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Chef Tom Sarafian on Australian Food

Tom Sarafian is chef at Melbourne’s Bar Saracen and a fellow hummus obsessive. He’s kindly shared the Bar Saracen signature hummus with prawn and crab – it’s one of Melbourne’s best dishes so it’s beyond exciting to have the recipe!  To coincide with Australia Day, I asked him to muse on what Australian food means to him.



Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year) is one of the world’s great annual celebrations. How big? Well, in China people are expected to take around three billion journeys as they travel to join family for festivities. The shebang begins on Saturday January 25 with the Year of the Rat starting the following day, and celebrations continuing for 23 days. Special ‘lucky’ foods are eaten during this period, sometimes because of their colour (red is lucky) and often because their name is a homonym for words such as ‘luck’, ‘prosperity’, ‘wealth’.


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Exploring Hong Kong

Hong Kong is thronging, noisy, tasty – and troubled, as protests continue to up-end life in this most engrossing of cities. In the meantime, and in amongst it, street life and market life persist. Join me as I eat my way along the streets of Mong Kok.


Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Hummus with Prawn & Crab – Tom Sarafian

In the Middle East, hummus isn’t just a dip, it’s a meal. This version isn’t just a meal, it’s an event, luxed-up with shellfish and given complex layers of flavour with toum, a garlic paste. Even if you don’t want to make the whole dish, give Tom’s hummus recipe a go: it’s one of the best versions I’ve ever tried and for a hummus-obsessive like me, that is no easy statement! 

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Hummus with Crab & Prawn at @barsaracen is a Key Melbourne Dish & I have the recipe at!! Chef @tomsarafian spent more than a year working on the perfect hummus, travelling the Middle East, then adjusting proportions and process in steady, respectful refinement. He knew he'd finally nailed it when his girlfriend's Lebanese mum gave it a tick. Tom's hummus is fluffy, creamy, flavourful and pretty much transcendent when served with buttery shellfish. Eat it at the restaurant and know that all proceeds are going to bushfire relief or make it at home and know that everyone will love you. Thanks for sharing the recipe Tom. It's a cracker! Pic @kristofferpaulsen ❣️ ...

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Prawn Wontons with Peanut Sauce and Chilli Oil for Lunar New Year? Yes! Dumplings are one thing (a very good thing!) but dumplings with two sauces are even better. Serving wontons with peanut sauce and chilli oil turns a snack into a meal with layers of flavour. I cannot recommend these little beauties highly enough!
If you think you’re not the kind of person who makes dumplings, please take it from me: you are! For a start, you can take a short-cut and buy wonton wrappers – they’re available in supermarkets. And if you’re nervous about forming the shapes, take the pressure off by not expecting them to be perfect. So long as you have a decent seal so the filling doesn’t ooze out, I reckon you can consider your handiwork a success. Let me know how you go! Pic @gregelmsphoto Styling @carolinevelik #thermomix #dumplings #lunarnewyear #chinesenewyear #prawndumplings

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It's always a good time of day to eat fresh sardines. These fillets are cooked by running a blowtorch over the skin, and laid over sourdough with sweet roasted peppers and sheep's milk curd. They're at @grubfitzroy. There's nowhere like Grub. How could there be? The restaurant started eight years ago as a coffee van in Tim Mann and Mark Murphy's front yard, then it crept into the home out the back, sprouted a kitchen, and eventually evicted its owners. The chef is @arepresser: his every dish turns one ingredient into an accomplished soloist, then builds a chorus around it: zest, crunch, sweetness, pucker, an easy stretch to harmony. Dog friendly. Community minded. Recommended. Full @goodfoodau review via link in bio. ...

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These are Womboyn oysters from @johntheoysterbloke, from a fire-affected part of the south coast of New South Wales. I bought them in Melbourne a few days ago when @foodcornish made a callout - the guys were stuck in Melbourne, couldn't get home, and needed to move some oysters pronto. I've never felt happier about handing over cash for something. At this time of year I'm normally camping in East Gippsland... We either collect oysters ourselves from Wingan or head up the south coast and buy some - they are beautiful oysters. We keep them in a damp sack under a trailer and get the kids to shuck them every evening. It is a golden family tradition. Obviously, because of #ausfires, we are not doing that this year. It is a miniscule disruption in the context of huge horror, destruction, displacement, uncertainty, fear and frustration. I am so lucky and I still feel paralysed and traumatised. So, what now? I pledge the following. 1. Giving: financial support (there are lots of great organisations; I am focusing on @redcrossau, Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, Goongerah Environment Centre). 2. Acting: writing letters & stories, spending money in affected areas, campaigning for #climateaction, giving blood, there will be more... 3. Being: looking out not in, creating connection, building bridges, #lovenotfear. I work with words and food and I feel like there's a lot I can do. I am essentially an optimist. Though I am shaken, rocked, sad and scared, I'm also feeling a massive groundswell. We're going to make good from this, aren't we people? 💟 ...

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What are you sipping on New Year's Eve? Frosé for the win! Today is a good day to get your rose into a container and into the freezer. Freeze some strawberries too, or add frozen strawbs to your shopping list 💯🍓🥂 Recipe and video on my site: 🌞 ...

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We're doing our big fam ham shebang tomorrow so today is a cosy family Christmas Day. Saw these zucchini flowers at the market yesterday (thanks @pinosfineproduce) and turned them into lunch in my new @unearthedceramicsmelbourne bowl - Santa left it under our tree 🌲💯. Such a beautiful piece and happy to break it in on day one 🤗 ...

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I'm dreaming of a white, fluffy, jiggly Christmas 🎅 Looking forward to seeing lots of Basque Cheesecakes over the coming days 🤩 Recipe, including sugar free, lactose free, gluten free, LCHF, #Thermomix and non-Thermo versions. ...

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Best last min prez is a ticket to my Signature Dish Series event with @smokeystevenson at @leehofook on Feb 8. Eat, drink, learn, ask, enjoy and celebrate Year of the 🐀! Event tix via link in bio.
My other events have sold out - @atticamelbourne with @benshewry & @idesmelbourne with @petergunn501.

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The spice mix in these classic butter biscuits is also a great infusion for gin, vodka or rum! 🤩 Christmas cocktails, here we come! 🍸🍹 The spice can also be added to preserves such as apricot or plum jam, or ham glazes.

The biscuit mixture can be frozen and sliced to bake. You can also have fun rolling this mixture with a ‘springerle’ rolling pin with carved designs, or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes 🌲🤗 Recipe at

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Ham bam thank you ma'am! This is the ham glaze you need for the Christmas you want 🤩 Spicy peach and mango jam with Sichuan pepper 💥 Make a big batch so you have chutney for the year and some to give away - it's a fab gift! See link in bio for recipe 👌 Also included ham storage tips from @otway.pork and ideas for leftovers. 🌲🤶🎁☃️ Pic @gregelmsphoto Styling @carolinevelik Publisher @thermomixaus ❣️ Non-Thermo method also included! 💡 ...

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Hot chicken roll at chef @emmajeffrey01. The trashy tradie trope is luxed up with beautiful roast chicken and herby stuffing, loaded into a fluffy potato bun with shoestring chips and chicken skin crumble.

A rich, chive-flecked jus is in a little pot on the side – made over three days, you couldn't find a cheffier gravy in Melbourne. Pour it over the roll or dip in: get messy, get glad. More in my story.
Full review at @goodfoodau
Pic @ejimphoto

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Another Su Filindeu snippet - Leo Gelsomino pulls semolina dough to make 'threads of god' - the world's rarest pasta. Link to complete video via link in my bio.

Reposted from @declanoppenheim: Leo Gelsomino travelled to Sardinia on a quest to make the world’s rarest pasta. Now back at @lellopastabar, he nails it! Dir @gregelmsphoto prod @danivalent Shot and edited by me and @jakereederphoto . #pasta #foodporn #melbournefoodie #sufilindeu #melbournerestaurant #arri #arriamira #bbslighting #pastamaking

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