Australian Gourmet Pages Newsletter
News & Views
July 2012
in this issue
Pasta Artigiana - Book Review
Savory Baking - Book Review
One of the best...
The Australian Gourmet Pages Australian Pinot Noir Challenge is on again in 2012 and will take place at Maraque on Tuesday 7th August. Can't wait to see the judges evaluate what I deem to be the best 12 Pinot Noirs with and without food. I'll report on the night on Wednesday 8th August. In the meantime have a look at the stories below
Cheers and thanks
Franz Scheurer
Article Headline

Pasta Artigiana

Simple to Extraordinary

A book review by Franz Scheurer


Nino Zoccali is not only a great Italian chef but we are lucky that his family decided to make Sydney their home. Nino is second generation Italian and he understands Italian food and what his Australian customers want. His restaurants are Pendolino and La Rosa in the Strand Arcade. Let me quote chef: "I learnt a very important lesson, one that has defined my cooking philosophy and stayed with me for my entire career - The quintessential cornerstone of great Italian cooking is simplicity, quality and above all else, flavour."


The book is divided into Dried Pasta, Fresh Pasta, Filled Pasta, Baked Pasta, Pasta Soups, Dessert Pasta and finally the Base Recipes.


The book not only looks good, it feels good, substantial and well-produced. I like to compare Nicky Ryan's photography to the essence of Italian food: It's quality, simplicity and appetising. Congratulations to Nicky Ryan; you are a very large part of the making of this book!


As Nino Zoccali states on the cover of his book: Simple to Extraordinary, and what could be simpler than his Mum's spaghetti with braised chicken thigh, tomato and rosemary sauce? It's also educational for me as this is the first time I have seen chicken and pasta used together in this form. So far I have only seen chicken used as liver or in tortellini. From his 'Domain of the North' comes the Stinging nettle tagliatelle with braised goat and thyme sauce, using fresh pasta of course. A little more involved are the Spelt tagliatelle with duck and Sangiovese sauce and I can never get enough of the classic Cheese and spinach ravioli with bunt butter and sage. I love his Roman baked gnocchi with Aglianico red wine-braised lamb neck and black salsify on pages 116/117 and if you're tired of the Australian stand-by Maccheroni cheese then it's high time you looked at chef's Maccheroni cheese with Gorgonzola dolce and San Daniele prosciutto on pages 128/129 - it's a fabulous dish. For a simple, hearty soup it's hard to go past the Butterfly pasta with broccoli and chickpeas on pages 150/151. Many of us have never tried pasta in a dessert. Chef has a whole section in his book starting with the Friulan potato dough agnolotti, a type of filled crescent. Many would have eaten the Fried pasta ribbons without being aware that they are actually made from pasta and you haven't lived if you haven't tried Dad's fried Easter pastry with honey on pages 178/179.


A comprehensive section of Base Recipe is followed by a workable index and a useful glossary.


This is a pasta book for most of us; a book that you will cook out of, a book to be used. Get it as soon as it comes out in August. 


The book is published by Murdoch Books and will be in the shops at a RRP $ 49.99.

ISBN: 978-1742660875



Article Headline

Savory Baking

From the Mediterranean

Anissa Helou

A book review by Franz Scheurer


I admit it, I'm a cookbook collector and although not quite as 'bitten by the bug' as Mitch Green (who has the largest cookbook collection I know of) we do have a roomful of cookbooks. Why do I tell you this? Because 'Savory Baking' ranks amongst my Top Ten!


If you are into bread then this is a must have. It deserves a place in your kitchen and once it is well-thumbed and fat-splattered, it will have given you many culinary WOW moments.


The book looks kind of old-fashioned; it's in black & white (except for the dust jacket) and frankly, the photographic reproduction sucks. What counts, however, this book has soul. The recipes not only sound appetising, they work.


The book is divided into: Focaccias and Pizzas, Other Flatbreads, Plain Raised Breads, Flavored Raised Breads, Breadsticks Rings and Rusks, Pies and Tarts and finally Savory Pastries. These chapters are followed by a small bibliography and an index.


Anissa Helou, the author of Savory Baking is this grand, passionate, sweeping-everything-up-in-her-path, culinary persona, who's charm will take you in immediately. Her passion is tangible and infectious. Some of the recipes stand out for me for many different reasons, but the Yemeni Bread on pages 82/93 was like meeting an old friend after many years. I ate this in Yemen and haven't tasted it in decades and here it was, in black & white. Reading it made me salivate and it was the first thing I had to try. There are so many treasure in this book: Moroccan Multilayered Breads, Tunisian Spicy Breads, Lebanese Morning Bread, Sicilian Eggplant Bread Rolls, Greek Saints' Day Bread or for something a little different: Radicchio Pie or Watercress Pie. It just doesn't end...


This is an incredible collection of recipes the way the old people used to bake around the Mediterranean, traditions that are slowly fading, and not only is it history on a page, the recipes are achievable. I appeal to any home-baker to get this book and try some of the treasures, and I appeal to any professional baker to read this very carefully; you might just learn something or get inspired.


The book is published by William Morrow (HarperCollins Publishers.

ISBN: 978-0-06-054219-1

RRP $41.95


One of the best whisky/whiskey lists
(Sunrise at the entrance to Tower Lodge)

Tower Lodge is beautiful; it's the perfect place to spend a luxurious weekend in the Hunter and you have George Francisco's fantastic Robert's Restaurant within walking distance (part of the Tower Estate). You definitely need to experience both, I can't recommend it highly enough. But there is another reason (at least for me) to stay at Tower Lodge and eat at Robert's Restaurant: Their Whisky/Whiskey list. It's amazing and one of the best I have seen.
Here are the goodies they have for you:

Whisky/Whiskey List Tower Lodge

BLENDS Scotland

Chivas Regal 12 y/o

Johnny Walker Red

Johnny Walker Black


SINGLE MALT - Scotland

Ardbeg 10 y/o

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 1990 Limited Release

Ardbeg Alligator

Ardbeg Uigeadail

Blackadder Raw Cask Bunnahabhain 1991

Duthies Macallan 22 y/o


Glengoyne 21 y/o

Glenmorangie 10yr

Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or

Longrow 18 y/o

Rosebank 12 y/o

Southern Coast Batch 006

The Famous Grouse 18 y/o (vatted malt)



White Oak Akashi 12 y/o


WHISKEY - Ireland

Writers' Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Tullamore Dew



WHISKEY - America

Jack Daniels Old No. 7

Jack Daniels Single Barrel

Makers Mark

Southern Comfort

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey Rare Breed


Not all of the above are available at the restaurant but they are all at Tower Lodge. Being winter and having the perfect seating in front of a roaring log fire at Tower Lodge, i recommend you have dinner at Robert's then retire up to the lodge and settle in for a couple of drams as a nightcap. You could do worse...


Tower Estate Winery 

Robert's Restaurant 





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