Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Winter fare

Coastal Saltbush, Ruby Grapefruit and Blood Orange

The coastal Salt Bush, Atriplex Cinerea, planted in my garden a few months ago is now big enough to harvest and use the leaves as an edible bed for roasting lamb. The end result is a subtle flavoured meat and a delicious fat soaked vegetable.

The Ruby Grapefruit are ready to pick and this year for the first time I have Blood Oranges (plural), the tree has never done very well but clings to life and every now and then produces a single orange, but this year has eight fruit. Had people to lunch and served this salad:
1 ruby Grapefruit (segmented, membrane peeled from each, cut into 3 / 4 pieces)
3 small blood oranges ( segmented, membrane peeled from each, cut in half )
500 gms prawns  ( peeled and split lengthways)
spinach leaves add leaves from 1 bunch basil, 1 bunch coriander, 1 bunch mint
Grated fresh ginger, any reserved juice from preparing the grapefruit and oranges, fish sauce, chopped fresh chilli and palm sugar (or use chilli jam ), pepper and olive oil (or oil of preference).

Also served a Spanish style sea food stew, 
Zarzuela de Mariscos, one of those stews whose contents vary according to what is fresh and available at the time.
Prawns, mussels, clams, firm white fish, blue swimmer crabs.
Use prawn shells and bay leaves to made a stock. Melt onions and red capsicum in olive oil, add diced tomatoes and lots of garlic. Soak saffron in a cup of white wine. Cut one or two Chorizo sausages into slices and brown in a separate pan. Strain stock add onion mix, sausage, saffron and wine, simmer until nearly ready to serve. Add seafood, firm fish first, then prawns and crab/s. Add ground almonds (or Almond meal), about a cup or a little more....until you think it looks slightly thickened or the " right" consistency. Add mussels and finally clams until opened. Add the juice of a lemon and (optional) paprika. Taste & adjust for salt and pepper.
Serve in big bowls with lots of bread

Max Dingle                   July  2018      

Symposium of Australian Gastronomy - Registration open

The early bird gets the eel

Eel cooked over coals will be a highlight of the opening reception at Elizabeth Farm.
Registrations now open!
Take your place for a weekend of conviviality, conversation and culinary creativity.

The 22nd Symposium of Australian Gastronomy brings together some of the most influential and creative food thinkers, writers, academics and industry professionals from Australia and beyond. For over 30 years SAG has informed and inspired thinking and debate on Australian foodways, past, present and future.

‘Out of Place’
The main SAG program runs from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November at the evocative Female Orphan School on the Western Sydney University (WSU) campus at Parramatta. We are excited to partner with WSU to present the Symposium at this landmark, fully-restored venue.
  • We have partnered with Sydney Living Museums for our Friday evening reception at historic Elizabeth Farm, with the theme of eels and other native food
  • More than 40 papers and presentation proposals covering topics from indigenous foodways to the place of imported food traditions in Australia and across the globe have been received
  • Gay Bilson is the keynote speaker at the Saturday night banquet at an iconic location, with the menu curated by chef Alex Herbert.
‘Out of the Kitchen’
On Monday 19 November, we have a program exploring and discussing the challenges and changes faced by our food industry. From food criticism to the role of food in social change, join chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, food scholars, writers and thinkers to consider the future of the industry and exchange ideas with industry peers.
  • Author and comedian Benjamin Law will moderate a panel discussion on food and social change. Angie Prendergast from Two Good is one of the guests.
Full 3-day program (reception, banquet, Saturday, Sunday plus Monday event): $720
Full 3-day program Early bird discount: $650 [Until 31 August]
Student full 3-day program – $500
Student full 3-day program Early bird – $420 [Until 31 August]
  • Student ticketholders must verify their eligibility by sending in a photo of their current student ID by reply.
Two-day SAG main program (reception, banquet, Saturday, Sunday but NOT Monday) – $650
Two-day SAG main program Early bird – $550 [Until 31 August]
Student two-day SAG main program – $450
Student two-day SAG main program Early bird $350 – [Until 31 August]
Additional places can be purchased for the Friday Reception at $75, and the Saturday Banquet at $120. Numbers are limited.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Rosellas - a great garden plant


Growing up in Queensland I can remember my Mother growing Rosellas in the garden mainly for making jam from the red fleshy calyx or "fruit" that holds the green seed pod in its centre. I found my seedling at the Sydney Wildflower nursery in the native food plant section, although while many think it is native to Australia, like a lot of us it is an immigrant that has been around so long it is an "Aussie".  
​Very fast growing, in three months it was fully grown, nearly 2 mtrs high and fruiting, it is an annual and will die off in winter.
​Have been experimenting with cooking, only with the calyx to date but the whole plant is edible or usable young leaves as a green vegetable, the seed apparently can be ground into a flour and the fiberous stalks made into string. I made jam with the first light crop. Fairly simple remove the red calyx from the green seed pod, discard the seed pod and simmer the red flesh in a small amount of water, when tender add equal quantity of sugar and boil until setting point. Some recipes suggest that the seed  pods should be boiled to extract pectin and some of the water then added to the calyx pot to aid setting. Alternatively add lemon or commercial pectin. I found that this first set without any extra effort, just the calyx, sugar and water.
​Have also used the red calyx with some apple as a sauce with pork, ( apple and rosella calyx and a dash of red wine give a tart fruit sauce) Great with chops and with traditional English pork sausages; would also go well with roast pork. Have made an apple and rosella pie and in fact just treated the crop in ways that rhubarb is treated.  The "fruit" can also be made into a sweet syrup used for cocktails or added to sparkling white wine, or as a cordial but at this stage I am happy to use in less sweet recipes. I understand the calyx freezes well and will leave some to dry out on the plant to give seeds for next years plants.

​Max Dingle                                                                                                             April 2018 

12th New Zealand Symposium of Gastronomy 2018 - Call for papers

               New Zealand Symposium of  Gastronomy 

                          and Food History  2018

   Napier, Hawkes Bay           30th November - 2nd December

                                                    Theme: Migrate

The 2018 Symposium will be held in Napier over the first weekend of December.
The formal presentation of papers will begin at 9am on the Saturday and close at 4.30pm on Sunday, in time for flights out of Napier.
An informal meal and Hawkes Bay wine tasting will be held on Friday evening and the annual banquet on the Saturday evening.
The theme is "Migrate", a word that may be interpreted in whatever unique linguistic, etymologic or phonetic manner presenters may desire - it is not intended to be interpreted solely in terms of human migration. We welcome  presentations from amateur story-tellers, gastronomes and academics, on (or off) the theme, and invite others with a passion for food and food history to join us for what is always a damn good weekend.

Napier is a popular venue for food, wine, sport, the arts and architecture. For those intending to come to the Symposium we therefore suggest making your airline and accommodation bookings as soon as possible.
As well as being New Zealand's Art Deco capital, Napier is surrounded by over 200 vineyards and 35 cellar doors where some of New Zealand's best Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet blends are produced. Consider arriving early or staying on after the Symposium to visit some of these wineries.

The Symposium venue, The Napier Little Theatre, is at 76 McGrath Street, at the southern end of Marine Parade and within easy walking distance of the Napier CBD.

CALL FOR PAPERS on (or off) the theme of Migrate for the Napier Symposium of Gastronomy. We would be delighted to receive a brief, initial outline of intended papers - no much more than 200 words - to allow us to timetable and structure the symposium programme. Presentations may be between 5 and 20 minutes. On receipt of the outline we will liase with individual speakers to discuss AV requirements, time etc. A formal abstract will not be requested until October before the final programme is printed. REGISTRATION for the Symposium will open at the beginning of August and can be completed online at :

Max Dingle                                                                                    July 2018