Tag Archives: cooking class

T is for Truffles

It is cold here in Canberra; it’s truffle season and I’m excited I have two little magical, round, nobly black nuggets in my possession. I would like to say that I got up at 5am and braced the frosty morning to follow a sniffing dog to the base of an oak tree… but I didn’t, I simply went down to the EPIC farmers market in Mitchell, a suburb of Canberra and followed my nose to Damian Robinson from Turalla Truffles’. 

The powerful aroma was intoxicating and the excitement of seeing a pile of these rare black beauties must have overwhelmed me. I asked the price of the largest Black Perigord or Tuber Melanosporum  it turned out to be about $150… Oops, “maybe I shall just take this small one”, I smiled and said to Damian.

Lucky for me or perhaps because I asked, I got an extra truffle for the promise of sending him the pictures. – Thanks Damian J

The Turalla truffle team

My foraging trek to the market in search of truffles, also turned up a melody of freshly harvested mushrooms, biodynamic leeks, a bag of chestnuts and some lovely fresh pasta sheets – so now I had the ingredients for a recipe floating in my head it was time to go home to prepare my “Mushroom & Chestnut ravioli with a truffle infused cream sauce”.

The spoils

The 2012 Truffle Festival is in full swing here in Canberra with cooking classes, truffle hunts and dinning experiences but for me, some fine dining at home with my partner and a glass of French bubbles sounds like heaven to me.


The Perfect Oyster

The Bluff

Oysters have been a long sought after delicacy around the world whether you are stranded on a remote island surviving only by the spoils of mother nature, sitting by a seaside town where the oysters are said to be ‘the best in the world’ or sitting in a Michelin star restaurant” ….the humble oyster may be considered by some of us as a nugget of pure wild and creamy joy.

In the words of the famous French Poet, Léon-Paul Fargue (1876 – 1947), who happened to be an oyster lover, “Eating oyster is like kissing the sea on the lips”.

So friends, it would seem only natural that one should try to sample as many kisses from the sea as possible, and my recent trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, I think I fell in love…..with the famous “Bluff Oyster”

Now, I don’t know the reason why they are sooo creamy maybe it is the extremely cold and clean waters of the Foveaux Strait, but if you get the chance to sample these little molluscs I would suggest you only invite someone you love to share the experience and what better place to taste them than at the  talk of the towns new restaurant owned by celebrity chef Josh Emett.

The experience of dining at Rata was truly delicious and the perfect conclusion to a day of Shotover jet boating and Ziptreking !!

If you can’t get all the way to New Zealand’s South Island then I recommend a trip to visit my mate Jim Wild down at Greenwell Point. Jim harvests the delicious Sydney rock oysters and are freshly shucked to order. There is something so refreshingly earthy about sitting by the river, with a dozen or two freshly shucked plump little beauties and a glass of French bubbles, laughing with Jim about why oysters are good for you.

Here are a few tempting images from adventures of a twisted lemon to find the perfect oyster :)

Sydney Rock with a dollop of Prunier caviar

Oyster selection Vancouver


For the love of Mushrooms

I love a good drive in the countryside, I love meeting people who have a connection to growing food  and I love the passion they have for what they  produce.

Having spent the better part of 15 years living in the Shoalhaven region, I have been extremely lucky to have found some exquisite pockets of ‘FOODIE heaven’- two hours drive South from the heart of Sydney…. Producers of cheese, wine, oysters, raspberries, organic vegetables, olives, organic meats and more . 

On one of my many excursions I set out to find the infamous “Mushroom tunnels” I had heard about in the Southern Highlands. I did a little research and phoned ahead to meet with Dr Noel Arrold, a microbiologist who took over the disused railway tunnel in 1987. We had a clandestine meeting on the side of the road before a short drive to the railway line , then it was on foot for a few hundred meters before reaching the tunnel itself.  I must say, it is a very EERIE feeling at first as the big tunnel door creaks open to reveal a dark, damp and earthy smelling, very quiet tunnel!

Thankfully, Noel hit the light switch and there  before me was the most awesome sight I had ever seen….. “mushroomly speaking”.

Kilometres of fresh Swiss Browns, Shiitake, Oyster , Shimejii, and Wood Ear mushrooms. These mushrooms thrive in the cool, damp and dimly lit environment of the tunnel which resembles the conditions that occur in the mountainous forests of China, Japan and Korea where these mushrooms occur naturally. As we walked down the tunnel I was struck by the beauty & form of these fungi who’s job in nature is to degrade the dead trees and turn them into organic matter.

The Mushroom tunnels are general not open to the public but you can organise small group tours at certain times of the year by contacting the locals
Stay tuned for some mouthwatering mushroom recipes on the soon to be added “Recipe” page !!

Welcome Vietnam Style

Let’s begin the journey into the world of ‘Inspirational people’  and their connections through the love of  FOOD .

My first story comes from the journey I made with a couple of friends of mine, to Vietnam in 2011

Resigning from any job always motivates one to move in another direction and that’s exactly what happened early 2011. I rang a couple of friends …a chef, a photographer and a film production everything person and asked them if they wouldn’t mind coming to Vietnam on a whim to film a couple of ideas I had floating around in my head  - To my surprise they all said YES and within three weeks we were on a plane flying to Hanoi.

The only brief was to explore the markets, meet some locals and find some heart warming stories about food !

The results of this “spur of the moment” exercise yielded some very inspiring connections.

My vision for this blog is to share stories of inspiring people by way of visual content, either stills photography or video and hope that you too get inspired to perhaps Share, Inspire or simply Taste the joy in good, fresh, local produce. 

As the Ancient Greek Philosopher, EPICURUS, once said ….” We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink”.


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