There’s no nonsense about Judith Tabron. Starting in the restaurant industry as a 16-year-old apprentice, she worked her way up to become the co-owner of Soul, an acclaimed, successful bar and bistro situated at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland. On stage at last year’s Savour New Zealand – she co-presented Greg Malouf‘s class on Middle Eastern Magic – her straight talking, take-no-prisoners attitude was very refreshing. She is, as she says herself, a leader rather than a follower, and her interest in new trends and different cuisines came through strongly at the symposium as it does in this, her first cookbook.
Monthly Archive: July 2006
On Friday night two friends were arriving in from Cambridge in time for a late supper. They didn’t arrive until after 9pm, fortunately, as the previous night at Mackerel and an after-work engagement party ensured that I didn’t get home until around half seven. Walking home from town I nipped into Spiceland to pick up some pita breads and a tin of dolmades (rice stuffed vine leaves) and together with a few house basics – potatoes, carrots, chorizo, eggs – decided on a simple tapas-style meal with a Mediterranean flavour.
Thursday was a searingly hot day in Dublin and, even come evening time, there was little respite from the heat in the city center. Sun-warmed crowds pooled outside bars and restaurants, Mediterranean-style. It was not an evening to be indoors so, when the Boyfriend and I arrived for a 7.30pm booking at Grafton Street fish restaurant Mackerel and I spied seats outside on the narrow balcony, we grabbed them as soon as we could hot-foot across the room.
It’s the colour that catches your eye first. The bold pink and red cover of Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam is immediately distinctive, particularly with that eye-catching photo of a pair of red, well-worn children’s shoes. And colour is hugely important in this book as Tessa and her colour-coded recipes explore the spectrum of childhood through chapters labelled gold and monochrome, pink, yellow and red.
Ireland has recently been going through a spell of glorious weather with near-constant sunshine and temperatures in the mid to late 20s and so I’ve not stepped near the kitchen for the last while. Cooking is mostly out of the question and baking has been abandoned for the moment – very little Brown Soda Bread gets made these days! – as our kitchen is just too small to cope with the heat of the cooker and/or oven. Meals at home are mostly light salad affairs or, given half a chance on these long, warm evenings, consist of picnics eaten while sprawled on the grass in one of our local parks.
Ingredient experiments – Pomegranate molasses: Bulgur and Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
When out shopping – especially in ethnic food shops – I’m a demon for picking up new and unusual ingredients that I’ve no idea how to use. I just see something in Dublin’s Asian Market, say, or – very especially – Middle Eastern shop Spiceland that looks interesting and, before I know it, it’s in my basket and I’m thinking: “didn’t I see a recipe for that somewhere recently?” Hence my food cupboards are filled with lots of things that keep getting pushed to the back and never used.
My friend the Film Critic had a birthday last week and so I took it into my head, late on Tuesday night, to make him a birthday cake. Wanting something simple – and that I already had the ingredients for in the house – I decided on a straightforward Gâteau au Yaourt, which seems to be a French national dish. I first came across this cake on Clotilde’s Chocolate & Zucchini blog and, subsequently, it also cropped up in Christelle Le Ru’s Simply Irresistible French Desserts and also as a Frenchwoman’s contribution to the Moneystown school’s charity cookbook. It was evidentially time to try it out.