Don’t Laugh! Pumpkin And Quince Soup

Unlikely partners, the pumpkin and the quince, despite sharing rather strange names and unlikely shapes. But they stand firmly behind my old rule of cooking: if they grow together, they go together.
The pumpkin is a marvellous vegetable to grow, if you’ve got a football ground as your backyard. Those vines spread and spread, covering all [...]

The Backyard Boil-up

The first time I saw live crays they were scarpering in all directions on the main editorial floor of The Age, just before deadline. Aaah, those were the days.

2 L water
stock vegetables (carrots, celery, leeks, or whatever)
1 live crayfish (about 1 kg)
herbs, bay leaves, chillies, lemon grass
black pepper

Pour the water into a stock pot, or [...]

A Soup Without Stock

Cauliflower soup is a classic winter soother. The caulis are plentiful and cheap and the soup is a cinch to get together quickly, with or without stock. The intensity of the cauli makes this a rarity. It is just as good without the middle flavours provided by a well-made stock.
The cauliflower is a beautiful thing [...]

Tom Yam Cray – An Aussie Asian Classic

This dish is a natural follow-up from the cook-up of a cray or a mud crab or prawns. It’s not the sort of dish I’d make from scratch, without the fun of the night before. It does make for a classic dinner party opener, a natural partner for sparkling wine.
The classic Thai soup, Tom Yam, [...]

A Pot of Mussels

This is one of the best of peasant dishes, with splendid flavours and aromas. Best of all, ifs very simple to re-create a version as good as the best.
Mussel soups appear to be another exception to the usual rule of stocks making the soup. Appear to be, because mussels provide their own stock to their [...]

Corn Chowder

This was inspired by a trip to the United States, the acknowledged home of the chowder. It wasn’t always so.
Chowder is considered an essentially north-eastern American dish, but it seems it is an American dish in name only. Dishes of meat and fish cooked in large pots had been part of cultures across the globe [...]