Monday, August 15, 2011

I heart Bill

I'm a little bit in love with Bill Granger. It's true. Especially since his new series 'Tasty Weekends' began on ABC TV two weeks ago, my crush has grown a little stronger, particularly as the settings are glossy travel magazine-style like the Essex countryside and sand dunes on a glorious Sussex beach in the type of holiday accomodation I always dreamt of.

Complete with his tribe of charmingly-named three daughters (Edie, Bunny and Ines) and his camera-shy wife, Bill engages with local producers in his quest to learn about and use local produce for the duration of his, lets face it, pretty ideal, English family holiday. Despite his lame but funny attempts at any hands-on animal farming (fishing, turkey pluckiing and goatmilking cases in point) he doesn't do a bad turn on the old kettle barbeque or camp oven.
Not being a Sydney-sider or having access to Bill's cable-channel TV work, I've sort of missed much of the hype surrounding him and his first books. But last year I bought 'Simply Bill' and found I went to it about once every week or two. That prompted me to buy 'Bill's Basics', which I've also found really good. So last weekend at the local library I borrowed an old book of his, 'Sydney Food'. He has opened up a new world of home-cooking for me.

Bill's approach to cooking really suits a casual lifestyle which sometimes has to accomodate kid's tastes. Most recipes really are simple, with not too many ingredients, but which still suit most adult tastes as well. One which I've latched onto and made heaps of times now is a recipe from 'Simply Bill' for 'Stir-fried noodles with Beef and Sugar Snaps'. I substitute the sugar snaps for snowpeas or broccoli and often add Jack's favourite vegie, carrot. In fact, this meal is quite possibly one of his favourites, being that it includes meat, noodles and carrots!

So even though the English countryside is so unbelievably perfect (not a drop of rain to be seen yet), I am still very much drawn in by the idealism and by Bill's accidentally goofy appeal and his simplistic but fantastic meals. And for me, good entertainment usually includes a hefty dose of escapism and it has that in spoonfuls.

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