Recipes: Writers and Artists Share their Favourites

Recipes put forward by the artists in this issue for all sorts of delectable and interesting dishes - some real and some not so real. Includes recipes of John Olsen, Daniel Thomas, Anders Ousback, Gay Bilson, Juliana Engberg, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Kajri Jain, Yao Souchou, Rosalind Brodsky, Anne Graham, Jennifer Isaacs, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Nikos, Brigitta Olubas, Freda Freiberg, Hetti Perkins and Destiny Deacon.


Anders Ousback, restaurateur and potter, contributed this Swedish dish to the Weekend Australian on 26 December 1998. Immediately after Christmas excesses he was proposing extreme simplicity, even rusticity. His source was highly élitist: ' ... a mad little book privately published by the wife of a US ambassador to London. Among the celebrities she had hit for a recipe was Greta Garbo, whose favourite dish it was.'

Ingredients. 6 potatoes, medium size. 2 onions, medium size. 12 anchovy fillets or thereabouts [I use twice as many; my rustic Tasmanian supermarket must carry a non-Swedish size]. 1 cup cream. 2–3 tbsp breadcrumbs. 2 tbsp butter for the dish.
Method. Peel the potatoes and grate. Cut the onions into thin slices. Liberally butter an ovenproof dish with fairly high, vertical sides. Put a layer of potatoes at the bottom, followed by onion and then the anchovy fillets in rows. Repeat, finishing with potatoes. Smooth out the surface and pour the cream on top, so that the potatoes may be glimpsed beneath. Finally, sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake in a moderately hot oven (200C) for about an hour. Serve with a good dry white or a beer and schnapps.

Why this one? I own exactly the same baking dish that Ousback had used for his photograph. The ingredients symbolise the potato-farming, onion-farming and dairy farming region where I live, and are always available. So it's a season-proof dish, to offer when fresh local figs, corncobs, peas or raspberries are gone. Most country entertaining is for long-distance guests, not dinner but lunch followed by walks along the beach and cliffs. This dish has a lunchtime air, and is also a change from lunchtime egg dishes. And there's enough labour and time to make it a feelgood special effort for friends.
Garbo's name for this dish was Jansson's Temptation but although it's probably a gratin and not a pie, in my house it's called Garbo Pie.
Daniel Thomas


For 2 people.
1. In a roasting pan sauté duck until it is brown, and roast in oven for 2 hours – or until cooked.
2. Take it from the oven and flambé it with 1/2 cup of Grande Marnier. Return to oven and let it cook for a further 5 minutes.
3. Drain sauce into a saucepan, adding 1 tbsp of wine vinegar, same amount of castor sugar, the juice of 3 oranges and 1/2 cup of apricot liqueur (if not available add more Grande Marnier).

Peel 3 oranges down to the flesh (definitely no pith) removing all seeds, place them in a frying pan, add enough sauce to moisten – heat without boiling.
Carve duck, arrange on a warm dish and surround with slices of orange.
Cover with some sauce, serve the rest in a sauceboat.

We used Robert Carrier's recipe from his Great Dishes of the World, 1963, but David Strachan used this one from Larousse Gastronomique and on re-reading Carrier the Larousse – from Restaurant Lasserre, old & famous, Right Bank Paris – is better. To foreigners it might read as greedy when I give one duck to two people, but Australian commercial ducks are smaller than the French.
John Olsen


Cecil Beaton privately published, in London in the 1950s, a book of memories supposedly by a minor bit of Russian aristocracy. In part, it read something like:
" ... and at the Czar's palace that night we ate Crab Louis. So delicious was this dish that I begged the Chef of the imperial kitchens for the recipe and reprint it here:
Take a crab. Crack it. Serve on a gold plate."
A note in the margin read: "Delicious!".
When I was gastronomically growing up in the 1960s I subscribed to Epicurean magazine. I recall a recipe from John Olsen for mayonnaise, in which, amongst the ingredients was "half a bottle of crisp white wine".
The directions were as per the norm, but after beating in two tablespoons of olive oil into the egg yolks, the reader was directed to stop and have a glass of wine. "In this way, a half a bottle of white wine should make about one litre of mayonnaise."
Perhaps my favourite recipe of all time is Edna Everage's recipe for Choko Parfait, which appeared in the program to one of the Dame's shows in the 1970s.
Peel and quarter chokos. Poach in Cherry Brandy. Chill. Pile into a tall glass and garnish with Froot Loops.
Anders Ousback


You will have some squid ink tagliatelle which arrived, amongst the books and ceramics, with the removalist from Sydney. You will have had friends to lunch to prove that making this radical move from city to country caused barely a hiccup in your domestic routine (a lie) and made them a salad of roasted tomatoes, chillies and echalotes with the now local Coriole olive oil. There will be enough left-over salad to be chopped roughly to become sauce for the black pasta.
Another friend will arrive to check on your well-being (best described as bravely unhinged) and after graciously watching her plant essential salad leaves in paddock made vegetable bed you will have taken her to the sea where the local fisherman will have just come in with a bag of squid. The Port Willunga café owner will present it to you, and you will kiss everyone, even the fisherman. Cleaning the squid will be a pleasure because the tentacles will glue themselves to your fingers in fresh semblance of life. You will toss the sliced squid body and its tentacles in olive oil and chilli and grill it for only a moment over the coals of red gum in the fireplace of the old cottage, and add it to the heated sauce. Because arugula and mâche don't grow in a day you will serve a salad of watercress bought at the Central Market in Adelaide. You will toast your new home, fireplace and friend with the local D'Arenburg Sparkling Chambourcin, and having scraped the plates clean, take a torch out to the lettuces and declare war on the snails by preparing them for the next guests.
Gay Bilson


make a pesto
use fresh ingredients grown in the garden of love
basil and garlic

added to with pine nuts, virgin olive oil, grated parmesen
pound with an intent to blend but not bruise

make a light pastry base of the short kind
about as round as breast

saute some onions until they are golden
two hand picked, the size of a tulip

4 small red fruits which are tomatoes
found in the garden for flavour

pre cook the pastry base just a little
smear the base with the pesto
cover with a layer of the onions
cover with slices of the tomatoes

cook in the oven, about 15 minutes at a medium temp

serve a small slice as an entree to other pleasures
with a chilled green wine
Juliana Engberg


3 garlic cloves
3–5 small fresh red chillies
0.25 cup snake beans [cut into 2.5 cm pieces]
2 tablespoons dried shrimp [pre-ground with a pestle]
1 tablespoon dried shrimp [unground]
5 ripe but firm cherry tomatoes [cut into halves]
2–3 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce [naam plaa, only use good quality Thai]
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2.5 cups finely shredded green papaya

Make sure that the papaya is still hard and very green. Peel and wash well with fresh water.
Hold the papaya in one hand and chop the outer surface into long fine cuts, then thinly slice into shredded pieces.
Take care not to cut too deeply into the inner centre which sometimes produces a bitter taste when mixed with the other ingredients.
Mash the garlic and chillies with a pestle in a large, earthenware
mortar. The deep mortar available at Thai and Vietnamese shops improves the mixing of the ingredients, their texture and taste. Add snakebeans and tomato and bruise them with the pestle. Add both ground and unground dried shrimp with the palm sugar and mix them roughly. Season with fish sauce and lime juice and mix them well with the pestle and a spoon. Add the shredded papaya last and mix the pieces lightly but thoroughly with the pestle and spoon, making sure not to bruise the papaya too much. Turn into a dish and serve immediately with sticky rice and fried or char-grilled chicken. This is real Thai 'soul' food.
Phaptawan Suwannakudt


1 litre milk
half a cup Indian vermicelli (sevaiyan or semiya)
cashewnuts and raisins to taste (at least 15 gms each)
a dozen cardamom pods
3 tbsp ghee
three quarters of a cup sugar (or more to taste)
a few threads of saffron (optional)

Break the vermicelli so that it's about 10 cm long and fry it lightly in 2 tbsp ghee (it shouldn't go too brown).
Do the same with the cashew nuts and raisins in the rest of the ghee.
Shell and grind the cardamom.
Bring the milk to a boil and add the vermicelli.
When it's cooked, add the sugar and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
Add the cashews, raisins, and cardamom, and, if you've got some, a bit of saffron dipped in a teaspoon of warm milk and bruised very gently.
This can be served warm or cold; it's traditionally cooked in India for guests and neighbours at the festival of Id but also as a lovely
fragrant dessert at any time of year.
Kajri Jain


The following is my children's favourite in the Yao–Gill household.

Serves 4
You will need
500 g Pork Spare Ribs
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
1 tablespoon mustard – English or French
1 tablespoon honey
I small onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Salt and pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients and marinate the spare ribs in a roasting
tin. Let them stand for at least an hour.
2. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
3. Place spare ribs in the oven and cook for about one and a half
hours, turning every half an hour, and basting them with the juices.
4. Take them out of the oven when crispy and golden brown. Serve as finger food, or with rice and steamed Chinese cabbage.
Yao Souchou

The Rosalind Brodsky Time Travelling Cookery Show

This is a recipe for Polish Pierogi, filled with chocolate and cherries with a side portion of cream, made exclusively from a German Black Forest cake. All you will need for this delicious dessert is one Black Forest Cake, shop bought if you like, and a modicum of cultural and historical transgression, or call it what you will.
I originally invented this recipe for a time travelling journey to try and rescue my Polish grandparents from the Holocaust. Had I found them starving to death in a camp I would have been able, whilst transporting them to the 21st century, to feed them this dish, a symbolic translation of a German into a Polish dessert.

Stage 1: Ingredients
One authentic Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte

CAKE DISASSEMBLY: Remove and place in a bowl the chocolate curls from the top and sides of the cake. Push them backwards through the grater until they form a bar of chocolate. Take the cherries from the top of the cake and place them in a bowl. Remove the cream from the top and sides of the cake and extract from it two teaspoons of confectioners' sugar. Now carefully remove the top layer of the cake, scrape off the buttercream and cherries, placing each in a separate bowl. Repeat this process until the cake is disassembled.
FILLING SEPARATION: First extract the kirsch from the buttercream. Now beat the mixture backwards to extract the egg yolk and reduce its volume, about 3–5 minutes. Beat the sugar out of the butter and put them to one side.
SYRUP SEPARATION: First take all three cake layers and slip the syrup from them back into a small hot pan. Boil until the water and kirsch evaporates leaving only the sugar. Place the sugar in a bowl.
CAKE SEPARATION: Place the cake layers on racks until they heat up, then place them in 8 inch cake pans until they reach 350ÚF. Now place them in an oven at the same temperature. After 10–15 minutes remove the cake pans from the oven. Pour the batter back into a bowl. Alternately unfold chocolate and flour from the batter until only the egg mixture is left. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for 5–10 minutes until they separate.

Stage 2: Ingredients
You should now have in front of you all the necessary ingredients for the Pierogi.
4 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup warm water
Chocolate and Cherry Filling
12 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 can sour cherries
4 oz sugar
2 egg yolks
2 oz butter
1/2 cup sour cream per serve

DOUGH: Mix flour, eggs, sour cream and water, a little at a time. Knead dough until firm and elastic; cover and let rest 10 minutes.
CHOCOLATE AND CHERRY FILLING: Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar in a double boiler, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and beat in the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Drain, then add the can of sour cherries. Put aside the cherry juice.
ASSEMBLY: Divide dough into three parts. On a floured surface roll dough to about 1/8 inch thick; cut into 3 inch rounds. Place a small spoonful of the filling in the centre of each round, fold and press the edges together firmly to seal.
Drop the pierogi in simmering sour cherry juice plus water with one teaspoon of oil. Do not crowd. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well.
Place the drained pierogi on individual plates and serve with sour cream.
Rosalind Brodsky


Rotoctoville for quite a lot of people which, if any is left over can be
turned into Minestrone.
1 large bag of onions finely chopped and placed in a layer in the bottom of a pan. Chop two cloves of garlic and place over the layer of onions.
1 large bag of aubergines chopped into centimeter cubes and placed in a layer over the onions. Two more cloves of garlic.
A comparable amount of courgettes chopped into centimeter pieces and layered over the abergines. Two more cloves of garlic. A comparable amount of chopped capsicum layered over the courgettes. Two more cloves of garlic. Double the quantity of tomatoes chopped and layered on top.
Salt and pepper can be added with the layers of garlic. Pour five litres of olive oil over the top of the vegetables, then bring slowly to bubbling and cover for twenty minutes.
To turn leftovers into minestrone chop four heads of celery and a bag of carrots, boil in water untill tender, add to the above. You will have to adjust amount of vegetables depending on amount of leftovers.
This is a good recipe because it is cheap, vegetarian and feeds lots of people.
Anne Graham


If you are lucky enough to find a hollow tree full of the wild honey from native bees, a few tips follow:
A swollen knot on a tree with a 'nose' indicating bees are present. The sweet smell of honey. Floating tiny bees entering at the 'nose' (they do not buzz and most do not sting). The tree gives a resonant sound when tapped in that area but not a hollow sound.
Axe or tomahawk.
Wad of paperbark or absorbent material tied on to a long stick.
Something to make a funnel-shaped tray for the honey to run down.
A bowl or dish to catch it in.
Take a full thickness sheet of paperbark, cut 1/2 way through the thickness on the inner side, about 10 inches from either end – strip the ends so they are thin material then pleat or fold them up and tie them to make handles at either end, curving the bark as you go to make a trough. Chop a horizontal slit or hole through to the core of the nest and insert the wad on a stick to test for honey. If there is plenty, it will begin to seep out along the stick. A curved strip of bark should channel it into your trough. Swab out the hive and collect the all remaining contents which are gooey, dark and studded with little yellow pollen balls, eggs, larvae and dead bees. Sound delicious? It is!
Quantities of wax will come out too. Separate the wax and keep it for making things later. (It is used for attaching feathers to strings, making necklaces of kangaroo teeth, repairing holes in weapons and utensils, and to form a mouthpiece for didjeridoos). Remove the bee carcasses, eggs and larvae as best you can. Now – the clean yellow honey can be slurped up, licked off fingers or swirled up on a generous piece of hot damper. Make sure you give plenty away as a greedy honey eater is not a nice person and may become the subject of bush telegraph gossip.
Jennifer Isaacs

I live alone in an isolated hideaway and very simply. I love good food, but my recipes are far too simple to be published. I live on salads, simple pastas especially with pesto – I grow masses of basil – and cold treats such as smoked salmon and cream cheese on pumpernickel with a little horse-radish cream, and rocket. I use olive oil liberally. I make vegetable soups in the winter. I eat fruit and yoghurt daily.
I don't entertain. I live too far from anyone. Anders came one time to fire my wood-burning kiln when I had my wrist in plaster and performed miracles from a food supply consisting of a box of vegetables and organic eggs which I have sent to me each week. His mayonnaise was breathtaking.
When I lived in France in the sixties I used to make the same... and my bread from sacks of wheat and rye which we ground by hand to either pastry or pumpernickel consistency. There were many people, then, around the house and studio. But now, I am a hermit.
I am sorry to disappoint.

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott


boil pasta for 4 till half cooked
add first layer into baking dish
prepare a sauce, whatever is leftever from bolognaise or mushrooms with bacon
add another layer of pasta
add bechemel sauce
add more pasta
sprinle top layer with lots of parmesan, ground peper and nutmeg
and bake in the oven untiol cheese is nice brown
yumm yum but sorry about spelling

love nikos
[NOTE leave incorrect spelling as is!! - this is an email-style recipe!]

500g (1 lb.) clarified beef dripping, 350g 93/4 lb.) lard, 500g (1 lb.) butter, 2 dessertspoons lemon juice, 1 thick slice stale bread.
Melt dripping, add to it the butter and lard. Bring slowly to the boil. Add lemon juice. Drop in bread. This absorbs any scum as it rises. Boil briskly for 5 minutes. Remove bread. Pour into container to set. When using, shred with a potato peeler.

from: Marjorie Bligh, Homely Hints on Everything Devonport, Tasmania (self-published) 1982, p. 105.
Brigitta Olubas


1 kilo minced chicken breasts
2 raw eggs
& - æ cup chopped parsley ???
1 grated white onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ground garlic clove
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 tablespoon white wine
2 thick slices of stale white bread (preferably Challah) ground into breadcrumbs

Mix all ingredients together and knead. Mould into shape of meat loaf. Bake in greased and covered oven dish for 1 hour at 175 degrees. Serve hot with cranberry sauce, baked potato and red cabbage; or cold with cranberry sauce, potato salad, grated carrot salad and fresh garden salad.
Freda Freiberg


As I'm a hopeless cook, my favourite recipe is one my sister Rachel (a fantastic cook) makes. We always have it on Christmas day, along with carrot soup. It's the only healthy thing I eat all year (apart from the sour cream).

2 bunches of spinach
one packet of fetta cheese
one onion
3 eggs
salt and pepper
filo pastry
50-100g butter, melted

Wash spinach and cook. Cool, drain and chop.
Finely chop onion and saute in a mixture of butter and oil till soft.
Beat the cheese and eggs together; add the spinach and onions, and salt and pepper to taste.
Brush a square or rectangular baking dish with melted butter. Place a sheet of pastry in the dish, brush it with butter, then depending on the shape of your pan either fold the sheet back on itself or place another one on top. Repeat with several sheets of pastry. Put mixture in dish, cover with pastry and repeat process.
Bake in 180° oven for about 45 minutes or until the pastry turns a rich brown colour. Serve with wedges of lemon and sour cream.
Hetti Perkins

– A meal to make and eat alone

Put a cup of plain flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl.
Mix in some water until a dough forms.
Knead into 3 even sized balls.
Chuck balls into boiling water, with a drop of oil.
Simmer, with occasional stirs for about 30 minutes.
Drain balls.
Serve hot on plate. Cut in half and spread butter.
Eat and cry your heart out.

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