Monday, August 29, 2011
Bananas in the blood
While watching Gourmet Farmer last Thursday night I saw this new magazine advertised. "Have you seen that?" asked The Husband. "They've completely ripped off the Jamie magazine design." I tut-tutted at such naughtiness while really thinking I must buy it as I like Jamie magazine but never pick it up as the seasons are all out of kilter for Southern Hemisphere dwellers and the places and shops irrelevant. So I did.
Haven't enjoyed a magazine so much in ages. Feast is SBS's food magazine and has the tag line: Experiencing Life through Food, and that's exactly what it feels like.
Next time we're up north, we'll definitely make a stop for Woolgoolga, somewhere on the coast near Coffs Harbour I gather, as it sounds like one of those great old-style beachside towns.
According to the story, it's banana-growing territory, has a population of 5000, 25 per cent of which are Sikh Indian Australians. There's an anuual food festival called Curryfest and one of the people interviewed for the story has a catering business called Curried Away and tells how he makes his lentil dahl from a secret recipe passed down from his mum. "I take my turban off to her," he says.
He is John. All his siblings have Anglo names as he says his father wanted his children to be able to relate to the wider community. "...we might be bearded and turbaned," says John, "but we're as dinky-di Australian as they come." Another local says the Sikh faith is in his blood - along with bananas. There's also a restaurant called Bluebottles Brasserie.
What's not to love about a town like that?
Then there are just the clever ideas throughout the magazine, like the Dinners & a Movie feature, which lists the French films on SBS that month along with dishes from some of them. The plum cake from Amelie will have to wait for another day, but at least I've got the recipe when the time is right.
The visual recipe index is another small touch I really like. I can't always remember the name of a dish but I'll remember the image. So simple.
This is not an ad, I promise. More a case of being beyond bored with most mainstream media and then delighting in something new and unexpected.
I was reading this in bed early on Sunday morning, which inspired me to head straight to the growers' market and cook for the rest of the day, with doors and windows wide open in the glorious spring-like weather.
If only I'd thought to make a banana cake.