Julie Goodwin was Australia’s first MasterChef. You can find her online, where there’s a bunch of great recipes as well as information about classes that Julie runs.
Tell me how you came to cooking. Is it something you’ve been doing since childhood, or came to later?
I have some great memories of cooking with Mum as a kid, but it was really only when I had my own kitchen to mess up that I really got started. Part of that was coming to the realisation that if I was going to eat nice food, I would have to work out how to cook nice food!
Who are your inspirations when it comes to cooking?
My food philosophy of sharing meals and entertaining comes from my mum. Other cooks who I greatly admire are Margaret Fulton, Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer and Nigella Lawson.
Do you have a favourite ingredient?
It’s hard to pick one favourite ingredient but I get nervous if I don’t have eggs, lemons and garlic in the house.
Are there ingredients or techniques that scare you?
I’ll give anything a go, I’m not scared because I’m not scared of failing. I reckon if you’re not having a kitchen disaster every now and then you’re probably spending too much time inside your comfort zone!
Cooking is one thing; compiling a cookbook is something quite different! You’ve got a number of books under your belt now; what inspires you about creating them?
I find food inspiration everywhere – when I visit friends, or travel, read books or magazines or talk with other food lovers. My latest book was really inspired by the fact that my three sons are now all young adults, and I wanted a book for them that would teach them what they needed to know – the building blocks of cooking, along with the recipes we have enjoyed over the years.
In ten years’ time, what would you like to have achieved or changed?
Gosh, considering what the past ten years has held I can barely even begin to speculate where the next ten years will take me. I’ll work hard, keep my eyes open for opportunities, and who knows what the next ten years will bring!
Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia, is out today.
I got to ask Pomme some questions via email, after getting Istanbul Cult Recipes to review…
What draws you to Turkish food, and in particular the food of Istanbul?
Actually Istanbul drove me to Turkish food. First the city is one of my favourite for its beauty and dynamism, and second it gathers all the variety of Turkey (very different people from all over the country, areas, cultures, habits, traditions and modernity, oriental style and trendy places…). I thought such a place was perfect to talk about Turkey, not only a huge country – very rich of particularities from north to south/east/west – but also the former Ottoman empire through which lots of people and cultures have moved during centuries, from Asia to Europe and the Middle East… The whole world used to live in Istanbul ! and still is. Talking about food means talking about all this.
At the end of the book, in About the Author, you say that you can learn everything you need to know about a country from its kitchens. How would you sum up Istanbul as a city from its kitchens?
A place of variety, a crossroads full of tastes, mystery, beauty, stories and fun.
A really intriguing part of the book is that you include a list of restaurants and cafes to visit in Istanbul, to try out different dishes. What inspired you to add this aspect to the book?
I see this collection “Cult Recipes” as a way to travel – through a cookbook. When you walk in Istanbul you (or at least I) want to talk about the places you’ve been and share the smells, tastes, colors, sounds you feel, and you feel a lot of things there. I guess I wanted to talk about concrete places I’ve been to and liked to help the readers to feel a bit of my Istanbul.
If you were going to put together an Istanbul feast, what would you cook and why?
I would start with some meze : kozde patlican, cacik (you definitily have to include yogurt and eggplant in the menu), parsley salad (not really a classic but one of my favorite), lakerda (but not easy to cook), kisir, midye tava… with some raki of course. And then I’ll try to impress my guests with some manti (this you have to try) and as a sweet final touch baklavas or kurabiye with a good turkish coffee. This is not at all a typical turkish menu but dishes I looove.
What do you think a really good cookbook needs to include?
Stories and people (related to food : but who isn’t ?). Cooking is about that : people, places and stories.
If you could do a cookbook for any other cuisine or region, what would it be?
Paris! I would love to talk about my city through its kitchens. I have my ideas on the subject.
That’s right folks, here’s a new podcast! It’ll be fortnightly, and feature me interviewing someone about food and cooking as well as a bit of me talking about… stuff.
ETA again: It’s on iTunes and everything!
In the podcast we talk about an amazing dish from my childhood called Mighty Mince, the annoyance of feeding fussy eaters, and the ways that my mother’s cooking has changed over the last few years. She’s not on any social media but if you’ve got anything you’d like to tell her, I promise to pass it on.
Recipes: Mighty Mince, chow mein, slow-cooked lamb, lemon delicious; Jerusalem (Yottam Ottolenghi)
I’ll be asking future guests how they store recipes they like (thanks to Terri for this suggestion. My mum said:
“Usually in my very old folder of recipes that you updated for me many years ago. Sometimes in a book that has similar recipes e.g Thai recipes in my Women’s Weekly book of Thai food.”
Feedback gratefully received: you can email actsofkitchen at gmail dot com