Dani Valent – Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.


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Perfect Cheesecake’s Secret Ingredient

Life goes better with Basque cheesecake, a lockdown #2 love affair. I became obsessed with this cake about five years ago when I ate it in San Sebastian at La Viña pintxos bar. It was perilously wobbly and jiggly, somehow both light and rich, creamy white and custardy within but with a bitter edge from the dark, caramelised perimeter. I mumbled, “It’s a miracle,” and I meant it.


Saffrontini 2

Picnics and Party Food

Dainty bites, fresh flavours and dishes that don’t mind being moved from kitchen to hamper to blanket, or being passed around on a tray at a stand-up gathering…That’s what’s on my mind with these picnic and party favourites. Rustle up some of these beauties at your Melbourne Cup Day party, spring luncheon or pool-deck gathering.



Exploring Mexican Food

When I travel, I always head straight for the produce markets. It’s because I love seeing what’s growing, what people are eating, and I also love the buzz and bustle of market life. Mexican markets are so incredibly energetic: noisy, busy, fragrant, intense!


Beef Rotolo

Beef Rotolo

This rolled beef dish is easy enough to serve for a mid-week meal and pretty enough to present at a dinner party. Steak is rolled with pesto and steamed in the Varoma over stock, which is then the base for a mustard sauce.

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"I love leading people to great food experiences whether it's at home, a restaurant or on the road. My recipes, videos, events, restaurant reviews and journalism are all about sparking tasty adventures."

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Be patient, be kind: My guide to dining out in Melbourne post-lockdown. Link in bio.

After a week-long sixth lockdown turned into 78 days of "five reasons to leave home', Melbourne is allowed to dine out again.

There's no city in the world more used to shrugging off stay-at-home orders and heading back out for laksa, latte, lobster rolls and lager. But even Melbourne has never had a reopening like this: the COVID caseload is significant and the economy is opening only to those who are vaccinated.

"It's going to take a while to balance itself out but we have to find a new reality, an acknowledgement of the risks but a pathway to a more normal life," says Afik Gal, chef at @miznonmelbourne.

📷 @jasonsouth
Burning sage at Miznon to prepare for reopening 🔥




Be kind, be patient, be the 🌞🌈❣️
Everyone has been through a lot
and is doing their best 🙂😵‍💫😭❣️



- workers & patrons must be double vaccinated unless under 16 or excepted with a medical certificate. This applies to outside dining too.

- acceptable proof: Service Vic app; Digital Certificate saved on phone; print out + photo ID; medical exemption + photo ID.

- takeaway customers don't need to be vaccinated & don't count in diner limits. Takeaway workers must be vaccinated.

- employers must record vaccination status of workers

- Compliance breaches by person $21,809, by business $109,044. False/misleading information $10,904/$54,522.


- COVID Check-In Marshal expected to be at entry

- Everyone should check-in including takeaway customers


- 20 diners inside, 50 outside, all at 1 person per 4 sq m density

- 1.5M spacing recommended but not required

- There's no advice on maximum group size

- Diners may stand up to order but should be seated to eat and drink

- Masks on except when eating/drinking

- Outside patrons may enter indoors in severe weather


Can stay at current limits without vaccination ie as per yesterday's rules. All must be vaccinated to increase capacity.

**My source is new Directions from Vic Gov**

The restaurant reopening that Melbourne is craving has been thrown into chaos by contradictory and confusing messaging from the Victorian government. The confusion lies in the vaccination requirements for hospitality workers: they were told they needed one dose to commence work, now they're told two.

Premier confirmed Tuesday that staff must be double vaccinated upon opening.

"Melbourne is supposed to be reopening but what this actually means is that we have to close," says @rotafrancescoemilia owner of @emiliamelbourne.

Link in bio.

@goodfoodau @theageaustralia

😃From this Friday Oct 22 (70% double dosed)💗


- Lockdown lifts 🥰
- No curfew 🌚
- Masks stay 😷
- No km limit but can't go to Regional Vic 🚊
- Restaurants and cafes can open with 20 people indoors with density limits, and only if all attendees – including workers – are fully vaccinated. 50 outdoors. 💉🍴💉🍴

**Seems to mean venues with single-dosed workers can only do outdoors - need to clarify**

** Changes to exposure site rules coming in next couple of days **


Restaurants & cafes increase from 10 to 30 people per venue, if everyone is fully vaccinated. 💉💉Outdoor increases from 20 to 100 people per venue if everyone is fully vaccinated. If vaccination status is unknown capacity is 20 people.

Next milestone is 80% in first week Nov.

- Regional / Metro divide goes 🚗🚃
- Masks inside only 😁
- Dining 150 inside, 500 outside, seated service only🍴🍴

Visa Workers 🥰🥰 + Vaccination 💉💉 + A Special Session Next Tues! 👍👍

Community organisation @connect_health via @stickifingers has organised a special day for overseas hospo workers to be vaccinated. If you're not vaccinated yet, this might be for you.

About this special session:

- It's at Glen Eira Town Hall in Caulfield on Tuesday October 12 (or another day if that suits more people)
- Free.
- No Medicare card needed.
- Pfizer & AstraZeneca vaccines available (maybe Moderna too).
- Interpreters available.
- Transport can be arranged.
- Jobs Victoria will be there to help with job hunting and skills training too.

Message me if you want to come or have questions! Tell your friends!


Which language interpreters?

Would you also like:

Food parcel or meal?

Transport to Glen Eira Town Hall?

Coffee cart?

Telstra vouchers?

I get a lot of DMs but I think @telina_menzies' Lasagne Loaf has broken the record 🔥🔥🔥

Popped it on my stories on the weekend and people are still sliding in to tell me how hectic it is. I can promise you...It's as fun to eat as it is to drool over.

Chef Telina isn't selling this baby yet...but let us know if you reckon it would be a goer ⚡⚡⚡💫💫💫

#lasagne #carboncarb

By Friday October 15, every authorised worker in Melbourne and regional Victoria must have had at least one dose of COVID vaccine 💉

This includes all hospitality workers as they are working for Authorised Providers and are therefore classified as Authorised Workers.

Authorised workers will need to be fully vaccinated by November 26 💉💉

This is to minimise the pressure on hospitals and protect the roadmap to opening.

Legal mechanism and enforcement will be via public health order signed into law under Public Health & Wellbeing Act.

There are already such directions for building, aged care and education. They are valid during state of emergency. Penalties for breaches are approx. $21,000 for individuals and $54,000 for businesses.

Many new vaccination appointments, options and sites have been opened up. Let's do this 💪

Also Moorabool going into lockdown.

THE PRODUCERS - a new podcast from Deep in the Weeds Productions.

Since 1999, Ann-Marie Monda and Carla Meurs have been nurturing, creating and crafting at Sutton Grange Farm on Dja Dja Wurrung Country near Castlemaine in Victoria. The goats they milk to make their revered farmhouse cheese are central to the rhythm of their days. It was an absolute (between lockdown) pleasure and honour to pat goats, drink tea, throw a stick a million times for their kelpie, and have a chat.

Link in bio.

@producerspodcast @holy.goat.cheese @dirtylinenpodcast @foodwinedine @huckstergram @deepintheweedspodcast @dirtylinenpodcast

@producerspodcast is a food podcast telling the stories of producers, farmers, growers and makers.

Reposted from @dirtylinenpodcast

SHORT VERSION: If you're vaxxed you can sit in a beer garden around Oct 26.


Reopening depends entirely on vaccination and pressure on hospitals. We are getting out, not quickly, but it will happen...

💉Staff & customers need to be fully vaccinated💉
✅ Customers will need 'vaccine passport' ✅

At 70% 16+ double vaccinated (predicted Oct 26), hospo is permitted to open outdoor dining for 50 fully vaccinated diners, density 1 person / 4 sq m (DQ4).

At 80% 16+ fully vaccinated (predicted Nov 5), indoor dining returns with the following rules:
- Seated service only
- 150 indoors (DQ4), 500 outdoors (DQ2).
- Small venues - up to 25 fully vaccinated people before DQ applies.

Next easing: 80% 12+ fully vaccinated.

Regional is a bit ahead.
Link to all roadmaps in bio.

**Premier said staff will need to be vaccinated, it's not in the roadmap.

Hospitality and tourism workers have learnt to think of themselves as frontline workers over the course of the pandemic – dealing with the mask-averse and QR-code resistant, for example – but the vaccine rollout has made the battle lines even more fraught.

On one side are service staff and business owners who believe vaccines offer a safe path to the certainty they crave. On the other are those opposed to COVID-19 vaccination in general or the "segregation" enforced by vaccine passports.

My story in @theageaustralia @sydneymorningherald @goodfoodau. Link in bio.

Featuring @burgertory.au @cuckoocallay @ladro_restaurant @hardwaresociete @ariarestaurant @mattmoran @the.montague.hotel @bangalayluxuryvillas

Have you got your order in for Friday Pie Day?

Our epic Grand Final menu includes all your fave bakers, makers, movers and shakers from the first 3 weeks plus a few exciting new additions.

Look at all the fine folk tagged on this pic: your orders keep these small businesses powering along and let us gather together in love of pie at a time we can't meet at the MCG, at backyard BBQs, in pubs and parks.

I'm really proud to bring this great gang together. Melbourne is really the best! And I mean Melbourne the city, not Melbourne the team - the latter will be revealed on September 25.

Order asap for delivery next Friday, ready for heating and eating on the big day.

Check out the menu via cookaborough.com or see link in bio.

This lockdown is a tough one. I'm hearing from a lot of people that my Daily Pepi stories are helping them get through.

I get it - I wouldn't want to be doing this without her. Dogs are so good at being in the moment, staying optimistic and kind, and always being ready for love and hugs.

Pepi is here for all of us. If you need an extra dose, she's in my Highlights too. Hang in there, everyone. We are getting there ❤️💪💉

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