Friday, November 26, 2010


Sake Masterclass

I am so looking forward to sharing the stage with Sake Master Toshi Maeda at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on the 12th of March 2011. Toshi-san is digging out a wonderful range of sake for us to try (with some suprising non-japanese food matches) and we'll be chatting about regional Japan and its cuisine.

We are planning a fun and casual but informative class and as it is the last session of the day you can roll home and straight into bed if you need a post tasting nana-nap.

I will be fresh, and I use the term loosely, off the plane from Kyoto so while I might be a little bleary-eyed I will be bursting to share!

Ps. On the the Sunday I'm moderating for the gorgeous Rosa Mitchell of Melbourne's Journal Canteen. Rosa's Sicilian-centric fare is uber-rustic and incredibly comforting. She is a pocket-rocket with a talent for handmade pasta, preserves and salami, exquisite cannoli and rich, hearty slow cooking.  I hear the class is almost booked out so if you miss out you can always check out her book - My Cousin Rosa - and cook her divine (and simple) recipes for yourself.

I can testify that her ethereal cauliflower fritters alone make the purchase worthwhile.  Ohhhh, and the chicken with green olives and capers, the rabbit ragu, the farsomagro, the piping hot fried bread... and the porchetta... and...and...  (Yes. I have eaten my way through most of the book and am a little biased as hers was the very first title I commissioned as a Publisher- you never forget your first apparently...)  I will always have a soft spot for Rosa and her utterly generous and hospitable family. Ms Mitchell is still working on her menu for the day but it promises to be delish.

If you are in town - come along and don't be shy!

Jessi is a friend...


As it happens she's also an Alaskan and part of my extended "family".  She married into Australian life and, like most transplanted souls,  preserves the traditions of her heritage by observing certain occasions - celebratory or otherwise.  While Thanksgiving is not part of Australian culture I am always rather chuffed to score an invite to the Turkey Fest - not only because Jess is pretty damn nifty in the kitchen but because I very much enjoy the open sharing of gratitude with my tablemates. Sure, I could do this everytime I sit down for dinner with friends but the fact is - I don't. How many of us do?  

Golden skinned Turkey. tick. Gravy and Cranberry sauce -tick tick. Her mother would be proud. This year she strayed away from her father's favourite sage stuffing and impressively whipped up her own cornbread before tossing chunks of it with sausage and spices. Yeah Sista!  Fresh asparagus spears, fluffy mash and the piece de resistance  - smooth as butter sweet potato bake with brown sugar and pecan crust.  No marshmallows. For which I give extra thanks. 

The next generation of thanks givers.... and joy bringers

 Although more stuffed than the Turkey that stuffed me I did manage to squeeze in a small slither of warm Pumpkin pie with a Cardomom ice cream chaser


Other things I am thankful for right this minute - my bed. Tomorrow morning - Wii Fit!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have a mere 2 recipes left to write for the book and 12 to test next week. When it gets to this point in proceedings self-motivation becomes a little more difficult - so close yet still so far!

Day-dreaming of Kyoto.....

Sanzen-in, Ohara

 All images copyright Jane Lawson

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bloggers Unite!

A huge thank you to Ms Ellie from Almost Bourdain for her extensive and invaluable lesson today on the trials and tribulations of food blogging.  Hats off to those of you who have the time and patience to dedicate to this "new" form of media.

Many of us old school publishing types are reluctant to give credit to bloggers and perhaps it is justified if the intention of a particular blogger is in fact to compete with traditional publishing/media - when there is an obvious lack of expertise or credibility to back them.  It can be infuriating to those of use who have spent decades studying, working, travelling, researching and honing our craft (not to mention the $$ that support our efforts) to read an ill-educated appraisal of someone else's work but this is the age we live in... and karma's a bitch so at the end of the day those without solid foundations will inevitably slip into a ditch somewhere on a dark night. Natural selection and all that.

Of course there are respected professionals who blog - adding another dimension  to both the blogging world and their own set of skills and I am curious to watch how that further develops.

However,  generally my findings suggest that blogger folk start off in hobby mode then a handful, either through natural and perhaps previously untapped talent, sheer passion or a connection to a truckload of like-minded souls, have ended up at the top of the heap. They are driven individuals, often with some time up their sleeves in order to maintain the momentum (or workaholics who post at 3am), who are enjoying themselves entertaining family and friends, the occasional Siberian beet farmer and clearly a whole bunch of "others" who can't seem to get enough information on a particular subject.  So good on YOU! Congratulations on finding your voice.

Sadly, there are those with less wholesome motivations - but hey, ya get that everywhere! And if its working for them - who am I to judge?
Plagiarism is a whole other ball game - don't get me started...

As for me? Well, why not...? Honestly, it is a bit of an experiment and as I will be travelling again soon - a great way to share some of my experiences with family and friends, and anyone else who might be interested.  And if it helps existing readers of my books to connect with me and provide feedback - great. I may not post again for a month then again I might return tonight after a couple of shandies, already addicted the thrill of casting out unedited text!

I bit the bullet

Spurred on by an impending 3 months of foodie bliss in one of my favourite places on this curious planet I have finally, and somewhat reluctantly, entered 'the bloggersphere'. In 3 short weeks I'll be winging my way to Kyoto.  I'll be busy at the keyboard finishing off my new book so posts will likely be sporadic but I look forward to taking you on the road with me whenever I can. 

I'll see you soon with food and travel updates!