SPICE magazine

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Ooh issue 13 of SPICE – Western Australia’s only non-lifestyle magazine. Cracking cover photo by Craig Kinder of Riki Kaspi of Blakes Cafe in Mt Lawley.

I’m still riding the roller coaster of emotions in making a mag from ‘I don’t think I can do this’ to ‘ when will this issue ever be finished’ to ‘if I could just spend a few quiet days with my playstation and not think about it’ before soaring to ‘well that’s a pretty cool issue but I wish I’d done a better job on the headlines’. Like most things worth doing, it’s interminably frustrating but ultimately rewarding involving good people and a large amount of laughs.

This issue is filled with good but my particular fave is Vince’s heartfelt terror of deep frying a whole turkey going horribly wrong and that we’ve hit the magical sweet spot between Gourmet Traveller and the Countryman. You can also play ‘spot my daughter’ – it’s a bit trickier this time.

It’d be remiss of me not to suggest that a subscription would make an ace christmas present for the food lover(s) in your family and that this presents the opportunity to win a holiday for two in Mauritius, staying in the 5 star Constance Le Prince Maurice resort – wooh!

Spice Mountain

spice mountain

The fruit of my labour is a big pile of randomly stacked boxes. Spice Spring issue is out and details are all here. You should get one, it’s broadranginglicious

Speaking of ‘fruits of’ and ‘labour’, a tiny person is due late February.

shun cleaver

I’ve been meaning to show off my highly desirable damascan steel Shun cleaver. It’s been a torrid three month’s and I don’t want to kiss and tell but lets just say “cabbage” “all night long” of you know what I mean and I think you do. It’s a sharp metal testament to the fruits of blogging thanks to the Kitchen Warehouse ad rightwards (thank you clickers).

If any of you have been wondering what Spice magazine is actually like apart from my rambly blurbs and can’t get access to a paper copy, you can have a butchers at some sample pages here.

I was at a vertizontal tasting today (2004! 2007!) and was asked in front of a group of twenty people what I thought of a 2001 shiraz. It was a year 10 algebra what do you think x is Georgeff? moment. I think I’ve got a repertoire of 1.4 intelligent things I can say about a given wine before bouncing the question on. I’m actually pretty happy with this amount, winemaking is an enormously complex process and 1.4 is about what I deserve. The more I learn the more respect I have. That said, I was reading about a South Australian winery that named their wines after rock albums. It’s a swell idea with lots of potential – Paranoid Pinot Gris, Master of Puppets Mourvedre, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back Sem Sav and the 2003 1984.
They chose Joshua Tree.
God weeps.
Some say Gram Parsons died at Joshua Tree, I say it killed him.


spice winter 07

Ah yeah Spice Winter (Issue 7) is out. It’s an odd one but a good one. Not odd as in stories on Victorian Era Magnetic Therapies odd (that’s Autumn ’08) but more that it’s the first edition where the two main stories haven’t been food – Margaret River Shiraz and food packaging design. Otherwise it felt like the first one where I felt at ease (judged by gaviscon consumption). I mean it still involved roasting and photographing veges early on a Sunday morning with a hangover five days before going to press, a very speciall appearance by my car’s hula mascot, and mentally willing the delay of a the birth of child by a day or two so we could get a story and the cover shot done.

It’s all good.

Anyway, it’s available on all good shoe-surrounded renovated verandah chairs, newsagencies across Australia and the following places. (subscriptions!)

Kakulas Sister (Freo), Wine Liasons (Freo),Fresh Provisions (Bicton, Claremont, Mt Lawley), Mondo Di Carne (Inglewood), Sealanes (South Freo), The Home Provedore (Freo, Claremont), O2H (Nedlands), The Grocer (Nedlands), Lady Kitchener (Claremont), Black Duck Gourmet Pantry (Albany), Blackwood Kitchen (Bridgetown), Seashack (Esperance), Get Stuffed Olive Company (Gingin), Loose Produce (Como), Margaret Riviera (Cowaramup), Picobello Patisserie (Bicton), Swansea Street Markets (East Vic Park), Boatshed Markets (Cottesloe), Gourmet Centro (Subiaco), Vanilla (South Freo), Angelo Street Markets (South Perth), Food for Me (East Vic Park), Kailis Fishmarkets (Leederville), Clayton’s Quality Meats (South Perth) Kitchen Warehouse (Osborne Park), The Beaufort Street Merchant (Mt Lawley), Rising the in the Yeast (Myaree), Love Me Tender Butchery (Palmyra), Crave On (Leederville), Cherry’s Fine Food (Mt Pleasant), Matters of Taste (Bicton), Deli Di Mondo (Attadale), George Street Merchants (East Freo), Malibu Fresh Essentials (Safety Bay), Cape Kitchen (Busselton), Margaret River Venison (Cowaramup), Chilli Hot Kitchenware (Dunsborough), Taste of Balingup (Balingup)

hum hum hum hum

Oooh I love the thrumm of modernity. It was a brief fantasy last Friday in the Claisbrook House of Bondage but the normality of independent publishing was restored with a ’til midnight stint of mag packing
to white wine, the smell of heat sealed plastic, and the pleasing sounds of DLR Van Halen and Heart to get the mag to the post office by Saturday morning.

This is the fifth issue and my third as editor and while the previous two were gaviscon and instant coffee fuelled festivals of dread, this one was an actual pleasure to do. So calm was I for all but a few days, that I’d assumed my brain had gone into some sort of self defence mechanism and placated me with endorphins. The actual reason is that I seem to have got my editor thing together and systems systems systems. None of this would of course have been possible without Kate the fabulous and hard working graphic designer, Jeff the magnificent and multi-tasking photographer, and the fourth Beatle (if there were three) and Cyrano to my Christian (without the nose) the wise and hard but fair Kate. It also involved a lot of help from basically very lovely people doing bookwork and proofing, writing and photography. I find it hard to look at the mag when it’s all done but the process has always been a pleasure.

Anyhoo regular and potential readers and subscribers, hope you like Summer Spice because it’s rather good. With stories interlaced in intermeshing on multiple levels, there’s stories on the people who produce and get oysters, prawns, pearl meat, and scallops; recipes aplenty; chats with chefs; complicated diagrams; 14 actual jokes; Italy; Singapore; buckwheat farmers; a guide to Beaufort Street; a bespoke cocktail; obscure reference to Margaret Thatcher and ice-cream; reasons to drink Verdelho right now; and, my personal fave, instructions with pictures on how to STUFF FIVE (5) BIRDS INSIDE EACHOTHER!!1!1!1!!!!! (and you can win one).

Subscribe for yourself or for someone deserving for christmas. Available in all good newsagents (hassle them) and at the following outlets around WA.

Fresh Provisions (Mt Lawley), Sealanes (Freo), Kakulas Sister (Freo), Wine Liasons (Freo), The Home Provedore (Freo), O2H (Nedlands), The Grocer (Nedlands), Lady Kitchener (Claremont), Black Duck Pantry (Albany), Blackwood Kitchen (Bridgetown), Seashack (Esperance), Get Stuffed Olive Company (Gingin), Loose Produce (Como), Margaret Riviera (Cowaramup), Picobello Patisserie (Bicton), Swansea Street Markets (East Vic Park), Gourmet Centro (Subiaco), Vanilla (Fremantle), Angelo Street Markets (South Perth), and Food for Me (East Vic Park), Clayton’s Quality Meats (South Perth) Kitchen Warehouse (Osborne Park), Margaret River Venison (Cowaramup)


beer and trowel

Hooray the mag is off to the gestetners. Which leaves me to indulge in my three favourite things – beer, country music, and trowelling.

And I’ve a hankering to make a lemon-meringue pie so maybe I might actually put some food up here.


from an ice-cream photo shoot. My father would be so ashamed.

spring spice

Spice Spring is out and it is arguably the best Spice ever. Frankly it’s a stonking good read and damnably good looking with pastry stuff and things on cheese, pics of cars and bikes, ill conceived pic of editor, at least four sentences which only make any sense to me, bananas, butterflied pigs and so much much more. Go get one, get two even. Tell your friends. Subscribe!

Available at good newsagents or Fresh Provisions (Mt Lawley), Sealanes (Freo), Kakulas Sister (Freo), Wine Liasons (Freo), The Home Provedore (Freo), O2H (Nedlands), The Grocer (Nedlands), Lady Kitchener (Claremont), Black Duck Pantry (Albany), Blackwood Kitchen (Bridgetown), Seashack (Esperance), Get Stuffed Olive Company (Gingin), Loose Produce (Como), Margaret Riviera (Cowaramup), Picobello Patisserie (Bicton), Swansea Street Markets (East Vic Park), Gourmet Centro (Subiaco), Vanilla (Fremantle), Angelo Street Markets (South Perth), and Food for Me (East Vic Park), Kitchen Warehouse (Osborne Park), Margaret River Venison (Cowaramup)

final proofing spring

Spring Spice mag is off to the printers and a word I thought of was jubilant. Not a word I use a lot, probably due to it’s a associates with Pascall Fruit Jubes – and what horrible things they were, especially when compared to Clinkers. Anyway I was happy but I can’t say it’s been the easiest of experiences unless I’m overstating the effects of wild mood swings. I’d like to think it was the steady application of effort but it seems a constant emotional hurdy gurdy thing. Some days I’m Eliza Doolittle, others I’m Don Knott the Reluctant Astronaut.

I swear there were moments when I though ‘perhaps I can just drive my car North until I run out fuel and money and then wander around the dessert until found months, if not years, later. I think this was the time of neeeeeeeed advertising and mag is a pile of word documents with unresolvable sentences and there’s a six page spread that is still completely unsorted, no pic for the cover, and somebody’s just emailed to say they’re not going to be able to do the story they promised. Not that it was all due to drama, sometimes you wake up and think what the hell am I doing running a magazine? And I guees this is to be expected in something that you have a financial and emotional commitment in, there’s a lot of self inveested in these things. But then there’s not too much analysis needed for the feeling involved in apparently losing two photo shoots and then ripping a hinge off my powerbook on a Friday evening just before heading off home.

But it picks up. Usually around the time pages start appearing on InDesign. Things that need to be written turn out to be much less the drama they’re anticipated as. Stories get finished, proofing work turns to quibbling over commas, more ads come in and you can start to see where it ends and can have a bit of non-manic laugh.

And it’s done and it’s away at the printer. And it’s great, not perfect but great and I’ve got a weekend. And I’m going to cook my little heart out.

Mental notes for next issue
-get new coffee cup
-not laugh at own jokes
-ask fellow directors if they’re bothered by sailor-like levels of swearing
-learn to say barista properly
-save untouched raw photos in a special place
-get microphone that doesn’t make interviews sound like Mr Noisy meets the Mud Men.
-institute floggings for use of ampersand

Postscript: Bah what moany nonsense. Sure it blows at times but it’s tops to be out there and doing it.

spice winter

Spice magazine winter edition should be in letterboxes soon and shops any day now. Go buy one, actually buy two (coffee table copy, kitchen copy) and then tell your friends to buy one. It’s great, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered. Knives, butchers, kosher food, New Guinean success stories, and local recipes galore.
Subscriptions here (overseas folks, email me).

[I am so fricking proud of that knife page]

smoked salmon cut

This is easy. Part of the lunch for the-mag-is-away weekend, the Michel Roux jnr lamb cooked in a salt dough was a little trickier, maybe I’ll explain that later.

1 cup of aborio rice, 1/4 cup raw sugar, and 1 tbs of darjeeling tea. It was supposed to be jasmine rice, brown cane sugar, and jasmine tea but well I fould out I didn’t have any of these and just made do. Place it on a sheet of foil (didn’t have that either) and then place it in a wok. Place the fish in a bamboo steamer and then place that in the wok and turn up the heat. It should begin to smoke and allow it to continue to do so for about 15 minutes or until cooked. Outdoors is probably a good idea. Sliced and eaten and enjoyed a great deal. The lamb was good too with the tarragon crumbs giving it a richness that felt at times like gargling hollandaise.

Trickier still and unlike gargling hollandaise is getting out a mag. Just got back from going over the proofs, the final stage before it goes to press and yes I’m happy. The whole thing looks great. Although (inevitably) I’m not that happy with some of my stories but happy with some bits, especially the ones that made me laugh. These are at my own jokes though so the experience may be somewhat different for the rest of you. A late night but a rewarding one seeing it finally all together. Most of my work (I’m editor now – yeah yeah well I just write it here, I don’t check it) involved sitting and looking at the very unmagical MS Word and printouts, there’s then a fantastic transition when I get to see it come together on InDesign by our designer Kate with the pics from photographic editor Jeff. But nothing like big bits of paper with lines all over the margin bits (as they say in the industry). It’s quite a few more involved than just us three – Kate found herself invaluably (for us) shanghai’d and of course my wife has gone from blog widow to mag widow (but both of these have a better ring to them than bike widow) and has given me more support than I deserved. Done. Out in a week or so, when I think I’ll be licking stamps or something.

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Autumn Edition

Out in the shops now (obviously more than five copies). I was going to go on about how putting out a mag isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be or that I recognise how unfair it is that I get to be an editor purely because of my good looks but instead I’ll just say wooh!

Lots of magic stuff on things food and drink in Western Australian that does us proud and there’s a picture of my bum on page 69 courtesy of 2 Minute Noodle Cook.

Clarification: I should explain that despite sharing names this isn’t the magazine for this blog and this isn’t the site for the magazine although I am a director. For all official things I should point you in the direction of Spice Magazine, currently having a bit of a shake up with a few ums and ahs about the layout.

the model of propriety

And so with the traditional offering of a bank transfer, four cinnamon doughnuts, and four glazed doughnuts, I was handed the sacred red apron and officially became part-owner of Spice magazine. An auspicious moment, the next edition is looking the business by the way.


Work progresses slowly at spiceblog

My lackeys lag. Trying to finish off a story for Spice mag and all I can say is that if I cooked like I wrote I would be a lean 23kg instead of my actual 72. Onions would be replaced by garlic which would in turn be tossed out in favour of yams before eventually settling with onion again and then not having a clue what I was going to do next. Can somebody else out there gently stroke my hair and tell me that they can’t hammer out 500 words like a short order cook either (or just tell me to get on with it ya precious git).

Once done, and it will be tonight, good things will happen – stories from Sydney, an archive with pictures, recipes, and more gnome pictures. Back to it cheetah, and you too cheetah.


It’s officially out. The launch was on Monday night and a deserved success for Jeff Atkinson, Kate Lindsay, John Loss, and Claire Kaylock. A fun night in lovely weather, attended by around 300 people, who ate local food and drank local beer and wine all supported by local businesses in the Western Australian food industry. Thanks to those that came along and those that posted about it.

The magazine is brilliant and a testament to what people can do with a sound set of principles, ideas, skills, and hard work. It manages to perfectly encapsulate the local producers it set out to represent.

Relatively speaking I’ve played a minor part and was fortunate be as much in the magazine as I am. There are a few of my photos, an inteview I did, a story I assembled, and a piece I wrote on ermmm me (yeah I know I still feel a bit of a knob about this). My feelings about this are equal parts pride and urk. Hasn’t stopped numerous – oi look I’m in this mag incidents though. Many thanks to the Kate, Jeff, John and Claire and to all the readers here who have encouraged me with my writing and thus making the transition from this little digital experiment to analoguey wood based stuff. My esky appears on page 8.

Out now in the newsagents.

Spice Magazine

A plug. Spice magazine‘s first edition will be out at the end of November. This is not only a good thing for its four creators but a good thing for food here. Its slogan is a magazine celebrating the diversity of food and life in Western Australia and its emphasis is on local food producers. This might sound like an excessively foody concern but it’s not. Unobtainable, exotic, and imported shouldn’t be the pinnacle of food experience, nor should a constant stream of refrigeration trucks be the norm. Instead we should be making produce as available, as excellent, and as local as possible. Anyone who has been in WA for the past 5 to 10 years should be aware of the rate of change that is happening here and will continue to happen if people who have been making these changes through their own dedication are supported. We should look to becoming one of the premier food producing areas of the region, if not the world.

Sorry I’m getting all evangelical here, but I really think this is a great thing to get behind and there’s a special get one get one free gift subscription offer on for Christmas. Ideal for self-interested generosity and alternative to the silicon oven mitt on the shopping list. Details become clear if you click on the photie for an enlarged view. Otherwise, any questions, see me.

Other things:
Ni Hao/ Ni Hou Ma. As much as I’m enjoying my food bloggy dreams creeping into reality, what I’ve always really wanted was a TV show where it’s me and three gorgeous women, they could solve crimes and I would make stuffed chicken with couscous. An article in the local Chinese newspaper will do fine for now. Many thanks MicheLLe.
-cheers to Craftapalooza for those nifty fridge magnets in the photo up top. I’ll have to do a post on the great stuff she’s given me.

Giant Ram

I pity the poor fool that doesn’t start their weekend on Thursday. Backtracking from a glass of wine to finish the night at Jackson’s, I’ve now been there approximately one week in total time, which isn’t a bad way to look at where I am and what I’ve done. I’m still learning and also consolidating. I had another go at deboning a couple of quails, I made a mayonnaise and remembered to add the oil drop by drop rather than pour it in and ask “now what?”.

I can chop chop chop and peel peel peel. I’m still doing at least half a dozen things wrong in an evening but these are at least not in the things I’ve been taught to do. Mark, who just snared himself gold, bronze, gold in a local comp, has taken it upon himself to keep an eye on me for when I stray and quickly sets me straight- whether it’s cleaning and flipping a board after chopping up garlic or the right way to segment an orange. Tanya gave me my first list of jobs, which I took as a sacred bond of trust, fields questions, and is going to teach me how to not sharpen knives like a “cocky”. Krystin is starting to get dessert questions and Michelle talked me through how she organises and works through a night of service and set me straight on reducing stocks. Chef wasn’t there , which is good because word has it I’m in the shit for my devasting review of the air-conditioning. It was a relatively quiet night so I took a few pics. I’ve organised a set on Flickr of pics you’ve seen but also some new ones. They’re here: Jackson’s Restaurant


Omnivoribus Australis – Edition IV is up and word has reached as far as San Francisco – home of bays, gays, and clam bisques. It’s your monthly one-stop shop for austro-zealandian food and wine blog and gender clarification. Fans of eggs and 70’s music, if they haven’t yet, should get to the EoMEoTE#11—The Round-up before the drum solo finishes.

Barchetta in Cottesloe deftly evades the general rule on bars and restaurants named after vehicles being naff (although Cafe Kremenchug Auto Zavod KrAZ-260 would not be without its charms) and disappoints by actually having reet tasty tapas and thus not letting me call it Barfetta. Pity the frustrated food snark, maybe I will anyway, no that would be wrong, wrong, wrong. Bloody noisy though, a victim of its own ocean overlooking popularity. The beers at the OBH are still cold and writing is hard work.

and then a cold frosty beer

Top tip: when taking some cheese along to a picnic, remove the plastic wrap and wrap it in greaseproof paper for that just cut from the cheese wheel look.

picnic Eric Toni and Kate

The Spice Magazine peoples had a picnic to try and capture the spirit of the summer and snag that elusive cover pic. So myself, Toni and the barge widow Kate went along to the Matilda Bay foreshore with my lambchops, asparagus, and eggplants as well as Holy Smoke Chicken pate, goats cheese, olives, bottle of champagne, a sixpack of Swan Stout and a bottle of lemonade. Mucho relaxation was had, freed from the pressures of the press room, time enough to sit in the sun, on the grass, and visualise the successful future that would bring a red and white Square Rigged Spice Yacht moored in the Swan River. I discovered I had a rare talent for making the ukelele a depressing instrument. Back to work, they’ve got three weeks left before it goes to the publishers and stay tuned for a remarkable subscription offer.

That’s it. Sunday’s good lookin’ country cookin’ will be up soon.

plinka plunka

Stop the press Crafty tip-off: I know it’s not about the stuff [cough] but how good does this look. Is it just me? Anyone actually used them? And why does one of them look like they’ve been stuffed with bin liner?


Cambinata Yabbies Dinner

Sorry, haven’t posted for near on a week but I’ve been batching learning how to peel an artichoke taking team portraits for the Wembley footy club interviewing Curtis from Surfing the Menu for Spice Magazine faffing around with MySQL and movable type Perl stuff with the wrong manual catching up with a friend who went overseas with a partner and came back without one being the first person in 6 months to order a pepper vodka and tonic dancing badly making boozey black olive and sheep’s cheese scrambled eggs with a garnish of rolled and sliced flat mountain bread practicing In My Head driving 350km to a fancy dinner in a shearing shed at a yabby farm blagging half a dozen bottles of wine meeting trout farmer and biodynamic wheat farmer judging a best comment post for Santos and all with Barracuda in my head. Might pop some more piccies here later.

Cambinata Extravaganza Menu