Published in the City Hub and City News.
Even with the weather being recalcitrant, summer is a time to store up lasting memories with family and friends. I recall one glorious afternoon spent under the leafy green arbour of a Paddington backyard. The property’s owner was none other than Max Kreijn - painter, writer and a truly fabulous home cook...
As we supped on his lime spatchcock, I flicked through the wonderfully painterly pages of his cookbook, The Painter In The Kitchen [RRP $38].
It’s now onto its second run in this portent Year of the Dragon, a fact Max plays cheeky homage to with a cover of (Thai) dragon fruit. Max dedicates it to his mother, grandmothers and aunts, who (thankfully) “did not think it was girly for a ten-year-old boy to want to learn how to cook”. Alongside the dish I so enjoyed, you’ll find Max’s two favourites Gigot Farci (garlic stuffed deboned leg of lamb) and a risotto with zucchini-flowers, tucked away amongst 150 recipes and 100 paintings. Buy it from Amazon if you enjoy classic, non-fussy dishes stemming mostly from the south of France, or if you just like owning beautiful things.
Max always cooks with a glass of red wine at hand, which brings me to my second item, Bartender of the Year. It has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? This is Phil Gandevia of Eau de Vie (still my favourite cocktail bar) making the winning entry in the first semi-final of this year’s World Class cocktail competition. He took out the Gentleman’s Cocktail category aboard a boozy boat cruising Sydney Harbour earlier in January. He’ll be competing for the national title against Melbournite Fred Siggins from Kodiak Club, and Queenslander Perryn Collier from The Laneway. The winner will carry our Aussie hopes into the esteemed World Class global final. Honestly for me, it’s just a really good excuse to drink a bloody good cocktail. I’m already feeling a powerful thirst for Phil’s creation - The Continental.
If you can’t stand waiting in a cocktail queue, grab some champers and dive out into any breaks in this wild, windy weather. Rather than tell you about my personal favourites, I’ll direct you to another book. This one is also by someone I’ve had the pleasure of dining with – Jayne Powell, better known as Champayne Jayne. She’s produced a great book called Champagnes - Behind The Bubbles [RRP $80] that will help you through ‘champagne season’ with clever drinking facts like how many bubbles are in your average glass, as well as a beginners guide to future champagne snobbery.