 

Thursday 10pm Update:

Did you know that Festivale has been in operation for 29 years? Experience, longevity and enthusiasm was all that could be felt tonight at Festivale 2016's opening ceremony; where guest were treated to an endless supply of scrumptious canapes, Jansz sparkling wine and James Boag beer (along with quite a number of red and white options and further beers at the bar). A truly memorable night was the perfect start to 3-days of foodie fun at Festivale.

Here are some of the delicious morsels guests were given:   

Goat's Cheese, Savoury Cheesecake. 

Pork Crackling with Strawberry Puree. 

"Fish and Chips," and Pulled Pork Sliders. 

Barley Arancini. 

Festivale's Cider Awards have been announced! 

Best Dry Cider: Red Brick Road Cox's Orange Pippin.

Best Perry (Pear variety): Red Brick Road Perry.

Best Other Ciders (blends and sweets): Pagan Small Batch Quince Cider.  

Friday 11am Update:

AGFG will be attending the Festivale Lunch at Stillwater, this year hosted by the one and only Greg Malouf. Greg will be working with Stillwater's Executive Chef Craig Will to showcase his Middle Eastern cuisine using Tasmanian produce. We will be posting live via our instagram, photos will be added here after the event.  

Friday 3pm Update:  

What an absolute feast! Greg and the Stillwater team really outdone themselves at Festvale's lunch with a decadent array of Middle Eastern cuisine served share style in what can only be described as a King's feast. We're going to let the photos do the talking:  

Entree: Bread with a palate cleanser of mint, onion and dukkah. Tasmanian salmon 'kibbeh nayee.'

 

Entree: Pickled smoked ox tongue, saffron labneh and silverbeet. 

Main: Flinders Is. Lamb Shoulder, slow roasted with lemon, cardamom and oregano. 

Main (side): Salad-e Shiraz with homemade shankleesh and violas. 

Main (side): Sultans 'eggplant' delight. 

Dessert: Lemon posset with orange blossom, peach caramel and caramel wafers. 

Save with us on Banjo's Run Merlot

By David Ellis from vintnews.  

It’s unfortunate that the NSW Southern Highlands’ cool climate wine region doesn’t get more recognition in our mainstream metropolitan media, because small as it may be it’s an outstandingly beautiful area in which to have a few days touring its wineries and many other attractions.

It absolutely delights with the many sensational reds and whites from its 60 or so vineyards and dozen wineries. Pioneer settlers actually dabbled in winemaking here as far back as the mid-1800s, but it was not until 1983 that vineyards were planted with serious intent, and 1999 before it was given Designated Wine Region status.

Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris do particularly well, but there are also many stand-out Chardonnays, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs, Shiraz and sparklings – and if you like Merlot, here you’ll find it’s both rewardingly soft yet mouth-smackingly flavoursome.

The boutique Banjo’s Run Vineyard at Exeter produces one of the region’s best of the variety, they’re currently available 2013 an excellent buy at $30 a bottle in 6- or 12-bottle packs… and even more so if you mention this column, because vigneron Bill Hall will take $5 a bottle off the price if you do. With lovely red berry and blackcurrant fruit flavours and spicy tannins it’s perfect with tomato-based pastas or osso bucco.

Delivery is free in the Highlands, to Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong and the NSW South Coast, and from $10 a case elsewhere. Ring Bill on 0408 228 724, email him on bill@banjosrun.com.au or have a look at banjosrun.com.au

One to note: a 2015 Margan Family Winemakers’ Chardonnay is a triple whammy from winemaker Andrew Margan.

And that’s because it’s made from fruit off low-yielding 40 year old vines, those vines thrive in the renowned volcanic soils of the Hunter Valley’s Broke Fordwich, and this great drop’s just $20 a bottle.

Creamy textured with nutty oak aromas and a natural acid finish, this is a drop with all the attractions of the best of Chardonnays – and don’t let us hear you say “Not another Chardonnay” – with an unusual mandarin after-taste. 

Enjoy this versatile drop with a variety of summery dining ideas… crab cakes and salad, good old roast chicken or a creamy chicken pie, or a Caesar salad.

Sirromet offers up perfect collection for Valentine’s Day

If you’ve had anything to do with weddings or “love” occasions lately, you’re sure to have seen Sirromet’s Love My range, perfectly suited to easy drinking and joyous occasions, whether it be formal or a relaxing family picnic.

Pretty in pink is the theme, with love my sweet bubbly white and rosé and love my sweet lite red and sweet fruity white; and for those that enjoy a little individuality, Love My comes in the standard 750ml bottle as well as a smartly designed 4 pack of 187ml. For those that relish their bold, heavy reds and crisp whites, Love My isn’t necessarily the collection for you, but you may be quite surprised with how well this range goes down on a warm afternoon. 


Mango Prawn and Watercress stack, paired Love My Sweet Bubbly Rosé

While we all may not have the chance to sit among the vines of Sirromet Winery in Mount Cotton, Love My transports you straight onto the deck of their Tuscan Terrace with the mouth-watering wafts of handmade pizza fresh out of the wood fired oven. Think about a wide and airy timber deck looking over a helipad and meadow, a Tuscan kitchen and a typical Tuscan tree shaded area, and it’s like you’re a part of another world all together. 

If you’re wining and dining your loved one this Valentine’s Day, don’t look past Love My as your wine pairing, as the sweet bubbly rosé with its beautifully balanced floral palate featuring fresh strawberries, ripe cherries and hints of musk will complement entrees of chilli prawns, grilled lobster, scallops, smoked salmon and even cuttlefish ceviche; while the sweet lite red brings out floral notes that are intrinsically hidden behind a palate of cherry and boysenberry, making it the perfect wine to enjoy with a spicy Thai beef salad, crab cakes and stir fried duck or chicken. Either will go down deliciously with a chocolate panna cotta. 

Photos courtesy of Sirromet Winery, Restaurant Lurleen's and Tuscan Terrace. Sirromet branded glasses are available at their Cellar Door.

Craig Will on Stillwater

After developing an interest in cooking early on in his life by baking cakes, biscuits and slices at home with his brother, Craig became interested in becoming a professional chef. Living with parents in Launceston who had their own vegetable and fruit garden also gave Craig the skills of preserving, jamming and chutney producing as well as the curiosity that came with picking walnuts straight from the tree for his great grandmother’s prize winning walnut cake - one that he still uses to this day.

Craig Will, Executive Chef - Stillwater, Launceston TAS.  

Stillwater is a two chef hatted restaurant located in an elegantly appointed 1830s flour mill on the edge of the Tamar River in Launceston. Original décor brings warmth and added mystic to Stillwater’s majestic setting, while embodying a casually elegant ambiance to ensure all guests feel relaxed and content. With a main room seating up to 60 guests, a private room in the Georgian Miller’s Cottage seating up to 12 and their original bluestone wine cellar available to groups of 4 to 18, it’s little wonder  as to why Stillwater remains one of the popular choices in the region.

Ocean trout cudo with mandarin and radish.  

AGFG was able to ask Craig, Executive Chef of Stillwater a few questions about himself, his style and his inspirations.

AGFG: Have you always wanted to be a Chef?  

My early inspiration in my home and the guidance of my teacher, the ex-chef, gave me a career I could pursue with passion. 

AGFG: How would you define your style?  

Less is more or the ‘KISS’ principle – keep it simple [stupid]!  Use top quality local ingredients, cook with skill and let the natural flavours shine through.  

House made fromage blanc with herbs.  

AGFG: Obsessive compulsive about?  

Being organised and clean in the kitchen...definitely! 

AGFG: Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences?

That early teacher who inspired me to pursue a career in the kitchen and my mentor Chef Paul Foreman were my greatest personal inspirations in the kitchen.  

As for influences, when I was growing up Neil Perry was in the process of helping create the modern Australian movement of food, borrowing flavours from our Asian neighbours; he made food exciting to me.  The traditional French influences of Marco Pierre White grounded my cooking too. 

AGFG: Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?  

I don’t really do ‘eyebrow raising'; how about ‘crowd pleasing’?  My crayfish with a fresh truffle béarnaise received rave reviews.

AGFG: Signature dish:  

It’s hard to choose a favourite dish, it’s a bit like choosing your favourite child…however my Stripey Trumpeter dish (sugar and beetroot cured Stripey Trumpeter, shaved baby fennel, citrus infused crème fraiche and ocean crackle) is my current favourite. 

Craig’s latest creations can be found on Stillwater’s most recent evening menu through his 5 course menu. Seek and thou shall receive here

Photos courtesy of Stillwater.

So...Why Red Velvet?

It used to be called "The Cake of a Wife Time..." (Betty Adams extract), but why are we so enamoured with it?

Red velvet – beautifully chocolate, yet gracefully passionate with a bold red hue draws us in like a moth to a flame. Naturally, cooking grants the best of both worlds, being both a science and an art, the elusive red velvet is one in the same. Modern and novice bakers seek red food dye to make these bright creations, however, red velvet was invented by a chemical reaction, not just because someone decided to paint the town in red.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (very American), however, you can see the strong use of food colouring.  

The original red velvet cakes were exactly as they’re named, they were produced through more of a stain of red than a deliberate few drops of food colouring. Many recipes varied in the beginning, but a few things were constant; the combination of baking soda and either buttermilk or vinegar created plenty of bubbles to ensure the delightfully fluffy texture (like velvet) upon baking and while this occurred they also reacted with the cocoa, which was traditionally an acidic element, changing colour in the presence of strong acids due to the compound anthocyanins – the red part and thus, red velvet was born.

Red Velvet cupcake, using the natural process as well as some beetroot puree for a darker, more vibrant red.  

The red hue of the “ancients,” so to speak, wasn’t the red we know today, it was definitely more chocolate than beet so that’s why many recipes used to call for beetroot puree to further darken the sponge upon baking. The reason we don’t see this today is because cocoa powder is now processed in a way that modified its pH level to become more alkaline. Dutch cocoa in particular is heavily treated with an alkali to create a darker, richer product, which is less likely to react with acids. You’ll be hard pressed to find an unprocessed cocoa, so we suggest looking for natural cocoa powder or perhaps organic cacao powder if you are looking for a more natural way of baking that red velvet cupcake this Valentine’s Day. 

If you’re not one for experiments, then go ahead and try our delightfully RED red velvet recipes here – or dive in and naturalise our recipes! If you do, please let us know via our facebook page

Top 5 Aphrodisiacs Sure to Spark Romance

The Way to the Heart… 

February hails in a month of love, affection and impious pleasures. Don’t think that going through the motions of purchasing flowers and chocolates for your lover is going to cut it this year. Oh no, no, no! Today, Valentine’s Day expectations are much higher – we aren’t talking anniversary worthy, but a nice dinner, some romance and a gift of love is certainly in order!

While restaurant dining unquestionably remains the most sensible Valentine’s Day preemptive wooing option (see our sparktacular Valentine’s Day specials here), when it comes to the foods of love, there’s nothing like offering sweet temptations you’ve masterfully created on your own, or even together if you’ve been practicing your Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore pottery wheel scene from Ghost and are ready to move it into the kitchen… (but we’ll keep it G-rated with Disney’s Lady and the Tramp…)

It’s that time again everyone – where the debate of the aphrodisiac is ignited.

As true foodies, we are believers! There’s nothing more sensual than an oyster slipping down your throat, but hey, we know not all agree. However, just for this special time of the year, let’s indulge ourselves a little.  

Notoriously Wicked Aphrodisiacs :

Aphrodisiac is a name being derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and are themselves a hotly debated issue, either vindicated by studies that prove they exist, or expelled by science refuting claims that any particular food can increase sexual desire. So, do aphrodisiacs work by triggering a biochemical response or are they the result of enduring cultural or psychological conditioning? Let’s not lose the romance of wonder, because either way, the list of alleged aphrodisiacs is increasingly longer and while some suggestions are obvious, others are deviously more suspect.  

Chocolate: 

Few will argue that we experience amounts of pleasure from consuming chocolate. Italian researchers found that women who consumed chocolate daily reported a higher degree of sexual satisfaction and a study reported by the BBC suggested that melting chocolate in one's mouth increased brain activity and one’s heart rate more than that associated with passionate kissing. 

Why? Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine and serotonin, which are naturally occurring mood-lifting hormones released in the human body which bring about feelings of excitement and increased levels of energy.  It can also contain theobromine – a stimulant with mood improving effects. Cocoa or dark chocolate may also positively affect the circulatory system. With its array of aphrodisiac properties, chocolate promises to turn even the seemingly innocent into hot blooded Valentines. Chocolate makes us feel good all over - much like being in love! 

When seducing with chocolate, truffles are a sure favourite, as is a wickedly delightful chocolate fondue. Try Laura Cassai's Chestnut Forest (a Modern Tiramisu) recipe for a taste of something sweet, boozy and sumptuous that will melt in the mouth and if you're really ready to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember, Belinda Jeffery's deep, dark chocolate and praline mousse has intrinsic seductive qualities. If you're looking to be a little more creative in the kitchen, check out our list of dessert recipes with chocolate as the main ingredient.  

Strawberries

Any food, lovingly hand fed to your partner certainly has the potential to ignite the flames of passion, but strawberries have an added advantage in that they are an edible Valentine - red, juicy, and with a hint of adoration cascading from your heart. Dipped in lashings of thickened cream, strawberries take on a whole other dynamic. Touted as an aphrodisiac since 200BC, the strawberry was an historic symbol of Venus and gained its reputation due to the large number of tiny seeds embedded within - symbolising fertility. 

In art and literature, the strawberry is usually portrayed as a symbol of sensuality, while throughout provincial France it was custom to serve newlyweds cold strawberry soup to help promote honeymoon romance. Strawberries contain more vitamin C than any other berry, much needed to supply energy and keep the fires burning. Try our strawberry recipes here. Legend also has it that if you break a strawberry in half and share it, you will soon fall in love with each other. 

Ever considered cooking up strawberry risotto?   

Chilli:

"Muy caliente" is a common Spanish expression of excitement; muy means very, caliente means hot – VERY hot! It makes for the perfect expression when it comes to describing chillies as an aphrodisiac, both for their shape (let's hope none of you are thinking Birds Eye chilli right now) and their heart racing qualities. The phallic shape is not unique to chillies as numerous other fruits and vegetables have gained love-inducing reputations for similar reasons but it’s the chillies ability to get us all hot and bothered that firmly fixes its reputation as an aphrodisiac. 

“Capsaicin” is the active ingredient found in chillies responsible for stimulating our nerve endings to release pulse raising chemicals and prompting the release of endorphins; this serves our bodies with a pleasurable feeling and natural high. I recommend always having a bottle of chilli oil ready on hand in the kitchen for whenever the moment calls. Wok tossed chilli crab makes for a delicious meal, while chilli choc bites are sure to have you identifying the link between the heat of food and ensuing passion - you'll find gourmet chocolate providores offering an array of chilli and chocolate combinations, if weather permitting, maybe you could give our chilli hot chocolate a go? If it's too warm of a night... just add some ice. 

Oysters 

Casanova, whose name remains synonymous with the art of seduction, is often credited as having been the world’s greatest lover - he famously feasted on 50 oysters every day. Speculation about the powers of oysters centres on the powers of their high zinc content. Salty, sensuous and seductive, no other food is more frequently linked with desire than the humble oyster. 

Oysters are best at their simplest, freshly shucked and served on a bed of crushed ice with just a squeeze of lemon. For something a little different, try a French inspired eschallot vinegar or a Japanese dressing of mirin and grated white daikon. Alternatively, you can serve them hot as Kilpatrick or with a creamy Mornay sauce. Any which way, oysters by candlelight then finished with an array of strawberries and chocolates, accompanied by glasses filled with chilled champagne, are a sure hit. We also can't get enough of oysters with Vietnamese dressing, crispy shallots and baby coriander. If you rather make it a night out to remember, be sure to stop by your local seafood restaurant for fresh and local oysters, we recommend trying a combination you've never had before! 

Champagne:

It may be a stretch to call Marilyn Monroe’s favourite drink an aphrodisiac, but there is no argument that it has lowered plenty of inhibitions. Thanks to a steady stream of delicate bubbles, Champagne is absorbed into the blood stream more rapidly than still wine, inducing affectionate and amiable biological reactions. Dubbed by many as "liquid love", Champagne is an excellent idea for Valentine’s Day. After all, Champagne is for celebrations and Valentine’s Day is the celebration of love, romance and pure ecstatic sexiness. 

For your consideration, since Champagne is in fact copyrighted, the term "liquid love" can be expanded upon to be a bit more inclusive. Champagne per se only originates in the Champagne region of France, in the circumference of two historical towns called Epernay and Reims. Australia, however, produces some excellent sparkling wines and when combined with foods that have aphrodisiac qualities... the desired stimulating effect is inevitable.

By Gordan Zola. 

Laughs and Leeches at O'Reilly's

By Julie Fison

“If you find a fallen tree on the path, don’t try to climb over it,” the guide at O’Reilly’s on the Queensland/NSW border tells us earnestly. “I’ve seen those things shoot down the hill. You don’t want to be on one, when that happens.”

No. I definitely don’t want to fly down a gully clinging to the mossy bark of an Arctic Beech and have to wait to be rescued at the bottom with a broken ankle (and that’s a best case scenario). I won’t be climbing over any fallen trees. In fact I’m wondering if I should leave the comfort of the lodge at all. Perhaps a day in the library with a cup of tea might be a good option. The spa also looks inviting.

I’m on a walking weekend with my book group, but a wave of thunderstorms have hit the Lamington National Park leaving countless hazards in its wake. We’ve had to cancel our planned 23 km walk along the Main Border Track and we’re looking at alternatives. The resort guide is keen to make sure we understand the risks before we set off anywhere. She advises us to take warm clothes and food in case we get stuck in the bush. OK. Now I’m getting nervous.

We download an emergency app, sort out a packed lunch and plenty of water and bravely head off for the Box Circuit – a track on the more protected side of the mountain that should be a reasonably safe option.

The route isn’t really important. For me, walking is all about the journey. The chance to enjoy the rainforest, catch up with friends, find out what’s really going on behind the happy-family snapshots on Facebook. Maybe even talk about books.

It’s a foggy morning and light drizzle is falling, but once we’re on the track, the towering Booyongs protect us from the rain. Light filters through the fog, hanging among the fern trees as we wind our way down to Canungra Creek. It’s damp and there must be a thousand leeches per square metre, but the rainforest couldn’t be more beautiful. It feels so pre-historic that I wouldn’t be surprised if a dinosaur strolled out of the mist. A hobbit wouldn’t be out of place either. But I get a nasty shock when a snake decides to join us on the track. 

“Watch out for the red-belly black,” one of my fellow walkers calls calmly. “It’s much more scared of you, than you are of it.” That, I doubt.

I’ve only just recovered from the snake encounter when an enormous blue crayfish gives me the shock of my life, snapping its pincers menacingly from the side of the track. You don’t see that every day. Luckily.

We eat lunch standing on a wet boulder at Picnic Rock to minimize our interaction with leeches. It’s not entirely successful, the little buggers don’t just jump off the track, they also launch themselves from the trees. Someone finds a leech in her belly button. Not cool.

We make it back to our gorgeous villa without having to resort to the emergency app. I’ve transported a sock full of leeches on our 20km walk and my feet are aching. But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Walking with friends is therapy for the body and the mind, no matter where the track leads.

Drop that's the Rabbit's Favourite

By David Ellis from vintnews. 


Put your money on it, a variety to watch in this country in the not-too-distant future is Vermentino, a hugely popular drop in Europe where its somewhat bizarrely known under 41 different synonyms – including Favorita de Conegliano, that for probably good reason for those who fight them in the field, translates to “the rabbit’s favourite.”
  

 

And interestingly in some regions of Europe, it’s proving the first wine in years capable of knocking Sauvignon Blanc off its perch.  

 

The principal white grape of Sardinia and Corsica, Vermentino, has only been grown in this country with any real intent since around the year 2000, which is a bit strange because it’s a variety that can handle the extreme heat of some of our hottest vineyard regions with ease. 

 

In the largest of these, the NSW Riverina, Calabria Family Wines at Griffith has just released a 2015 Private Bin Vermentino that’s all about delightful lemongrass and lime zest, and a palate of green apple, lime and almond, and a racy acidity. 

 

At an enticing $15, this is a great drop to serve chilled with bruschetta, tomato, basil and red onion, or with seafood such as crab linguine with chilli and parsley. 

 

One to note: from the high altitude, cold climate of Orange in NSW’s Central West, winemaker Peter Logan has released a ripper 2015 Weemala Pinot Noir you’ll find an absolute joy with a good summertime’s cheese platter.  

 

The result of mild, sunny and dry weather that characterised the 2015 vintage, this is one of those wonderfully food-friendly wines that you’ll find that as well as with the cheese platter, with its delicate, light-bodied elegance it will also make for a great match with rich game and meat dishes.  

 

At $19.95, beaut value with either choice.

Cab Sauv's Unique Depth of Flavour

By David Ellis from vintnews

  

We read and hear plenty about Coonawarra, that small but extraordinary strip of vineyard country in South Australia that comprises limestone and terra rossa (red soil) layered over a deep, one-million year old sandstone ridge, and on which are produced some of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

 

What few know, is that in the south of the region, that ancient ridge rises from the depths; and where it emerges on just one vineyard in all of Coonawarra, results in a Cabernet Sauvignon that is incredibly unique.

 

That vineyard is owned by Rymill Coonawarra, and Winemaker Sandrine Gimon says of the company’s recently-released 2013 Sandstone Cabernet Sauvignon that it is so distinctively different “it has made me fall in love with Cabernet all over again.”

 

Created from low yielding, highly flavoured fruit so typical of Coonawarra, this is everything the Cab Sauv devotee could wish for, with a palate of lively fresh berry flavours with hints of liquorice, cocoa and black olives all rolled into one.

 

Wonderfully elegant and refined, it’s worth the $60 price tag with a family or friends’ Sunday slow-roasted lamb lunch or dinner.

 

One to note: good news for bubbly buffs who don’t like having to wait for some special occasion or event to pop the cork, Mistletoe Wines in the Hunter Valley have released a Sparkling Mozcato for virtually anytime enjoyment – because it has less than half the normal alcohol strength at just 5.8%.

 

Made from Mistletoe’s own-vineyard Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains (arguably the world’s greatest Muscat grape cultivar, and used in Italy for making Moscato D’asti,) this one’s spelt Mozcato in deference to the oz for Australia.

  

With lovely crisp and fizzy tropical fruit flavours on the palate and not excessively sweet, its available cellar-door only at $22 a bottle, with discounts for 6- and 12-bottle buys. Hop onto www.mistletoewines.com.au

Supernormal Asian Cuisine

Book Review: Supernormal by Andrew McConnell. 

Based on the activities of renowned Melbourne restaurant, Supernormal, owner and head chef Andrew McConnell delivers his quirky cookbook of the same name into the hands of the everyday cook.

Just this once we say: judge a book by its cover. In many ways, Supernormal steps away from conforming, both in the restaurant and book. From cover to cover it presents a neat and tidy appearance, yet continuously provokes ones curiosity. The varying photography styles of Earl Carter interchange. At times they may be soft and grainy and then a page flip finds them polished and sharp, so that trying to assume what follows consecutive pages becomes far from easy. Perhaps cartoon eyeballs have been drawn onto grilled lamb ribs or a whole flounder goes unnoticed for a second, camouflaged among a snow-like dusting of flour. It is with this constant change, this quirkiness and unpredictability that Andrew McConnell introduces the reader to all that is Supernormal. 

Tuna, Avocado, Wakame and Pickled Cucumber, p. 72. 

For an idea of what’s inside, think cooking in cities that never sleep, like Hong Kong and Shanghai, or imagine the confident simplicity of cold Japanese dishes like Tuna, Avocado, Wakame and Pickled Cucumber. In eight chapters, Andrew shares a total of 89 mouth-watering recipes, both savoury and sweet, snacks and feasts that will excite tastebuds and have you scanning Asian supermarket isles for ingredients like toasted nori, fresh ramen, yuzu kosho and Chinese black vinegar paste.

If the thought of pan-Asian cuisine has you salivating, then pick a simple dish and begin – warm introductions to each meal encourage the reader to do their best and careful paragraphed instructions guide the way. Once simple bites are mastered, dishes requiring dedication, more interaction and considerable pre-thought await, like the Twice-Cooked Duck Legs with Plum Sauce and Steamed Bread. Feel the energy bubble out from photographs of talented chefs as they work with precision in Supernormal’s open kitchen. Follow along at home, reveling in the satisfaction of creating more than just a meal, but a piece of art with a touch of personal flair.  

Learn from the insights given into running a commercial kitchen and understand a little more about what it takes to turn food preparation and smooth service into seemingly effortless magic. Recreate Supernormal’s most addictive dishes – even the ever-popular Lobster Roll – for midnight snacking and lunchtime feasts. Sense harmony when international flavours dance together and celebrate over a shared table culture. 

No matter your limitations, the buzz that radiates from Supernatural is infectious. Experiment and find what works for you and the flavours that entice you to try it again. Personalise any dish as much as you like, because whatever you create, it will be supernormal. 

By Annabel Rainsford.

This is an edited extract from Supernormal by Andrew McConnell, photography by Earl Carter, published by Hardie Grant, RRP $60 and is available in all good bookstores and online here

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