Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller for your chance to win a $20,000 Flight Centre gift card! Offer ends 24 May 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

OzHarvest opens Australia's first free supermarket

"This is about dignity. This is about anyone walking through this door, taking what they need, and only giving back if they can."

Anzac biscuit desserts

These four desserts have one thing in common – Anzac biscuits.

Six sexy panna cottas

We say si to these six takes on the Italian classic. From coffee and caramel to red wine and figs, panna cotta proves to be a versatile dessert to suit all palettes.

Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint

Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

Blue Nile's Ethiopian eggplant dip

"I'd love the recipe for the eggplant dip the wonderful Fatuma Tikuye serves at Blue Nile in Blacktown." - Helena Rosebery, Annandale, NSW REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

Eclair recipes

Here are four spins on the classic French eclair, from Flour & Stone's pillowy choux pastry with salted caramel to a colourful take with strawberry-flecked creme fraiche filling and sprinkled pistachios on top.

Okonomiyaki with sticky soy pork belly

Fifty-four thoughts at Noma Mexico

"12. I'm now sitting at Noma with no shoes on. I feel like a toddler in a sandpit."

Child’s play

For a taste of the French recipes Julia Child introduced to ‘60s America, from beef and red wine to strawberry bavarois, check out our slideshow.

Nora Ephron wants something sweet. The writer-director-producer of foodie flick Julie & Julia is doing press for her new film and she’s beat. We’re at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and a woman produces some wine-soaked strawberries and a couple of worn-looking friands. After seeing the film, you wonder if Ephron is going to be satisfied with these wan morsels.

Julie & Julia is a celebration of food seen through a particularly luscious lens. Meryl Streep plays the much-loved American cook and author Julia Child, and Amy Adams is Julie Powell – a would-be writer who sets herself the task of cooking her way through the 524 recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in just 365 days. We follow as both women turn their passion for cooking into something bigger.

Child, with her odd falsetto and her passion for French cuisine, burst into American kitchens in 1961 with Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The creation of this book, which is now in its 49th edition, forms the backbone of Ephron’s film. It was this 734-page blockbuster, plus her television show, The French Chef, that launched Child into the American consciousness at the ripe old age of 50.

Ephron’s relationship with Child mirrors that of Powell’s: neither actually met Child, who died in 2004. Ephron, who is 68, began her writing career as a magazine journalist in the ’60s and wrote a piece about Child. “It was in 1968 and I got a letter from her afterwards, a charming letter that said, ‘If you are ever in Boston, come to lunch’,” says Ephron. “But you know, I was never in Boston so I never met her. I feel bad. I feel as if she would have been worth meeting, she would not have been a disappointment in any way.”

Like many Americans, including Powell, Ephron felt a connection with Child that bordered on obsession. “I cooked from her cookbook in 1963 and ’64 when I was learning to cook,” says Ephron. “I had a very substantial imaginary relationship with her. I would think about her and wonder if she ever came to dinner what I should cook for her. Do I cook one of her recipes or one of mine? But back then, I had no recipes. Except for my mother’s barbecue sauce, which was mostly ketchup.” Ephron still cooks Child’s chicken with cream and mushrooms. “I made it last week and it is unbelievably delicious. I make the lamb stew and I never use anyone else’s recipe for that.”

The film will make you want to go home and cook – something, anything. Part of the charm of Julie & Julia is watching Powell, played by the wonderful Adams, make her way through more than 500 recipes. Powell works for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation offering support to people who were victims of the attacks on September 11. Her day job is exhausting and emotionally draining. At night, she comes home, shops, cooks and then blogs about the experience. Her blog attracted the attention of Amanda Hesser at The New York Times. And it was Hesser’s story in the Times that initially drew Ephron in. It is Powell’s book, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, and Child’s memoir, My Life in France, that Ephron adapted for the screenplay.

Ephron’s treatment of food in this film has been compared to director Martin Scorsese’s superb handling of bar fights. “I was hoping someone would say that!” says Ephron, who’s best known for screenplays that include When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle. “The day we shot the sole being boned, I went home to my husband [Nicholas Pileggi], who wrote Goodfellas, and said, ‘Move over Martin Scorsese!’ I had done the equivalent of one of Marty’s nine-minute Steadicam shots. It was the moment in [Julia’s] life where everything changed and I wanted the audiences to go, ‘Oh, my god’.”

There’s more than one of those OMG moments in the film. Watch out for the bruschetta scene, and the beef Bourguignon. Part of what makes the scenes work so well is you feel you are witnessing genuine pleasure. “An actor sometimes doesn’t want to commit to eating because they may be doing a scene over 10 or 12 hours. But we didn’t have that problem,” says Ephron with a smile. “Meryl likes to eat, Stanley [Tucci, who plays Child’s husband] likes to eat and Chris Messina [who plays Powell’s husband] is a genius at eating.”

The food looks great. It’s not perfect or slick, and it looks real and really delicious. The film’s food consultant, Susan Spungen, the founding editorial director of Martha Stewart Living, was on the set, cooking, for every food scene. “She was brilliant,” says Ephron. “I had called Amanda Hesser and said I needed a food person, a stylist who will know how to make real food, and Susan was the only person she mentioned. Then it turned out Susan had styled one of my favourite food shots ever, which was the cover of Martha Stewart Living about 10 years ago of a coconut cake. I thought it was one of the most mouth-watering things I had ever seen.”

Food played just as big a role off-screen. “We had the usual film food and it was pretty good, but it wasn’t… you know. We like to fly a lot in. We flew in frozen custard from Wisconsin and the world’s greatest hot dogs from Nate ’n Al in Beverly Hills. We tried to keep everybody perked up. I do believe that making movies is sort of like having a party for 12 weeks and you want to keep people happy. The crew gained a lot of weight.”

Ephron and Streep are both great home cooks. In fact, Ephron’s friend Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair editor, has included a meatloaf on the menu at his restaurant Monkey Bar that he attributes to her. “It’s very good meatloaf, but in fact, my meatloaf is different from that, completely,” Ephron says. “It has Italian sausage, ground pork and – don’t die – a package of Lipton soup mix.”

Julie & Julia is released in Australian cinemas 8 October.

This article is from the October 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
What is rou jia mo?
28.04.2017
OzHarvest opens Australia’s first free supermarket for people in need
27.04.2017
Westmont Pickles, Belles Hot Chicken's pickle of choice
26.04.2017
Our Hot 100 issue is out now
24.04.2017
Does Newcastle have Australia’s best eclair?
21.04.2017
Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Chef's spaghetti Bolognese recipes: L to Z

We quizzed the best kitchen talents on their secrets to the ...

Chef's spaghetti Bolognese recipes: B to K

We quizzed the best kitchen talents on their secrets to the ...

Mother's Day recipes

Mum deserves nothing but the best, so why don't you make her...

Easter recipes

Hot cross buns, a whole lot of lamb, some chocolate treats (...

Classic Italian recipes

From spaghetti Bolognese to lasagne and tiramisu to panna co...

Easter lunch recipes

With the cooler autumn weather, heartier flavours begin to e...

Cupcake recipes

Scaled down to little more than a mouthful, tiny cakes take ...

Thomas Keller's sandwich recipes

America's most famous chef takes the smarts and good taste t...

Grilling recipes

Dust off the tongs, fire up the barbecue, and get grilling w...

Neil Perry's Spice Temple recipes

At his new Spice Temple, Neil Perry calls on the more exotic...

Pickle and preserve recipes

When it comes to last-minute entertaining, a lovingly made p...

15 (shameless) chocolate recipes

Mousse, souffle, mud cake and more... welcome to the dark si...

Sexy salad recipes

A salad can be so good when it's done just right. Check out ...

Recipes from Australia's best chefs

Peter Gilmore's snow egg, Justin North's smoked duck egg wit...

Quick winter meals

Fire up the stovetop with these wintry dishes, ready for the...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×