FROM THE FOODIE
Dark secrets from a Bendigo foodie – from a 12 course dinner at Australia’s best restaurant to sharing a Sunny Boy with his kids. Writer: Tim Baxter – Photographs: Anthony Webster My idea of writing an article about all my guilty pleasures was going to be discussing with shame and embarrassment, my secret addiction to Cheetos, deep-fried prawn toast, fries and pizza. I intended to wax lyrical about how a week rarely goes by when I don’t sneak off for a Gillies pie (surely the greatest pie in the country), wander down the laneway to buy some of El Gordo’s delicious licorice all-sorts or share a Sunny Boy with my kids. Don’t even get me started on the odd vanilla slice craving, rocky road devotion or our family’s tragic home made ice cream flirtations… Then my wife told me that they were not guilty pleasures at all. They are typical snack and junk food deviations of busy people who are constantly surrounded by beautiful artisan produce of the highest quality and provenance. After a long day at the restaurant discussing the merits of Sydney rock oysters over those from Coffin Bay or the extraordinary depth of flavour from the
60-day, dry aged, grass fed, Erindale rump steak, not to mention the incredible finesse of the magnum of the Bindi bubbles recently poured at our remarkable wine dinner – perfectly natural (apparently?) to get home at 1am and just want a good salty tasty kick from a handful of those naughty cheese and bacon balls. She further went on to open my eyes to the true guilty pleasures we have shared in the past few years. Here are few for your amusement…
of our daughter playing safely or just the sheer quality of the bubbles themselves. We later found out that particular bottle of wine now sells for about $3000! And even though I had paid less than a 20th of current value we certainly felt a little guilty as that would really helped the mortgage stress most of us now have.
One sunny Spring afternoon Anita and I shared a very succulent smoked trout while watching our young daughter play in the backyard in the warm sunshine. From the cellar I grabbed a very rare bottle of old Champagne that I had been saving for a special occasion. It was a 1966 Dom Perignon Oenetheque that I had picked up relatively cheaply years earlier. To this day it remains the greatest wine I have ever had (my wife agrees), and I’m unsure if it was because of the trout, the company, the view
Earlier this year while celebrating Chinese New Year I was having breakfast with my wife and daughters at The European, in Spring Street Melbourne, and something elusive caught my eye on the menu… caviar; closely followed by the scariest words of all on a menu – $Market Price! So we decided to forgo our annual dinner festivities in the big smoke to have a truly decadent breakfast with our daughters instead. This consisted of some extraordinary (farmed and sustainable) caviar, soft boiled eggs, blini and brioche – sterling silver caviar dish, mother of pearl spoons and all… but so very expensive we had to choose this over dinner.
How about having that third martini – always make me feel guilty (especially the next morning).
A few years ago while working for a small Victorian winery I had the good fortune to be taken to Tetsuya’s restaurant in Sydney (at the time it was considered Australia’s best) by my boss for their 12 course degustation dinner. It was such a mind-blowing dinner that completely overwhelmed my senses I just had to take my wife. Two days later she flew up to Sydney and we had the identical 12 courses I’d had just two days earlier – now that’s one big, extravagant, decadent and guilty pleasure. On a recent holiday to Phuket, Thailand my daughter and I (who are primarily responsible for most of the meals in our household) were alerted to an extraordinary Thai cooking class available to us on the very last morning of our holiday. And even with our holiday money spent and our waistlines bursting at the seams we decided this was too good an opportunity to pass up for our eight year old. So with the credit card now officially obliterated, Stellina and I preceded to learn how to cook an authentic four-course Thai banquet from one of the Island’s best chefs on a cliff top kitchen over-looking the crystal clear Andaman Sea. A simply breathtaking, fun and educational way to spend our last day of holidays. Perhaps the last guilty pleasure until Christmas. ■
issue 25 - bendigo magazine | 99
Published on Nov 24, 2011