Australia

Visiting Sydney with a Small Boy – it’s all happening at Taronga Zoo

Visiting Sydney with a Small Boy – it’s all happening at Taronga Zoo

I love the way little people define their world. It reminds me of how we used to say our night prayers when we were small, listing off like a mantra all those we loved. I was listening to Dermot tonight as he chatted away happily to himself in a sing-song voice in the next room, reciting “MaMa, DaDa, Claire, Mikey, NaiNai, YeYe, NaiNai… and then, after a pause,  huati (slide), che (car), huo che (train), haishui (the sea),...

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Sydney Restaurants Roundup

Sydney Restaurants Roundup

I don’t often write restaurant reviews. I’m happier writing about cooking and how the experience of food helps maintain the connection with my family scattered across three continents. But I’m writing this post on an Air China flight back to Beijing after a memorable week in which Claire and Mike pulled out the stops to create a unique taste of Sydney which would give us some sense of the range of cuisine this fantastic city...

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The patient art of Chinese cooking – Shananigans Chez Bloor

The patient art of Chinese cooking – Shananigans Chez Bloor

When we were in Beijing last week we attended two stir-fry/ wok classes at Hutong Cuisine, apart from the noodle and dumpling classes I wrote about recently. While the format of these standard morning classes is broadly similar, the content varies daily. You learn 3 to 4 dishes, in each session – say 3 Canton and 1 Sichuan or 3 Sichuan and 1 Canton. We were really lucky and had the classes to ourselves on both occasions because other groups...

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Sydney Seaplanes Lunch at Cottage Point Inn

Sydney Seaplanes Lunch at Cottage Point Inn

There’s something very evocative about flying boats and sea planes. I have been fascinated by them since I visited the Flying Boat Museum in Foynes, Co. Limerick which recalls the nostalgic era from 1937 to 1945 where Foynes, on the Shannon estuary on the western coast of Ireland, briefly became the centre of the aviation world. That delightful museum is housed in the original terminal building of Foynes airport and features a full size...

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Stir-fried Honey Sesame Beef

Stir-fried Honey Sesame Beef

Listen up friends you are going to LOVE this recipe. When I first visited Australia in the mid-1990s, long before I knew I would have a daughter living there, I was blown away by what was being described then as “fusion cooking”. I felt as if  I had discovered a big secret – that Australian cuisine could be sublime – a combination of wonderful fresh ingredients, the best of fish, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and...

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Unveiling the Secrets of the Red Lantern

Unveiling the Secrets of the Red Lantern

When I was discussing Asian food with Kevin Hui, owner of the China Sichuan recently, he mentioned his interest in Vietnamese food and his belief that it will grow in popularity in Ireland in the coming years. He introduced me to the writings of Luke Nguyen and lent me his book Indochine which documents the profound effect of the French on Vietnamese cuisine. He told me a little of Luke’s fascinating personal journey from being born in a...

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