It seems every 1.5 years I visit Melbourne and write about Melbourne – it’s so great, I’m so sad, life is pain. My life is garbage, Melbourne is good. My emotions are incorrect, my skills are subpar, and Melbourne is good. I’m trapped in a cage and Melbourne is good. Here’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B. But 1.5 years is a significant amount of time to grow and has evaporated most of those feelings of Melbourne existing as a hypothetical space of what I could have been.

So my guide to enjoying Melbourne in 2016 is simple: Melbourne is so nice, but this time the grass is greener on my side.

Good places to eat and be: QT Hotel Melbourne, Higher Ground, Biggie Smalls, Bad Frankie, Top Paddock, Tivoli Road Bakery, Stagger Lee’s, Brighton Beach, Marion Wine, Lune Croissanterie, Four Pillars Distillery, Beechworth Bakery, Yarra Valley Dairy, Manchester Press.

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Being a photographer with roots in food blogging makes me a resolute holiday snapper. I’ve just returned from a few days in Melbourne and while I normally produce entire blog posts of photos recounting days of eating and nice symmetry, tonight I’m isolating some holiday snaps from the amazing Lune Croissanterie. I don’t do lines, but the climate-controlled cube, the polished concrete floors and negative space coupled with the art of doing one thing and one thing well… let’s just say I’m no longer eating pastry unless it’s mathematically correct. If you can, get there.

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Some new poised work on marble (!!) for the excellent Bouche on Bridge and The Cellar here in Sydney.

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Today: two good meringues, rose-scented creme anglaise made with the remaining pair of yolks, a flourish of leftover pomegranate and some garden mint. Thank you, eggs, for the rando afternoon pavlova.

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Somewhat wiser and much less self-conscious I’m returning to my earnest roots by posting about something I made today. These are Nigella’s Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, sans chocolate chips simply because I didn’t have any, baked with Pepe Saya butter, spread with Mike McEnearney’s Kitchen by Mike blackberry jam I’ve had stashed away and served on this stunning hand thrown Chuchu bowl.

They’re comically large – with all my self-restraint and modesty I’ve sandwiched the jam by breaking one cookie in half. If you happen to accidentally overcook them a retro Plan B of a side of milk will be your saving grace.

Without the generous chocolate chips in Nigella’s original recipe these cookies won’t save the world (they require an accompaniment, hence the tart jam, and I am not the sort of blogger to advertise anything as “the best cookies you’ll ever bake!!!“) but they’re a simple pleasure amongst this #EastCoastLow Sydney storm. I haven’t left the house all day.

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Part soda factory, part bar, PS40 is one of Sydney’s most remarkable bar openings – a beautiful space punctuated with so much colour. Very #grateful for the opportunity to shoot it! Thank you Livia Lima, Thor Bergquist and Michael Chiem for having me.

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Cadbury Creme Egg and avocado toast

Hey guys! Just a quick little update here. With every blogger publishing their utterly original Easter recipes clamouring for Buzzfeed list fame, and after missing out on World Nutella Day earlier last month, I couldn’t stand not posting something of my own! Here’s a wonderful Easter themed brunch recipe to entertain both friends and family on a leisurely Easter Monday morning – Cadbury Creme Egg™ and avocado toast. The internet lives for yolkporn! And the internet lives for recipes involving the Cadbury Creme Egg™. Everybody posts them. Everybody loves Cadbury Creme Eggs™. Cadbury Creme Egg™ brownies, Cadbury Creme Egg™ cupcakes, Cadbury Creme Egg™ cookies, Cadbury Creme Egg™ ice cream, Cadbury Creme Egg™ martinis, Cadbury Creme Egg™ dip, Cadbury Creme Egg™ brioche soldiers. Put the egg on anything, everything. All hail the Mighty Egg. Like a soft yolk moments before oozing and cascading down the brittle crust of artisan bread, I wanna feel the warm embrace of Egg. It’s smashed avo with a holiday twist!!

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Cadbury Creme Egg™ and Avocado Toast
Rye bread
2 avocados
8 Cadbury Creme Eggs™
Handful of chives, chopped
2 lemons
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

1. Slice four thick slices of rye bread and pop them in the toaster.
2. Cut avocados in half, peel the skin, remove their seeds and slice thinly on the diagonal. Fan them out and divide amongst the bread.
3. Slice Cadbury Creme Eggs™ in half lengthways and nestle four halves per piece of bread in the avocado. To generate #yolkporn, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds!
4. Squeeze over quarter of a lemon lemon, sprinkle over chives, grind course salt and pepper as the final adornment and enjoy!

Cadbury Creme Egg and avocado toast


I’ve spent a long time attempting to write about my experience at Noma – paragraphs of anecdotes and waffling about complex cooking of foraged leaves, essays concerning unruly restaurant expectations of people with TripAdvisor accounts – but I’m struggling. I need to be more succinct lest I sound like a drooling fan.

I could tell you about the new friends I made from Singapore out the front as we aided each other in selfie-by-proxies at the famous restaurant’s front door, I could wax lyrical of its unexpected location, an area undergoing intensive redevelopment, or perhaps mention the intimidation which poured over me as I approached the façade I had seen in so many photos before.

We were the first to walk into the restaurant, and – “hello! Welcome to Noma!”, greeted 30 or so waitstaff and chefs in waves of humility. I was stunned. The bants of the waitstaff are so strong, as are the chefs’ as they introduced the food after introducing themselves, asking how long we were staying in Copenhagen for and about our hometown (“did you pick we were Australian from our horrible accents?”, “well yes, but I also saw the country code of your phone number of your booking”).

The dishes continued to arrive – immaculate, curated nature – they graced the table, not with any flourish, but with a casual cool composure, and I gazed toward this mysterious food, then gazed out the window to a half-constructed bridge toward Nyhavn, then gazed back to my transcendent bowl, and sighed, not a resigned sigh, but an expression of appreciation and wonderment – sedated by an unescorted grilled onion served with a single wooden spoon, and like Kanye West feeling on a typeface, I’d never felt emotions like this.

Black garlic was pressed and shaped into gorgeous flowers, an entire wild duck, shot only the day before, is served whole, then trimmed and returned to the table beside berries and greens soaked in vinegar for one year. An amalgam of esteem, humility, and flavours as stunning as new colours don’t exist anywhere else but here. Bold and kind: that’s Noma.

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Dishes pictured: Apples and lemon thyme, Øland wheat and rapeseed oil, cabbage leaves and white currants, grilled onion, grilled baby corn with cured egg yolk, new Danish potatoes and artichoke, sliced raw squid and kelp, monkfish liver, pumpkin, beechnuts and barley, vegetables flower, roasted wild duck, a dessert of Gammel Dansk and hazelnut oil, forest flavours with chocolate and egg liqueur.

The above is an excerpt (with additional photos) from my book Holiday Notes which is available to purchase here.

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Taking photos is more than pressing a button on a machine. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree with this sentiment, however there’s certainly an element of problem solving that goes hand in hand with the responsibility of making things look nice. For example: providing images of a restaurant when the restaurant doesn’t exist yet. Aside from the obvious interiors, all of the food, drink, ingredient and people photos below were taken along a wharf on a sunny Sydney day while Salaryman was still under construction. “We want them to look dark and gritty”. “Sure, no problem *tugs collar*“. Not pictured: obnoxious seagull knocking over one of the delicate ramen bowls.

Warning for the sensitive: pig carcass below.

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