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Everything posted by johung

  1. It is very different yet again in NZ. We tend to have tarakihi, lemon fish (shark), hoki, blue cod, snapper, Dory, or gurnard as the fish. Blue cod or Dory are pricier and also harder to find. Strike it lucky you get fish that is lightly crumbed on the day it is prepared, but strike it unlucky you get an overcrumbed mess that has also been crumbed for who knows how long ago. But no matter how poorly the crumb is made, the fish and chips are almost always made to order. This is one thing that NZ tourists to Britain on their OE always hold their noses over the British varieties of fish and chips.
  2. Robert Oliver has published a new cookbook Me’a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific covering a topic rarely discussed - the cuisines of South Pacific Island nations. 6 countries are selected: Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. The cuisines are very much in the Madhur Jaffrey vein which is what people actually eat at their homes and entertain guests, rather than tourist fares you see in resort hotel buffets. The cost is NZ$75.00, which is probably one of the most expensive NZ cookbooks I have ever seen (The French Cafe by Simon Wright tops it at NZ$110.00), but it is valuable, and I believe it will only be a matter of time before it is also available in Australia, the US and Britain because this subject has been very poorly covered in English.
  3. Pinging an old thread started by myself, there is a new book published in New Zealand last week about cuisines of a number of Pacific Island nations including Tahiti. Me'a kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific is written by Robert Oliver. In addition to being tourist destinations, NZ's traditional links with the Pacific Island nations (Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau are still overseas dependent territories of NZ, while Samoa was a former colony, and Tonga and Fiji have had a very close relationship with NZ politically) and there are in fact more Pacific Islanders living in Auckland than the Pacific Island nations combined, means the Islands are regarded in NZ as being brothers and which NZ has a responsibility to aid. http://www.randomhouse.co.nz/data/media/documents/press%20releases/April_2010/Me%27a_Kai_PR.pdf "...Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands to track down the most skilled local cooks. Adapting their recipes for modern kitchens, this outstanding, landmark book brings together a treasury of South Pacific cooking, arranged country by country, with 90-plus recipes and stunning photos that capture the essence of the Pacific. And there’s much more than just recipes. As well as showcasing traditional and modern South Pacific cuisine, Me’a Kai, meaning “come eat” in Tongan, covers fascinating encounters with local cooks and food producers. Flipping through its pages is like going on holiday! And it will inspire readers to seek out local food on their next Pacific holiday. It is a book with a clear mission: to support sustainable tourism in the South Pacific...Robert’s goal is to improve the quality of food offered to the South Pacific region’s tourism market and to contribute towards rural prosperity in the Pacific by creating an increased demand for locally grown foods. Underpinned by a philosophy of sustainable tourism, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cuisine, Me’a Kai is much more than just a cookbook, it is a fundamental part of this process."
  4. I have been to Detroit a few years ago as I have family living there. From what I gathered Detroit is far far from Melbourne in terms of food quality and variety. Detroit is no Melbourne because it is primarily a 2nd/3rd tier city and not a 1st tier type of city - indeed I dare say Melbourne is the same level of international city and urban and cultural significance as San Francisco or Chicago. The average suburban food fare at shopping centres' food courts, such as at Somerset Collection, is vastly better than the comparable suburban food fare in Melbourne, sure, but the urban dining scene is rather lacking. I believe there are a few good restaurants serving good Greek food and good soul food and barbecues, but there is nothing like Nobu Melbourne, Flower Drum or Bistro Vue. I think others have more information about the special eats for example, and I had been to suburban chain restaurants for most of the meals I had when I was in Detroit. Still, keep an open eye, because there should be some good surprises cropping up. If you are into Chinese food, give Hong Hua a try. It's no Flower Drum but is still fairly good and is on par with Chinese food in Auckland, for example: http://honghuafinedining.com/ Hong Hua Fine Chinese Dining 27925 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48334 Hope this helps. PS My relatives went to Sydney last year and they were absolutely wowed by the food compared to Detroit, even if they didn't step into the likes of Neil Perry or Matt Moran or Justin North's restaurants. This would show how great the gulf between food in Melbourne and Detroit would be considering Melbourne has superior food than Sydney.
  5. Hi all, I'm trying to locate some good and comprehensive German cookbooks in English. I looked up at amazon.com and it appears a lot are rather old and seems to omit dishes from the former East Germany (GDR). I have Konemann's Culinaria Germany but obviously it can't attempt to cover everything. Does anyone have good suggestions in addition to Mimi Sheraton's The German Cookbook or Nadia Hassini's Spoonfuls of Germany? It needs not be confined to homestyle cooking only, any good book covering dishes that are more restaurant, or bakery/cafe type would be welcome. Thanks,
  6. Just to prop up this old thread again, does anyone know there will be a trimmed and reduced version of Thai Street Food any time soon? For example, cutting most of the picture galleries and leaving just the recipes and recipe photos, and reprint it in A4 size for A$40.00. There will be plenty of market for such books... I guess a reason I was (and am still) negative towards the book is: imagine a publisher in Asia publishes an A3-sized coffee table book showing artistic pictures featuring American diners, fast food chains, clam shacks, hot dog stands, and lists recipes for fried chicken, burgers, French fries, lobster rolls, and apple pies etc, asking for US$70. Would you think it is worth the cost?
  7. This is quite useful information Adam Balic, and interestingly David Veart touched on the subject of people differentiating themselves from other socio-economic groups (that is common/polite circle NZ speak for class) in the NZ contexts in his 2008 work First, Catch Your Weka. Traditionally New Zealand had an enforced form of egalitarianism, which means that everyone cooked largely the same dishes whether they were upper class stuffy people living in Fendalton in Christchurch or welfare beneficiaries living in Mangere in Auckland. There was a very big prejudice against any deviation from lower middle class tastes. So everyone would prepare scones, colonial goose (roasted stuffed lamb legs), etc. And also don't forget that for example, in 1946 NZ's population was something 98% European/white, and 99% of "Europeans" were from the British Isles or their descendants. An implication of this is that both the rich and poor read and cooked from The Edmonds Cookbook, and cookbooks published in NZ served the whole community. This only changed in the 1970s when non-British influence started to creep into NZ and it became easier to purchase non-NZ cookbooks. And in the 1980s, it finally became more acceptable for people to exhibit different culinary preferences according to class and wealth. So it fact, NZ was rather unique that there was indeed a uniform national cooking style up until a generation ago.
  8. Hi all, This is aiming to stimulate discussions on what actually a national cuisine is. I got myself involved in editing the Wikipedia entry on New Zealand's cuisine at one stage. Before we move on, NZ's traditional diet is basically derived from 19th century-1960 British cuisine, pavlova, meat plus three vegetables (usually roast lamb legs, beef, or pork) for main meals, and baked cakes, scones or biscuits/cookies at teatime, fish and chips, and meat pies. From the 1980s onwards, the Pacific (Asian) and Mediterranean ingredients became progressively more popular, such that you probably see butter chicken and sushi being eaten just as frequently as fish and chips. I remember that I noted antipasto has become very widespread in NZ eating cuisine in the Wikipedia article. A PhD academic from the University of Auckland disputed my entry, and she argued that anything "new" technically isn't representative of NZ cuisine per se, because even though they may be eaten in NZ, they are not iconic of the nation in the first place, and secondly, what is touted as popular doesn't automatically follow they are really popular and served across the whole spectrum of socio-economic status. In that sense, we would have to go back to the old fish and chips, meat pies, pavlova, meat and three vegs when we talk about NZ cuisine, but which if you read the current cookbooks published in NZ, they don't have much of these dishes anymore and they do look pretty old-fashioned? Does anyone have more comments? That Cuisine of New Zealand is a much narrower definition. If we follow the "must be iconic" argument, we can argue 90% of foodies food can't be counted as national cuisines at all. Thanks,
  9. An observation I have towards the local food sentiment. If you were to tell people over in Hong Kong to "eat local", 99.9% of the people will want to rush you to a psychiatric ward for assessment on any signs of mental degeneration. In much of Asia, local food movement simply doesn't exist.
  10. Sorry to be off topic and a bit too forward, but I would have thought Hong Kong has good cocktailbar choices as well. May I ask if there is any reason you are skipping HK in your travel plan?
  11. Hi all, I found it interesting that there are so few good new books written by current good French chefs published into English. When you look at the 1950s to 1980s you literally see every French chef with good names and famous restaurants rushing to publish English translations of their cookbooks. For example, Raymond Oliver, Paul Bocuse, Michel Guérard, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, all have their signature cookbooks published and English translations are always available. You can even locate Escoffier's translations. It is the same with pastries Fast forward to 2010, and I found it extremely frustrating to locate any good new French chefs books from the current crop of cooks. Yes, you can find Alain Ducasse's signature compandium books, but he published 5 for the whole Grand Livres de Cuisine series, and only the main book and dessert are available in English. For Joel Robuchon, I haven't been able to find any of his restaurant books in English. And Guy Savoy only has one "cooking for home" type of book published in English. Guy Martin: same case, just one vegetable cookbook in English. Pierre Gagnaire: he has one yes, but it is a very thin "showcase" publication rather than somerthing like his lifetime complete testimony type of cookbook running to over 900 pages long. Is there a reason why it is now so? Contrast this with the English-speaking world, where every famous restaurant chef and 90% of good chefs have thir restaurant signature cookbook. From Martin Bolsey in Wellington to Daniel Boulud in New York, from Thomas Keller in North California to Neil Perry in Sydney, from Paul Wilson in Melbourne to Gordon Ramsay, you literally seee cookbooks everywhere, almost to the point of overflow.
  12. I think these 3 weakness are still there despite we have entered the iPad era, and yet to overcome: 1. Digital media, because of their search capabilities, means you jump straight into reading what you need, but you will never have the urge to explore other dishes in the book. 2. A lot of people read not just to obtain information, but to "feel" the information as well. If using the modernist terms, it is a combination of left and right brain activities. I personally find it hard to "feel" the reading process if it is read on electronic media. 3. A lot of people will concur as well, you will always miss reading something if it appears in front of an electronic display, versus of reading it on paper. (I'm a heavy electrical engineer in my day job, and trust me, no matter how convenient electronic media are, you will always find you missed reading the entire sections when you read the hardbound copy of an engineering standard versus reading it on your computer screen or PDA)
  13. I think so too, although I would say it is modified by the Californian obsessions with seasonal local "natural" (i.e. organic non-GE) produce and lighter preparation (which Californian cooking adopted from Mediterranean, chiefly southern France and Italy), with a couple of Pacific Rim style dishes thrown in as well. Compare that with Paul Prudhomme or Marcelle Bienvenue and it is obvious to see Link's quite influenced by Californian cuisine. Not surprising since Link developed much of his craft in San Francisco.
  14. This would be news to me if true. I would have thought scores of Chinese restaurants in Vancouver and Torinto, that few Westerns are aware of, that are equal to or better than Flower Drum in Melbourne.
  15. One thing that caught my eye is the description by Helen Rosner that "keep it simple" as related to just "a flash in the pan" quick preparation method may well be over in its excesses. I remember reading a culinary journal of an anonymous British chef about his experience of learning to cook in France that said largely the same thing. Judging on the sales and popularity of more traditional French cooking at bookstores and online booksellers, I guess we may be on the brink of a partial return to a more elaborate, more sauce-involved, more transforming style of cooking compared with the trend in the English-speaking world from the mid 1970s until now.
  16. It is in general yes, but I found the reality is much murkier than what dougal et al suggested, and there are a lot of exceptions. Here in New Zealand, the Australian Woman Weekly's series cookbooks like Kitchen, Cook, and Bakecollated cookbooks, the default measurement for liquid and powder type of stuff (sugar, flour, bread, crumbs) the preferred units are in cups but the metric equivalents are given. (For example, a recipe will say 1 cup (250 mL) water, 1/4 cup (35g) plain flour for the recipe of traditional turkey with forcemeat stuffing) Allyson Gofton is a popular celebrity cook geared to the home market and she hosted the TV Food in a Munite programme for more than 10 years here. She uses cups only in the measurements, but has 2 pages on her Bake cookbook explaining the current New Zealand measurement standard and the equivalent of cups to grams or mL for food stuff from water to chopped chocolate. The books by Annabel Langbeim are geared more towards the gourmet, foodie middle/upper class end, and even uses cups for measurements. For example, in her Cooking To Impress: Without Stress title, her apple crumble recipes uses "1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, finest cut available..." Back to a more mass market level, Alexa Johnson is a historian and a amateur, but a very good one. She has provided the exact metric equivalent for her baking recipes in her Ladies, a Plate and A Second Helping: More From Ladies, a Plate that talks about traditional NZ baking. Alison Holst is the grande dame of popular NZ cooking, and she uses volume in her recipes. For example, in her The Best of Alison Holst she advises "125g butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup all purpose flour..."
  17. Welcome! IMHO one reason no one mentions Mrs Beeton is because the Britain of Mrs Beeton is too distant in culture from the Britain of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay as to the point of being incomprehensible. If Margaret Patten's food is said to be of historical interest only, you can gather that many modern Britons think Mrs Beeton better belongs to the museum. They only buy the book for the purpose of literary analysis and gender studies at universities, not as a practical cookbook!
  18. Is there any chance we will see Pierre Herme's Larousse des desserts and Larousse du chocolat trabslated into English? They seem to be the most up to date books Herme have concerning his techniques, and his The patisserie of Pierre Herme is now over 10 years old and so do the titles Pierre Herme Desserts and Pierre Herme Chocolate written by Dorie Greenspan.
  19. Brettschneider's "Baker" is pretty hard to find anywhere in NZ these days unless you try online sellers like fishpond.co.nz , so I'm probably not qualified to comment on the book. I understand Rose Levy Barenbaum has a raving view of his works. "Global Baker" is alright, but it is too typical of contemporary NZ cookbooks: a mix of traditional Anglo-Celtic baking mixes in with the food he has observed in travel or worked in overseas posts (like the Chinese mooncake). I guess if you have Dan Lepard's books Brettschneider wouldn't offer much new insight. Perhaps NZ is still too young as an independent nation to develop a unique culinary footprint, it is all too much like what David Veart described in "First, Catch Your Weka" that "The food trend over the past 25 years...amount to 'we are in a blank state. Please write in us'" - in cookbooks it means we pull a lot of traditional Kiwi stuff (read: traditional English/Scottish food), add in a bit of European pastries from cookbooks the author(s) has/ve read, and Asian ones into the mix. With regards to instructions, it is a bit spartan. A bit like the Australian Woman's Weekly cookbooks that there are occasional tips along the way, but nothing to rave about. And BTW, thanks for the Patten information. Not sure if I would want to buy them now. I already have Alison Holst (trad NZ) and Margaret Fulton (trad Aus).
  20. I feel British cookbooks, especially those published from the mid 1990s onwards, are too similar to Australian/NZ cookbooks to be really interesting for me. Strangely enough, I have never been a fan of Jamie Oliver because of his manners and his food seem to be identical to Bill Granger or Julie Le Clerc. Gordon Ramsay is too showy. I do like Marcus Wareing's works and Gary Rhodes's works are good. Margaret Patten's works sound good and what I want - something of British cuisine without the excessively trendiness of the last 10 years. The French influence are not as widespread in NZ or Australia, and the traditional food backs up the historical origins of the "good old Kiwi tucker" very nicely.
  21. Yes, the Healy titles are expensive now at amazon.com . Unfortunately it is probably the most directly place to place orders for new copies from NZ without trying to sort out shipping and clearance at the Customs. (believe it or not, tax does exist for books - primarily NZ's GST) I manged to track down 2 pastry books by Yves Thuriès at CHIPS: Pastry and Modern Pastry, both are presumably translated into English and pretty expensive at around US$200. Does anyone know if these books do a good job at teaching the classics of pastry? I'm primarily an armchair pastry chef wanting to learn about the details for my personal education, not necessarily trying to reproduce them at home . (Yes, I know many here, or the popular serious pastry chefs, have outgrown Thuriès, but Michel Roux said clearly that all cooks need to be able to reproduce the classics faultlessly when required even if they do cutting edge stuff, so it is always handy to know the basics)
  22. Are these considered yogashi as opposed to "truly Western" bakery? I have been trying to find books in English that deals with this yogashi, and I don't seem to find any unfortunately. Does anyone have any suggestions, thanks.
  23. Hi all, Does anyone have any recommendations of good Japanese cookbooks written in English (Nobu and Morimoto and Motofuku are quite good but I put them as American bookbooks)? I use Chinese as my first language and often there are tons of Japanese cookbooks published in Chinese either from Hong Kong or Taiwan (since Japan has similar cultural backgrounds as Chinese), and the books are pretty specialized into wagashi (2 titles), kaiseki, traditional cuisine written by a couple of big shots. Any answers will be much appreciated, thanks.
  24. Hi, Does anyone know if there are good cookbooks that deal with either Quebec's native cuisine (poutine [sp?]), Quebec-style French cuisine, or simply terrific cookbooks by chefs/cooks from Quebec? I have put Au Pied de Cochon on the list, and I have the book from Jean Soulard (executive chef at Quebec City's Hotel Chateau Frontenac) and Anne Desjardins, and I have heard about Julian Armstrong's The Cuisine of Quebec. Are there any other seriously good cookbooks around? Thanks.
  25. I'm trying to get everyone's opinions on baking books. I'm not sure if British baking/pastry books are good. I'm a bit wary of them because I already have a few popular-grade Australian/NZ books either with substantial baking section, or baking books by themselves, and they lean very heavily on the home-style cooking or cafe food in the English-speaking countries' (or I should say British Isles) traditions. I would want some English-language cookbooks that teach you more French/continental techniques and recipes (I'm particularly interested in fancy French pastries and cakes patisserie type cookbooks), and I believe British books will probably have more repeats of the same old tired homebaking recipes like banana cake, hot cross bun, cupcakes, as the Australian/NZ counterparts. So which books should I look for? Thanks.
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