Only The best Will Do In Australia's Whitsunday Islands
images: John Douglas, JohnDouglasArt.com
Australia's Hayman Island Resort does not rise above its competition. That's because it has no competition; this exemplary member of The Leading Hotels of The World is peerless and works hard to stay that way.
Rooms at Hayman are large and varied in their floorplans, accommodating guests' preferences as precisely as possible. Spacious rooms with big bathrooms, big dressing areas, expansive walls that seem to move out rather than close in, and, of course, glass doors to the balconies, where views of the grounds and the water are uplifting to say the least. Hayman offers rooms with pool access directly off their own private decks, avoiding the need to walk through a lobby in wet swimmers. there is, in fact, no lobby at all at Hayman resort; guests are encouraged to feel at home, not at a hotel. larger still are the suites, which are also available in a variety of arrangements and decoration as epitomised by the luxurious penthouses. For total indulgence, there is even a pool villa right on the sand, a freestanding, one-bedroom cottage that easily seduces guests to extend their stays once ensconced in its comfortable ambience, which flows outdoors to a private plunge pool and beach deck. For those who seek to connect more with the land than with the sea, there are Retreat Wing rooms with outdoor showers surrounded by the resort's lush vegetation; a busy team of envirotherapists cares for the 650,000 plants, shrubs, and trees that make Hayman's gardens as luxuriant as the resort is luxurious.
Part of that finesse is found in the property's restaurants. Fine dining is a big part of the Hayman experience; with options ranging from the informal settings of La Trattoria and The Beach Pavilion to the elegance of La Fontaine, Hayman is worth a visit for the culinary experiences alone. True gourmets will enjoy a dinner at the chef's bench amongst the busy workings of the kitchen, where the chef prepares a 16-course series of tastes especially for the guests at his table. The fine food is accompanied by wine from Hayman's considerable cellar, stocked with more than 10,000 bottles. if you've been good boys and girls, a rewarding trip to the Chocolate Room will end the night in a fantasy of cocoa creations. The chef's table, wine cellar, and Chocolate Room are three components of one of Hayman's Signature Experiences, which include extraspecial culinary experiences at Hayman Cooking Academy.
Unlike other isolated resorts where guests can be captive to exploitation by virtue of their remoteness, Hayman takes another approach. Affable General Manager Roger Wright explains that the resort's culinary experiences are designed to be comparable to the world's top restaurants since guests must be pleased with both the diversity and the quality of the food, ambience, and service, all of which, as Hayman's many awards can attest, are among the best in Australia. With that attitude, it's no wonder Mr. Wright's leadership provides inspiration to an extremely friendly and attentive staff trained with equal parts style and efficiency.
Those apply especially to Hayman weddings, very popular with couples looking to start their lives together in low-key but still-grand fashion. With a crack team of professionals who have many years' experience in making the big day a memory of a lifetime, Hayman is, not surprisingly, highly sought after as a wedding venue. The intimate, hilltop chapel, where brides arrive in a classic Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, and its serene views of the Coral Sea that charm guests and newlyweds alike, certainly make a superb setting. What better way to enjoy a honeymoon that to get married after it has begun?
I haven't even mentioned sea kayaking, massages in the ocean, helicopter flightseeing tours, nighttime reef diving, tours of the resort's 20-million dollar art collection, or Hayman's famous pool; you'll just have to check them out for yourself at hayman.com.au, where a comprehensive overview of the entire resort is ready and waiting for you.
SPICE OF LIFE: Spice colours and aromas transport us to exotic places. Picture: John Fotiadis Source: the Daily Telegraph
DOES your mind wander to Morocco when looking forlornly at a lamb chop? does a bland-looking chicken breast remind you of that dish at your favourite resort in Singapore, Thailand or Bali? If the vegetables at the bottom of the crisper are looking for a hot destination, then perhaps you should send them to India?
Not literally, of course, but those spices you have been neglecting in the back of the cupboard and that idea buried in a cookbook are just screaming to be used.
Not only is spice behind the colour and flavour of some of the world's most exotic dishes, but the trade in it has also been behind the exploration of countries, the fighting of wars; some spices have even been worth more than gold.
Australia's best-known spice man, Ian "Herbie" Hemphill, has a list of 20 spices from which he says you can create just about any dish from around the globe, from the heat of Tangier and Mumbai to the steamy jungle-green flavours of South-East Asia and southern China.
And dealing in spices is the second oldest profession, jests Ian, as their use can be traced back to 50,000BC.
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"The main difference is that spices are the buds, bark, roots, berries and seeds," he says.
"Herbs are the leaves of plants, so when we use coriander leaf we refer to it as a herb, but when we use coriander seed, we say we are using a spice."
But that's not what first comes to mind when the pungent aroma of coriander, cumin, fenugreek, star anise or sumac fills your kitchen.
It's more than likely to be a favourite restaurant, travel destination or special event. While there is much talk about the spices we use in cooking, not much has changed in what we actually use, says Fiona Tomlin of MasterFoods.
"People are wanting to cook similar-type food but add a little twist," she says.
"People aren't looking for complicated solutions that perhaps have 10 new things that they've got to add to their recipe. It's the idea of making mash but adding a shake of nutmeg, to give it a slightly different flavour."
Similarly, the other major herb and spice supplier, McCormick, has just released a new spice product called Rice Cookers, a packet mix base developed with a blend of herbs and spices after the success of its slow Cookers, another packet mix base that has been on supermarket shelves for the past 12 months.
Australia spice expert Vic Cherikoff sees a return to spices being appreciated for their health benefits.
"I think we are going back to that way of thinking," he says of spices, which were first used for their apparent health-giving or curative properties.
While some countries are famous for their use of a particular spice, they don't necessarily come from that country, says Ian, who has just released another book, Just Add Spice ($49.95), with Lyndey Milan, which matches wines with dishes containing spices.
The spice address book
ALL INDIA FOODS
Address: 31 Balaclava St, Woolloongabba
Phone: 3391 1420
Like a mini-supermarket, there are aisles of spicy supplies, most available in super-sized packs. There's chilli and fennel seeds, cumin, galangal, ginger and caraway as well as large jars of chutney and pickles, and sacks of rice all at lower-than supermarket prices.
Gaynor Long custom blends spices for chefs and caterers as well as the public at Jan Power's Farmer's markets including the CBD on Wednesdays. you can also order online via her website or from Taste for the love of Cooking in Fortitude Valley (ph 3252 1022). There's a huge rangeincluding Zaatar,; there's sumac and baharat, and spices mixes for Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and Indian cooking.
THE SPICE TRAIL
Address: 15 Myall St (cnr Coolibah St), Southport
Phone: 5528 5522
A spice smorgasbord can be found in this shop owned by Parvin Balsara who emigrated from Mumbai 20 years ago. she blends 20 different mixes from across the world which include her personalised version of Ras El Hanout, the essential Moroccan spice used in many tagines. There's also Bharat from the Middle East.
Address: Shop 88 Aspley Hypermarket Aspley
Phone: 3863 4415
The Spice Market has about 2000 different spices from all over the globe including South African and Sri Lankan and a huge range of regional Indian spices . an online shop will go live in 2 months says owner Rajan Lashand.
JK SPICE BAZAAR
Address: 1965 Logan Road Mount Gravatt
Phone: 3349 2111
If you're looking for inspiration, JK also has recipes for dishes online. part of an importing/exporting wholesale company, the retail arm sells a wide range of spices in six different brands each offering around 30 different individual spices or mixes such as garam masala, cumin, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and more.
View PDF | Print Viewby: tingirablueTotal views: 52 Word Count: 447 Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 Time: 3:30 AM0 comments
In the early 1970s one of the first celebrity chefs hit the TV screens of Australia and great Britain in the form of Graham Kerr, 'The Galloping Gourmet'.Kerr was a leader in stripping away a lot of the over-complicated cooking methods still being peddled in many cookbooks. His teaching premise was as simple as his recipes - learn a basic method first and everything else will follow.My recipe for boiled rice is a variation on his original method, the main difference being the addition of vinegar to the boiling water. It's simple, uncomplicated and foolproof.for 2-3 people:The trick is to have a medium sized saucepan with a lid, plus a colander or sieve that will fit inside the rim of the pan.Bring about 3 liters of salted water, plus one quarter cup of white vinegar, to boil in the pan. Add to this one coffee mug of long grain rice, stir it once (and once only), partially cover and cook on a medium heat for exactly 15 minutes.Drain the rice into the colander and rinse it briefly under cold water to remove any excess starch clinging to the grains. There won't be very much, that is the purpose of the vinegar - which will not, I promise you, adversely flavor the rice.Now put about three inches of water in the bottom of the pan and bring it to the boil. put the colander with the rice on the pan, and the pan lid over the rice.Reduce the heat and steam the rice for around ten minutes - or until you are ready to use it. it will be perfectly cooked, light and fluffy.top Tip: When steaming in this way, add a marble or small pebble to the pan. if the water begins to boil dry you'll hear about it!one huge advantage of this method is that you can prepare your rice beforehand and simply keep it in the fridge until you need it - even overnight if necessary. Be sure to cover it though, to prevent it drying out.You can either re-heat it using the steaming method given above or use it cold for salads. Of course you can also use it at this stage for your favorite fried rice recipe if you wish. You can produce yellow rice by adding saffron or a teaspoon of turmeric to the water before adding the rice, or add a handful of chopped bell pepper to produce a nice decorative effect.a mix of dried herbs will also give you an excellent savory rice. In fact, once you understand the basic method, the end result is only limited by your imagination.
About the Author
Michael Sheridan - The cool Cook - is a former head chef and an acknowledged authority and published writer on cooking matters. His website at All About Cooking, contains a wealth of information, hints, tips and recipes for busy home cooks, including video based how-to guides.
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Instructor Shakti Singh gives Natasha Mistry of Toronto a whiff during a cooking class in Udaipur, India. Singh has operated his Spice Box store and associated cooking classes since 2000.
Scott Colby/Toronto Star
UDAIPUR, INDIA—The instructions of our Indian cooking teacher will ring in our ears forever. “One cup rrrrice, two cups vater,” Shakti Singh commanded repeatedly, establishing his air of authority — a pretense that lasted until his next joke.
It was Day four of a 21-day trip to India in November and my girlfriend Natasha and I were having what would be one of our most enjoyable experiences of our adventurous holiday.
We already knew the proper rice-to-water ratio, but now, not even a falling coconut to the head will dislodge Shakti’s instructions.
Besides being tall, dark and charming, Shakti is also a savvy businessman. He has owned his store, The Spice Box in the picturesque Rajasthani city of Udaipur, since 2000. He quickly realized that to separate himself from the competition, he should give cooking lessons as a hook to get tourists to buy more spices. The classes (700 rupees, $17.50 Cdn. each) became a hit among travellers eager to learn how to recapture some of the joys of Indian food when they return home.
It was a sun-soaked afternoon and the breeze through the open windows was welcomed by our class of nine. The seven others, six women and one man from Australia and Toronto, were winding up their two-week tour.
Over the next three hours, Shakti explained the healing properties of food and the magic of the spice box — an Indian kitchen staple — as we prepared, or helped prepare, our meal.
A standard Indian spice box contains brown cumin, fennel seeds, brown mustard seeds, turmeric powder, coriander seed powder, red chili powder and fenugreek seeds. Salt is outside the spice box, Shakti explained. there are four types of curries in India: basic, tomato-based, milk-based and yoghurt-based. aside from his five-page recipe instructions, this is pretty much the extent of my notes.
I learn by doing and observing the activity in the khari (cooking vessel). Shakti, taking it easy on the two men in the group, had us in front of the class first with a simple task — making masala chai. I tried to follow his instructions, but I appeared to be too slow on some steps. He also appeared to change some instructions on the fly. If you don’t know, masala chai is to India what espresso is to Italy. We were frequently offered chai. In the market it can be a welcome drink or an accompaniment to doing business. It is sweet and spicy and made with strong Assam tea.
The end result was some pretty tasty tea, to Shakti’s credit, not mine. He took the opportunity to mock my talents as a chai wallah. “You should start your own business: scottchaiwallah.com,” he teased to much laughter.
I was relieved to take a seat as the women were summoned to do the difficult work of making the actual meal of khadai paneer (a saucy, cheese-based dish), malai kofta (potato balls in a cream sauce) and biryani rice. Shakti and a teenage assistant did some of the work in advance, allowing us more time to chat and eat.
This is important because chatting seems to be Shakti’s forte. A warm and gracious man, he admitted the best part of his business is meeting tourists. his English is strong and he is one of the few people we met in Rajasthan who has travelled outside India. Shakti worked briefly as a chef in Japan.
Before we ate, we all took one more turn at the portable gas stoves to make chapatis. The balls of dough “should feel like chewing gum,” Shakti advised, pinching it between his fingers. We rolled them out and tossed them in the pan, waiting for them to magically puff up to indicate they are cooked.
Finally, it was time to eat and everyone was delighted with the meal. For dessert, Shakti forced golab jamons on the group. Our protests of being full fell on deaf ears and we all ate multiple servings of the syrupy dough balls. Shakti suggested we jump up and down to make room for at least one more.
After the lesson, Natasha and I lingered in his spice shop and Shakti asked his assistant for more masala chai. He asked about our lives, explained the joys of life in Udaipur and explained more of the medicinal properties of food. Shakti is a proponent of Ayurvedic medicine and talk turned to the Ayurvedic spa he runs. He is also in the process of building an ecotourist resort on the outskirts of Udaipur.
Our guide arrived and we had to go. Shakti invited us for breakfast in his home the next day with his extended family of 10. It was a genuine offer he extends to many tourists, but our morning was booked. Feeling a genuine friendliness here, we popped into the Spice Box several more times to chat before we left Udaipur.
One weekend recently I followed Shakti’s notes and made masala chai for Natasha and myself. I wished Shakti was at our table, sipping tea, telling us his tales.
20th April 2010, 10:18am
Chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team have abandoned hopes of cooking in a prestigious competition in the far East due to the Icelandic volcanic ash, which has grounded all flights from the UK.
Ten chefs were due to fly out to Singapore last Thursday to compete for the first time in the FHA Culinary Challenge, which begins tomorrow (Tuesday). but team manager Graham Tinsley was forced to call a halt at the weekend when Emirates Airline told him the earliest possible flight from Manchester was on Thursday or Friday this week.
Instead of preparing for the competing in the humid conditions of Singapore, the dejected chefs are grounded in Wales after months of planning and perfecting dishes for the event, which is recognised as Asia's premier culinary contest.
Mr Tinsley, co-owner of The Castle Hotel, Conwy, has been left feeling totally frustrated but also philosophical. Luckily, he was able to abandon the trip before team member Lee Jeynes had left his home in Australia for a weekend flight to Singapore.
He is now wading through all the paperwork and checking the fine print of the team's insurance policies to recoup money spent on the competition. He's also trying to arrange for all the team's equipment to be returned from Singapore.
"Luckily, all the equipment hasn't been taken out of the boxes, so it's just a matter of returning it to the UK," said mr Tinsley. "I'm having to undo everything that I have been working for over the past 12 months.
"The team members are totally depressed because we were just four hours away from flying when flights from Manchester were stopped. had we flown a day earlier it wouldn't have been a problem, but may have been stuck out there.
"Although it's very disappointing, we are probably a bit further ahead with our preparations for the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in November. We are meeting up as a team on Wednesday night."