Dani Valent – Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.





Is there anything better than soup? I could live on it. Soup is a sustaining staple in every culture, versatile, economical, nourishing and – when done well – very delicious. Here are some of my favourites.


Christmas in July Image

Christmas In July

Australia’s Christmas is in summer so stories of Santa’s sleigh zooming through snowy forests are a faraway fantasy. Many Australians still pine for a white, wintry Christmas though, so the concept of ‘Christmas in July’ is quite popular. I’ve put together a warming and festive menu to suit. Make merry and enjoy!



Green Mandarin Smoothie

I am always looking for ways to incorporate seasonal fruit and veg into my daily delights. At the moment, I am loving adding mandarins to my morning green smoothies for extra winter zing. Mandarins bring sweetness and their special floral fragrance as well as their lovely citrus flavour.

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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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This is the tear-jerkingly lovely bolognese at Cellar Bar @grossiflorentino, subject of this week's review - link in bio.

The feeling at this classic Melbourne hangout is casalingo (homestyle) and the welcome is a gift. Being here makes me feel like my ideas are sound, my conversations profound and my worth boundless: that's the art of hospitality, as much as the intuitive wine refill, seamlessly replaced dropped napkin, al dente pasta and cheerful "buonasera".

This is one of those places that makes me love restaurants with all my ❤️ and value the privilege of dining in them.

We're getting closer to normal but the health advice is that we still need to be vigilant and careful. Restrictions will ease a bit tonight...

What's new:

EXPOSURE SITES: See links in bio for new exposure sites & detailed table of restrictions.

25 KM limit removed; Melbourne may visit regions. Must get a COVID test to travel to snowfields.

METRO: 75 indoors, 75 outdoors with density restrictions of 1 person per 4 sq m. May have up to 25 people without density restrictions. Seated service only. Group size max 10.

ALL VIC: masks required indoors, not outdoors unless cannot distance.

NIGHTCLUBS: 1 / 4 sq - seated service only, no dancing.

METRO: Offices 50% or up to 20 people in workplaces of fewer than 40 people - but should work from home if can.

REGIONAL: 300 person limit in restaurants. Density of 1 / 4 sq m but if there is a COVID Marshal at the door ensuring QR check-in, it can be 1 / 2 sq m and 150 person limit.

REGIONAL ACCOM: bookings available for single households + five adults.

🌈 Stay safe, get tested, check in! 🌈

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Does lockdown suck? Yep. Can some things make it better. Also yes. Thanks Attica Bake Shop for the pizza and cookies and focaccia. Let it also be known that I DIDN'T buy the last two peanut butter dark choc cookies today because I tried them (inhaled them) on Tuesday and thought the people behind me may not yet have had the pleasure. It hurt me. I kind of regret it. I hope they loved them hard. Still, I'm looking forward to a Monte and a macaroon with a cuppa later. Or maybe now.

Coming out of lockdown #4 is going to be hard and shaky and not ideal. This one was a bloody grind. There's so much ground to claw back for businesses and workers. It's harder to feel like we achieved something huge when our city is so battered and depleted and we are still restricted. The arts, bars, swim schools, gyms, events, the long weekend, the poor CBD in general... A lot of it is just super tough.

Still - we shut the city down to keep our people safe. We should be proud. It hurts - and will continue to hurt - some people more than others. I get that.

But Melbourne!! People... MELBOURNE!! 🌞M🌞E🌞L🌞B🌞O🌞U🌞R🌞N🌞E🌞 Y'know?

See you back out there for coffee and food and probably one too many martinis.

Be kind, stay positive ❣️❣️❣️

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❣️ Out of lockdown ☺️

Easing of restrictions from 11.59pm Thurs, as relevant to hospo. Further easing flagged for next Thursday.


• 25K travel limit
• Metro cannot go to regional Vic (hopefully for 1 more week only)
• Restaurants & cafes seated service & takeaway only,
100 patron limit, max 50 inside, density 1 person per 4 sq m
• Max group size 10
• Masks required indoors including at work


• restaurants max 150 for seated service, 75 inside, density 1 person / 4 sq m
• Max group size still 10.


QR check-in will be compulsory for workers in businesses - details to come


Get tested if you have symptoms. One major factor in this lockdown was unchecked spread because people didn't think their sniffle could be COVID.

Link to restrictions in bio.

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Agtech: my story in today's @goodweekendmag Food & Drink issue.

This is Gippsland dairy farmer Luke Wallace with the lovely Melys. She's wearing a collar that tracks her steps so Luke can tell quickly and remotely if she's ailing or in heat.

Agtech is being called the fourth agricultural revolution - it affects all of us in its impacts on produce, farmers and the environment. This was such an interesting and inspiring story to research and write. Link in bio.

So many people helped... including:


📷 @salliejones

Thanks for the commission @katrinastrick

#agtech #farming #farmingaustralia

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Hey guys, Income support package just announced by PM. This is my summary of his press conference. **UPDATED FOLLOWING RELEASE OF STATEMENT**

- areas designated hotspots by Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth and locked down for greater than 7 days will become eligible for a 'Temporary COVID Disaster Payment' made on a week by week basis.
- $500 / week for those who lost more than 20 hours / week
- $325 / week for those who lost less than 20 hours / week
- must be 17+
- amazingly, visa holders included - anyone allowed to work is eligible
- kicks in after 7 days - regional Vic not eligible
- person must be unable to work or get income as result of state restrictions
- person must declare they would have worked & declare loss of income.
- not required to use annual leave but must have insufficient other entitlements eg pandemic leave.
- person must have liquid assets less than $10K.
- must not be receiving income support eg Jobseeker at same time.
- Payment available via Services Australia from Tuesday ie Centrelink. Call 180 22 66 or servicesaustralia.gov.au
- share of burden between State & Commonwealth to be worked out at National Cabinet.

There are instantly forseeable big problems with this scheme - it's kind of the opposite of JobKeeper in that it preferences those disconnected from their workplace, it's not much money, and I'm sure the admin will be mangled, but I am amazed and happy that visa holders are on the same footing as everyone else.

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MELBOURNE ❤️🙏❤️💪❤️

• 7 day lockdown extension for Melbourne, so that is through to Thursday June 10. Given the rules for regional (below) my hunch is that restaurants will reopen at 1 / 4 sq m.
✅ QRs compulsory in shops ✅
• Increase to 10KM limit for shopping & exercise
• Students in Years 11 & 12 return to school
• Melbourne won't be able to go to regional Vic for Queens Bday weekend

REGIONAL ❤️🙏😑❤️💪

*subject to testing and data today*

• 5 reasons to leave home removed.
• No limit on travel within regional Vic.
• Hospitality open for seated service only.
• Maximum patron cap of 50 people per venue.
• Group sizes to a maximum of 10 people.
• Density quotient of 1 /4 sq m.
• Must check IDs to ensure no Melbourne guests.
• Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people.


$2500 grant now $5000 (unlicensed venues)
$3500 grant now $7000 (licensed venues)
Applications open tomorrow for both rounds.

Vic gov has again asked Feds for income support.
Link in bio to restrictions.

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** UPDATE ALL GONE ❤️❤️ COMMUNITY ❤️❤️ ** Any visa holders or casual workers in need, the talented @rosheen_ at @etta_melbourne has made some beautiful food packs to give away. Head to 60 Lygon Street, East Brunswick and feel free to message Rosheen to check what's left. There are these confit bean n pork packs & fish pies. Get on it - taste the ❤️ Posted Sunday 3.40! ...

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Would it be useful to have an online hub where restaurants and caterers could sell ingredients tomorrow? Let me know...

Credit to @lucacoffeenotes & @foodcornish for the idea.

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Here we go again.

Victoria enters a 7-day lockdown from 11.59pm tonight until 11.59pm Thursday June 3.

Restaurants are allowed to do takeaway.
Masks on inside & out.
5K rule + 2 hours exercise.
Vaccination for 40+ - yay.

There are 26 cases in this cluster, one is in ICU on a ventilator. They are all linked, which is encouraging, but there are 10,000 contacts & 150 exposure sites identified to date. Not surprised we're locking down.

This hurts. We'll crush it. Much love.

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This Sunday is the beginning of Shavuot, the Jewish festival that celebrates bounty by eating dairy, especially cheesecake. You know what to do...

#basquecheesecake link in bio...

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💯💯 episodes!

Dirty Linen celebrates 200 episodes by going back to the legend who kicked off episode 1 in June 2020. @wolfinkitchen is owner and founder of @lakehousedaylesford, the 35-year-old regional restaurant which pioneered a who-needs-to-go-Europe-anyway kind of experience - so appropriate for 2021. We talk recovery, staffing, local tourism, autumn bounty, tough decisions and gleaming leaves.

Link in bio!
& https://linktr.ee/DirtyLinenPodcast

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There are 23 active COVID cases in hotel quarantine today.

Can everyone please be fanatical about QR check-ins at venues!

Where is your QR code? Have you checked in? Can I check in? May I see your check-in?

Use the Service Vic app - it's compulsory! Link in bio to more info.

Please don't be complacent as a business or a guest. This is not over.


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