I am the author of the following books on food history and culture:
- The Penguin Food Guide to India (Penguin Books, India : to be published late 2013)
- Flavours of Melbourne: a culinary biography (Wakefield Press , 2008)
- Recipes from an Urban Village: A cookbook from Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti (The Hope Project Charitable Trust , 2003)
- Flavours of Delhi : A Food Lovers Guide (Penguin Books, India , 2003)
- World Food Guide: New Orleans (Lonely Planet Publications , 2000)
I am currently working on a book about food in colonial Australia.
I regularly speak at events and other gatherings and I craft each talk or workshop to suit the client brief. My talks are rich stories blended from history, experience, observation, considered thinking, deduction and wry humour.
Here are some of the events/festivals/programs I have been invited to speak at/on:
Old Colonists Dinner, First Bite Radio National March 16th 2013
A brief guide to Melbourne’s culinary history’ to launch The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, Popcaanz 2012
The multicultural culinary story of Melbourne, Lyceum Club Conference Melbourne 2012
The Etiquette of Eating, Lyceum Club Melbourne 2012
Mutton and damper: re-imagining food in colonial Australia, Australasian Oral Historian Association Conference 2012
Colonial Celebrations: the exotic Christmas pudding, Melburnalia, Melbourne 2011
Melbourne’s food story, Melbourne Museum , Melbourne 2011
Jelly: a colonial delight’, Ian Potter Museum Melbourne 2011
Colonial cooks: Hannah Maclurcan, Australasian Food Traditions and Culinary Culture Symposium 2011
The future of food writing (panelist), Moonee Valley Library Melbourne 2011
Melbourne’s food history , Kingston Library Meloburne 2011
Busting Indian food myths (Pucha Kucha) Emerging Writers Festival Melbourne 2011
Melbourne’s changing table (panelist) State Library of Victoria Melbourne 2010
Making Public Histories: cookery educators in colonial Australia, State Library of Victoria Melbourne 2010
So you want to be a food writer (panelist) Emerging Writers Festival Melbourne 2010
Melbourne’s multicultural culinary melting pot, Moreland Library
Tasting Melbourne’s food history: culinary talk and walk, Melbourne International Writers Festival Melbourne 2008
Taste, aroma and mouth-feel (food writing workshop with Lucy Malouf) Melbourne International Writers Festival Melbourne 2008
Writing Melbourne’s food history, Convent Writers Festival Melbourne 2008
Eating the ancestors: a culinary history walk and talk
I take groups on a culinary history walk around the Melbourne CBD. Clients of this walk have included: The State Library of Victoria, William Angliss Institute, City Library and the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) as well as private groups. If you are interested in this walk please contact me.
Malabar Coast fish kofte with coconut sauce
500g white fish fillets
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp white vinegar
3 shallots, grated or minced
2 green chilies, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp dried coconut
the zest of one lime
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
I red onion, grated
1 tsp white poppy seeds ground to a paste*
½ cup yoghurt
½ cup thick coconut milk
fresh coriander leaves
vegetable oil for cooking
To make the kofte
Cut the fish into chunks. Mix the turmeric and vinegar with a little salt. Marinate the fish in the vinegar mix for 30 minutes.
Drain the fish and process it in a food processor with all the remaining ingredients. Do this on the pulse setting as you want the fish to retain some texture; it should come away from the sides of the processor jug and form a large ball (just as dough does)
Shape into golf-ball size balls gently between the palms of your hands and then slightly flatten them so that are more disc like.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
You can choose to gently shallow fry or steam the kofte. Set aside when cooked.
To make the sauce
Mix the garlic and ginger pastes with a little water to make a paste.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok or a heavy based pan over a medium-high heat. When hot add the cumin seeds and allow them to ‘pop’ then mix in the onion and stir until it softens a little. Mix in the garlic and ginger and the poppy seed paste and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and then the yoghurt and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the sauce for 10 minutes. Stir the butter into the sauce.
Just before serving slide the kofte into the sauce and allow to warm through. Serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves.
* White poppy seeds are available from some Indian grocery stores and can be difficult to find. If you can’t get any please do not substitute black poppy seeds – these are not the same thing and they make the sauce look like black sludge. The best substitute is raw cashews or blanched almonds.