Eater | Dani Valent

Eater

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?

 

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.

Peter Gunn at IDES Restaurant and the Black Box

In mid-March, not long before Australia went into lockdown, I visited Peter Gunn's IDES restaurant to talk to him about his signature Black Box dessert. This is an incredible dish - mystery giving way to intricate layers of taste, revealed through an act of sunny, sanctioned violence. For me, the Black Box is the thread which allows us to explore other themes. I love what the dessert says about the chef who created it and the restaurant he owns and runs. It's a tale of creativity, persistence, leadership, teamwork and the importance of fun.

Chatting Healthy Eating with Stephanie Alexander & Curtis Stone

When you're invited to morning tea with cooking legend Stephanie Alexander and chef Curtis Stone, you say 'Yes!' The purpose of the event was to launch a partnership between Coles and Stephanie's Kitchen Garden program but I grabbed Curtis and Stephanie for a broader chat about healthy and diverse eating. I hope you enjoy my little video above! One of my main takeaways is that good cooking doesn't need to be complicated, and it's fine to rely on great ingredients to make a meal satisfying. I plundered my own recipe archives to find some recipes that reinforce these messages.

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'.

Food Chat – Malaysian cookbook author Annie Xavier Talks Easy Meals for Busy Mums

Malaysian cookbook author Annie Xavier shares tips and insights as she discusses her approach to Chinese-Malaysian cooking

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