Cooking lessons from an Aussie legend (+recipes)

By Grant Allen

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Grant Allen gets a cooking lesson from the Aussie legend, Maggie Beer.

Painting of Maggie Beer (left) from her Cook and Chef Food TV series. Photo / Grant Allen
Painting of Maggie Beer (left) from her Cook and Chef Food TV series. Photo / Grant Allen

It was about a year ago that I started writing Savour for Living magazine. As a new contributor, I had little idea about what went with the territory. Apart from writing about food, developing recipes, cooking and styling food for photos, one is also courted to write about various specific products. You are invited to food event lunches and launches and meet some "big names" in the food world. This aspect has been the most interesting part - meeting people you have admired, watched, learned from and read.

Some "Food Celebrities" deliver completely. They are genuine in their love and enthusiasm for food, they are approachable and delightful. Others have been swept up by their own egos and PR machines and disappoint. Such is life.

Recently, I was hosted by Tourism South Australia on a trip to Adelaide for the Taste Australia Festival. We were superbly looked after in this rich and productive region.

However, media trips are no picnic. You are organised from morning till night so you can be shown as much as possible.

International and Australian food personalities featured, but don't you worry, New Zealand's food lights are shining over there - Martin Bosley, Julie Biuso and Catherine Bell were contributing stars.

One of the big thrills was to meet Maggie Beer. If you watch her TV shows you will get a sense of her love for "the good stuff".

She is passionate about South Australian food, and in particular that which comes from her beloved Barossa Valley. In person, she exudes generosity, hospitality and warmth. We fell in love with her. When she asked for helpers, I put my hand up.

Below is a list of the recipes (with a few modifications) she has kindly shared. Thanks Maggie. To see more, click here.

* Pear, creme fraiche and walnut crumble tart

* Duck salad with caramelised fennel and bitter leaves

* Mushroom bruschetta

- Herald on Sunday

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