Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rick Stein, where are you?

Since returning from the UK MB has discovered that Rick Stein is presently in Australia. As MB didn't get a chance to go to Padstowe to genuflect at Rick's Shrine there may be a chance she could attend his cooking demonstration at Palm Cove, if only she could find out where it's being held!

A colleague of MB's told her he'd heard quite a bit of advertising for this event whilst she was in the UK, but he couldn't remember which restaurant was hosting this singular event. MB has been calling restaurants at Palm Cove and getting various responses such as "Who's he, never heard of him?" or "If you find out can you let us know where it is?".

MB has scoured the internet for information but so far unable to unearth any forward event information pertaining to Rick Stein. She even set up a Google news alert and is getting tantalising snippets, the last news item a couple of days ago was from a local paper in Ulladulla where Rick cooked a meal for a some sort of club. It appears he was in Adelaide prior to that for a food festival there. So MB can take heart that he does appear to be heading north.

Just caught Rick's new doco about cooking for the Japanese Ambassador in London, thoroughly enjoyed it. Rick really knows how to convey his reverence for fresh seasonal ingredients and simple, but sensational dishes. His enthusiasm and bonhomie is such a delight.

Upcoming Reading

The long awaited instalment in Colleen McCullough's "Masters of Rome" series, "Antony and Cleopatra" has just landed at Cairns' library. MB is fifth in line for this book and is eagerly anticipating a very engrossing and entertaining read. Colleen McCullough's research skills and ability to weave a great story are second to none. Her books are such a treat to read.

MB also noticed a new fiction offering from Paul Theroux, "The Elephanta Suite", set in India. Sounds promising, so MB has also reserved a copy of this.

Speaking of books, Michael Palin will be in Australia soon to launch his new book about Eastern Europe. When MB was in London she tried to attend Palin's book launch there, but missed the last ticket by 10 minutes! Of course he ain't coming to Cairns, just visiting the capital cities dammit.

However our little outpost of Cairns is on the itinerary for Monica McInerney, author of "Those Faraday Girls". MB gets the feeling this book is in the same genre as those of Maeve Binchy, not really MB's cup of tea, but being the loyal member she is, MB will show her support and attend the event as it is being hosted by Cairns' Library.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hong Kong Foodie Encounter

During the short Hong Kong stopover the subject of Tony Bourdain came up whilst the trio were at dinner, as Bourdain's series "No Reservations" is a great favourite of both MB & MDR. PB mentioned the Hong Kong episode which unfortunately MB & MDR has missed. One of PB's restaurateur mates, Frank (not "Harry" as previously reported), happened to be Tony Bourdain's guide in this particular episode.

Later in the evening, after leaving the Bhatti Bar, the trio came across the pictured Hawker stand just down the street from the bar. PB mentioned this was Raddie's favourite nosh spot in HK, so the trio stopped and sampled some traditional Chinese desserts, Black Sesame gruel and Coconut Sago porridge. A few minutes later Frank happened to walk by and PB beckoned him over so MB could quiz Frank on Tony Bourdain. Frank was very diplomatic, revealing that Tony was a very nice guy and quite the perfectionist.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Three Continents in Three Days

MB & MDR arrived back home yesterday after a two day (1 night) stopover in Hong Kong. The flight from London to HK was approximately 12 hours and the pair arrived relatively rested after being able to sleep most of the overnight flight (even though the pair were travelling cattle class). Not long after checking into the Holiday Inn Express at Causeway Bay it was dinnertime, so it was off to PB's fave Chinese and true to his promise the food was excellent. Also visited Soho and checked out the Bhatti Bar, where they make a great Pina Colada.

The following day the trio visited the Panda bears at Ocean Park. There are now 4 Pandas resident here in upgraded and air-conditioned enclosures. Two of the Pandas were up and about and MB as always was completely beguiled. Ocean Park was spruiking Halloween bigtime with halloween merchandise everywhere as well as the usual props such as monsters, pumpkins etc. Unfortunately they'd also managed to find some "scary" synthesised halloween music which was blaring from multiple speakers, the maximum distance between each speaker could not have been more than 3m, ensuring blanket coverage throughout the park. Peace broke out in the cable car though, thank God no speakers in them. They're probably working on rectifying this omission though.

After building up an appetite at Ocean Park PB again proved himself to be the ultimate host and took the pair to his favourite Sushi joint, Sushi Sumi, for another super meal. MDR was ready for a nap by then so MB went off for some retail therapy. Loads of excellent shopping all around the Holiday Inn.

After an evening dim sum meal at the IFC Mall above the Hong Kong MTR station, the pair took the airport express back to HK airport for their overnight, direct, flight back to Cairns. This is a pretty short flight, around 7 hours, but neither MB nor MDR slept much so both arrived home absolutely wasted. It is however great to be home after 6 weeks away.