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the food of vietnam Luke Nguyen

part cookbook & part love letter to the people, the flavours and the culture of Vietnam


This is one of my favourite summer salads. It is colourful, textural and has such complex flavours. Salmon is not native to Vietnam, but has become very popular in the last few years. Most of the salmon served in Saigon comes from either Norway or Australia, although salmon is now being farmed in the northern mountains of Sapa, where low water temperatures are ideal for raising salmon. ingredients

200 g (7 oz) salmon fillet, skin and bones removed 150 g (51/2 oz/1/2 cup) pickled vegetables 1 handful watercress sprigs 5 perilla leaves, roughly sliced 5 mint leaves, roughly sliced 5 Vietnamese mint leaves, roughly sliced 1 teaspoon fried garlic chips 3 tablespoons nuoc mam cham dipping sauce 1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts 1 tablespoon fried red Asian shallots 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced

preparation Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the salmon and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes. Chargrill the salmon over medium–high heat for 3 minutes, or until medium-rare, making sure it is well coloured on the outside. Remove from the heat and allow the salmon to rest for 5 minutes. Flake the salmon flesh into a bowl, removing any small bones. Add the pickled vegetables, watercress, herbs, garlic chips and dipping sauce. Mix together well, then turn out onto a serving platter. Garnish with the peanuts, fried shallots and chilli and serve. Serves 4–6 as part of a shared meal

salmon marinade

1 garlic clove, crushed 2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar 11/2 tablespoons fish sauce 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced

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elvis,Gelato theMessina fat years the knockout flavour combination from the kings of australian gelato peanut butter gelato

banana jam

Milk / 670 g (11⁄2 lb) Sugar / 145 g (5 oz) Skim milk powder / 30 g (1 oz) Dextrose / 50 g (13⁄4 oz) Stabiliser / 5 g (1⁄5 oz) Peanut butter / 100 g (31⁄2 oz)

Ripe, peeled bananas / 300 g (101⁄2 oz) Caster (superfine) sugar / 100 g (31⁄2 oz) Citric acid / 5 g (1⁄5 oz) Dextrose / 50 g (13⁄4 oz) Ascorbic acid / 4 g (1⁄8 oz) Xanthan gum / 2.5 g (1⁄10 oz) Makes 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz)


Put the milk in a double boiler over a medium heat. Put all the powders in a bowl and mix until combined. When the milk hits 40°C (104°F), whisk in the powders and peanut butter and bring the mixture up to 65°C (149°F). Keep the mixture at 65°C (149°F) for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a stainless steel bowl and place in an ice bath; chill to 40°C (104°F). Cover tightly with foil and put in the freezer, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the mixture drops to 4°C (39°F), then place in the fridge and let it age for 4 hours.


Turn on your gelato maker so it begins the freezing process. Using a stick blender, blend the mixture for 1 minute, then pour into the gelato maker. Once the mixture reaches –4°C (25°F), scoop out the gelato and transfer to a pre-cooled stainless steel bowl; as you do this, scatter in some brioche (fried until golden in clarified butter) and ladle the banana jam into the gelato (you want to see the jam folded through the gelato). Cover tightly and immediately place in the freezer.

banana jam

Mash the bananas with a fork, then place in a deep saucepan with the sugar and citric acid. Place the pan over a low heat (maintain a temperature of 65°C/149°F) and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate bowl, mix the dextrose, ascorbic acid and xanthan gum. When the banana has broken down completely and the sugar has dissolved, use a stick blender to mix in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to cool. Store the jam in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


The gelato should be served within 2 to 3 hours after placing it in the freezer, or when it reaches –12°C (10°F). If it goes below –15°C (5°F) or is left in the freezer overnight, the texture will be compromised.

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a sense of memory & inspiration Chui Lee Luk If you were to ask me, as a chef, to explore the place from which I derive inspiration, I’d immediately choose memories of my early childhood in Malaysia. This was the time when I discovered my deep-seated interest in cooking and eating. (If you’re familiar with Malaysia, you’ll know that I’d be considered rather odd if I hadn’t actually followed this national preoccupation.) This background has shaped me to think and cook in a particular way. In the present day, I’m a chef and restaurateur, firstly running Claude’s Restaurant and more recently Chow Bar & Eating House. I have been involved with Claude’s in Sydney for over a decade. I learned and fine-tuned technical aspects of cooking here, graduating to creating dishes and then orchestrating menus. Claude’s is also where I learned the craft of running a restaurant. It’s a dual role that bridges creativity with practicality. Duality is what interests me: the point at which tension is created; even if it’s tension only of my own making, it keeps me amused. In recent years, it’s become clearer to me that individual expression comes from a deeper understanding of the evolving concept of self. One of my methods for reaching this understanding is to mine memories for emotional resonance. My dishes, menus and the personality of the restaurant are an authentic reflection of self and also a reflection of the journey I’ve taken to arrive at this juncture. My childhood memories have influenced me to cook in a certain way. I believe that the child comprehends most of the factual points of any remembered situation, but doesn’t necessarily comprehend the context. As an adult, I’m now able to read the background, undertone, implications and interlinked relationships of the remembered situation. This is like a forensic examination of memory. The common touchstone that links the child in me with the adult is memory processed through the senses. When I try to understand and then explain how I’ve developed in the way I have, I inevitably file these memories by my five senses: it is the senses that form the anchors for my memories. In Green Pickled Peaches, you’ll find dishes that have been created with the knowledge and experience I have now, inspired or influenced by the original memory or meal from my childhood. I’d like to reveal what goes through my head when I’m planning a dish, and I also want to encourage you to think independently and use my thoughts as the beginnings of your own explorations.

Certain smells evoked irrepressible food cravings in me as a child. From the moment when something triggered a reminder of what might be missing in my day, it felt like an itch that wouldn’t go away, a gnawing need that bothered me through play or school, even when I wasn’t hungry. It wasn’t beyond me to beg and cajole until I got what I wanted. The intensity of that craving remains a very immediate sensation for me to this day. One of the strongest cravings I experienced as a child was for the Malaysian version of banana fritters, and these had to be the fritters from the Indian hawker stalls. I can remember when it was all a new experience for me. After dinner one day my father or one of my uncles must have thought it a good idea to take my cousins and me to the stalls that sold banana fritters. (These outings always seemed to happen only at twilight or night and so, of course, made me feel as if I were doing something forbidden or cheating my parents of the opportunity to put me to bed at the designated time.) Perhaps the adults were prey to the same cravings I would later suffer? I can remember being driven in someone’s car, stopping in a so-called car park that was sticky with ochre mud, a mud which had an acrid stink about it, and wandering through a slippery, precipitous, circuitous path to a surprisingly crowded area. There were roughly set up stalls and all sorts of people hovering about. I admit to having no recollection of what the other stalls might have sold — it seemed our sole mission was to hone in on the banana fritter stall. All I can remember of the stall is a dirty blue and white awning in a ragged state, which had a persistent but rather pleasant smell of old cooking oil. I think it was because I was such a shy child at times that I shirked having any contact with strangers or even satisfying my curiosity about what went on in the stall, hence the vagueness of my visual memory of the place. The greatest pleasure and most intense memory is the smell of the freshly fried fritters through the white paper in which they were wrapped. Believe me when I say that the smell of the paper formed just as important a part of this indelible scent memory as the very particular banana smell and the sweetness of the batter. We’d purchase a number of large packages to take home to the assorted family members. When the packages were unwrapped, the satisfaction of biting into the still hot and crispy fritters was immense, to say the least. I believe I always consumed more than was probably right for a child of my size.

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banana fritters Green Pickled Peaches preparation

Mix a cupful of non-glutinous rice flour with half a cupful of water and leave for 30 minutes. The mixture will be quite hard to stir, so use a wooden spoon or a pastry card rather than a whisk. Mix a cupful of water with ¼ teaspoon of lye water or concentrated alkaline water. (Don’t drink this or touch it with bare hands. It’s optional, if you’re worried about using it, but it will keep the fritters crispy.) Beat into the batter with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 lightly beaten egg. Choose floury but sweet bananas for fritters, perhaps just-ripe sugar bananas (in Malaysia, the pisang rajah is the preferred variety). I like to deep-fry the whole banana split in half lengthways. Dredge the bananas in egg yolk then rice flour before dipping in the batter. Deep-fry in oil at 180°C (350°F) until dark golden. Wrap in butcher’s paper and leave to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Let the companions at your table unwrap and fight over the fritters amongst themselves.

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macaroni cheese, king brown mushrooms, asparagus, truffled pecorino

1. Cook the pasta at a rolling boil until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and coat the pasta with the extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside to cool a little.


2. Prepare the béchamel sauce (see below). Whisk the three grated cheeses into the béchamel sauce while it’s still hot, until the cheese has melted through. Season with salt and white pepper.

Macaroni cheese 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) ditalini rigati (a short rigatoni) 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 1 quantity Béchamel sauce 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) grated parmesan 100 g (3½ oz) fontina, grated 100 g (3½ oz) cheddar, grated salt and white pepper 10 slices truffled pecorino or thinly sliced mozzarella (don’t use normal pecorino as it is usually aged and has a higher fat and oil content) 15 g (½ oz) butter, plus extra for greasing 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) thickened (whipping) cream

Mushrooms and asparagus 3–4 king brown mushrooms 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 thyme sprig 10 g (¼ oz) butter extra-virgin olive oil 2 bunches of green asparagus (about 400 g/14 oz)

4. Preheat th Coat a bak Start placin the dish, un

3. Pour the béchamel sauce evenly over the macaroni and mix well until the sauce thoroughly coats the pasta.

Béchamel Sauce 2 cloves 1 small brown onion, peeled and halved 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) full-cream (whole) milk 4 sprigs of thyme 1 bay leaf 1 garlic clove, crushed 60 g (2 oz) butter 60 g (2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

new classic Philippa Sibley

with step-by-step instr uctions on the fundamentals of cook resource for creating classic

béchamel sauce

1. Push the cloves into the onion and place the onion in a saucepan with the milk, herbs and garlic. Bring the mixture to the boil over medium heat then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to bubble and lighten in colour. Continue to cook for a few minutes but don’t allow the mixture to brown. This mixture is known as your ‘roux’.

4. Pour a lit saucepan, st

3. Strain the milk through a sieve into a pitcher and remove and discard the onion, herbs and garlic.

5. Switch to little by littl to cook for constantly,

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caroni and asta.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Coat a baking dish with a good smear of butter. Start placing each rigati tube, upright and randomly in the dish, until all the surface area is covered.

whilippa classics Sibley

ep instr uctions and an emphasis ndamentals of cooking, this isathehome or crea ing classic dishes t t .

r and .

4. Pour a little of the milk into the roux mixture in the saucepan, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. 5. Switch to a hand whisk and continue adding the milk, little by little, until it has all been absorbed. Continue to cook for several minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the béchamel is thick and smooth.

5. Cover the top of the rigati with the truffled pecorino slices. Dot with butter to finish and spoon over the cream randomly. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

8. Top the macaroni cheese with the asparagus and mushrooms and any remaining juices and serve with a salad.

6. Slice the king brown mushrooms into random shapes and cross-sections. Sauté in a shallow frying pan with the garlic, thyme, butter and a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. After several minutes, when the mushrooms start to colour slightly, add a splash of water, swirling the pan to create an emulsion. 7. Trim away the woody bases of the asparagus and lightly blanch in boiling water or steam for a few minutes. Add to the mushroom pan and coat with the juices.

6. Pour the béchamel sauce into a mixing bowl and cover with baking paper or plastic wrap, making contact with the surface of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside until needed.

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berries for summer Meredith Kirton & Mandy Sinclair

Berries are one of summer’s most anticipated fruits. However, they have a relatively short season, which makes delicacies like fresh raspberries and juicy mulberries a real treat. At 1 kg per square metre (7 oz per square foot), berries are also one of the more productive of the perennial fruit plants available for your garden, with up to 5 kg (11 lb) of fruit to be harvested from larger bushes like gooseberries and blackberries. Berries are very climate specific, so it’s important to choose the right type for your area. Cold climates, such as tableland and mountain areas that get frosts, should look at planting boysenberries, raspberries, silvanberries and gooseberries. Warmer areas should try Cape gooseberries, rabbiteye blueberries, thornless blackberries, mulberries and even some of the more unusual berrylike fruits like Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra) and Brazilian cherry (Eugenia uniflora). Both regions can also happily grow strawberries. Whatever your choice, every gardener has the ability to grow a delicious berry platter. The main thing to watch out for is birds, as they too like berries and are quick to pick your prime fruit. Try covering the fruit with cloth bags, plastic snakes hung around bushes and even sparkling CDs hanging overhead to frighten them off. Bramble-like fruit, such as boysenberries, loganberries, youngberries, blackberries and raspberries, all belong to the Rubus genus and require a cold spell to give them the dormancy they need. They can be either thornless or have thorns, but all will require some training, either over a frame, against a wall or fence or along a wire.



grow store

Berries have a short shelf life and need to be refrigerated to reduce perishing. Line an airtight container with paper towel. Place unwashed berries into the container and top with a lid. Refrigerate for up to 3–4 days.

freeze Transfer to plastic freezer bags for easier storage. Freeze whole for up to 6 months. Use straight from the freezer in cakes, muffins or pancakes. Drop into punch or iced tea. Thaw and purée with caster (superfine) sugar for coulis. Perfect for jam.

preserve For a quick jam recipe try this easy microwave method. Combine 30 g (10½ oz) mixed berries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a large heatproof bowl. Microwave on High (100%) for 5 minutes. Add 230 g (8 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar and mix well. Microwave for another 3 minutes. Stir and microwave for another 3 minutes. Test for setting by dropping 1 teaspoon of jam onto a cold saucer and standing for 1 minute. Tilt saucer and if the jam sits firm it is ready; if it runs, cook for another 3 minutes, until set. Spoon into a sterilised jar. Makes about 1 cup

mixed berry tart ingredients

300 g (10½ oz/1¼ cups) fresh ricotta ⅓ cup pouring (single/light) cream 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups mixed berries icing (confectioners’) sugar for dusting Pastry 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour 2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar finely grated zest of 1 lemon 100 g (3½ oz) butter, chopped 1–2 tablespoons iced water


1. To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, lemon zest and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add enough of the iced water until the mixture forms a ball around the blade. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and bring the dough together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. 2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) or 160°C (320°F) for a fan-forced oven. Lightly grease a 23 cm (9 in) flan (tart) tin. 3. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 3 mm (⅛ in) thickness. Ease the pastry into the prepared flan tin and trim the edges. Chill for 20 minutes. Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for another 10 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smooth. Pour into the tart shell and bake for 25–30 minutes, until just set. Refrigerate until cold. 5. Pile the berries over the tart and dust with icing sugar just before serving. Serves 8

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serving champagne Tyson Steltzer

pineapple mary Jane Rocca ingredients

45 ml (1 1/2 fl oz) Belvedere Bloody Mary vodka 15 ml (1/2 fl oz) fresh lemon juice dash of Tabasco sauce pineapple juice lemon slice and cracked black pepper to garnish


Build and stir the vodka, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce in a highball glass over ice. Top with pineapple juice and garnish with a slice of lemon and some cracked black pepper.

Champagne is often served much too cold. Poured at fridge temperature, it will taste flavourless and acidic. The only exceptions are particularly sweet styles, which are best toned down with a stern chill. In general, the finer the wine, the warmer I tend to serve it. The Champenois suggest 8–10ºC for non-vintage and rosé styles, and 10–12ºC for vintage and prestige wines. If you’re pulling a bottle out of a climatecontrolled cellar, it will need to be cooled a little further, so pop it in the fridge for half an hour. If it’s at room temperature to start with, 3–4 hours in the fridge or 15 minutes in an ice bucket might be in order. On a warm day, serve champagne a touch cooler, as it will soon warm up. Always hold a champagne glass by its base or stem, to avoid warming the wine in your hand. This will also reduce the likelihood of any aromas on your hands interfering with its delicate bouquet.


1 quantity Nam prik pla (see note)


spice purée

nam prik pla

6 beef short ribs 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock 2 cups woodchips 60 ml (1/4 cup) sweet chilli sauce

2 garlic cloves 5 red Asian shallots 2 tablespoons palm sugar 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, chopped 1 long dried chilli 100 ml fish sauce

100 ml fish sauce 100 ml lime juice 3 bird’s eye chillies (more if you like heat) 3 red Asian shallots, finely diced 1 tablespoon palm sugar 2 garlic cloves, sliced

method Prepare your barbecue for indirect cooking over a low heat. Puree all the spice puree ingredients in a blender. Rub the spice puree all over the beef ribs and place in a deep baking tray. Pour in the stock and tightly cover with foil. Place the tray on the barbecue, between the heat sources. Close the hood on your barbecue and cook for 2 hours, until the ribs are tender. If your barbecue does not have a hood, you can cook the ribs on a low heat in the oven and finish them on your barbecue just prior to serving. Meanwhile, soak the woodchips for 1 hour in some water. Once the ribs are cooked, remove them from the baking tray, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the ribs on the resting rack. Turn up the heat of the barbecue by igniting the centre burners. Combine the sweet chilli sauce with some of the reserved cooking liquid, then use some of it to glaze the ribs. Add half the pre-soaked woodchips to the grill plate so they start to smoke. Close the hood of the barbecue. Smoke and roast the ribs so they caramelise – this will take around 10 minutes. Glaze the ribs again and add the remaining woodchips to the grill plate. Close the hood again. When nicely smoked and glazed, about 10 minutes, remove the ribs to a serving dish. Shred the meat off the bones. Serve with the nam prik pla sauce.

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in the footsteps of colette Jane Gilmour My first encounter with the world of Colette and her writing was when I was still at school. I was studying French, and extracts from her work were occasionally chosen as texts for dictation. I remember particularly an extract from Claudine à l’école (Claudine at School) about the woods that surrounded the little village of Montigny. When I reread that passage even now, so many years later, I am transported back to my schoolroom, just as Colette was transported back to the schooldays of her youth through the story of Claudine. Colette’s imagery and the rhythm of her prose entranced me even then, as I struggled with the complex structure of her sentences and the challenges of her vocabulary. Her words conjured up sounds and smells, colours and tastes. The France she described held out the promise for me, in faraway Australia, of a landscape that changed with the seasons, of a way of life deeply rooted in tradition, a culture that was embedded in the land. It seemed to me that Colette embodied a certain idea of France—an idea that was romantic, perhaps, but one that I wanted to know better. As I read more of Colette’s work—The Ripening Seed, Chéri, The Cat—I willingly entered into the obsessive and closed emotional worlds she created, where her characters were captive to an ideal of love. Colette has been accused of writing only about love. For me, her books were not so much about love as about its impossibility, about the irredeemable distance between the idea of love and its reality. More powerfully, they spoke to me of the struggle to be a woman, of what one critic had called ‘the loneliness of a woman face to face with her destiny’. It seemed to me that behind all of Colette’s work stood the image of a woman who refused to forgo her own freedom. Her work spoke of a life fully lived, of a sensual curiosity and energy, and a profound feminine sensibility. When reading Colette, I had the feeling of not being alone. She was like a confidante, a friend who could see into the human heart, who could peel back the layers of illusion and delusion that mask the complex and troublesome nature of human relationships. After leaving school, I continued my French studies at university, where my reading of French literature ranged from the troubadour poets of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to the great works of the nineteenth and twentieth—Balzac and Proust, Gide and Sartre. But I was constantly drawn back to Colette. Then, with my undergraduate years behind me, and the financial support of a scholarship, I decided to head straight to Paris, where I enrolled at the Sorbonne as a doctoral student. I wasn’t sure what the focus of my study would be, but I knew it would have something to do with Colette. I can still clearly remember the taxi ride from the train station on my first day in Paris—past Notre Dame, across the Seine to the Latin Quarter, up the boulevard SaintMichel. As we drove past Notre Dame, I was disappointed to see that most of the façade was covered in scaffolding and sheeting. The cathedral was being steam-cleaned—a process that was slowly transforming all of the city, cleaning off the centuries-old layers of soot and dirt to reveal the honeycoloured stone beneath. More distressing was the fact that I could hardly understand a word of what the taxi driver was saying to me. How could this be, after all the years I had spent learning French? It would take a couple of weeks before I became accustomed to the accent and language of working-class Parisians, the people I interacted with on the street, in the shops and cafes, on the métro. During my first year in Paris I lived in student digs at the Cité Universitaire, near Parc Montsouris in the south of the city. In the afternoons, after studying at the Bibliothèque nationale, I would walk from the library along the river and up the boulevard Saint-Michel to take the train home from Luxembourg station. The walk across the Pont des Arts, as the setting sun lit up the domed silhouette of the Institut de France, made my heart glow with the joy of being in Paris. Then my student life changed. I married an Australian lawyer. We had met at university and had travelled to

Europe together—he to London to do a master’s degree in international law and me to Paris. We were young and in love, and Paris was such a romantic city. When a position came up for an international lawyer in Paris, it was almost like it was meant to be. We were married, and moved into a tiny apartment just off avenue Mozart in the 16th arrondissement. Living as a student, eating in student restaurants in the Latin Quarter and hanging out with other students, had been great fun, but now my Parisian life was different—rather than strolling across the Pont des Arts, I was going to the markets on my way home from the library, learning to cook in the French style, hosting dinner parties, going to exhibitions and concerts, being part of a different rhythm of Parisian life. I still spent most days at the Bibliothèque nationale, in the beautiful old reading room with its domed ceiling. It was just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Palais-Royal, where Colette had lived for the last twenty years of her life. The gardens of the Palais-Royal were a quiet and peaceful place to sit in the sunshine when I needed a break from the books. I would often look up at what had been Colette’s apartment and imagine her leaning out the window, looking out on this garden that she had claimed as her own. I would have loved to have visited what had been her home. I understood that it belonged to her daughter, but my attempts to make contact with her were unsuccessful. It was not until many years later that I learnt the sorry reality of Colette’s will, in which she had disinherited her daughter in favour of Maurice Goudeket, her third and last husband. Goudeket did agree to meet me. He had married again, and had a son, and had become the keeper of Colette’s legend. We met in his elegant apartment on the avenue Kléber, and sat in his study, which was lined with books by Colette and with photos and portraits of her, but I learnt little from this precise and careful man. I left with the feeling that he had been merely humouring me, a young foreigner, by agreeing to see me. So, rather than trying to piece together the complex and fascinating story of Colette’s life, I went back to focusing my attention on her writing. And yet, inevitably, I came to know the woman through her work. As the years passed and other demands on my time receded, the germ of this book started to take shape. In many ways, my life seemed to be circling back to the years I had spent in Paris. I pulled the copy of my thesis out of storage and started to re-read it. Colette and her imaginary universe were there in front of me again. A sensual and physical world, but also a world in which a woman was constantly struggling to find and retain her independence. Gradually, I began to explore the idea of writing a book about my journey in the footsteps of Colette. In 2007, my partner and I went to stay in a little village in Burgundy, not far from Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, where Colette had been born and had spent her childhood. A great deal had been published about Colette since I’d written my thesis, and there had been a renewal of interest in her work, in France as well as elsewhere in the world. I visited the museum dedicated to her life and work that had opened in SaintSauveur, and became a member of the Society of Friends of Colette. Subsequent trips to France took on a new purpose as I visited the places that had been part of Colette’s life—Saint-Tropez, Brittany, Castel-Novel, Les Monts-Bouccons near Besançon. I began to see Colette’s life emerging through the prism of the different places in which she had lived—the places of her heart—each representing a particular period in her life and particular relationships, each profoundly influencing her writing, and each so vividly evoked in the shapes, colours, perfumes and sounds of her prose.

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70754 Cindy Sherman

Margaret Nolan

Thierry Dreyfus

an insight into the world’s creative minds E.R.Butler

Dinosaur Designs

Marcus Gaab

working space Martyn Thompson

Phillis & Izzy

Golconde Ashram

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1. THOU SHALT FIND YOUR PERFECT LITTLE BLACK DRESS (AKA THE LBD) Neneh Cherry had it right. A sexy black dress, truck loads of gold and the right attitude will get you anywhere. This is a total wardrobe workhouse. Find one that is sexy, but not too sexy, formal enough to wear to dinner, but casual enough to wear with sandals to the market. Spend money on this piece. It will be your best friend for decades.


Skirts and heels are sexy, but so is a tank top and baggy trousers. It’s ultimately your confidence that carries you so don’t be afraid to raid your boyfriend’s wardrobe once in a while.

3. THOU SHALT KEEP THE CLASSICS Some things never go out of style. Classics like a leather jacket, a tartan skirt, camo pants, Aran jumpers, blue jeans, a white shirt, a black mini skirt and black boots will always be in style. Sure, trends come and go and it’s nice to be cool and relevant, but use the classics as your wardrobe foundation and you’ll always be at the forefront of fashion.

4. THOU SHALT GATHER SHINY ACCESSORIES IN TRUE MAGPIE STYLE The magpie bird is attracted to anything shiny and twinkling, and well, so are we. If you’re wearing a particularly plain outfit, it can always be dressed up with your staple accessories in neons, holographics and general shiny, printed, sparkly things. You can never have too much iridescence when it comes to accessories.

wah style commandments Sharmadean Reid 5. THOU SHALT OWN A RED LIPSTICK There is a red out there for everyone and there’s no better outfit pick-me-up than a slick of red lipstick. Our fave is ‘Ruby Woo’ by MAC. It doesn’t move. Ever.

6. THOU SHALT UNDERSTAND THY BODY SHAPE AND CLOTHE IT APPROPRIATELY Some people are curvy, some are skinny, some are tall and some are short. That’s just the way it is, so understand your shape and dress to suit. Don’t try and squeeze yourself into drainpipe jeans if you’ve got an ass like Beyoncé! Embrace your ass and give it a sculpting skirt instead. Once you appreciate your shape, you’ll always look good.

7. THOU SHALT UNDERSTAND THAT EXPENSIVE IS A STATE OF MIND Dressing head-to-toe designer doesn’t make you stylish. Carry your thrift store clothes with an expensive attitude and you’ll be winning every day.

8. THOU SHALT KNOW THAT OPPOSITES ATTRACT Wearing a cashmere sweater? Team it with PVC trousers. Channeling a streetwear look? Throw some Céline into the mix. Our ultimate mantra is opposites attract. A mix of high and low, print and pattern, nude and neon... all those things that seemingly clash, to us, make a perfect outfit.

9. THOU SHALT GET INSPIRED Don’t look in today’s magazines and expect to find anything original. Look for your pop culture fashion alter ego and channel it. Ours ranges from all our favourite icons: Madonna, Britney, Neneh Cherry, Penelope Cruz, Lil’ Kim, Beyoncé, Courtney Love, Kathleen Hanna, Foxy Brown, Naomi, Kate, Cindy, Kristy and Linda. Sometimes we make scrapbooks of inspiring style. They’re not iconic for nothing.

10. THOU SHALT WEAR YOUR CONFIDENCE, EFFORTLESSLY All the money in the world can’t buy the look of confidence. No matter what you are wearing, this should be the accessory to shine through. Everyone has something special about them. It may be something physical – eyes, hair, skin – or it may be something inside – the way you can make someone feel, a special skill or talent. Know what’s special about you and use that knowledge to make you feel good about yourself every day. You know that girl who walks into the room, who is sure of herself, knows her place in the world and has an easy, effortless style? Well that’s you! You are amazing!

howAlfred to fitTonga suit shoulders

A good suit hugs your shoulders. If the pads extend beyond your shoulders, then it’s too big. If it’s so tight that your shoulders bulge beyond the padding, then it’s too small. A common mistake is to buy a size too big or too small. Always try one up or down, in addition to what you normally take. Different brands have different sizing policies. The shoulder is, in many ways, the focal point of the suit.

the chest

The chest on a good suit has a nice roundness and fullness to it. If the lapels and the cloth around it visibly strain, then the suit is too small. Conversely, it is too big if you can get more than a fist inside.


When you let your arms hang by the side the jacket needs to be long enough to for you to cup the fabric with your hands. This is the length of a classically proportioned suit cut in the British style. The recent fashion has been to cut suits shorter and shorter à la the American designer Thom Browne. Longer is far more flattering.


A well-cut jacket has the gently flowing contours of a vintage sports car. It has shape, especially around the waist. Make sure that you can see a bit of daylight in between your arms and the waist.

the back

A suit has three dimensions, so check the back. You’re looking for those flowing contours there too. Any bagginess or excess fabric here will need to be eliminated by the alterations tailor. The jacket should fit snugly up against the collar of your shirt. Always look at yourself in a three-way mirror.


Often men wear decent suits only to let themselves down with sleeves that make them look like Fu Manchu. Sleeves should be slim, but not so slim that your biceps show through. And they need to be short enough to show off a bit of cuff, finishing just at your wristbone.


In order to accentuate the impression of height, trousers need to create the longest, straightest line possible. This means your trousers will need to sit on your waist and not your buttocks as you may be used to. The waistband should be on your belly button. Good trousers are slim, but certainly not as slim as your jeans, and gently grace the top of your shoes. Most men wear their trousers too long so that fabric bunches up around the ankles. This breaks the line we’re trying to create.


The double-breasted is the most overtly masculine of all the suit styles. Its broad lapels and strong shoulders project strength.


Three-button suits add a slight width to the chest. Only ever do up the middle button. Also, look out for jackets with a roll-over lapel which covers up the top button.


A two-button jacket is perhaps the most versatile. Its lower stance draws attention to the waist. Never do up the bottom button.


This is the most dashing and stylish of the suit styles. The single button means that the tailoring must be top notch as there is nothing else to distract the eye. It is sleek.


Most jackets come with either one or two vents. The vent-less suit is actually a look with a long and authentic sartorial history. Today, however, it is regarded with suspicion.

peak or notch?

A notch lapel is what you see on most single-breasted suits. A double-breasted jacket must have peaked lapels. On a singlebreasted jacket a peak lapel lends a suit a touch of romance and old-world elegance.

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bon scott: a smell like pheromones Helen Carter It was a dark and potentially stormy night as I waited at the bus stop on the palm-treed traffic island at the corner of Denham and Fletcher streets in South Bondi – darker than normal, because of a power blackout. The blackout hit as I was getting ready to sneak out of my parents’ flat at Tamarama for the two-mile trek to the Bondi Lifesaver. I would often sneak out, sometimes to see friends, many times to go to the Lifesaver or the top-floor disco at the Squire Inn. I’d grown expert at putting on make-up in the dark, so the blackout didn’t slow my preparations. That night, the lightless road and the heat and humidity formed a sultriness I loved, as a sixteen-year-old self-styled rebel. The smell of the ocean, my own sweat, a thunderstorm looming – it made the anticipation of a night at the Lifesaver even more delicious. That place was a haven to me, the dangers of being a girl alone (except for the danger of getting hit on by a boring surfie) never crossing my mind. The Lifesaver was covered in layers of band posters. In my imagination there were bands on every night. It felt like I was there most nights too. The DJs and bar staff never questioned my age; I’d been getting into pubs since I was fourteen. Long, low velvet lounges – dark red, I think, but the space was so dimly lit I can’t be sure – framed the room in front of a massive tropical aquarium. A timber bar stretched along the eastern wall, illuminated by the reflected light of the mirrors and the astonishing rows of bottles behind. Some nights that bar turned into Angus Young’s runway, an appendage to the main stage from which he would be lifted and carried away on Bon Scott’s shoulders, Angus not so much duck-walking along the length of the bar as duck-stomping, like an overwound mechanical toy, hair and sweat flying. That night at the Lifesaver, unable to hear anything above the band – AC/DC, though I had no idea who they were – I squeezed my way through the crowd. Our bodies cooked up a sweat soup, eager for lustful encounters. In that atmosphere I could have two or three mini-obsessions a night, acted out with Olympic-standard stalking and flirting. I wanted to meet the singer, Bon. I hung around after they finished and it wasn’t long before Bon emerged from the band room to lig with the punters. I waited till he had a break from the yobbo hair parade and said hello. He was instantly charming, even before the dental work. It was late and I said I had to go to work the next day. He asked me for my phone number and said he’d call tomorrow. Sure, I thought. It was 1976. Our bell-like telephone sounded: ring-ring … ring-ring … (pause) ring-ring … ring-ring. ‘Yes,’ Mum answered, ‘she’s here, just a minute.’ I clutched the receiver. ‘Hello?’ From the other end, a gently worn voice: ‘Hi Helen, it’s Bon. From last night.’ My heart was thumping but we managed to arrange for Bon to visit me at work the next day. It was his suggestion. Sure, I thought (again). But the next day there he was, standing on the step in front of the jeans shop where I worked, smiling and looking like the perfect ruffian. I was captivated. I loved the bad-boy look and Bon oozed it. Forget my Olympic-standard flirting; this guy was competing at the intergalactic level, and winning. This is my memory of Bon: charming, gentle and magnetically dangerous-looking. He was thirty and I was sixteen. It was lust at first sight and our polite courtship lasted as long as it took for night to fall and me to get back to the Lifesaver. I spent quite a few nights with Bon at the Squire Inn, at Bondi Junction, where we laughed about a squished cockroach dangling from the sprayed concrete ceiling that he claimed to have dispatched the previous day by hurling a Yellow Pages at it. One evening I stood waiting at the lift in the Squire’s foyer. The doors clanked open and there was Bon, a girl under each arm. My face must have said it all

because he announced, ‘Don’t worry. I’m just taking these girls over to the Lifesaver. I’ll be upstairs in a while.’ Big cheeky grin. What was I to do? Wait, of course. I took days off work to wait in his room at the Sebel, feeling privileged to be left alone with his beautifully handwritten notes and lyrics. When he was pleased with his work, he’d rewrite the words in capital letters on a fresh page. So neat for a rock star! He also smelled nice. Probably of high-octane pheromones. Sitting in bed at the Sebel late one morning, I watched him get ready for the day, primping to the sound of Donna Summer’s disco hit “Love to Love You Baby” while gargling Coonawarra red and honey (for the vocal cords). His body was compact and muscly and felt like the perfect fit when we embraced. Which was often. He loved wearing sleeveless singlets because he said they made his muscles look bigger. Maybe he was vain. But show me a lead singer who doesn’t have an ego. One night at the Lifesaver, the band played to a packed house and I was backstage, thrilled to be one of the special few allowed into that tiny, stinky, scuzzy band room. I could see only part of the stage but I knew something was wrong as one by one the guitars, then bass, then drums plonked to a halt. Next thing Angus was hobbling off, bleeding like crazy from the legs, the rest of the band dealing with a commotion at the front of the stage. Someone had smashed a glass and gouged one of Angus’s shins. A call went out for Angus’s aunty to come and help. I don’t remember everything from that night, it was always exciting though, what with groupies (not me of course) rooting roadies, random urinating and general delinquency. In some ways Bon seemed like an older brother to Angus. He once took me to the Youngs’ home in Burwood to celebrate Angus’s birthday. The house was old-fashioned, not at all flash. As a birthday present, Bon gave him a T-shirt with ‘Here’s Trouble’ printed on the front – the shirt was tiny. Angus said, ‘He gives me the same T-shirt every year,’ and I sensed it was a welcome ritual, then we sat and listened to Billy Connolly records, Bon laughing at the Scottish banter and me able to decipher barely a word of it. I felt so happy to be doing something ordinary with a guy I’d really only spent time with at gigs or in hotels. Bon used to tell me about his former wife and other women who were important to him. I felt he liked talking to me just as much as the other stuff we got up to. Sometime in 1976 the band went overseas. Bon wrote me a long letter, but by the time I received it I had moved in with a new boyfriend. I ripped up the letter, worried it would cause problems if I tried to hide it. What a dickhead I was. I should have kept that letter. It was a lovely, warm, descriptive, kind letter, written on blue airmail paper in Bon’s ever-neat handwriting. Later that year AC/DC returned triumphant to Sydney, and I wanted to be at the airport to see Bon. He might have even asked me, in that long-gone letter, to be there. Using my well-honed sneaking-out skills, I dressed in a white skirt and jacket pinned with a big, fake red rose. God knows how I reached the airport – at that age I thought Mascot was another country – but I got there, and waited, while the press interviewed and lauded the band. I waited and waited but I had to get to work. It was easy to be sacked back then. At some point I must have decided it wasn’t worth it. What would I do if Bon wanted to start seeing me again? I was well and truly in a relationship by then and didn’t want to hurt anyone, least of all myself. I had just turned seventeen. I looked beautiful in my white suit and red rose but something made me turn around and go without welcoming Bon home to Sydney. Bon and me were a long time ago. There’s no way I can be sure of dates or specifics of our brief encounter. But the sense of him is still so strong that it is easy and covertly arousing to think about.

the history of Australian rock and pop in thrilling, seldom-seen photos and essays by Australia’s finest authors and musicians

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5. Twist one end of the crepe paper closed, then add your fillings and twist the other end. If you are adding bangers, insert one before twisting the first end.

1. Paint the cardboard rolls. I chose different colours for the outside and inside.

3. Cut some small pieces of paper and write messages or jokes.

2. Make confetti for the outside using the circle punch or use the scissors to make different shapes.

6. Lay a piece of cellophane out and sprinkle on some confetti.

4. Cut lengths of crepe paper and cellophane. Make the cellophane slightly shorter than the crepe paper, so that when the bonbon is pulled, it is just the crepe paper (the cellophane won’t tear). Wrap crepe paper around the cardboard roll, making sure the roll is approximately in the middle. Secure with washi tape.

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holiday bon bons Beci Orpin 7. Place the crepe paper roll on the cellophane and confetti and wrap the cellophane around it, securing with washi tape. Try to make sure the confetti is evenly distributed around the roll (you can do this after it has been secured by tapping it gently).

My family doesn’t go in for Christmas in the big traditional manner, but we still have a nice family celebration. It’s usually a casual affair, with lots of people down at my mum’s beach house, and Raph and me cooking for everyone. It’s super fun. Despite our lack of traditions, we do love a bonbon. Who can resist a paper hat and a cheesy joke? Not me. Here are some bonbons you can make yourself. Not necessarily for Christmas: they can be used for any celebration. I designed them so you would get a double dose of surprise: confetti from the outside and whatever you decide to put on the inside, such as more confetti, pompoms, trinkets and any kind of message you prefer. Or, of course, a cheesy joke. For extra authenticity you can also buy the ‘bangers’ and add them in.

you will need

6 cardboard toilet roll centres or any other cardboard rolls acrylic paint and paintbrush 6 mm (¼ in) circle punch coloured card and paper crepe paper clear cellophane (on the roll, if you can get it) pencil or felt-tip marker scissors and string washi tape

beci’s summer favourites

8. Twist the ends of the cellophane with the crepe paper and secure with string tied in a bow.

watermelon going barefoot Mornington Peninsula beachy fun times Raph’s BBQ lunches hanging with my kids being lazy (for a few weeks anyway) Campari granitas longer days, warmer nights wrapping Christmas presents reading books in hammocks anytime is ice-cream time

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the perfect menu Cooking brings people together. Whether an aspiring cook or an accomplished chef, some of our most treasured moments occur around the dining table. is a premium recipe subscription site created to give you thousands of the best recipes at your fingertips. For a dinner party with friends or healthy meals for the whole family, will inspire you to create the perfect menu any day of the week.

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First Pages - Second Edition  

A curated collection of long-form content from Australia's leading independent publisher, Hardie Grant Books.

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