One for the foodies…

I’ve been spending the day doing one of my “whilst on holidays I will…” list items – going through old food magazines.

I wanted to do this so I can then throw the stash away and I have been putting my scissors to good use as I oohed and aahed over each issue. I say “stash” of magazines as I inherited some MasterChef editions from a friend moving overseas, plus have my own collections of Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, etc.  I have to do this type of clean out once in a while as I tend to keep them, and keep them, and keep them! I can’t help it – I love their drool-inducing photography, seemingly effortless meal ideas and the glamorous travel features.
(Although I love foodie mags “just because”, I’m not just a fly-by-night follower caught up in the television food revolution. I once studied hospitality and worked in the industry in both front and back of house areas for 12 years. So you could say my interest is more research-related than most…yeah, right!)

So, I’ve gone through about 14 mags (phew!!) and now have a neat stack of clipped recipes ready to be put in my recipe books/files. Am I the only one with such a collection of pages with sticky-taped cuttings? The only person with bulging clear plastic storage sleeves? It’s just that the recipes sound so good and look so pretty that I cannot resist collecting more – but please don’t ask me how often I actually refer to them! (Ha, ha!) That said, who wouldn’t want a perfect example of  “Salt and Pepper Squid”, “Lemon and Fetta Stuffed Chicken”, “Pea and Ricotta Gnocchi”, “Pineapple and Macadamia Crumbles”, and “Orange Poppyseed Chiffon Cake”. My mouth waters just thinking of future cooking adventures with these dishes, and so the clipping continues…

I did notice in my review today that a feature in one of the mags was an “interview a chef” page. It contained a few “what is your favourite…” details so, for a bit of fun, below is a list of mine.

  • Chefs: Emmanuel Mollois and Guillaume Brahimi. French men cooking French food, mm mm!
  • Comfort food: egg noodles slow cooked in chicken broth with cracked pepper.
  • Guilty pleasure: licking mixing bowl beaters, and french toast with maple syrup plus bacon.
  • Innocent pleasure: watching when someone takes a bite of something I’ve made and seeing the smile spread across their face.
  • Piece of equipment: my “ice”-coloured Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I got her for my 40th birthday and she is truly beautiful.
  • Gadget: a musical timer someone gave me to add to the water for boiling eggs. They come out perfect every time!
  • Childhood food memories: sitting on a stool in the kitchen helping Mum make cookies, and my Grandmother cooking me pancakes on our visits to the USA.
  • Adult food memories: an amazing multi-course meal at Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, USA) in the late 1990s, and pausing to enjoy the moment and listen to the sound of 12 whisks whisking at a macaron class at Le Cordon Bleu (Paris, France) in 2011.
  • Foodie Movies: Babette’s Feast, Big Night and Julie and Julia.
  • Next project: renovating my kitchen – I can’t wait!

What are your favourites?

Foodie magazines
Providing inspiration
A visual feast

Macaron magic
Flavours and textures melding
Bite-sized perfection

A laden table
Creating sweet memories
Of precious moments

© Leah Dowsett 2013

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A day of treats

I’ve had one of those days that rates right up there with some of my great memories.

It involved the treat of taking a day off work to witness a fabulous French chef cooking a gateau. Sigh… Does it really get any better?!?!

The Frenchman in question was Emmanuel Mollois, owner of Choux Cafe and guest star on the occasional episode of Poh’s Kitchen. A 2010 Perth Now article about him has him pictured with my favourite French treats – macarons – for which he is also locally famous. He was very skilled, eager to share tips and tricks, had a beautiful accent and was quick to laugh. All wonderful qualities in a person.

I went along to sit with 23 other groupies and learn the secrets of making a Gâteau St Honoré. This involved him showing us how to make puff pastry, choux pastry, crème pâtissière, pate à crumble, caramel and crème légère! The result was truly amazing! Soft and crunchy textures coupled with light and sweet tastes…aahhh, I could go on and on!

He also showed us some sugar work as he is in training for the 2014 Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France) competition. (See the wikipedia explanation too.) I first heard about this award when I saw the documentary entitled “Kings of Pastry“. For the finalists it is a gruelling 3 day examination and not everyone is awarded an MOF at the end. Phew! Emmanuel said today that 500 people applied for the 2014 round and that group was cut to 20, of which he is one! The next cut for the final will be to 10 people. Go Emmanuel! :-)

So, it is now late in the day and I am still smiling. I am still remembering the sights, the sounds, the tips, the tastes, the fun and the french-ness… I am one happy girl!

Fabulous French chef
Custardy pastry gateau
Sweet, sweet memory

© Leah Dowsett 2012

Culinary quiz night

Hi, I’m back from my blogging hiatus and going to try a new format in that I may not be posting daily and I may get a bit chatty in my posts as well as poetic.

For example, I went to a great culinary quiz night last night hosted by Cravings Magazine and in support of Growth For Tomorrow (“a Charitable Organisation setup for the primary purpose of providing practical support to orphans, abandoned and disadvantaged children and youth in Romania”). Our table came third (woo hoo!) so I get to enjoy a lazy Sunday reading fabulous magazines and a new cookbook!

Quirky food quiz night
“Name that chef” my specialty
Third place winners – whoop!

© Leah Dowsett 2011

The poetry of life

The daily review /

A full year’s worth of verses /

Mem’ries in haiku

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Family trip abroad

In sweet foreign climes /

Some precious quality time /

Will soon be all mine

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Annual abundance

A reflective year /

Family, friends, food and fun /

Richly blessed am I

© Leah Dowsett 2011

Picnicing

Bocce, kite flying /

Winter picnic in the park /

Great fam’ly day out

© Leah Dowsett 2011

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