#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

« Home | Chocolate counter at David Jones Food Hall » | East Ocean, Chinatown » | Good Food Month Twilight Trail » | Mosaic, Sydney » | Milliore, Chinatown » | The Gourmet Viking, Newtown » | Tokyo to Takayama photos are up » | Tysons Trattoria, Ultimo » | Superbowl, Chinatown » | Elizabeth Chong's Tiny Delights, SBS this Fri 8pm »

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dinner with Stephanie Alexander

We attended the Gleebooks Dinner with Stephanie Alexander at the Hickson Road Bistro.

Launching her revised The Cooks Companion, we heard Stephanie speak about the latest revisions, and enjoyed a 5-course dinner using recipes from TCC.

Stephanie spoke about the initial pessimism surrounding the launch of the original Cooks Companion, which belied the critics and has now sold over 300,000 copies in Australia, the highest of any recipe book.

A librarian in a former life, Stephanie has now revised the index section to include all recipes and cross-referenced most ingredients. In complete contrast to the original 'homemaker'-style cover, the new edition is modern, colourful and even the page edges are coated with funky silver glitter.

Stephanie has added a Measurements chapter for uncertain chefs new to the kitchen who she believes 'need as much help and support as they can get'. The 'fear of failure' syndrome was also the reason why she has deliberately not included any photos of the recipes. Instead there are glossy prints of livestock, fruits, farmers and various typically Aussie iconic imagery.

The revised edition boasts twelve more chapters, 328 more recipes and 543 more marginal recipes (the tidbit recipe ideas on the side panel of each page). The resultant 300 extra pages has pushed the book up to 1100 pages, and increased its weight from its original hefty 2kg to a sumo-sized 2.7kg!

Sorrel soup in demi tasse - page 890
A thin soup with tart undertones and garlicky croutons. This was nice but didn't really excite me--maybe because I don't know much about sorrel.

Asparagus custard with spring vegetable garnish in a light butter sauce - page 105
The custard was light and creamy but personally I prefer my asparagus crunchy. This reminded me too much of nursing home food but maybe I just don't appreciate pulverised food whilst I still have all my teeth intact! The greens (peas, finely sliced French beans and aparagus tips) were nice and the butter sauce was very rich.

Roast rack of milk-fed veal with silverbeet gratin and fennel braised with balsamic and honey - pages 1026, 920 and 440 respectively
Divine. The veal was rare, plump, juicy and oh-so-moreish. A huge serving of meat which seemed to go on forever--one had to resist the urge to pick up the bone and gnaw on it! The silverbeet gratin was an interesting twist and a good way to dress up spinach for dinner parties. The fennel was also nice although a little chewy.

Strawberry and almond tartlets on brik pastry with zabaglione folded with mascarpone - page 177
Delectable. Three delicate layers of crisp sweet pastry layered with fresh strawberries and piped mascapone cream. The crispy sugar pastry contrasted well with the fresh strawberries and comforting cream. Hints of almond could be tasted with each mouthful. Very sweet but oh-so-good.

Mrs Atkins' marvellous fruit slice - page 390
These fruity squares had a chewy caramelly crust and one could image they would have been perfect with a cup of tea at Mrs Atkins'. Definitely a recipe to try.

Stephanie Alexander signing a copy of our book

The Cooks Companion
RRP $125
Available for $89 at various bookstores
Have heard it is available at Big W for $79
1 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 10/26/2004 11:59:00 pm


  • At 11/02/2004 8:33 pm, Blogger R said…

    Another great job you've done here.

    The food was incredible, as was the company. Your pictures are wonderful testimony to this.

    You didn't mention the two facts that stuck in my head for the evening however:
    - firstly, that Stephanie Alexander is a proud Librarian. She has constructed an incredible index for the book
    - her dread of 'bush tucker'.
    It could have been the wine though...

    Well done darls.
    I nabbed a couple of your pics too.


Post a Comment

<< Home

      << Read Older Posts       |       >> Read Newer Posts