Hellyers Road Distillery: A Review

Built on Tasmania's reputation for producing high quality food and beverage, Hellyers Road Distillery started producing boutique Whisky in 2006. 

Tasmanian single malts have quickly become a major force domestically and internationally, company director Laurie House had the foresight in 1999 to begin distilling single malts in Burnie (North West Tasmania) and the venture has proven to be very successful. 

Hellyers' Whisky varieties are now available in 21 countries in Europe such as Holland, Belgium, Sweden, UK, Romania, Greece and France. Their peated single malt was recognised as Australia's best in 2010. 

Hellyers Road Distillery has released their original single malt whisky aged 12 years just in time for Christmas. As their most significant milestone to date, this superb whisky has calming softness to the palate - much reflective of it's age it is a gentle spirit that has sweet tones of vanilla and citrus.

An excellent Christmas gift for any whisky lover - RRP $99.50 for a bottle that comes in it's own canister for perfect display on your bar. 

Christmas Gift Ideas - Read It and Eat

December 2012

By Kelly Korpesio

Advent Calendar Countdown for Bibliophile Foodies

Do you love to read, admire and collect books?  Are you amassing a large and specialized collection of libacious literature or know someone who has?  One more question… do you love to cook?  

If a resounding ‘yes’ is ringing loud like Christmas bells to one or more of these queries, then look no further for Christmas gift ideas.  Akin to an advent calendar (with less calories than the chocolate kind), we’re counting down to Christmas with one book in mind per day.  

This curation is particularly focused on food, wine and culture as represented by Australian publishers.  If you’re a gourmand at heart with affinity for home cooking, the new AGFG Shop is an affordable online option selling select cookbooks and food products that will put a taste of luxury into every pantry.

Finding gift ideas on the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant rather than wine tasting at the Good Food & Wine Show.  With ease and elegance in mind, read about it, drink it up, cook, eat and be merry.

Anticipating Christmas:  Last Minute Gift Lit Consideration

1.  ‘Maggie’s Verjuice Cookbook’ by Maggie Beer, Penguin (2012)

At the Good Food & Wine Show this year, there was a distinct buzz around Maggie Beer’s cooking demonstrations ‘Verjuice – It’s Love at First Splash’.  Those who had a taste of Maggie Beer’s mouth-watering menu at GFWS Oxford Landing Estates Restaurant were swooning with the life and intensity in her food.  ‘Maggie’s Verjuice Cookbook’ lavishly highlights this natural acidulant in her recipes, giving cuisine a sharpness and bite.

2.  ‘Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals’ by Jamie Oliver, Penguin (2012)

Jamie Oliver does it again, and if you’ve been watching the tele you know the deal; ’15-Minute Meals’ is made for weekday meal preparation in mind.  If you’re already a fan or keen to be converted, read more in our recent interview with Jamie where he stomps out all excuses for kitchen laziness, calling peoples copouts pure bollocks.  When it comes to home cooking, you are not allowed to exclaim ‘I don’t know how’ ever again.  BONUS:  Cool points include the back of the book where each two course meal is displayed graphically in a small format so that it reads over five pages like a comic book.   

3.  ‘Sydney 360’, self published by photographer Con Hionis (2012)

Cylindrical panoramas that spin you around on a whirlwind visual tour of Sydney’s architecture to shores, from New Thai dining hubs in pedestrian lined streets of Chinatown to the arenaceous marine dock in Balmain.


Brought to you by a mother and daughter team who specialize in communications, this is their latest publication in the ‘Produce to Platter’ series featuring top chefs, local secrets, and regional stories alongside stunning full-colour photography from the Yarra Valley & The Dandenongs.

5.  ‘Australian Wine Vintages 2013’ by Robert Geddes MW

Best known as ‘The Gold Book’, this shiny, metallic, and petit book of advice comes in a white box that requires only a bow – it’s the perfect stocking stuffer.  Corporate types can order a box or two with their insignia on the front.  
6.  ‘Desserts’ by Belinda Jeffery, Penguin (2012)

Ask Belinda Jeffery and she’ll happily tell you she has the best job in the world.  Constantly writing cooking tips here, there and everywhere, with each new release she tries to incorporate bits of experiential knowledge wherever she can within its pages.  Baking Christmas biscuits… how about trying pecan and honey melt-in-the-mouths, mascarpone and ginger biscuit cake, chewy ginger and almond lace biscuits, and lime and coconut tuiles?  

7.  ‘Wild Sugar Desserts’ by Skye Craig and Lyndel Miller, New Holland (2012)

If you like to live on the wild side, there’s no reason it needs to stop with your cooking.  Bling up your holidays with Glass Balls which are awe-inspiring delicate and ornate spun sugar clusters developed by a diva cooking duo, including Skye Craig whom you may remember from the second season of 'MasterChef', that both maintain ‘We love sweeties.  We love eating them.  We love making them.  We love sharing them.’

8.  ‘The Next Element’ by Andy Allen, New Holland (2012)

Winner of ‘MasterChef 2012’, this twenty-something former sparky is now a reliable cook that lights up a room a room with his down to earth personality and electric, eclectic dishes.  Moving right along, Andy loves to cook and there’s no looking back… his ‘Next Element’ is food and his book expresses the process, from cooking basics for your family to feasts with friends – with notes on preparing as much as you can in advance so you can enjoy the festivities – to ‘MasterChef’ recipes and other new food directions.   Check out our New Year blog interviews for more from Andy on the whole writing experience.  

9. ‘Homemade’ by Anna Gare, Fremantle Press (2011)

Former Junior MasterChef judge and mentor (also a rockstar back in the day) Anna Gare has gone the length to share her recipes is a really personal way.  We know her from television and become further acquainted in ‘Homemade’. She's honest, with an impromptu way about her, and we’re looking forward to speaking with her early next year. Keep an eye on our blog in February for an interview with Anna on the book, her TV show and love – of food and life. 

10. Lantern Cookery Classics, Penguin (2012)

There’s something about the orange cover of a Penguin classic that entices readers to pick up a copy and reacquaint with a great writer; sometimes it’s a new-to-know experience, other times it’s like connecting with an old friend.  There are six books so you can pick up the entire series or chop and change the titles around for who loves what.  Lantern Cookery Classics showcase:  Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Kylie Kwong, Maggie Beer, Matt Moran, and Stephanie Alexander. 

11. ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies, Penguin (2012) 

Includes ‘recipes and other bits & bobs’, not to mention an inspirational artist's success story that has inspired thirty-something women throughout Australia.  A food blogger who has graduated to hard copy status, Katie Quinn Davies has gone through the highs and lows and the completion of this book is definitely a coup de grace.  An enduring record of her recipes expressed verbatim and accompanied by her original photography, this one merits a permanent place on your bookshelf – though it won’t stay there long, as your friends will all want to flip through it straight away when they pop by.  

12. ‘Love and Hunger’ by Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin (2012)

No photos in this one; this book is a simple antidote to food pressures in the overwhelming world of celebrity chefs.  Charlotte Wood writes ‘thoughts on the gift of food’, an amusing ode expressing how and why she learned to cook in such a way that it becomes a practical guide for you to do the same along the way.

13. ‘Janella’s Wholefood Kitchen’ by Janella Purcell, Allen & Unwin (2012)

She’s a woman who goes her own way.  We know her for many things.  Amongst authorship, she’s been the ‘good’ nutritionist counterpart on ‘Good Chef Bad Chef’ GCBC and is known for her emphasis on SLOW food:  seasonal, local, organic and whole.  Her recipes are identified as dairy free, gluten free, raw, vegetarian and vegan so ‘Wholefood Kitchen’ is a handy one to have around.  If you, errr… I mean the lucky person you’re gift shopping for, is transitioning the household for meatless Mondays or is into the good health, holistic and long term diet approach to meal planning, this is the one.  

14. ‘Meat’ by Adrian Richardson, Hardie Grant (2008)

This may be one of the older publications on our list; however, with Australia Day the next holiday we have in mind after Christmas, ‘Meat’ is a worthy companion for BBQ champs. 

15. ‘The Good Life’ by Adrian Richardson, Pan Macmillan  (2011)

A new side to the story, showing that there’s more to this man than meat.  You can’t tell a good book by its cover, but can you tell a good book by how its cover feels?  Testament to the quality of the homemade recipes within, ‘The Good Life’ is physically padded – it's soft to the touch, cushy even.  Bless, this is a year of cooking and eating with Adrian (whom we also know from GCBC amongst other shows), his family and friends.  

16. ‘Have You Eaten’ by Billy Law, Hardie Grant (2012)

A Sydney food blogger, too, some became more familiar with Billy on ‘MasterChef’.  Originally from Malaysia, the title of his book is a phrase commonly used in his home country as a greeting.  Since he moved to Australia in 1996, Billy has picked up food techniques and Western influences including, chocolate – it’s not just for desserts anymore.  

17. ‘My Feast with Peter Kuruvita’, Hardie Grant (2012)

We’ve seen him on SBS, and foodies with a love for gourmet products have tried his new product line, now to read these island recipes and incorporate them into our summer life is a feasible option.  Food influences you’ll come to know include:  The South Pacific, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.  

18. ‘Lentil as Anything’ by Shanaka Fernando, Vivid Publishing (2012)

An author referred to as a modern revolutionary, ‘Lentil As Anything’ refers to Shanaka’s Melbourne-based community restaurants and the book is his biography that reflects his unique ‘people first’ philosophy.  His tales hint at a 1970s childhood in Sri Lanka and extend to the present where Shanaka maintains and promotes the philosophy that ‘everybody deserves a place at the table’.

19. ‘Sails Noosa Cookbook’ by Paul Leete, Independent

When you holiday and Noosa over the holidays, this is a gift to pick up when dining in Sails Restaurant.  Their story is worth telling, and like many proud restaurateurs, they’ve taken it upon themselves to tell an important local story by way of food – ‘fresh, simple food presented perfectly and professionally’.

From the chefs of Spirit House in the Sunshine Coast comes a modern Thai inspired world, full of flavour and in this case, Asian influenced BBQ recipes.  When these chefs are not busy fuelling the restaurant with extraordinary food, they’re sharing their unique style and technique with students in their cooking school.  Perfect for summer entertaining.  

21. ‘Latitude 36.50’ by Jean-Michel Gerst, New Holland (2012)

Taking us in another gastronomic direction, this collection resonates on a warming level. From a mountainous setting, these recipes are categorically designed with that alpine culture at the heart.  Hit the slopes for breakfast, refuel at lunch and opt for an afternoon sugar hit that you’ve made yourself – there’s nothing tastier.  

22. ‘Slow Cooking’ by Margaret Fulton, New Holland (2012)

When Margaret Fulton started writing in 1968, her self-titled book sold over 1.5 million copies, teaching the generations how to entertain guests with impressive staples.  A timeless goddess of cookery writing, Margaret Fulton is now ensuring we maximize our use of the ever versatile slow cooker for stews, casseroles and… breads and cakes.  There’s nothing old fashioned about a crockpot and no better way to pick up modern tips than from a legend.  

23. ‘The Cook’s Bible of Ingredients’ by Margaret Brooker, New Holland (2012)

Photos can go a long way in assisting us in preparing new dishes, at least giving us a visual idea of what we’re looking for.  Margaret Brooker’s book ensures the image speaks loudly in educating us on basic ingredients.  A picture book with helpful information that covers the dietary food pyramid; a gamut of area is covered from grains and cereals to sweeteners and flavourings. 

24. ‘Movida Cocina’ by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish, Murdoch (2011)

The king of Spanish cuisine in Australia has paired with writing colleague Richard Cornish to release Movida Cocina through Murdoch Books, which came out late last year - Frank Camorra has done it again.  Novice cooks beware... some recipes in MoVida Cocina are indeed hearty while emphasizing simple flavours, but are certainly not effortless in the making. Preparation needs to start three days in advance for their pork and pepper Catalan sausage with black beans and piquillo peppers, “Butifarra” (the name Frank originally wanted to call his first restaurant).

To complete the advent countdown, we’re offering the gift of continuity.  Check back in our blog periodically, every month or so for book reviews that will offer great ideas for gastronomes and lovers of all things food, wine and travel – with a particular emphasis on Australia.  Oftentimes we’ll interview the author where they’ll dish out some of the juicy details on their work in the kitchen and other tid bits of advice and hot topic ideas. 

Happy Christmas gift shopping readers, eaters and cooks.  Check out the new AGFG Shop for pantry items, treats, chef ranges, beverages and molecular specials.  

Product Review - MoVida Cocina

October 2012

Spanish Fiesta for your Mouth

The king of Spanish cuisine in Australia has paired with writing colleague Richard Cornish to release Movida Cocina through Murdoch Books, which came out late last year - Frank Camorra has done it again.

MoVida restaurants are committed to serving foods that have progressed to be the best they can be, served in the Spanish way with Australian fresh produce sourced as a primary influence.  MoVida Cocina includes recipes that represent what you’ll find on their menus; after ten years in business some dishes have definitely stood the test of time and all of them will stand up to trial by fire of your tastebuds.

Try a party paella sample recipe from  Movida Cocina in our AGFG Recipes section.


This “Paella de Fiesta” dish stems from MoVida Aqui’s annual Christmas parties, where the chefs and front-of-house staff celebrate on the sunny banks of the Yarra River.  The inviting vision of dozens of people mingling around the gas burner and paella pan evokes the sense of the casual Spanish spirit and untiring fellowship.  

MoVida Cocina is a food story that naturally extends from the creativity in not one, but five kitchens.  There’s companionship surrounding Frank Camorra’s professional stovetops, and there’s no question that his long-term chefs have been well mentored (many from apprenticeship) and that they get his food. This is Frank’s third cookbook, giving home cooks a chance to do what they love and get what Spanish cooking and eating is all about. 

This book includes tapas style foods akin to those at MoVida Next Door, nice and easy recipes such as roasted vegetable and anchovy rolls, “Bocadillos de verdures con Anchoas”.   MoVida Cocina also gives you a chance to discover a great combination of dishes from Spain that are more robust but simple, characteristic of MoVida Aqui.

Novice cooks beware... some recipes in MoVida Cocina are indeed hearty while emphasizing simple flavours, but are certainly not effortless in the making. Preparation needs to start three days in advance for their pork and pepper Catalan sausage with black beans and piquillo peppers, “Butifarra” (the name Frank originally wanted to call his first restaurant).

If you’re new to Frank Camorra’s cookbooks, previous publication MoVida Rustica literally brought the pillars of Spain’s culinary spreads to Australia based on vast travels from Madrid to Andalucia while the original MoVida covers the basics.

With all the forward momentum, Frank had this to say about his book and the trade. 

AGFG:  You’ve released three books through Murdoch, all co-authored with Richard Cornish who looks at food diversity, significance and taste.   He specializes on looking at the producer, chef and consumer relationship and you’re the chef, so how does the writing pan out between you two?

FRANK:  The more I work on the books the more I enjoy writing stuff.  MoVida Rustica was written in a car travelling through Spain, and Richard makes it come together as a written work.  We spend so much time writing together, we have a good relationship and obviously I work out the recipes beforehand and then we test them out together.  We’re friends and colleagues so I look forward to the next project.

MoVida Cocina offers simple and complicated recipes – it depends on the readers’ ability.  It shows what we do in the restaurants and gives you something delicious to make at home, such as our Catalan spinach dish with raisins; add lemon juice and season with salt and that’s it.

More complicated examples include the potato and bacon terrine with smoked eel.  Whatever the level of cook, it’s all in there.  A few rice dishes like our Aqui paella are complex and can be cooked for 20 or 30 people, and there are Italian rice recipes to try.  Our award winning air-dried wagyu with truffled potato foam and poached egg is too complicated for home cooking, but some may want to do it at home, so you’ll find it in MoVida Cocina.

AGFG:  Being awarded 2 hats for your original MoVida restaurant in Melbourne bodes well for the brand and your recognition as one of Australia’s great chefs.  With MoVida Sydney opening up this month, what are you saying when you stand on the soapbox?

FRANK:  When we first opened people’s perception is that we weren’t serious.  We do put hard work into our Spanish food.  It’s not French, it’s not Italian, but it’s just as sophisticated.  

After we won the 2nd hat, perceptions changed and people had expectations.  We had to meet them in the middle so that our casual and relaxed Spanish dining was maintained amongst their fine dining expectations; we had to make it more formal because people were expecting a certain standard of service. MoVida Next Door was opened and became more like the original MoVida, like a local bar in Madrid.  We found that balance without losing what we about. 

AGFG:  After a really long day, what’s your guilty pleasure?

FRANK:  I do eat a lot better than I used to… but I have a big soft spot for a really good terrine and chorizo.  When it comes to wine pairing, a dry sherry with salty tapas with ocean flavours.  

Pick up a copy of Movida Cocina (Murdoch, 2011) and replicate Frank's favourite terrine and other Spanish delights in your home kitchen.  

Read the full interview with Frank Camorra in our AGFG blog.

By Kelly Korpesio

Book Review - Australian Wine Companion

Bestselling Definitive Wine Guide 

What is James Halliday reviewing this year?  Even if you bookmark his webpage, follow his blog and connect with James in the social media, the Australian Wine Companion 2013 offers readers unique scholarship.  The facts, like the weather, vary from year to year and with new wineries popping up out of the woodwork Wine Companion is your go-to information source on what’s new from our vineyards.

When It Comes to Food & Wine?

James has built this brand on the foundation of fine Australian wine and while we may wonder what a man like him eats for breakfast, it’s more a question of what he drinks for breakfast?  Not that he drinks wine all day, every day by any means, rather when served a special wine by an amicable host alongside farm fresh back bacon, he is apt to accept and prone to finish (the meal and the wine).


Halliday is not committed to wine consumption, but he is steadfast in ensuring a good bottle never goes to waste once offered.  His entire enterprise is built on decades as a wine judge and writing wine reviews with particular emphasis on Australian wine.  James is now in his 70s and his expertise in European vintage allows him unparalleled comparative measure; however, he is mentoring Ben Edwards and you will discover reviews in Wine Companion initialled JH or BE accordingly.

When it comes to food matching, the voice of James Halliday rings strong on the wine side of things; while foodies run the risk of focusing on fine food with wine as an afterthought, James is quick to point out the reverse.  His writing highlights the wines you want at dinner so that you can cook accordingly.  For voracious travelling connoisseurs, the annual Australian Wine Companion tells the story of vintage, vineyards and barrel rooms.  If you want breaking news on cellar doors being redesigned to offer high-quality foods to match their wines, it’s all in here. 


Wine Companion Growth Spurt 


On an annual basis with utmost precision, The Wine Companion itself impresses upon amateur wine lovers and experts alike the enormity of drinking and collecting options out there.  For those pulled in by graphics and gloss, last year the Wine Companion extended their reach with the bimonthly release of their well crafted magazine by the same name.  

Christmas is right around the corner and there are fathers to consider, amongst other impossible-to-shop-for types, and these gourmet rags sit well in a gift bag while the book itself will surely keep everything in place.  


Read our recent Q&A with James Halliday, reflecting on his memoirs within A Life in Wine.   


By Kelly Korpesio 

Book Review - Tasting India by Christine Manfield

August 2012

India Inspires a Cookbook Closely Woven with Culture 

When you journey to India it’s always helpful to do your research and seek out advice from those who’ve gone before you. May I recommend Christine Manfield, chef extraordinaire and travel expert?  Seven-time food and travel author, Christine ventures to India on a regular basis and has been visiting this vibrant land of cultural diversity for over two decades. 
Tasting India is her sixth book and was widely released last year to instant success.  Straight away it was nominated for many prestigious awards and won the 2012 Australian Book Industry award for Best Illustrated Book amongst others. 


“India is a visual feast and a gastronomic paradise,
seducing with its food and contagious hospitality.
Modern India has 29 states, each with distinctive food.”

-Christine Manfield

Seasoning, Spice and Symphony for the Senses

This thickset book includes comprehensive information including where to sleep, eat and shop; though the author is amongst Australia’s chef elite and as such offers readers more than 250 authentic Indian recipes amongst some pages of guiding anecdotes.  Some dishes are seasoned with fresh herbs from the market gardens while others reflect spiced versions of an area’s local specialities, such as vegetables in Tamil Nadu, coconuts in Kerala and cashews in Goa.  

Christine Manfield’s generous portrayal of colourful everyday scenes amongst Anson Smart’s landscape photography and real-life portraits will appease ravenous India addicts whilst introducing armchair adventurers to layer upon layer of culture through culinary technique. 


"The Indian table is an extraordinary feast for the senses

- spices are to the tastebuds what colour is to the eyes,
and the symphony is magical and powerful." 

-Christine Manfield

Tasting India in Australian Dining

With her in depth comprehension of cuisine from India and its gastronomic secrets, Christine Manfield has become one of Australia’s leading authorities on Indian food, describing it as an “extraordinary feast for the senses”.  The very name of her establishment, Universal Restaurant, transmits her dedication to pushing boundaries in presenting global fare and sharing delicious morsels inspired by extensive first-hand travel experiences.
She is now one of Australia’s few experts on India and can speak with ease about the history behind Darjeeling tea, coffee culture in Karnataka, and the urban contrast of Mumbai’s busy bazaars with Bollywood billionaires.  Her recipe collection reveals a prominent part of Indian culture that comes to us from their kitchens through a dedicated author with culinary prowess and eloquent prose; tasty samples include treasured foods from the nation’s capital of Delhli, pure vegetarian cuisine of Varanasi, and dishes that reflect Rajasthan ‘the land of kings’.  

Authentically Sourced Indian and Vegetarian Recipes

In Tasting India Christine shares original recipes that begin to reveal this mysterious, multi-faceted, yet truly unending culinary culture.  Throughout many visits, she has collected recipes from those encountered in India along the way including Indian restaurant owners, street vendors and home cooks from various walks of life.

In a country where timeless culinary traditions are upheld by women, she has been granted access to share recipes that were previously domestic secrets passed down by oral tradition.  Cherished family recipes from a world where “everyone thinks that no one cooks as well as their mother” are now well documented and yours to try.  These Indian recipes have been gathered like stories and are now a collection that emits the cookery charms of mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters and aunts, as well as sons, brothers and sons of daughters.  



Home Style Recipe Compilation Meets Travel Guide

Modern Indian cuisine transcends ancestral origins in city hubs where up to six religious orders conglomerate, each one influencing the dietary regime of its followers; meanwhile, there are rural villages sanctifying the food of their lineage, still thriving today on its rituals.  The territory Christine Mansfield has covered thus far is substantial, yet she longs for more and expresses her desire, “to expand on the unending culinary journey that I have begun, to delve further into the gastronomic secrets gleaned from India’s people”.

Make no mistake Tasting India is far from a pocket travel book, rather a concentrated literary portrayal of India.  Truth be told, it’s an elephantine publication and I would not recommend travelling around with it in your bag; trust me, I toted it back and forth for a few days and have stronger backpacker’s shoulders as a result.  On second thought, if you’re destined for trekking to Indian Himalayan mountain villages and temples maybe you’d be best served hauling Tasting India to and fro, preparing spicy dinners at your friend’s place.

Tasty Results of Indian Lineage & Spirit

Christine Manfield went to great lengths with enduring energy, using a substantial and trusted network, to secure tried-and-true family recipes passed down through the generations so it makes perfect sense to share Tasting India with others.

Hosting your own thematic dinner or swinging by your loved one’s place with this deluxe yellow cookbook in tow is an ideal way to sink your teeth into this impressive compilation.  You may not be sharing the heart and soul of India through oral tradition per se, though everyone you open these pages and cook for or with will surely feel the love and inspiration its recipes and stories exude – they’ll eat it right up.   

Tasting India was released by Penguin Australia in October 2011. 


Learn more about the author in our interview with Christine Manfield and for further reading check out the corresponding book review on Fire & Spice.


By Kelly Korpesio

Book Review - Fire & Spice by Christine Manfield

August 2012

A Universal Dining Experience


Whether you’re eating out or dining in, Christine Manfield offers voracious customers and curious cooks a healthy dose of spice.  She is a celebrated owner chef of Universal Restaurant in Sydney, and acclaimed food and travel writer whose seventh book was released in May; following that she also has her own spice line to ease your culinary way.  

Her latest release, Fire & Spice circumvents sugar, spice and everything nice, making room for recipes that reveal a broad spectrum of universally acknowledged good gastronomic foods from all over the globe.


Distinctive Cuisine in Australia 


Perfectionist cookery and travel lit author, Christine Manfield is a skilled master on many fronts.  Under her vision and leadership, the Fire & Spice creative team has come together with a clear focus to deliver a book that will once again encourage keen cooks to endeavour with passion and flair.

After introducing the basic spice rules, you’ll discover simple categories including fish and shellfish; meat and poultry; vegetables, rice and noodles; and desserts.  Christine’s essential tips are worth their weight in salt and her definitive glossary will guide you along the red hot road.  The photography of Anson Smart makes a magical harmony to Christine’s evolved culinary experiments.  

"Fire & Spice is a synopsis of a life built around food,

a hand-picked selection of some of my personal favourites

from two much-loved recipe books."

-Christine Manfield


According to Christine, fire and spice in Australian cuisine are perfect potent partners in our cooking adventure.  Her recipes throw caution to the wind, defying the convenience term “fusion” with a confident delivery of strong cross-cultural flavours that parallel Australia’s characteristic cuisine.

A firm believer that food and travel go hand in hand, whether or not you’ve experienced exotic destinations such as India, Morocco, or Spain firsthand, Christine gives everyone the opportunity to take a fiery taste tour with spicy conjunctions in the convenience of your own kitchen.  


Seasoning & Spice in Adventurous Recipes

Fire & Spice is an inclusive term that definitely includes desserts, including a few daring signatures; from entrees to mains to the grand finale, each recipe is a welcome adventure.  Christine Manfield skilfully presents classics with contemporary components and gives a fresh face to Australian cuisine with clean flavours often presented with various options for optimum flexibility.   
In top cookbooks each recipe reads as a minor inflection in the author’s vast culinary journey as is the case in Fire & Spice.  A seasoned chef and veteran traveller, Christine Manfield openly shares her personal “best of” recipe collection from respective works, allowing the reproduction of her food be a sensual showcase of her planetary explorations.  

Fire and Spice was released by Penguin Australia in May 2012. 


Learn more about the author in our interview with Christine Manfield and for further reading check out the corresponding book review on Tasting India.

By Kelly Korpesio 

Book Review - Rockpool

July 2012

Rockpool by Neil Perry

“Part of the responsibility of a cook is not just to create new recipes for cooks to follow, nor to show the world new food never seen in any other cookbook, but rather, to distil the hits and misses that come out of the thousands of hours that I have cooked, the thousands of words that I have read, and the many great meals I have enjoyed around the world.”  

-Neil Perry, in the Introduction to Rockpool (New Holland, 2012)

Originally published in 1996 and back by popular demand, Rockpool represents a slice of history that you must taste for yourself.  If you missed this cookbook the first time around, now’s your chance to sink your teeth into harmonious dishes by Neil Perry.

Try Neil Perry's truffle and potato salad recipe from Rockpool, giving you a mind-blowing taste from this remarkable cookbook.


His Rockpool recipes represent a wide range of cuisine from cocktail selections to a delectable truffles, caviar and oysters section and naturally conclude with sweet things.  There’s much to anticipate and the recipe variety is balanced with Neil’s culinary philosophy on Old World and New World culture amidst modern applications of eastern and western influences.



CLICK HERE to read this truffle story extract, courtesy of New Holland

Trusted Australian Chef

The world reveres his Rockpool brand and everyone salivates over his fine food.  Adding another layer to Neil Perry’s credibility is his authorship, and part of the appeal in his writing is that inextricable culinary knowledge.  Neil Perry is a trusted Australian Chef who we’ve come to know as a chef on TV and whose very name connotes quality.  Neil’s success as a writer has stood the test of time, his prowess bolstered on expert chef status and reflecting voracious consumption of cookery lit over a longstanding career.  

Preceding the Perfect Steak

Before there was Rockpool Bar & Grill, presenting the perfect steak, the brand was established with Rockpool Sydney. In suit this re-release of Rockpool denotes the foundational elements of Neil Perry’s cooking prior to the brand’s massive spread at a slightly different angle.  

Rockpool Quality

A huge part of hospitality is atmosphere and true to Rockpool’s superior quality, Neil contributes context to the recipes in the cookbook writing.  As in fine dining, readers are welcomed into his world straight away and Neil becomes akin to a companion.  If having cooked your way through Rockpool you feel as though you’ve been on a culinary journey with an old friend, then he has succeed once again – we’ll leave that up to you.  


Free to Decide

For Neil Perry, cooking is freedom.  Freedom granted by being born in Australia, a New World country with a multicultural society that demands variety in its authentic modern cuisine.  His recipes may seem complicated; however, with the mindset that certain dishes are simply long compilations of small recipes the largess collection of instructions is quite accessible.  

Reading Rockpool you get a sense of how Neil Perry distinguishes his Australian cuisine and reminds us of the foundation behind his most momentous Rockpool brand, a business he’s built step-by-step akin to his recipes.

Want more of the Rockpool story?  Are you curious about Neil Perry’s culinary exploration from East to West and the harmony of the two?  Need to try four more delicious truffle recipes?  

Rockpool was re-released in soft cover on June 2012.   Rockpool was originally published by New Holland on May 2010.  Check with your local bookstore for availability.

Collecting the works of Neil Perry?  Learn more about his most recent cookbook in our AGFG book review on Rockpool Bar & Grill.  

By Kelly Korpesio 

Book Review - Rockpool Bar & Grill

July 2012

Three Australian Restaurants with the Grill On

“A city really gets the restaurant scene that it deserves.” - Neil Perry

Rockpool Steak Philosophy & Technique

A handful of chef restaurateurs can attest to the growth in Australia’s fine dining scene over the past 25 years, and Neil Perry is one of them.  His professional identity revolves around the modern Australian concept and his three Rockpool Bar & Grill restaurants reflect our culinary evolution as a nation.

Following Perry’s penchant for perfection, the Rockpool Bar & Grill cookbook is a mammoth of cultural information that offsets his generous serving of cooking tips and steakhouse recipes.  Neil claims, “A city really gets the restaurant scene that it deserves”; and it seems Melbourne, Sydney and Perth are worthy of their own Rockpool Bar & Grill establishments.

For those who’ve yet to partake in the B&G experience firsthand, no matter where you reside, the laudable Rockpool Bar & Grill (Murdoch Books, Oct. 2011) is the kind of book worthy of your kitchen library and may very well migrate couchside as there is an ample amount of story in there as well, all about the people who contribute to Rockpool's quality.

Melbourne’s Southbank Class on Home Grill

Neil Perry opened Rockpool Sydney in 1989 and after thirteen years in business they began winning The World’s 50 Best Restaurants status, a prestigious accolade granted by S. Pellegrino – since 2002 they’ve won this exalted award a total of seven times.

February 2012 marked Rockpool’s 23nd birthday and by this time, the business group had become a triumvirate. By this time, attributing to the brand's success, their steakhouse endeavour, Rockpool Bar & Grill, had been up and running for over five years.

Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne launched in October 2006 when John Alexander, an astute businessman at Crown Melbourne, took a liking to Neil’s pitch.  “John said he believed in the Rockpool brand and trusted my food philosophy and dedication to delivering on quality, but he also said do anything I like as long as Rockpool is in the name,” reflects Neil Perry.  

In March 2009, the same heritage listed building that housed Spice Temple in Sydney CBD (that they’d opened only months before) also became home to Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney.  As of January 2011, Western Australia became part of B&G loop with the launch of Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth.

Today all three critically acclaimed world-class B&G restaurants run on Neil Perry’s steadfast commitment to quality and his book by the same name, at 450 plus prestigious pages, showcases those values.  Rockpool Bar & Grill cookbook stands out with simple yet elegant photography by Earl Carter that parallels Perry’s own vision, giving us a tour of the venue and its fine food.  

Review of the Restaurant’s Food & Fine People

When the B&G began in the mid 90’s, Australia finally had the infrastructure to support that level of development and at Rockpool Bar & Grill they became professional good food ambassadors.  But hospitality is as much about people as it is about the food and B&G, being committed to industry quality on both fronts, reflects that in house and within the pages of Rockpool Bar & Grill.   

This read is a spacious exploration depicting like-minded B&G staff, producers and suppliers; meanwhile it’s an intimate portrait of tried & true recipes whilst offering a detailed source to serve account of treating produce for results that are nothing short of grand.

Shop well and get thee to the kitchen with Rockpool Bar & Grill in tow, and if you pay attention you will surely be eating well.  Considering produce, such as top-quality beef, and sustainable suppliers, found in specialized family farms, is the first part of making something unforgettable – as in an amazing steak.

The same ethic applies to any other dish in this book, well presented and designed for perfection. In Rockpool Bar & Grill Neil Perry gives you the beginning, middle and end in his Rockpool story and for serving amazing food.  And if all you’re in for is how to cook the perfect steak, well, that’s certainly in there – Neil doesn’t hold back with the beef.  Fancy seafood? How to choose a scallop is in there as well.  

Rockpool Bar & Grill Cookbook

What it takes to run Rockpool Bar & Grill is big business, but beyond that fascinating tale this book puts a lot of energy into serving up key cooking elements that ensure Rockpool cooks can deliver the goods day after day and guarantee you an element of success.  The details in Rockpool Bar & Grill will champion you in the kitchen so that you, too, can succeed with your Wagyu or so be it, your silverbeet.

As visitors are assured in B&G quality, Rockpool Bar & Grill cookbook offers a great reading experience.  Those who opt for a Rockpool Bar & Grill eBook will also enjoy five videos offering a more face-to-face connection with Neil Perry.




Simple & Easy Recipes by Neil Perry

House-chopped salad, a great way to start a meal and Seafood stew with spicy mussel and saffron broth, spicy and intense in flavour.  Just a few samples from a colossal collection found in Rockpool Bar and Grill.

Rockpool Bar and Grill was released by Murdoch Books in October 2011.  Check with your local bookstore for availability.  

Collecting the works of Neil Perry?  Rockpool was recently released in softcover and reviewed by the AGFG.


By Kelly Korpesio 

Book Review - Pizza by Pete Evans

Pizza It Is

Pete Evans started his career rolling dough at pie shop in the Gold Coast and now, after over 20 years in the business, he has finally embraced the opportunity to roll out his topical “Pizza” cookbook.  Pete’s lifelong love affair with pizza permeates the pages of his widely anticipated new book; here he shares tips of the trade that he picked up under the guidance of an authentic Italian pizzaiolo and put into practice when he was executive chef at Hugos restaurants.

It was always in the back of his mind to write a book about pizza and now it has arrived, representing his sixth cookbook with Murdoch Books.  “Pizza” encapsulates his best tried and true recipes.

“Pizzas are a great way to showcase good ingredients. That’s one of the main reasons I love making them,” explains Pete.

There can be a lot of freedom in pizza-making because the recipes are typically simple and achievable, plus you can customize the ingredients for whomever you’re cooking for.  Pete has embraced this opportunity and “Pizza” offers his loyal readership over 90 recipes.

He covers classic pizzas such as Meat-Lovers, and modern versions including Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Mustard Seeds.  This book takes pizza to an exciting new level with a definite Aussie spin in terms of ingredients - there are breakfast pizzas, seafood pizzas, vegetarian pizzas and pizza desserts.  

“I think that’s what we like to do in Australia, take great foods and put our own stamp on them,” Pete remarks.

With a predilection for seafood, you’ll find Pete has a number of pizzas designed to feature brilliant ocean flavours, both modern Australian and globally inspired.  Your tastebuds will thank you upon being introduced to his Moreton Bay Bug with Chilli, Coriander and Yuzu Mayo pizza; though the yuzu hints of Asia and may not be for pizza purists.

You’ll find pizza variations in different shapes and sizes such as Stacciatella Pizza and Salmon Carpaccio with Fennel and Radish.  Mint being one his favourite herbs at the moment, Pete embraces that trend with his Spring Mint and Salted Ricotta Pizza.

His Rocky Road with Turkish Delight, Pistachios and Marshmallows recipe is especially recommended for chocoholics, a re-creation of his famous rocky road dessert adapted atop a pizza base.

Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Pete Evans has a relaxed disposition that translates to his devoted fans through his writing, television shows, catering and travel adventures.  His elegant and easy-to-follow cooking combined with his laid-back Aussie charm is displayed in his books, including “Pizza”, and on TV in Channel 7’s high-rating ‘My Kitchen Rules’ amongst other appearances and spokesperson roles.  

For a taste of what’s to come in “Pizza”, try out his Goat’s Curd, Baby Beetroot and Hazelnut Pizza.  This recipe emulates something sublime in its perfect combination of ingredients.


Read more in our AGFG Interview with Pete Evans or check out his bio brief in our Chef Profile section.

By Kelly Korpesio

Book Review - A Cook's Life

Publication Date:  21 March 2012

Memoirs of Our Very Own Food Writer

Relentlessly forging new ground, renowned food writer Stephanie Alexander is a constant companion for those who’ve turned to her trusted food articles and cookery books since the early eighties.  "A Cook’s Life" is her 13th book, a long-anticipated memoire encapsulating the details surrounding those parts of her life she deems most important.

With a propensity for offering up gigantean books of knowledge, Stephanie has written neither an autobiography nor a chronology of day-to-day life, rather narrowed down “A Cook’s Life” to a modest (by her standards) 362 pages.  It explores the most significant aspects surrounding Stephanie’s Restaurant, “The Cook’s Companion” - first released in 1996 - and Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation. 

Her cherished memories and photographs are an intermingling of food, friends and family, with special credence placed on those relating to the greatest achievements in Stephanie’s personal life, her daughters Lisa and Holly (respecting their privacy whilst writing).   

Read more in our exclusive Q&A with Stephanie Alexander

A True Companion in Stephanie Alexander

Long-anticipated by fans and accessible to those who are just being introduced to the epicurean author, who always strives for excellence, “A Cook’s Life” is an introspective reflection on the busy life of a woman, with humble beginnings, who has contributed greatly to the Australian gastronomic world as we know it today.  Just as cooks turn to their trusted copy of "The Cook's Companion" with religiousity, readers will naturally gravitate towards the honest prose of "A Cooks Life", with its reflective narrative welcoming them with open arms.  

On the matter of Stephanie’s Restaurant success, attributed alongside 21 years of service, our perfectionist author reveals that customer feedback was almost always positive. Though Stephanie Alexander has become a culinary legend not only for the high quality and ingenuity of her food but also for her industry contribution; over the significant time span of Stephanie’s she influenced and trained a great number of hospitality workers, including now influential chefs such as Neil Perry, and restaurateur chefs Nicky Riemer and Annie Smithers who work as independent entrepreneurs.

Stephanie’s candid tales begin with her growing up years, span through her days as a restaurateur and describe a world that her readership has come to know through her books - this time it emphasizes personal nuance and chronological detail.  “A Cook’s Companion” was originally released in 1996 (bound in orange, a perfect match to the current hardcover copy of "A Cook's Life") and was re-released in 2004 with its famous candy-striped sheath; one version or the other now sits on the shelves of over 500, 000 people, an encyclopaedia of food that is reached for oftentimes on a daily basis.  

Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Foundation

Make no mistake, there is a life story lining these pages and it is truly an inspirational one as it can only be when compiled by an individual full of ideas, honesty, and integrity.  At the wise age of 71, Stephanie Alexander remains busy, spending her weekdays as an advocate for her highly influential Kitchen Garden Foundation that began in 2001. Originating in one school, the foundation’s education program has now expanded into over 200 schools across Australia and fuels children’s passions for growing food and entertains them in the kitchen, promoting an active and fun approach to healthy cooking.

The front cover of her new book includes a quote from Jamie Oliver, “A true food hero.  Stephanie is frank and honest without compromise.” Jamie has visited the Kitchen Garden Foundation’s active demonstration garden a few times and is now part of their membership; he remains impressed by the program, not only for its growth, but also for their continuous ability to lobby and acquire funding for the not-for-profit organization - a battle he is all to familiar with.

An author who has accumulated over 200 hundred notebooks over the years, not to mention the computer files saved as she advanced technologically, the question remains, what finally moved Stephanie Alexander to write “A Cook’s Life”?  No easy feat, an emotional journey – sometimes painful and oftentimes happy – she scoured notebooks, travel notes, to-do list et al. and amongst the reference materials stood the unpublished memories of her own mother, Mary Burchett. They were written at the age of 69, paralleling the very age of Stephanie Alexander herself upon opening the precious pages – this brilliant career woman took it as a sign that it was time to reveal her story of the trade and the truths of her life.

There are very few, if any, Australian restaurateurs with the accumulated experiential knowledge of Stephanie Alexander, especially those who are willing to sit down and write it all out.  As such, “A Cook’s Life” is a personal account revealing important developments in Australia’s culinary scene; in her world, that of an epicurean and educator, food is an expression of our culture.  As a writer Stephanie Alexander is once again a most hospitable host, opening up and offering all that she has experienced without hurting anyone along the way.

Stephanie Alexander discussed her new book, life and the writing process with us in a thoughtful interview.  Her bio brief is also availabe online in Stephanie Alexander's Chef Profile

By Kelly Korpesio