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.


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.



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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  • Good Food Guide 2023: Meet the Victorian Chef of the Year award finalists
    Kitchen cliche suggests chefs are either shouty maniacs, addled rock-star wannabes or tweezer-wielding artists. But the finalists for The Age Good Food Guide 2023's Chef of the Year award tell a different story. This year's crop of finalists…
  • John’s 90. Yanying’s 34. When they married, he was bankrupt
    John Levin, 90, is a doctor specialising in anti-ageing medicine. He’s married to linguistics lecturer Yanying Lu, 34. At first, Yanying was his Mandarin teacher, but the language lessons petered out as romance between the pair bloomed. At John’s…
  • John’s 90. Yanying’s 34. When they married, he was bankrupt
    By Dani Valent November 11, 2022 — 11.30am , register or subscribe to save articles for later. John Levin, 90, is a doctor specialising in anti-ageing medicine. He’s married to linguistics lecturer Yanying Lu, 34. At first, Yanying was his Mandarin…
  • Black Vice review
    946 Heidelberg-Kinglake Rd Hurstbridge, VIC 3099 View map Opening hours Wednesday-Friday 6am-2.30pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-3pm Features Cheap Eats, Family friendly, Breakfast-brunch Prices Cheap (mains under $20) Phone 0456 914 853 This can't be the…



Beef with three-pepper miso sizzle sauce and sprouting broccoli.

#chinesefood #stirfry #peppersteak #miso

Uttapam topped with egg, garlic shoots, tomato and crispy chilli oil, then drizzled with ghee-tempered mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Uttapam is made from a fermented lentil and rice batter, the same base as for dosa and idli. I ❤️ uttapam!

Recipe on my site. Link in bio.

#uttapam #idli #dosa #indianbrunch #indianfood #indianbreakfast #indianbreakfastrecipes #glutenfree #ghee

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

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-


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

⚡ 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

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...


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

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.


#cheesepull #toastie

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