Dani Valent – Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.
Home2022-07-05T07:54:19+10:00

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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.

Eater

Mums Day Post Montage(3)

Mother’s Day Menu

Mother’s Day doesn’t have to mean burnt toast in bed and bad soap from school stalls. If you are a mum, you can steer the family towards these menu suggestions, and if you have a mum, please enjoy these suggestions for Mum-friendly dishes and tasty gifts that keep on giving.

Traveller

Cook

Zhoug Salmon Salad(edited)

Zhoug & Salmon Salad

I love a big meal-sized salad! Flavoured with green chilli paste, this steamed salmon salad is healthy, flexible and easy to prepare

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  • Akwaaba review
    1 29 Fitzroy St St Kilda, VIC 3182 View map Opening hours Lunch Thu-Sun; dinner Wed-Sun Features BYO, Groups Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard Phone 03 7067 7600 Had any fufu recently? Banku or kenkey? If you're Ghanaian, you'll know these soft,…
  • Streets of Hyderabad review
    480 Neerim Rd Murrumbeena, VIC 3163 View map Opening hours Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10pm Features Licensed Prices Cheap (mains under $20) Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard Phone 03 9912 6382 There are two sides to…
  • Abbiocco St Kilda review
    173 Barkly St St Kilda, VIC 3182 View map Opening hours Sat-Sun noon-2.30pm, Wed-Sun 5.30pm-late Features Accepts bookings, Licensed Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40) Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard Phone 03 7003 4386 I know I'm feeling great but…
  • Nox review
    62-64 Little La Trobe St Melbourne, VIC 3000 View map Opening hours Mon-Wed 8am-10pm; Thu-Fri 8am-11pm; Sat 9am-11pm; Sun 9am-10pm Features Licensed Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40) Phone 0478 548 182 I'm at Nox, snuggling with stuffed soft-toy…

Instagram

I'm completely humbled to be awarded @gourmettraveller's Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality Award as part of the magazine's 2023 Restaurant Awards.

Thanks to @hunkies_news and @michaelharden50 for this honour, given in part for the information I synthesised and shared during the pandemic.

I sat in my trackies day after day (month after month 😬) watching press conferences, combing through public health orders, info-matching press releases, emailing government departments, answering queries, trying to find and offer clarity in a confusing and destabilising swirl. Visa holders were a particular focus. I'm still so ashamed of the way the Australian government abandoned people in our community.

Obviously awards were the furthest thing from my mind. It was just in front of me to be done. Success was that we could all hang out in restaurants again! But if I made that strange, hard, murky time easier or clearer for anyone, I am very, very glad.

Backstory via link in bio.

Pic by @parkerblain
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Pepi & I are taking part in @fareshare_australia's Footsteps Challenge.👣🐾🐾

Our goal is to walk / run 100km between October 2-16. Should be fine, right? 😅

We're raising money for FareShare, which grows and rescues food then turns it into free, nutritious, culturally sensitive meals for those doing it tough in our community. There's never been such high demand for food relief. If you can give (or sign up yourself!) please do 🤗🙌 Any amount is welcome!

Link in bio.
Or fareshare-footsteps-2022.raisely.com/dani-valent-

#footstepschallenge
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I went on a bingsu adventure in Melbourne.

There are so many versions of this Korean shaved ice dessert...

First stop @nox.monsterbing - cute monsters with choc button eyes 👾
Second stop @meetfresh_australia_nz - Taiwanese ice mountains 🏔️
Third stop @hereisnimbo - a Melb remix of the whole craze with pan-Asian ideas and contemporary flair 🍠

Tripping from shop to shop felt like clubbing but on ice 💃👯💃 Not that ice. This ice. Good clean cold fun. Highly recommend. ✅💯

#melbournecafes #bingsu #bingsucafe #melbournecbd #melbournefun #melbournefood #melbournedesserts #foodie #foodiesofig
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⚡ Publication day ⚡

Books are usually special. They generally represent a lot of careful, hard work by talented people. I've written and been involved in a bunch of them.

I did less on this co-written book, Salamati, than on my other cookbooks. These aren't my recipes, this isn't my story.

Still, I don't remember feeling quite this swirl of emotions before. Proud, excited, happy, glad. The dishes in this book are so good! I can't wait for you to make Hamed's date omelette and fesenjun and tahchin (oh the tahchin!).

But I also feel fierce and angry: my secret hope for this book is that it brings attention to the stupid plight of Hamed and other refugees living in our community, contributing to it, making it richer.

Hamed - like so many others - is still on a temporary visa. He's not secure in the life he's built here, even though he's a business owner, an employer, a father to Australian-born children, and now - woohoo - an author. He would be in peril if he went back to Iran but it's not even possible for him to travel elsewhere to see the mum he hasn't hugged for a decade.

Australia's new government is onto the immigration mess, I know and trust that. But it's still wrecking people's lives.

Buy the book, for sure. It's beautiful. Smell the herbs, pop the pomegranate. And if you want to write to your Federal MP to ask for #justiceforrefugees as well, that would be awesome.

⚡⚡⚡

It’s finally here! 🤩

Happy publication day to Salamati by @hamedsfood and @danivalent 💫
Reposted from @murdochbooks
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Night is falling as I turn off the M1. It’s okay though: there are lights aplenty. Hungry Jack’s, McDonald’s, Domino’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Red Rooster, they’re all there, the Sirens of the Service Lane, frying under their beckoning beacons.

I’m not here for hose-down interiors and standardised menus though. I’m here for the little place out the back, past the pokies pub and next to the shisha cave, the one with the spray-painted lightbox saying ‘Munchies’.

Munchies - all heart, so tasty, here for the ‘hood - will celebrate five years in December. It’s a place for approachable food made with care, aiming at comfort.

The staff are locals, mostly working their first jobs, part of a community not just a payroll. The customers are locals, too: parents swinging by after messaging a takeaway order over Instagram, homies sipping from plastic cups full of Ribena and Sprite and wrangling wings and hot sauce while they kick back on the pavement.

Inside, the walls are covered in party pics and memes, and a portrait of Princess Di is on the hero wall alongside rapper Slick Rick. If you’re Anglo, you’re the minority.

Owner John Chinsami’s family background is Fijian-Indian. He grew up in the neighbourhood and worked in local cafes before slinging corporate coffee in the city. When his mates started working at upscale places, he got interested in fancy restaurants too. Jobs at the Vue Group’s Jardin Tan and Burnham Beeches followed, then a restorative stint at intimate farm-to-fine-diner O.My, which is back in the south-east.

Munchies and its $17 fried chicken sandwiches might not seem like an obvious next step from O.My and its $220 tasting menu, but there are similarities in the anchoring in place and the belief that gathering around food can offer safety and identity.

...continues in comments...
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Paradise!

Iconic Acland Street, St Kilda cake shop @monarchcakes has been here since 1934. They haven't made this four-layer Paradise Cake for decades. Based on a Hungarian recipe and taking three days to make, the resurrection of this old-timey classic is a celebration of heritage and a vote of confidence in a sweet future.

Thanks for sharing, Nikki 💖

Love Life
Eat. More. Cake.

I ate the whole thing.
I went to paradise.

#stkilda #melbournecafes #cake #jewishmelbourne #jewishfood #melbournedessert #melbournedesserts #melbournefood #melbournefoodie
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Instant classics at @baguettestudios_nm include this three-cheese sourdough toastie that layers emmental, gruyere and cheddar with caramelised onion and horseradish mayonnaise.

You may suspect the cheesy triple play would be overkill but the balance is so carefully calibrated for meltiness, milkiness and bite that it eats as a symphony not a cacophony.

This family business, open since December, is a collaboration between pastry chef Aileen Seo, her baker husband Paul Kwon and her chef brother Jiho Sur. The Seoul-born trio are passionate about French baked goods and Australian ingredients: these influences are plaited into their store.

Read my review via link in bio.

@goodfoodau
📷@bypennystephens

#cheesepull #toastie
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New bio shot just dropped. ...

A couple of certified legends at last night's @melbfoodandwine Legends dinner. Twas a great night catered by @karen_martini's @heroacmi. After two years of cancelled dinners, this one was exquisitely sweet, fizzingly joyous, totes emosh and beautifully MCd by @jilldupleix 🌟

Winemaker Kathleen Quealy nominated @chalmerswine's Bruce Chalmers for his award in the Drinks category.

If you've enjoyed an Australian-grown Italian varietal, you have the Chalmers family to thank: they've imported, grown and cloned all kinds of grapes, especially those from southern Italy. Raise a glass of Pecorino or Nero D'Avola, thank them heartily, and toast also the ongoing focus on low-input less-thirsty vines.

Massive congrats to the other inductees:

Restaurateur @caterinascucinaebar
Fisher @brucecollis
Choc Queen @kirstentibballs
Local legend @sonia_a_anthony @foodfossickers
Sustainability champ Hayley Purbrick at @tahbilkwines
@shannon_martinez Trailblazer ⚡⚡
Honorary legend MFWF stalwart Pamela Bakes RIP
@sarah.cremona @ptleoestate Hostplus scholarship

Congrats @patnourse @anthealoucasbosha @sladedaisy and all involved!

More in my stories...
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Is there a better fried egg in Fitzroy?

Dirty Eggs with chorizo at @archiesallday 🍳😍

#melbournefoodie #melbournecafe #melbournebrunch #fitzroy #melbournebreakfast #friedegg #dirtyeggs
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At @stokehouserestaurants, chef @jasoncstaudt and team save used oyster and scallop shells for collection by #shuckdontchuck, an organisation that sprinkles them into the sea to recreate reefs damaged by commercial fishing.

It's just one sustainable practice among many at the restaurant. Food waste is tipped into a big smelly, sloshy tank that uses the same digestion principles as our own bodies to turn plate scrapings into a liquid that can safely be flushed into sewage.

Rather than endless use of soap and cleaning chemicals in the kitchen, Stokehouse has e-water, a remarkable system that uses an electrical charge to turn water and salt into a disinfectant that comes out of taps just like normal water. When you start washing your hands, the e-water feels normal, then it transitions to feeling oily as the chemical structure of the water changes. Hey presto, clean hands.

Geothermal heating and cooling is perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of the new Stokehouse. A continuous length of copper piping runs 80 metres into the sand, soil and rock below, does a U-turn, comes back up and repeats that journey 39 times. The system is a heat exchange that makes use of the consistent 17C-18C temperature of the earth to run the building's heating, cooling and hot water.

Owner Frank Van Haandel estimates building sustainably cost him an extra $2 million "and thousands of hours", but hopes that investment will be repaid in 10 years, perhaps less given the increase in conventional energy prices. "Gas and electricity are commodities I was trying to minimise and we all know what's happening with costs there," he says.

Read about this and other innovations in my recent @goodfoodau story about restaurants and sustainability. ⭐Link in bio.⭐

Pic @simonschluter
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