By | Australia, travel | One Comment

The frigid weather has me thinking about traveling and living elsewhere. I spent 10 days on the west coast, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco promoting Bitter. Victoria was rainy, but a lot milder than Toronto. I went crazy tweeting photos of daffodils and camellias in bloom as it was only the end of January. However, I’m not sure I could live on an island and endure the continual grey skies.

Vancouver was my next stop where it was clear, sunny and around 12C, positively balmy after Toronto. I admit the view of the mountains and the ocean make it special, although I’m not sure I could put down roots there. Seattle has many of the same charms, mountains and water, however it was San Francisco that stole our hearts this trip. I stayed with friends, who make great martinis, so that swayed my judgment plus I arrived to perfect weather; sunny, warm 23C, and clear, not always the case in early February. This time the city reminded me even more of my birthplace, Australia. There were eucalyptus trees everywhere and wattle trees in flower, like the one pictured here.

I consider wattle a quintessential Australia flower, although acacias now grow around the world. You see them in the south of France and they’re called mimosa. I’m headed back to Australia for a few weeks going from -30C to +30C, it will be quite a shock to my system. I won’t see any wattle in flower, it’s the end of the summer down there, but I will see flowers, feel the warmth and be able to go out without wearing long underwear, boots, gloves, scarf and heavy winter coat. I can’t wait to have my morning coffee on my friends deck.

I’ll also do a little promotion for Bitter so check out Books for Cooks I’ll be there in March. Mostly I will be soaking in the heat and dipping my toes into the warm ocean water. I can’t wait.

I’ll try to post if I can manage on a mobile device, in the meantime feast your eyes on the wattle. And for all of you stuck in the north east of North America remember that one day spring will come…… it will.

Chicago – my kind of town

By | Cookbooks, travel | No Comments
Here I am in the Butcher and Larder with owner Rob Levitt. We had a great demo, Rob braised lamb neck with olives, lemon and mint from Odd Bitsand I made blood pancakes, which surprised and fascinated the group. There was a complaint – they didn’t taste weird enough! They just tasted delicious. With such a keen and educated group I’m expecting blood waffles, blood bread and pancakes will be common fare in Chicago soon.

I had a great time with the Culinary Historians. I love this group as I always learn something, this time it was about medieval philosophy, more later.

So I want to thank everyone, but especially Mark S for encouraging me to come back to Chicago. Not only did Mark advise me where to eat and drink, he introduced me to like minded foodies over a very spicy Northern Thai lunch. Thank you Mark, thank you Chicago, and thank you weather gods for providing the summer like weather.

Warm sunshine, blossom, nose-to-tail eating, fabulous cocktails and a green river to celebrate St Paddy’s day. Chicago is my kind of town.

Where have I been?

By | travel | 3 Comments

I know you are supposed to blog often but I’ve been too busy to blog, sorry. I’ve been talking up animal fats in the Midwest as a presenter at the Traverse City Epicurean Classic.
My session was titled “Fat is not a four letter word”. I wasn’t sure how I would be received, especially as en route I stopped to pick up a coffee. Usually I drink my coffee at home so I am confused, early in morning by the plethora of choice. Finally, I negotiated a tall cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso, what ever happened to small, medium and large? Then I was side swiped by “skim or 2% milk?” “Whole milk”, I replied. Then I was told that 2% was whole milk!!!!!!! I patiently explained that whole milk was 3.8% fat and better in every way. I was tempted to whip out a book and let them know I was the FAT lady. However, there was no convincing this barista, so 2% milk it was, and she explained “it was Michigan thing”. How could I talk about fat if these people didn’t even drink whole milk?

The barista was wrong. Midwesterners appreciate fat and they liked what I had to say, that it’s OK to put quality animal fat back in your diet. Fat won’t make you fat, eating too much will.
I met lots of people, they are very friendly in the midwest, and I also was able to meet some of the other chefs and cookbook authors who were at the event. If any of you are in the area in September, make sure you go. And, if you can’t make the Classic, at least visit Traverse City. It’s a interesting town, in a beautiful location with lots of good restaurants, a perfect place for a holiday.