GUEST BLOG: Tax Time Comes Around Every Year by Jimmy B. Prince

tax-for-australians-for-dummies-2014-2015Top 5 Tax Tips Overview
• Keep one bank account to record your income.
• Keep receipts to verify and substantiate your work-related expenses.
• If you hold CGT assets for more than 12 months and you make a profit on sale, only 50% is liable to tax.
• Make salary sacrifice contributions to your super fund to save paying tax.
• Read books like Tax for Australians For Dummies to broaden your tax knowledge.

If you earn income (such as salary and wages), you must lodge an annual income tax return for individuals disclosing the taxable income you derived during the financial year. So to comply with your statutory obligations, it’s best that you do the following:

• Credit all the income you derive from various sources to one bank account. This will help you to quickly calculate the amount of assessable income you derived during the financial year.
• Keep receipts to verify and substantiate all the work-related expenses you incur each year (such as, work-related reference books and journals, subscriptions to trade unions or other professional memberships and your tools of trade).
• If you hold assets (such as shares and real estate) for more than 12 months and you make a capital gain on sale, only 50% of the capital gain is liable to tax. But if you make a capital loss you can only offset it against a capital gain.
• If you make salary sacrifice contributions to your complying super fund you could save paying a substantial amount of tax and your retirement nest egg will increase.
• Because every financial transaction you enter into has a tax implication, it’s best that you have a basic understanding of income tax law. Reading books like Tax for Australians For Dummies (which is updated each year) can help you to quickly gain the necessary knowledge you need.

Grab a copy of Tax for Australians for Dummies 2014/15 here

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What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her March reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The FallsThe French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.

With nine books to read and judge for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA awards – none of which I can tell you about, sorry! – I didn’t have much personal reading time left. But I did manage three wonderful books.


Revival 

by Stephen King

King’s storytelling never ceases to amaze me. I kept pausing to try and work out what it was that made this book such a page-turner, but it was a wasted exercise. Each time I tried to analyse it, the story would suck me back and I’d forget what I’d stopped for in the first place.

Spanning five decades, Revival chronicles the relationship between young Jamie Morton and Reverend Charles Jacobs, a man fascinated by the power of electricity. Unhinged by tragedy, Jacobs has a meltdown while preaching, which leads to his sacking. Jamie loses a friend and mentor but as the years pass, this unlikely pair continue to cross paths. Only it appears Jacobs’s fascination has become an obsession. One with the potential to lead Jamie to hell.

Yet another disturbing and fascinating tale from the master.

Grab a copy of Revival here


Whispers Underground 

by Ben Aaronovich

This series cracks me up. It’s such FUN!

Whispers Underground is the third Constable Peter Gant adventure, and trainee wizard Peter is really started to hit his straps. A dead American art student is found in an underground station but this isn’t any ordinary murder. There’s a whiff of magic, and that means Peter and his boss, Inspector Nightingale, must lend a hand. What follows is a wonderful romp through London’s labyrinthine underground world, as well as adventures above. There are chases through sewers and Tube lines, a bit of fun-poking at the art world, some FBI meddling, and encounters with London’s gods and goddesses and other paranormal creatures.

Another witty and clever tale from Aaronovich. Highly recommended. These books make you feel good!

 Grab a copy of Whispers Underground here


The Princess Bride

by William Goldman

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never seen the film The Princess Bride so I had no idea what this book would be like, let alone about. All I knew was that the film was a cult classic, and was a bit bemused to find that the book came after the film. I assumed it was the other way around.

It was, however, brilliantly weird.

Goldman claims that this book is his abridged version of S. Morgenstern’s classic tale, a story his father used to read to him. But Goldman discovers as an adult that his father never narrated the whole book, only the good bits because the original is bloated with dull detail. So Goldman sets out to create a new version. The rollicking romantic tale of The Princess Bride is there in all its quirky glory, but what makes this extra entertaining are Goldman’s interruptions and comments about everything from the movie to law suits from Morgenstern’s estate. There’s even a cameo by Stephen King.

A hoot! Now to track down a copy of the film and complete my Princess Bride education.

Grab a copy of The Princess Bride here


Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you have read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

 Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The Falls

by Cathryn Hein

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Grab a copy of The Falls here

GUEST BLOG: Fleur McDonald, author of Emerald Springs, on remembering who you are

‘Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?’

That’s a quote by Danielle LaPorte and it’s one of my favourites.

You know why? Because it resonates with me.

red-dustThere are times I think as women (and possibly men too, but since I’m not one, I can’t judge!) that our true selves get lost. Not intentionally. But we become busy being ‘someone’s daughter, someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife and someone’s mother.’

How often have you been introduced as ‘so and so’s mum?’ not by your name? Does it make you feel like you were invisible as a person?

It never used to bother me until the kids were older. There was a time I actually really enjoyed being known as Rochelle and Hayden’s mum. What I did object to was being known as ‘just’ somebody’s wife. I didn’t feel like the real me was being seen and within time I got lost inside the mum and wife haze.

Of course my good friends always could see me clearly. They knew that I liked Taylor Swift music; that I loved to read murder mysteries and to sit on the beach at sunset. They saw past the vomit stain down my back from my projectile vomiting son, the daughter I was trying to teach to talk and the tiredness. But, to be very honest, I think I’d forgotten who I was, even if my friends hadn’t.

It was until I started to write and people were reading my books, that I became ‘Fleur McDonald’ to the rest of Australia and I had to look up and say: ‘Oh, hey, I’m actually a person.’ Interviewers began asking questions I didn’t know the answers to.

silver-clouds ‘How do you write? Where do you find the time? What’s your favourite food/drink? Simple questions that should be easily answered. However, when you’re making purees for babies, or cook spaghetti bolognaise three times in one week, because that’s all the kids will eat, it’s easy to forget what you like. To get caught up in the ‘normality’ of what your life has become.

Suddenly I had to remember. It took a lot of soul searching.

A very good friend said to me once: ‘You don’t have to look too far. Go back and re-read your books.’ I thought this was quite bizarre. After all, I was writing about fictional characters – sure they were people I would have liked to be my friends if they were real. But they weren’t me.

Or were they? blue-skies

What I found intriguing was how all my friends – the ones who knew me best – saw me. As pieces of all those main characters I’ve written about. There have been a few changes in my life in the past twelve months. In fact I think it’s safe to say I’ll never forget the year I turned forty. These changes have made me do even more soul searching.

Now I know that I’m no longer ‘just a mum’. I’m Fleur. I’m getting stronger. I’m becoming more confident. Less self-conscious.

I’ve remembered that I like soft eggs – not just the white because my daughter only eats the yolk. I like my wine with ice in it and I love sitting on the patio laughing loudly with friends. I have great friends; ones with strong hands, ones that close in around me when I need them to. They’re the ones who see me clearly and can remind me who I was and who I am now. They gently push me to get outside of my comfort zone and are there to pick me up when I fall. Or drink wine when something needs celebrating.

I’m still a work in progress as we all are.

It’s been through my writing, having to overcome a few trials and tribulations and great friends, that I’m becoming who I really should be.


Fleur McDonald sml2_ Credit Chelsea from Proof of Life.jpgAbout Fleur McDonald

Fleur McDonald has also been touted as one of Australia’s favourite storytellers. Her stories are set in rural Australia and feature strong female characters and solid, no nonsense, countrymen. Fleur’s characters are inspired by the tough, complex and genuine people she’s met during a lifetime living in remote Australia. With sales well over 130,000 copies she is one of the highest-selling authors in Australia’s ever-popular rural romance genre. Fleur is the author of the bestselling novels Red Dust, Crimson DawnSilver Clouds, Blue Skies and Purple Roads.

9781743315323Emerald Springs

by Fleur McDonald

Order Emerald Springs before April 30th to go in the draw to win one of three Fleur McDonald backlist packs worth $99 each.
*Terms and Conditions apply.

When suspicions are wrongly aimed at Amelia following the theft of proceeds from the local rodeo after a crash and grab, she must work with a skeptical rural detective to clear her name – and that of the man she loves. Mystery and romance abound in the new novel from the bestselling author of Crimson Dawn. After finishing university, Amelia Bennett returns to Jervois and promptly falls in love with the wonderful – if broke and slightly stubborn – Paul Barnes. Now she’s more…

Grab a copy of Emerald Springs here

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BOOK REVIEW: The Wonder Lover by Malcolm Knox (Review by Caroline Baum)

First of all the cover: this has to be one of the most stylish and eye-catching jackets of the year, signposting both the amorous subject matter but also a kind of sexily suave Mad Men Don Draper silhouette that suggests surface sleekness concealing enigmatic multiple identities.

The sophisticated packaging delivers on its promise – and then some. This is one of the big books of the year. You know that phrase that critics use about a writer at the peak of his powers? Well, this is the time to apply that to Knox, who has been one of our most significant writers mining aspects of contemporary masculinity for a while in novels like Summerland and The Life.

Here he applies his customary cool, detached and forensic tone to a story that is enigmatic, satirical and rich in layers and symbolism. It is disconcertingly strange at first, especially in its removed, rationally detached voice but don’t let that put you off. Get past the initial chill of the first fifty pages and you will find yourself increasingly seduced by the tale of John Wonder and his women.

The comparison with Don Draper goes beyond the packaging. Because the point is that both men are indeed enigmas who conceal their inner and private lives from themselves and from others, enabled by careers that allow them to move seamlessly between worlds.

Except what makes John Wonder so very different from Don Draper is that the outer casing of the man is not inherently attractive. He does not possess a handsome physique and nor is he charismatic when it comes to his personality. He is, according to one of his six collective narrator children, odourless and bland. Women feel safe around him because he is not predatory by nature. And indeed, unlike Draper’s glamorous world of advertising, Wonder’s is far more pedestrian and pedantic: he is a senior factoid who authenticates official statistics for publications of record. Hardly the sexiest of titles.

Happily married simultaneously, and able to juggle the demands of three sets of children (all called Adam and Evie, presumably to avoid confusion) he then decides to set himself a new challenge: to authenticate the world’s most beautiful woman. And that’s where he comes disastrously unstuck. When he finds her, his multiple lives unravel.

The scenario provides for plenty of comedy though it is not of the farcical ‘quick-now-hide in-the-cupboard’ kind (with the exception of a muddle involving a Hyundai car). It is more cerebral than that kind of romp. Knox hits his comic stride in his characterisation of Wife Number Two, a fiery type who can’t distinguish between the expressions ‘because’ and ‘that’s why’, (I can’t help but imagine Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara in this role).

Will Wonder’s serial infidelities see him damned, punished and abandoned? And what of the world’s most beautiful woman? What does she make of Wonder’s protracted infatuation and courtship? Can his children ever forgive his betrayal? The climax of the story has an inevitability about it, as all moral fables do, and a surprising warmth that Don Draper, whose adventures in parallel lives end later this year, might envy.

Grab a copy of The Wonder Lover here

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Caroline Baum has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV’s popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel’s Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National. She is currently Booktopia’s Editorial Director.


The Wonder Lover

by Malcolm Knox

The compartments in our father’s life were not the separations he needed to build to preserve his sanity. They were his sanity. When he fell in love… when he fell to the abjection he deserved, the walls began dissolving. And once the walls came down between all three, or now four, of his lives, so did every other retaining wall – between past and present, present and future, self- and non-self, dream and wakefulness. The walls were his sanity. Love had driven him mad….

This is the story of John Wonder, a man with three families, each one kept secret from the other, each one containing two children, a boy and a girl, each called Adam and Evie. As he travels from family to family in different cities, he works as an Authenticator, verifying world records, confirming facts, setting things straight, while his own life is a teetering tower of breathtaking lies and betrayals…

About the Author

Malcolm Knox is the author of Summerland, A Private Man and Jamaica, which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award last year and won the Colin Roderick Award. He is also a Walkley- Award-winning journalist and author of many non-fiction titles. He came late to surfing, but is now an obsessively enthusiastic surfer, and writes about surfing and the surf with authority and great passion.

Grab a copy of The Wonder Lover here

Women of Steel – Caroline Baum on the 2015 Newcastle Writers Festival

CaroNow in its third year, The Newcastle Writers Festival’s steely strength has little to do with this city’s industrial past and everything to do with the iron will of its founding director, Rosemarie Milsom. She wanted a writers festival and she got herself one, virtually single handed. This year, she has eighty volunteers, and a program that’s expanded from two to three days, but she’s still not being paid a salary and does the job part time, fitting it around her full time job as a journalist – oh and a mother of three. Steely indeed.

The festival venue is City Hall, a grand old building sandstone rabbit warren with a superb high ceilinged concert hall and lots of other rooms of various sizes for more intimate events. This weekend it was thronging with an estimated five thousand readers who came to hear one hundred and thirty writers on every conceivable subject. The line up included Les Murray, Don Watson, Marion Halligan, Bob Brown, Favel Parrett, Brooke Davis and PM Newton, to mention just a few.

I was lucky enough to chair the opening night panel on The Book That Changed Me, featuring Helen Garner, Michael Robotham and Jessica Rudd. It was a great way to kick off the festival, a reminder that all writers, without exception, start off as readers.

Caroline Baum talks to Helen Garner

Caroline Baum talks to Helen Garner

Helen and Michael had one book in common, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I had expected that she might talk about Janet Malcolm, who has been such a significant influence on her non fiction writing, but as always, Helen was unpredictable in the best sense; her most intriguing choice was one most of the audience, including myself, would have been unfamiliar with : an American poet called Charles Reznikoff who wrote a book called Testimony based on hundreds of hours of court evidence. The affinity with her own work seems clear.

Michael Robotham told a wonderful anecdote about writing a fan letter to his hero Ray Bradbury author of his choice, the dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451 and getting a letter back form his daughter, inviting him to lunch to meet the author. Sadly, Bradbury died just before the encounter. Michael’s other selections had several things in common: they were American, and they were men: Steinbeck and Fitzgerald.

He earned a tongue in cheek reprimand from Jessica Rudd when he admitted that he hated Jane Austen when he first read her (’ leave the stage’ she mock-chided him). Rudd recalled how reading Joe Klein’s Primary Colours set her course to write political fiction.But she was adamant that satire was not her style: while much of the genre is characterised by cynicism, she remains an idealist about what politics, and political fiction can achieve. (And yes, there’s a third Ruby book in the works).

Her other favourite book of the moment is Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, and she confessed to thinking about writing the author a fan letter. Encouraged by Michael’s positive response from Bradbury, she just might. Garner’s experience as a fan was not so glowing: she’d had the briefest of encounters with her idol, Janet Malcolm, at a smart party in New York, while Malcolm was holding someone else’s baby, but the opportunity for a meeting of minds was sabotaged by another famous writer. Malcolm’s loss, I say.

***

Newcastle-Writers-Festival-BannerThe next day, the juiciest revelatons to be had were from Blanche d’Alpuget in candid conversation with Meredith Jaffe, Books Editor of The Hoopla. Perhaps because it was a small audience, perhaps because Jaffe made her feel comfortable with considered questions, d’Alpuget said some intriguing things about her father, who was, among other things a boxer; ‘ He was so frightening I had no fear of other men at all’ she said.

Emboldened by her candour, I asked why if she found writing to be such a blissful pleasure, (she had described it as divine) she had given it up for over fifteen years before her recent foray into historical fiction with The Young Lion and its sequel, The Lion Rampant.’ I decided to devote myself completely to love,’ she answered.

Steel comes in all grades and strengths.

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Caroline Baum is Booktopia’s Editorial Director, for which she produces The Booktopia Buzz. She also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald, Qantas in flight magazine, Slow Magazine, SBS Feast and other publications about books, food, travel, the arts, and aspects of contemporary life.

230914carolinebaumbuzzheader616+x123Check out Caroline’s Books of the Month in The Booktopia Buzz

GUEST BLOG: A farewell to Sir Terry Pratchett – by Karen Miller

TerryWhat’s that saying in showbiz? Always leave ‘em wanting more? Well, I guess then it’s mission accomplished. Because I know I’m not the only one who will forever more be wanting more Sam Vimes, more Granny Weatherwax, more Captain Carrot and Lord Vetinari and Susan and Death of Rats and Nanny Ogg and Magrat and … and … and …

When we learned in 2007 that the man who created the Discworld was afflicted with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, we knew we’d been given advance warning that we’d be losing him sooner rather than later. But that doesn’t make this moment any easier to bear. Sometimes being forewarned isn’t being forearmed. Sometimes it’s a really mean trick.

Terry Pratchett wrote extraordinary books. I’d go so far as to say that his was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of imagination and intellect. I’d go so far as to say that in Pratchett we had our own William Shakespeare. Terry Pratchett never wrote comedy, although so much of his work was witty and amusing and often made his readers laugh aloud. No. Terry Pratchett wrote deeply, passionately, sometimes angrily, sometimes kindly, but always with wisdom and keen insight, about the infinitely complicated truths of human nature and human society, about the need for and lack of simple human compassion – and the astonishing impact both the need and lack of it could have on both a single life and the world.

a-slip-of-the-keyboardSince being asked to collect some thoughts on his work, and his passing, of course I’ve been revisiting his books, and my favourites among them. Inevitably there are some I love more than others, some I’ve re-read until the covers are in danger of falling off and others I’ve honestly only read once or twice. Far and away my two favourite subsets are the City Watch series, and the Witches series. No lie, I must be up to at least fifteen re-reads of those books and they never get boring or commonplace or over-familiar. I love them with all my heart and soul and as I think about them I’m overwhelmed by moments I adore: Magrat facing down the elves … Vimes and his egg-and-toast soldiers in Uberwald … Susan and her poker … Nobby Nobbs and Fred Colon and Lord Vetinari in the submarine … Nanny Ogg’s Joy of Snacks … Death and his cats and his curries and his bad fake beard … Granny Weatherwax the chiropractor … Greebo and the vampyres … Lady Sybil and her dragons …

So many wonderful moments and memories. So many characters who became dear friends.

small-godsBefore I became a full-time novelist, I had my own speculative fiction bookshop. That’s why I was given the incredible opportunity to host Terry Pratchett, David Gemmell and Sara Douglass (and I can’t believe they’ve all left us now) at a weekend-long literary convention in Parramatta. Not surprisingly, the event was sold out and standing room only. It was fantastic, in every sense of the word. Three very different writers, three great talents, three gracious guests who gave of themselves without hesitation.

But what I remember best about that weekend is dinner on the Friday night before the convention officially began. It was just me, David Gemmell and Terry Pratchett at a table (Sara was coming in on the Sunday), and over our meal I was entertained by a lively debate between David and Terry on the various merits and pitfalls of Christianity. David was a committed Christian and Terry … wasn’t. He’d been raised in a religious family, though, and as a result he’d formed certain opinions. The Terry Pratchett I listened to and learned from that night was the Pratchett who’d written Small Gods just a few years earlier in 1992. As withering critiques of organised religion and its inherent flaws go, I think that book is the gold standard. I still think it’s one of the best books Pratchett ever wrote. Certainly it should be required reading for theological students everywhere.

the-truthBut oddly enough, at the end of the day it’s not Small Gods that remains with me, lighting a fire in my heart. It’s the ending of another book, written some eight years later: The Truth. That’s the book about journalism, and lies – although perhaps I’m repeating myself. In it we meet two of Terry’s most amazing characters, Mr Tulip and Mr Pin. They’re not nice men. They’re killers for hire. But in taking us on their journey, Terry gives us a uniquely nuanced experience. Tulip and Pin might both be killers, but under that cruel veneer they’re quite different men. As always it’s the humanity of his characters that drives his exploration of them, leading his readers to think hard about the nature of good and evil and What If and, profoundly, the notion of There But For the Grace of God … and second –ing chances.

Terry Pratchett was many things: a philosopher, an historian, a theologian, a social analyst, a raconteur, a wit, an angry man and a humanist. But above all else he was a brilliant entertainer.

Thank you, Terry. You made our world a better place. You showed us humanity in all its different colours and flavours. You made us laugh, you made us cry, and best of all you made us think. And for as long as your books remain in print, you’ll go on doing that

The Turtle moves!

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karen-millar_portthumb1

Karen Miller writes speculative fiction. Mostly of the epic historical kind, but she’s also written Star Wars and Stargate novels and under the pen-name K.E. Mills writes the Rogue Agent series, about a wizard with special skills who works for his government under unusual circumstances.

You can hear more from Karen at her blog The Talkative Writer.

 

Matt Wilkinson, author of Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Matt Wilkinson

author of Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

In December of 1979 in a small village in the coal mining area of Barnsley South Yorkshire England the worlds best looking chef was born, it was here in Silkstone where he was schooled at an early age picking up numerous academic and sporting awards until he went to Penistone grammar school from year 7-11 where it all went down hill. It was a school on the border of the peak district, half farming half industrial where the “Lad” came about.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

– From the age of 6 till about 15 all I wanted to do was play professional football for my home town of Barnsley & England. I had a good go playing for Barnsley junior, represented my county for South Yorkshire and the football school of excellence but unfortunately wasn’t good enough to make it to the top.

– After that I wanted to be a landlord of a pub. From 12 my father lived in a pub and I wanted to be the youngest landlord around, unfortunately at 16 not old enough to drink yet let alone run and serve alcohol I found myself at catering college where after 6 months I moved to London to work in the Kitchen

– At thirty all I wanted to be was successful in hospitality and personal life and that is still today

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I never wanted kids, now I have 2 and it’s the best belief I changed ever

4. What were three big events in your life or the world around you that had a great effect on you and influenced your cooking?

– In 1996 my first head chef Michael Taylor showed me how wonderful, crazy and how to work hard as a young pup in a busy and crazy kitchen, he showed me the start of the road and taught me that I was the one who built the road and followed my dreams

– In 2005 Andrew McConnell the celebrated Australian chef taught me to take my blinkers off and see all the wonderful world and cultures behind food and to explore all the opportunities and thoughts I had.

– In 2009 My Partner Sharlee, said a very honest and simple phrase “just cook the food YOU love to eat”, it hit me like a banjo to the back of the head. If I stand by my beliefs of eating food that is truly seasonal; work directly with amazing farmers and producers; have an interest in ethical food and where it all comes from and just to try to cook food simply for the best flavour and taste then others would hopefully enjoy it too. I think it has worked.

5. What are some of the dishes you wouldn’t eat as a child that you love now?

I hated, I mean bloody hated, capsicums, zucchini and eggplant. That said I still hate raw green capsicum, it’s just wrong town.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

My first book was a thought process of my past and eating seasonally. I now look at what vegetables and fruit are growing around me to tell me wherever I am in the world what season we are in. This is what we should be eating now and therefore the freshest and tastiest.

My New book, Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads, is about my love affair with salads and trying to let the readers know that salads aren’t just about leaves and a dressing, they can be so much more. The front cover is also so important to me, it’s a depiction of my grandfather who was always simply dressed but from a time past – he wore a three piece suit with a handkerchief and a flower in the lapel, always a white rose for Yorkshire or a passionfruit flower he would specially grow in his green house just to wear.

The idea of being ‘simply dressed’ relates to this idea but also relates to salads, if something is over dressed it’s drenched and too much, if under dressed it needs a little more to make it perfectly, simply dressed!

Grab a copy of Matt’s new book Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads here

7. If you had to create one dish to show off your repertoire, what would it be?

In the summer section of Simply Dressed it would be the salad of watermelon, prawn vinaigrette and feta and from the autumn section the salad of crab, samphire and mustard on toast. Simple, honest and delicious.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Without sounding soft my mum. She has dedicated her whole life to helping family, friends and others, her unselfishness is mesmerising. I hope I can be as many things to her as she was to me when I was a child.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I’m a true believer that goals (or dreams as I like to call them) should consistently keep evolving throughout our life. My current dream is to set up a store that within it has a restaurant that showcases all the best things that are Australian and that we become proud of the food scene and produce we have here. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring chefs?

Don’t chase money, chase your dreams, work hard and read as many things about food and how it is produced and the latter will eventually come

Matt, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads here


Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads

by Matt Wilkinson

Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads is the latest offering from the British-born chef and author who came to prominence after the success of his first book, Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables.

Matt Wilkinson’s passion is based on sourcing the very best seasonal and local produce to make simple dishes that allow the flavours of fine ingredients to shine through. His ethos is simple: food in season tastes the best, especially when it’s grown in tune with nature.

This book follows the seasons and is filled with 52 stunning salad recipes that are both meals in themselves or fantastic accompaniments that can be shared as part of a main meal.

The design is intricate, melding soft colours and beautiful produce photography with botanic-style illustrations from famed Melbourne artist, Miso, and a strong typographic aesthetic.

Try a salad of zucchini flowers, ribbons and grilled zucchini with quinoa and smoked tomato dressing or bio-dynamic rice, dried sweet fruits, feta, nuts and seeds. For something simple think Summer leaves, lime salt and a mint vinaigrette or Beans with smoked almonds and a honey dressing. Delve into something more hearty such as Spanner crab and bottarga scattered through mustard and spinach leaves.

Recipes for salad dressings are ingeniously presented as an illustrative ‘family tree’ that match different flavour ‘families’ with ingredients. In addition, there is a section for homemade cordials and drinks to help quench a thirst whatever the season. With whimsical stories and tips for picking the best ingredients, as well as great design, Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads is a fine, inspiring and complementary addition for any cooking enthusiast.

About the Author

Hailing from South Yorkshire, chef Matt Wilkinson now calls Melbourne home. His interests revolve around growing the best tasting food and appreciating the importance of food to communities, in partnership with farmers and food producers. With his business partner Ben Foster, Matt runs the much-loved East Brunswick eating and drinking establishment, Pope Joan – unique caf by day, and casual neighbourhood eatery by night, replete with a kitchen garden, and very own produce store -Hams and Bacon. Matt is a proud ambassador of the work of the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association, is a partner with boutique casual food eatery Spudbar – enabling his input at the table serving ‘slow food – fast’ – and author of Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables.

 Grab a copy of Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads here

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