Sea, Land and Earth with Daniel Wilson

Huxtable was born out of the idea to create a restaurant that is comfortable with delicious but simple food. Huxtable is the expression of Chef Daniel Wilson's style while his other restaurant, huxtaburger, was created to serve old school burgers the right way - simple, tasty and delicious. Check out our book review of Huxtabook, Daniel's latest book that houses all the recipes for Huxtable's success. AGFG talks to Daniel about Huxtable, Huxtaburger and Huxtabook. 

You started cooking when you were 5, can you tell us your favourite dishes from your childhood that still remain with you today?

Sweet and sour pork, Sunday roast of any kind as well as homemade pizza.

How was Huxtaburger created?

We felt that there were no decent old school burgers in the area. I did my chef training in America for 3 years and during this time I gained an insight into what makes a good burger, we wanted to replicate this in Australia. So we kept it simple and tasty, we decided to keep the offering limited so we could focus on doing one thing well.

Is there an ingredient you couldn’t live without?

Chilli.

What do you love most about your businesses?

I love that I am able to share my knowledge and inspire people to be the best they can.

What has been your greatest career highlight so far?

I would say that it would be opening successful businesses and also being asked to write a cookbook. A book is such a nice reminder of a place and time but also a result of a lot of hard work over a long career so far.

Where did the idea for huxtabook come from and how many hours did you spend creating it?

I was approached by Hardie Grant as they like what we do at Huxtable and thought it would be great to share it with the world! I am very honoured to have this opportunity. It took about 6 months in total from being asked to it being published. It was such a lovely walk down memory lane with some of the earlier dishes that I had created. 

The design of your book is very appealing and significantly different from others we’ve seen, can you explain how the design was thought out and created?

We wanted the book to reflect the style of the restaurant, which is simple, delicious, considered and elegant. We wanted the tone to be a little more serious as it is the grown up sibling of the more fun and hipster Huxtaburger.

Is there a particular dish in your book that resonates with you more than the others?

I do love the John Dory with smoked mussels and peas (page 78). It is such a simple dish but with so much flavour and fantastic juices to be mopped up with the crusty bread! That’s what eating is about - enjoyment and sharing.

What is your most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item (from Huxtable or Huxtaburger)?

Probably the ‘Douche Burger,’ we did at Taste of Melbourne last year. It was a mini burger with wagyu eye fillet, foie gras, cherry ketchup and green peppercorn mayo.

If you could choose your last meal what would it be? 

It would be a grazing meal over many hours starting with amazing sashimi and sushi, then moving onto Thai and Vietnamese salads. I’d then enjoy a luxurious French meal of foie gras, crayfish, duck, cote de boeuf and amazing breads, finishing with a selection of the world’s best cheeses!

Our Top Recipe Picks for Father's Day

Here at AGFG we really enjoy cooking, eating and drinking - really anything that involves food and we're in. Although there are a number of great places to take your Dad this Father's Day, if you're not feeling up to it and love cooking like us, why not put on a feast or just some great lunch for your Dad? We have the perfect recipes for you to do just that! 

Fried Duck Eggs with Chilli Braised Ham Hock by Daniel Wilson from Huxtable: 

This is a champion's breakfast or a great lunch idea - especially when paired with Dad's favourite beer. From Daniel Wilson's latest book, Huxtabook, this flavoursome dish incorporates eggs, braised ham hock and pickled okra as seamlessly as the marriage of bacon and eggs. 

If you're Dad's into seafood, why not start dinner with Oysters with Vietnamese Dressing

This is a contemporary Vietnamese take on your everyday freshly shucked Oyster. Accompany the oysters with a garnish of coriander and ginger for a knock-out entree. 

Following oysters, we suggest Sticky Smoky Pork Ribs by Adrian Richardson: 

From Australia's iconic carnivore, these ribs will take your Dad back to Summer, Barbecues and great family memories. So enjoy Adrian's nose to tail philosophy as well as his love for barbecues and put this recipe to the test. 

Book Review; Huxtabook by Daniel Wilson

“Try these recipes without fear, and share the result with those you cherish” - Daniel Wilson

 

Huxtabook; Recipes from Sea, Land & Earth

America meets Europe (with a sidetracked trip to Asia) and the results are some sort of wonderful within the pages of Huxtabook, where two hard back covers sandwiches together 200 odd pages of mouth watering contents. Originating from chef Daniel Wilson’s well famed Huxtable and its burger baby, Huxtaburger, this book takes inspiration from land, earth and sea to create a selection of internationally inspired fare.

Far from the likes of Jamie’s 15 minute meals, most of the recipes featured within Huxtabook are multi step and multi component, much to the delight of those who know their choux from their katiafi.  Dishes like spicy dory with Sichuan eggplant, mushroom and garlic chips are relaxed yet sophisticated – perfect for entertaining guests and pretending you didn’t spend long preparing it (aka, casual master chef).  If you’ve got time on your hands and you desire something a bit more challenging than your usual sausage and mash, then get on board with dishes such as fried duck eggs, chilli braised ham hock and pickled okra, perfect for Father’s Day celebrations.  

 

 

Just like the Huxtable menu, Huxtabook is divided into ‘Bites’, ‘Sea’, ‘Land’, ‘Earth’ and ‘Sweet’, allowing you to immerse yourself within each section, where striking photography captures the eye and decadent descriptions send your appetite into overdrive. 120 recipes take you from honey roasted carrots with goats curd, za’atar and pomegranate, through to finger licking Korean barbecued pork ribs with spicy slaw and chilli gherkins.

 

 

For a seriously sweet finish, try your hand at Huxtabook’s desserts like Sri Lankan love cake with Turkish delight, mint ice cream and ginger, or perhaps get busy with the dark chocolate delice with jaffa sauce,raspberry sorbet and pistachio. Sorry sticky date. You’re just not making the cut this time.

 

 

Aaron Carr - Vasse Felix's Unique Culinary Creator

Since 1995 Aaron Carr has wittingly delighted customers of the Vasse Felix Winery Restaurant in Margaret River. As AGFG has $150 up for grabs this month to spend at Vasse Felix, we thought we'd have a quick talk with Aaron about his inspirations and highlights from his long career. 

Who are your greatest inspirations?

Anyone that respects the produce they are serving and that is not scared to think outside the box. I would much rather dine somewhere that is pushing the boundaries than a Restaurant that just serves the same food all year round.

If you weren’t offered an apprenticeship at restaurant Jessica’s would you have been a Chef and where do you think you would be now?

I would have probably followed in my Father’s footsteps and become a painter.

How do you reinvent yourself as a chef (and the Vasse Felix menu)? Is it a lot of pressure?

We have an amazing kitchen team at Vasse Felix and everyone is encouraged to come up with ideas for the Menu. I think pressure is something that you get used to as a chef and if you believe in what you are serving and use the best quality produce available then it becomes a lot easier.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

Travelling and working with some amazing chefs that I have now become friends with has been a highlight.

For those just starting out and finding their passion for food what would be your advice to them?

Never stop learning and asking questions, once you stop learning you may as well give it up.

What are your feature flavours these days?

It always changes but Japanese techniques and ingredients have always been something we use a lot in our menu design.

What ingredient could you not live without?

Gas.

What does the future hold for you? 

Hopefully a long and healthy life, working and living in the South West and surfing every day!

Five Vietnamese Dishes to Enjoy on Vietnam’s National Day

September 2 commemorates Vietnam's Declaration of Independence from French colonisation in 1945 by Ho Chi Minh, leader of the communist Viet Minh organisation. To celebrate this special day, why not tuck into one of these delectable Vietnamese dishes? 

1. Gỏi cuốn (rice paper rolls): A popular entree at Vietnamese restaurants, these cold rice paper rolls are also versatile enough to be served at summer barbeques or enjoyed by the handful as a healthy lunch. Filled with anything from prawns to lemongrass beef to tofu and then laced with vegetables and herbs, these rolls are best enjoyed dunked in a special hoisin dipping sauce sprinkled with crushed peanuts.

2. Phở (noodle soup): Known as Vietnam's national dish, the word ‘phở’ is derived from the French beef stew pot-au-feu (literally ‘pot on fire’). When it comes to flavours, beef has traditionally been an enduring favourite but chicken is also popular. The aromatic beef phở stock is made by simmering beef bones, steak, oxtail, charred onion, ginger and spices in water for hours. Garnished with onions, basil, bean sprouts and chillies, phở warms both the body and soul. 

3. Bánh mì (Vietnamese baguettes): Skip the Subway breakfast sandwiches and try the less calorie-inducing Vietnamese baguettes. A nod to Vietnam’s French colonialist past, these crispy baguettes are filled with ingredients such as ham, pork belly, grilled pork, chicken, pork meatballs in tomato sauce and tofu. Throw in a few slices of cucumber, coriander, shredded pickled carrots as well as daikon, and breakfast is taken care of.

Try it at Great Aunty Three. 

4. Cơm tấm (mixed grilled pork on broken rice): Prefer rice over noodles? The ever-popular cơm tấm may do the trick. Marinated grilled pork is mixed with shredded pork, pork skin and accompanied by cooked broken rice, cucumber, pickled carrots and fried egg. Popular additions also include prawn paste cake and grilled prawns. A sweet and sour fish sauce usually accompanies the dish for extra flavour.  

5. Bánh xèo (savoury pancakes): The name ‘bánh xèo’ literally means ‘sizzling cake’ and refers to the loud sizzling noises the pancakes make when they are being cooked in the hot skillet. Unlike your standard flapjacks, these Vietnamese pancakes are made from rice flour while turmeric gives them their vivid yellow colour. The pancakes are stuffed with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onions while mint leaves and basil keep things in balance.

Try it at Thanh Ha 2. 

A Taste of Spain in the Murray

By David Ellis from vintnews 

When Spanish winemaker Freixenet decided to look seriously at the Australian market and invested in the purchase of a mixed fruit farm on Victoria’s Murray River, it wasted no time in using the vineyards there to put out a couple of 2012 sparkling wines under its already internationally-recognised Azahara label.

Both were an instant success and Freixenet has now followed-up with a non-fizz Azahara Pinot Grigio and also a Shiraz.  Eakin Estate Winemaker Dr Phil Spillman is delighted at their reflection of the character of the Victorian property’s orange groves (Azahara in fact is Spanish for orange blossom,) together with the avocado and mango plantations that are criss-crossed by the vineyard blocks.

“We’re serious about having a good go at making something really special here,” a proud Dr Spillman says.

“Wines in a style befitting the Spanish dining and entertaining experience, whilst still staying true to the qualities naturally expressed by the Australian farm.”

The 2013 Azahara Pinot Grigio has certainly reflected that aim, with a wonderful palate of crunchy apples, fresh lemon and spiced pears, and a creamy mouth feel. Add some nice acidity and at $15 this makes a marvellous drop with Mediterranean-style salads, and seafood like salt ‘n pepper squid or barbecued white fish fillets.

One to note: Another rewarding vino from Victoria is a 2010 Shiraz from hand-harvested, low-cropped fruit off Toolangi Vineyard’s Dixon’s Creek in the Yarra Valley. 

The nutmeg, violets and varietal Shiraz peppery-spice aromas, highlighted from the inclusion of twenty per cent whole bunches in the ferment, are reflected nicely on the palate with complimentary fine-grain tannins and a light acidity. With just 1,400 cases made, and at $20 a bottle, this is quite a lovely medium-bodied drop that goes well with rare eye fillet of beef, roast duck – or our favourite with this style of Shiraz, a freely herb-sprinkled roast leg of lamb. 

Spanish La Tomatina

The Largest Tomato Throwing Festival in the World

Travel Calendar 2014 – Wed 27th August

 

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
 

We invite you join 40, 000 global travellers on the last Wednesday of August for La Tomatina, the largest food fight in the world.  Death by tomato?  Hardly, but this massive tomato schmozzle in small town Bunol of Valencia, Spain draws in tourists from all over the world.

The edible equivalent of mud wrestling, La Tomatina Festival is your chance to romp around in the muck with your friends and enemies (and friends turned enemies) in a pool of tomato sauce.  Schmuck your loved ones in the face with ripe tomatoes and reserve the rotten ones for sweet revenge on fated rivals; La Tomatina is your chance to take it to the streets.

Even if you can’t take it to the streets in Spain this year, check our AGFG restaurant guide to discover La Tomatina inspired Spanish restaurants and specials on home turf.

   

Bunol’s Saucy Tomato Tousle
 

The Spanish love street festivities (think bull running a- la Pamplona), and La Tomantina is no exception.  This year, come Wednesday 27th August, the town of Bunol will be painted red with 125,000 kg of ripe tomatoes as locals and visitors partake in the “biggest vegetable fight in the world”. Technically it’s a fruit fight, but you get the gist.  

The tomato battle of Bunol, fondly referred to as “La Tom”, is one messy affair.  The whole point is to pelt your partner with slimy veg/fruit, lob or launch the juiciest picks at your travel buddies, and catapult random tomato ammo into the crowds made up of 39,999 of your closest new slippery friends.    

Food Fight or All out War?

 

Although there are no official records of how La Tomatina first originated, the legend suggests that the tradition of tomato throwing in the town began as a modest Spanish-style fiesta.  As the story goes, there was an accident involving a local produce cart, spilling over thousands of ripe tomatoes into the street.  In the spirit of it all, little rebellious rascals raided the remains and began hurling the fresh fruits at one another. At first the public were appalled by this fleeting madness, but soon their annoyance faded into good humour because it looked like so much fun - laugher filled the streets as everyone got involved.

Today, La Tomatina shuts down the town of Bunol on the last Wednesday of every August, and for a couple of hours, pure pulpy chaos ensues.  Souvenir La Tomatina wet T-shirt contests occur on the side, local entrepreneurial adolescents look after tourist backpacks for extra money, and industrious businessman sell local brew and chilled sangria on the street corners.

Savvy travellers; on the last Wednesday of August - this year it's the 27th August, 2014 - spend your tourist dollars wisely and take part in this once in a lifetime tomato extravaganza.  Make no mistake La Tomatina is all out tomato war, but a friendly one at that.  

Throw a tomato … into your gob

 

If you prefer to chomp your tomatoes rather than chuck them, chow down on some of our classic tomato based meals in our AGFG recipe section. Classics for the cooler months include;

- Seafood linguini with tomato pesto  

- Spaghetti bolognese  

- Stuffed Greek tomatoes 

- Tuscan tomato, bean and cabbage soup 

Absolutely Positively Wellington

AGFG in Harbour city, exploring the sights, tastes and smells of a growing foodie hub. 

Affectionately known as the “coolest little capital in the world,” by locals, Wellington has much to offer the over enthusiastic tourist. Passion is the first word that comes to mind when you walk the streets of Wellington, from the local barista at the corner cafe to the bustling Moore Wilson’s fresh food market, with an eclectic mix of fresh produce to speciality items. If you’re lucky you might just bump into a head chef or two while doing your own shop.  

There is no greater time to experience Wellington then now, during the annual Visa Wellington on a Plate Festival (August 15 – 31), the perfect two weeks of food, beer and coffee. Whether you enjoy a whole pigs head for dinner (check out pigfish@prefab) or a more refined three course meal in a sophisticated setting such as Artisan Restaurant and Bar, Wellington has everything on offer. Along with more refined dining, Garage Project (craft beer rock stars) presents Burger Wellington, where Wellington’s finest eateries go head to head, to showcase their originality and creativity in creating the humble burger. Over 70 have participated this year and have matched their burger to one of Garage Projects locally brewed beer. 

Brat in a Burger - Park Avenue venison bratwurst with ParrotDog IPA-infused mustard, braised onions, slaw and Kapiti smoked havarti on an Arobake bun, with caraway-salt dusted fries. Only @ Cafe L'affare.

Taking the lead, is Leeds Street, with craft beer, chocolate, locally brewed coffee and locally made soda syrup all together on the one street. It’s truly incredible the choices that are within a few minutes reach of each other. Six Barrel Soda Co makes small batch soda syrups and supplies some of our very own restaurant such as Atticus Finch Cafe, Cookie and Markov. The syrup is made out of all natural ingredients and is perfect for any Spring or Summer afternoon, or all year round – you can even use it at home if you have a soda stream. Make sure to head around the corner to Flight Coffee Hanger on Dixon street, the choices are eclectic and the cold drip speaks for itself (we suggest Sidama).

Don’t forget that foodie heaven can also be found in the suburbs around Wellington, particularly Petone, where innovation and style meet the growing trend of dining out. We visited Taylor's on Jackson (Jackson St) where Perth raised Chef Glen Taylor brings a very modern twist to the concept of paddock to plate. Think wagyu steak tartare with fried chicken oysters an appetiser to mouth watering perfect wagyu served with a deliciously smooth carrot and buttermilk remoulade. It really was a treat to behold. 

The BFG dessert @ Taylor's on Jackson, Petone. 

Glen is one for imagination when it comes to desserts and likes to take you back to your childhood, the BFG dessert was brought to our table, in what can be aptly described as a mystery jar, expectantly we opened the jar thinking to see something resembling a black forest gateau (BFG) but we were greeted with apple crumble cheesecake with popping candy and meringue pieces as well as a sprinkling of dark chocolate cookie chards. Glen had created “dream country” a place spoken about in the 1982 popular children’s book “Big Friendly Giant” (BFG).  

Create your own journey at www.wellingtononaplate.com and enjoy all that Wellington has to offer.

AGFG was guest of Positively Wellington and Bolton Hotel.

Team Effort Can Mean Value Buying

By David Ellis from vintnews  

An interesting company called Travelling Vineyards Australia has teamed up with the prestigious Australian Good Food Guide to provide that organisation’s substantial following with premium drops from some 500 Australian wineries at prices that can be substantially below those wineries’ very own.

One such of their offerings that we recently tasted was a more-ish 2009 Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz from Signature Wines, whose forward berry and blackcurrant flavours, and beautiful richness, virtually shouted an ideal match with spicy foods.

Normally selling at $336 for a 12-bottle case, through AGFG its presently on discount at $295 – but hop onto www.ourwines.com.au and you’ll also find a bonus $50 Gift Coupon that brings it down to an even lower $245… and with free delivery Australia-wide as well. That’s an overall saving of $7 a bottle on the winery’s own price.

That website also links directly to an extensive range of other reds and whites available at discounted prices through the Australian Good Food Guide.

One to note: If you have a Dad with a more than a passing interest in wine, a thought for Father’s Day (September 7) is the 2015 edition of Australian Wine Vintages that goes on sale on September 1. 

Author Rob Geddes, one of just a handful of Australian Masters of Wine, tasted his way through an extraordinary 8,000 wines for this 32nd edition of the pocket-size guide that’s packed with incisive tasting notes, vintage reports and indicative prices for over 6,000 wines from 317 of Australia’s best makers... and Rob’s judgment on what he considered the Top 100 of all those thousands that he tasted.  

There’s advice as well on cellar doors worth visiting, and an App that’s available also includes interactive maps and tips on where to eat and stay in Australia’s wine regions. Priced at $34.95 it’s a must-have for aficionado and enthusiastic novice alike; available at bookstores or www.australianwinevintages.com.au

5 Reasons Why Darwin Should Be Next On Your Bucket List

 

With a small town feel and cosmopolitan city style, Darwin offers visitors a blissful blend of old and new, tied in fittingly within a balmy tropical climate.

Closer to Bali than Bondi, it’s no wonder you’ll feel a world away when trekking to the Top End. Rest assured, once arrived you’ll feel right at home, immersed amongst a miscellany of street side restaurants, galleries, museums, historic sites and natural wonders. With more than 50 nationalities represented here, Darwin’s rich culture is evident in every facet of living, where the traditional land owners (the Larrakia people) still adhere closely to traditional Indigenous beliefs and customs.

Keeping it short and sweet, we have listed 5 reasons why Darwin should be on everyone’s bucket list – crocodiles, cruises and cocktails included.

 

 

5. You’re immersed in a nature lover’s heaven

 

With the tranquil waters of the tropics on three sides and the beauty of lush rainforests, dusty red plains and rocky ranges gracing the remaining, a trip to Darwin lands you in the epicentre of Mother Nature’s wonder world. Also known as the gateway to Australia’s ‘adventure playground’, Darwin is centrally located to some of the nation’s greatest natural sites, including the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, the Tiwi Islands and Litchfield National Park.

 

 

 

 

4. The wet season will instantly add to your Insta cred.

 

Think long, hot days followed by a cool sweep of glorious evening storms that will captivate your eyes and make you sleep like a baby. Running from November through to April, the Northern Territory’s wet season often leaves tourists at bay, so if you’re feeling like a little adventure (and don’t mind getting caught in the rain), this is the time to take to Darwin with your camera in hand.

Basically, get all up in everyone’s feed with pictures like this...

 

 

 

Or this...

 

 

 

With a final...

 

 

 

Bear in mind that Darwin’s wet season is also synonymous with possible cyclonic activity ... so, uh ... don’t get too blown away with the views?

 

3.  ...And following that, your pictures will make everyone sick (with jealousy)

 

 

Famed for spectacular beach panoramas, Darwin’s Mindil Beach and its evening sunset markets are a hotspot to be – think balmy weather and a carefree ambiance combined with live entertainment, handmade goods and a banquet of 60 international food stalls to choose from. Weave your way through the palm lined boulevards, soak up the sights and snap a few pictures worthy of causing severe social media envy. A bit like this...

 

 

 

 

2. You get to cosy up with crocodiles

 

Offering 360 degree views of some of the largest saltwater crocodiles on the planet, Crocosaurus Cove is Australia’s only crocodile dive. With 1 or 2 people inside the cage at one time, you can soak up the serene aerial view (of 200 crocodiles swimming below you) before being plunged into the water to make friends. On site photographers capture your encounter both inside and outside of the enclosures, making for an impressive documented adventure.  

 

 



1. Finally, every day ensures a full schedule

 

Whether you decide to indulge your inner history buff with trips to Fannie Bay Gaol or soak your troubles away at the nearby Tjuwaliyn/Douglas Hot Springs Park, your Darwin getaway ensues all ages and interests will be kept happy.

For an easy beginning, Darwin Hop on-Hop off Bus Tour allows you to soak up the sites throughout the city in double decker comfort. Go at your own pace as you stop off at 10 convenient locations including the waterfront precinct and Fort Wharf Hill, with your choice of either a 24 or 48 hour pass. Finishing up with an evening at the Deckchair Cinema, where you can relax under the stars and recline on your deckchair. Head here to book for our recommended restaurants in the area.