Anna Buckley's Blog

The pictures and stories behind the books.

Category: Food

Looking for Pho and finding so much more…

IMG_20151128_175948I’d been craving a bowl of that delicious, aromatic Vietnamese soup Pho. My favourite restaurant to satisfy this need is Than Phong on Victoria street Richmond and only a pleasant 30 minute walk away. Victoria Street is often called ‘Little Saigon’ because of its wonderful array of Vietnamese shops, supermarkets and restaurants and is one of Melbourne’s great Eat Streets.

My husband and I agreed that on this fine Sunday a walk would be good, we could stock up the pantry and finish up with a soup for lunch. Read the rest of this entry »

Traditional Christmas Shortbread

img_20151209_141731.jpgWhat do you bring to dinner when the hostess says, “Just bring yourselves!”

Of course I’d bring wine…lots, but at this festive time of year it just doesn’t seem enough. A big bunch of flowers can be nice but a pain in the ass if the busy hostess has to stop what she’s doing and find a vase. Then there’s the useless knickknacks that don’t quite match the stylish interior or the high-end body wash that you stole from the overpriced hotel in New York…she knew the brand, she’d stayed there too!

Shortbread is the answer! Tastes good, looks pretty and can be served at the end of the night when the hostess can’t be stuffed trying to find something to serve with coffee! Read the rest of this entry »

Kale Chips… salty, crispy and great with a beer.

IMG_9653[1] It’s Summer here in Australia. A cold beer and a salty snack is the perfect way to toast the sunset and relax after a blistering hot day.

Kale chips are easy to make, don’t require deep-frying and are ridiculously moreish… and even if you are not so fond of this self-righteous super-food, I dare you not to like this crunchy little bar snack and empty the entire bowl!
Read the rest of this entry »

Chocolate Tart…an easy festive season treasure!

IMG_6811[1]Chocolate pastry, chocolate filling and sweet summer berries. What’s not to love?

“Looks tricky?” I hear you say.

Nah…it’s so bloody easy. No rolling, no resting, no blind baking, no shrinkage. This pastry (and its sinfully rich filling) is so simple to make that I’m sure you too will add it to your dessert repertoire and be the star of your next dinner party!
My dessert posts have all been a bit tarty since discovering the original recipe for this easy short crust pastry in Cooks Illustrated about a year ago. Since then I’ve been on a mission to convert the pastry to whatever suits the mood…sweet, nutty, savoury, and today… chocolaty!

So let’s get baking! Read the rest of this entry »

Potato Pizza by the Metre…and learning how to whack the cork off a champagne bottle using a bloody big Saber!

IMG_9565[1]What do you serve if you decide to have a last-minute, casual dinner for quite a few people, are too lazy to shop and don’t want to blow a fortune on home delivered junk food?

You make Pizza of course…Potato, Italian Sausage and that old favorite, ‘Fridge Clean’ (cheese on top of all that stuff that’s bordering on going off in your fridge!!!). Read the rest of this entry »

Giorgio Locatelli you would love this Porchetta!

IMG_9434[1]I’d been back from America for just over two weeks and couldn’t settle down. I’d procrastinated by cleaning the house from top to bottom, replanted the veggie patch and cooked way too much food.

My husband suggested we go away for the weekend and I jumped at the chance…any excuse to avoid stepping back into the reality of everyday life and more truthfully… any excuse to avoid doing the rewrite that my new book was needing! Read the rest of this entry »

Oysters, a fish called Spot and a foodie trip with Lorraine Eaton on the Eastern Shore

IMG_9273[1] Jane got a call from her friend Lorraine who wondered if we’d like to do a trip north to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The oyster season had begun and I was more than interested. You see Lorraine Eaton is the food writer for The states main newspaper, The Virginian Pilot, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the culinary secrets of this glorious part of the world.

It took a millisecond to say “Yes!” Read the rest of this entry »

Smithfield and DeeDee Dardens Country Hams.

IMG_8940[1]I’d visited Smithfield, Virginia, 5 years ago, by chance really, we were lost. We found a gorgeous old town filled with decorative Victorian houses, old shops (some empty) and incredibly friendly people. An old guy, with a HAM sticker on the rear window of his pick-up truck, pulled over and asked if he could help. We said we were lost…on our way to historic Charlottesville.

“Why would you want to go there? Smithfield is so much prettier and if you want to buy some good food we are the home of HAM.”

So we picked up some country ham, drove around the streets and snapped pics of pretty houses. But it was only a fleeting visit and I was left wanting to know more. Read the rest of this entry »

Soulful Sunday at the Gospel Church.

12043151_10206348706455222_3556855261880921194_nWe’d been talking to Janes friend Tracy, asking what he was doing this Sunday, did he want to catch up? He said he was attending gospel church with his mother. Tracy described a small country parish that had seen generations of people attending  church, celebrating their faith with fellowship, music and… song.

Could this be one of those churches I’d read about where the congregation bursts into song, sounding like Aretha Franklin, swaying rhythmically, responding viscerally to the music and messages of their faith? I was curious…

How do you let someone know you’d like to witness this without turning their deep spirituality into entertainment, a spectacle? But it wasn’t so complicated…Tracy simply invited us to come along. Read the rest of this entry »

The Disappearing Tangier Island.

IMG_8766[1] Tangier is a small sand island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, on the east coast of America. My next book is set on a fictitious version of Tangier and researching it was the real reason for my trip to the States.

I’d read about Tangier in 2007. Bill Bryson mentioned in his book, The Mother Tongue,  the archaic Elizabethan dialect spoken by the inhabitants of the isolated Island. I’ve remained curious about how such a quaint anomaly can exist in a connected, modern world.

Tangier Island is famous for its soft shell crabs, oysters and striped bass. The fishermen who ply their trade there are called Watermen.

And sadly it’s also famous for being the island that is slowly disappearing into the sea. I felt a compulsion to see it before it was too late! Read the rest of this entry »