Eater – Dani Valent

We’ve all got to eat so it might as well be good! I’ve been a restaurant critic for almost 20 years, and have been writing a weekly restaurant column in Melbourne’s Sunday Age since 2006.

My approach is to always take a restaurant on its own terms: there’s no point slamming a burger joint because it doesn’t have white tablecloths. I try to be constructive in my criticism and I’ve always got the diner in mind: there are many places you could choose to go. Why should it be here?

 

Christmas Leftovers Revamp

Christmas cooking quantities are cause of considerable consternation. Before the big day you’re asking, “Is this enough?” as you picture hungry great-aunts and hollow-legged teens looking askance at empty platters. Afterwards, you realise there was way too much food (just like there was last year and the year before that). Now, it’s all about what you do with the leftovers. Here are some ideas.

Visa Holder Hustles

Everyone is doing it tough in hospo but temporary visa holders have a particularly hard road because they have no access to JobKeeper or JobSeeker, and many of them are restricted in the kind of work they can do. Basically, it sucks. However, some of them (like Nicole from Mangan Yuk) have started micro-businesses to get them through to COVID-normal. If you can, support them!

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.

International Hummus Day

Have you got an hour? Ask a Middle Eastern person about their favourite hummus and be ready to listen long and hard! Hummus is an everyday traditional food all the way from Yemen to Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey but there are as many variations as there are eaters! At its simplest, hummus combines chickpeas and tahini, then there's the potential addition of salt, pepper, spices, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and water. Plus, there's the question of texture. Should it be smooth or sturdy? We dig in...

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 Thermomix dishes and tasty gifts that keep on giving. Of course, a Dani Valent membership is a gift that will bring joy and inspiration for a whole year.

© Dani Valent 2021