Masterchef’s Gary Mehigan introduces his new book Favourites

Favourites

by Gary Mehigan

Sometimes it strikes me that my obsession with food is bordering on the unhealthy. Everything I do is centred around it: my work, obviously, but also evenings at home spent cooking for the family, watching food programs on television and tweeting and facebooking about food. Going to the growers’ market bright and early on a Saturday morning, followed by breakfast at a cafe, then same again on Sunday. Dinners out, too many coffee stops, long drives in the country that strangely enough always end with a food reward (cheese, chocolate or wine from the Yarra Valley; berries, cherries and olives from the Mornington Peninsula; or beer, bread and honey from Beechworth). I mean, who drives seven kilometres for a tub of the best, freshly churned ice cream? These are the forgotten food miles.

Holidays are worse. My first thoughts are always ‘Where haven’t I eaten?’ and ‘Where would I like to eat again?’ Whether it’s France, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam or New Zealand, the pattern is the same and, frankly, inescapable for my family. We went to Tuscany for our last holiday so I could visit the Amedei chocolate factory. I mean, you’ve seen one duomo, you’ve seen ‘em all, right?

Grab a copy of Gary Mehigan’s Favourites here

My wife, Mandy, has succumbed to the inevitable (my daughter, bless her cotton socks, doesn’t know any different). ‘Any chance we can go out for a change?’ Mandy might ask. ‘What!’ I reply. ‘We go out four or five times a week, always trying the latest thing.’ ‘No,’ she says, ‘out, but not involving food. Maybe dancing, the pictures, a walk, the ballet or a museum?’ I’m still digesting that one!

Now and then I wonder if I should be doing something else with my time, like learning to play tennis or finally nailing my conversational French instead of making do with my culinary pidgin. But, on the whole, I’ve come to accept that my obsession with food is all – encompassing, and that’s the way I like it. I’m never happier than when I’m thinking about food, talking about food, shopping for food or eating. I love the generosity of spirit that comes with being a cook: feeding people and feeding them well, often to bursting point. Years ago I very deliberately stopped trying to draw a line in the sand to distinguish between work and play, and now I live by the motto ‘Always working, always playing’. This has helped me manage my condition considerably.

Not only do I love experiencing all that a good food life has to offer, but I also relish sharing my experiences and knowledge with others. For this, my fourth cookbook, I was inspired to sit down and write a list of my favourite dishes: absolutely everything I love to eat. I thought back to the meals of my childhood as well as those from my early career as a chef in London. I thought of the food I cook for my wife and daughter at home that have become family classics. And I thought of the wealth of amazing dishes from talented cooks and chefs, both here and abroad, that I have been lucky enough to try over the years as co – host of MasterChef Australia. As the list ballooned to over 200 dishes, I had to restrain myself! After much deliberation, I whittled it down to just over 100, and here they are – my all – time favourite dishes.

Grab a copy of Gary Mehigan’s Favourites here

This is a diverse collection. I was classically trained in French cuisine, and there is no getting away from the fact that I love French cooking – the flavours are bold, satisfying and familiar. By contrast, living in Australia we are inescapably immersed in the pleasures of food multiculturalism; we think nothing of eating Thai or Chinese on a Monday night, Malay or Vietnamese on a Tuesday, maybe Spanish or North African on a Wednesday and roast chook on a Thursday. We love fresh food, we love sweet, sour, salt and heat and, above all, crunch. How lucky we are.

Good food always starts with good shopping – it’s where the inspiration begins. We are all guilty of trudging around the supermarket and putting exactly the same things in the shopping trolley each week (you know what I mean: skinless chicken breasts, lamb chops, a block of cheddar and some tinned tuna). It’s easy, let’s face it – but it’s pretty uninspiring too. I’ve found the secret to creative cooking at home is to buy at least a few different fruits or vegetables, cuts of meat, fish, spices, pastes or vinegars, get them home and have a go at a new recipe or two each week. I also find that a trip to the local Asian grocer always turns up a few surprises; things that add instant authenticity to a dish, like thick dark soy sauce, coconut vinegar, lily buds, black beans or rice noodles. Pop them in your basket and they’ll change the dishes you put on the family table.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a growers’ market, make the most of it. The stallholders are a wonderful source of information because they live what they do, and most often they love it too! You’ll easily fall into a pattern of buying the best the season has to offer. When a particular ingredient looks fantastic, seems to be everywhere at once and is at its cheapest, buy it and eat lots of it!

I hope this book is a little window into my life of food. Have fun, and remember to bite off small chunks of recipes, give yourself time to chew and always leave room for more. In other words, never get frustrated in the kitchen, take a little time if you are tackling something out of the ordinary and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

Cook, Eat and Live Your Life Well!

Grab a copy of Gary Mehigan’s Favourites here

Grab a copy of Gary Mehigan’s Favourites here

Read an extract from Will to Live by Matthew Ames – An inspirational must read

will-to-liveWill to Live

by Matthew Ames

I have always been intrigued by how things work. It’s a trait I’ve inherited or learned from Dad. I was his assistant growing up, and I’ve had a lot of practice thinking about how to put things
together.

I have memories from when we lived in Sydney of holding tools and pieces of gyprock, and of Kate, Rachel and myself dressed in garbage bags with holes at the seams for our arms, helping Dad paint a new rumpus room he had built onto the back of our house.

By the time I was at high school, I was helping Dad renovate the old Queenslander he and Mum had bought when we moved to Brisbane. We were building a major extension, which involved lifting floors, altering rooflines and building a back deck. Dad and I would hang from the roof, working hard, occasionally looking into the lounge room where we could see the girls sitting around drinking coffee with friends who might have dropped in.

I had been free labour until, one afternoon, I mentioned to Dad that I thought it was unfair that my sisters didn’t have to help – although I knew they had been part of Dad’s construction crew when they were younger and less sociable. Dad agreed, and from that point I earned pocket money for the hours I helped him with the house. I was only 13 or so at the time, but a few years later, I had saved up some money.

Grab a copy of Will to Live here

I needed a car. I had been driving Kate’s Mazda 1500 while she was overseas for a few years, but she had returned and swiftly repossessed it.

Matthew AmesRachel had a 1960 Hillman Minx that she wanted to sell. It had a column shift, white leather seats and was ember red with white wings. It was part of the family, and we called it Harriet (the Chariot). It had a rumble in the engine that meant you could hear it coming from blocks away, and I was interested. It wasn’t worth much to anyone else, and was costing Rachel a fortune, so for $50 she agreed it could be mine.

The engine was having problems, so I decided to buy a manual, strip the engine and rebuild it. People asked me why, but my response was, ‘Why not?’

I took it apart under our house, labelled each piece, and laid them all out on the concrete floor in the garage area. I recognise now how patient my parents must have been to give up the entire area where the cars normally parked for the duration of my project.

Piece by piece, I put the engine back together. I thought I had followed the instructions perfectly, but at the very end, I had a few extra nuts and bolts left over. It didn’t surprise me then that it almost worked when I started it up. I didn’t want to have to take the car apart again, so I called the RACQ for help, telling them my car wouldn’t start.

985141-9716bb5e-d484-11e2-b1c3-c244da926effThe RACQ mechanic turned up. He took one look at the car, and one look at me.

‘You’ve been rebuilding the engine, haven’t you?’ He looked me in the eye. I thought for a moment about my response, but decided to confess. ‘Yep. I couldn’t quite work out how to put the distributor back in properly again.’

The mechanic paused, and looked at the car.

‘We’re not supposed to do this, but I haven’t seen one of these for ages.’

He spent around three hours helping me with the final touches of the rebuild and we got the car going. It worked well.

I guess I just never envisaged a day when bolts and nuts would stick out of my arms and legs. Fortunately, there are people as experienced as that RACQ mechanic looking after me.

Grab a copy of Will to Live here

Congratulations to our lucky Facebook competition winners! They are Sandi Giles, Birgitta Norberg, Anita Bird, Ashley Louise and Emily Snowden. Please email your details to promos@booktopia.com.au.

Remember to like our Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest book news and the chance to win prizes and giveaways!

Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards Announced

The winners of this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards were announced in Canberra today, marking the official launch of Children’s Book Week!

How many have you read?

OLDER READERS


WINNER

wildlifeWildlife

by Fiona Wood

Life? It’s simple: be true to yourself.
The tricky part is finding out exactly who you are…

“In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard. And I kissed Ben Capaldi.”

Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program – but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They’re extra-curricula.

Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things – the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is more…

Grab a copy of Wildlife here


HONOUR BOOKS

9781742758510Fairytales for Wilde Girls

by Allyse Near

‘He’s gone the same way as those little birds that bothered me with their awful songs! And you will too, you and your horrible heart-music, because you won’t stay out of my woods!’

There’s a dead girl in a birdcage in the woods… more…

Grab a copy of Fairytales for Wilde Girls here


the-sky-so-heavyThe Sky So Heavy

by Claire Zorn

From an exciting new voice in Australian YA literature, Claire Zorn, comes a haunting novel, The Sky So Heavy, that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

For Fin, it’s just like any other day – racing for the… more…

Grab a copy of The Sky So Heavy here


YOUNGER READERS


WINNER

a-very-unusual-pursuitA Very Unusual Pursuit

by Catherine Jinks

A clever adventure with feisty characters, set in a time where science clashes with superstition and monsters lurk in chimneys. Birdie, the singing bogler’s apprentice, will win your heart in this fantastic beginning to an action-packed series.

Monsters have been infesting London’s dark places for centuries, eating every child who gets too close. That’s why ten-year-old Birdie McAdam works for Alfred Bunce, the bogler. With her beautiful voice and dainty looks, Birdie is the bait that draws bogles from their lairs so that Alfred can kill them.

One life-changing day, Alfred and Birdie are approached by two very different women. Sarah Pickles runs a local gang of more…

Grab a copy of A Very Unusual Pursuit here


HONOUR BOOKS

My Life as a Alphabet9781743310977

by Barry Jonsberg

Candice Phee wants to bring light and laughter to those around her, and somehow she succeeds despite the bizarre mix-ups and the confusion she effortlessly creates. An uplifting comedy-drama from award-winning author, Barry Jonsberg.

This isn’t just about me. It’s also about the other people in my life – my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are… more…

Grab a copy of My Life As an Alphabet here


light-horse-boyLight Horse Boy

by Dianne Wolfer

In 1914 Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement and adventure of the war to end all wars. But in the Light Horse they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline. And nothing will ever be the same again. Featuring stunning charcoal sketches by Brian Simmonds alongside primary source documents and historical photos, Light Horse Boy goes behind the scenes of the great ANZAC legends for an intimate look at their experience of World War I.

Grab a copy of Light Horse Boy here


EARLY CHILDHOOD


WINNER

the-swapThe Swap

by Jan Ormerod, Andrew Joyner

Caroline Crocodile’s baby brother dribbles. But all Mama crocodile Ever says is how Gorgeous he is. Caroline is very jealous. So she goes to the Baby shop and tries to swap her dribbly brother for a new baby. The trouble is, there’s just something not quite right with any of them…

Grab a copy of The Swap Book here


HONOUR BOOKS

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur9780670076154

by Janeen Brian, Ann James

From award-winning author Janeen Brian and award-winning illustrator Ann James, comes this gorgeous rhyming picture book about a naughty little dinosaur who loves to get dirty. Bright simple illustrations and rounded corners perfect for the very young.

Grab a copy of I’m a Dirty Dinosaur here


banjo-and-ruby-redBanjo and Ruby Red

by Libby Gleeson, Freya Blackwood

A funny and touching story of antagonism and love by award-winning author Libby Gleeson, with illustrations by internationally acclaimed Freya Blackwood. Freya Blackwood’s stunning illustrations perfectly capture the endearing personalities of boisterous Banjo and head-strong Ruby Red. A stunning clothbound cover makes this a beautiful gift item that will be treasured for years to come.

Grab a copy of Banjo and Ruby Red here


PICTURE BOOK


WINNER

rules-of-summerRules of Summer

by Shaun Tan

The much anticipated new book from Australia’s most acclaimed picture-book creator.

Shaun Tan’s books have won world acclaim, the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, as well as an Academy Award for the animated short film adaptation of his book The Lost Thing.

Tan s new book, Rules of Summer, is a deceptively simple story about two boys, one older and one younger, and the kind of rules that might govern any relationship between close friends or siblings. Rules that are often so strange or arbitrary, they seem impossible to understand from the outside. Yet through each exquisite illustration of this nearly wordless narrative, we can enjoy wandering around an emotional landscape that is oddly familiar to us all.

Grab a copy of Rules of Summer here

 


HONOUR BOOKS

king-pigKing Pig

by Nick Bland

Because he was the king, he could make the sheep do whatever he wanted, whenever he pleased. But he just couldn’t make them like him.

A royal romp about a little pig with a lot to learn, from best-selling picture book creator Nick Bland.

Grab a copy of King Pig here


silver-buttons

Silver Buttons

by Bob Graham

At 9.59 on Thursday morning, Jodie draws a duck. Just as she is about to add one final silver button to the duck’s boots, her little brother takes his first step. At this exact same moment, a man buys bread, a soldier leaves home, a baby is being born…

Here is a book, a story, a philosophy so simply told and yet – in true and inimitable Bob Graham style – so rich with emotion and meaning.

Grab a copy of Silver Buttons here


Karl Stefanovic meets The Incompetent Cook

Grab a copy of Karl Cooks here

Karl Cooks

by Karl Stefanovic

From the co-host of Australia’s popular Today show comes this easy to use cookbook full of delicious recipes for any Aussie home chef that wants to be able to eat like Karl.

Whether you’re planning a weekend with mates, looking to spoil your lady friend or need a no-fuss breakfast to ease your hangover – Karl Cooks has a recipe for every occasion. Let Karl show you how to create a mouth-watering roast or stack a juicy burger, with illustrated steps and handy hints to make the cooking process as painless as possible. Become a hero in your kitchen and impress the missus with this collection of delicious, easy-to-use recipes.

This is the how-to manual you can’t do without. Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to police legacy charities.

About the Author

Karl Stefanovic is co-host of Channel 9’s Today show, a contributor to current affairs program 60 Minutes and a former 5-year-old BMX champion. He lives in Sydney with his wife and kids.

Grab a copy of Karl Cooks here

And the winners of the Big Little Lies Girls Night In prize packs are…

During July we gave you the chance to win 1 of 3 Girls Night In prize packs which not only included books but chocolates and a blanket. 

All you needed to do to enter was buy Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty!

And the lucky winners are…

S.Costin, Limpinwood, NSW

R.Davino, Merrylands, NSW

B.Hill, Cheltenham, NSW

BigLittleLiesNewsletterBanner

big-little-liesBig Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

‘I guess it started with the mothers.’
‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.’

‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened.’

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead.

Liane Moriarty’s new novel is funny and heartbreaking, challenging and compassionate. The No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on parenting and playground politics, showing us what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

‘Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.’

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here


Congratulations to the winners!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

A Sneak Peek at the Design Process of James Ellroy’s new novel Perfidia

If you’re a book nerd, you’re all in or nothing. That means you don’t just love reading, but everything about books. You love the look, the feel, the smell…

…and especially seeing how they’re made.

We take a step behind the curtain to see the design process of printing posters and covers for James Ellroy’s highly anticipated new novel Perfidia, the first book in his second ‘L.A. Quartet’. The first contained The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz, all of which were critically acclaimed bestsellers.

Order your copy of Perfidia here

perfidiaPerfidia

by James Ellroy

A new novel from Ellroy is always a publishing event. That Perfidia is the first volume of his ‘Second L.A. Quartet’ makes this publication even more exciting.

It is December 6 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans – but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins.

The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police. He’s superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith – Irish émigré, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Kay Lake is a 21-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm centre that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls – comrades, rivals, lovers, history’s pawns.

Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America’s ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel.

Order your copy of Perfidia here

 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Dr Xanthe Mallett talks to John Purcell about her new book Mothers Who Murder

Dr Xanthe Mallett is like Bones, except real and far more interesting. She sat down with John Purcell to talk about her new book Mothers Who Murder.

Grab a copy of Mothers Who Murder here

Mothers Who Murder

by Xanthe Mallett

For a limited time get a signed copy!

Child murder: A social taboo and one of the most abhorrent acts most of us can imagine. Meet the women found guilty of murdering their own children. They represent some of the most hated women in Australia. The infamous list includes psychologically damaged, sometimes deranged, women on the edge. But, as we will see, accused doesn’t always mean guilty.

Among the cases covered is that of Kathleen Folbigg, accused and found guilty of killing four of her children, even with a lack of any forensic evidence proving her guilt; Rachel Pfitzner, who strangled her 2-year-old son and dumped his body in a duck pond; as well as Keli Lane, found guilty of child murder though no body has ever been found.

Dr Mallett goes back to the beginning of each case; death’s ground zero. That might be the accused’s childhood, were they abused? Or was their motivation greed, or fear of losing a partner? Were they just simply evil? Or did the media paint them as such, against the evidence and leading to a travesty of justice.

Each case will be re-opened, the alternative suspects assessed, the possible motives reviewed. Informed by her background as a forensic scientist, Xanthe will offer insight into aspects of the cases that may not have been explored previously. Taking you on her journey through the facts, and reaching her own conclusion as to whether she believes the evidence points to the women’s guilt.

Grab a copy of Mothers Who Murder here

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