I had the great pleasure of chatting to the delightful Jane De Graaf, 9 Honey's food editor, to talk about simple recipes you can keep on hand for mid week meals. We also talk about Jennifer Lawrence's drunk alter ego Gayle, and dish on The Chefs' Line behind the scenes.
The food writer and TV host's one pantry trick that will smash it out of the park tonight.
When you see the glamorous Instagram pictures of food writer and TV presenter Melissa Leong (aka Fooderati), you’d be forgiven for thinking that her days are spent eating solely at high end restaurants and languishing in plush hotel rooms. But don’t be fooled, the host of SBS’s The Chef’s Line has a deeply rooted love of home cooking.
Check out the ‘What the F is for Dinner’ podcast with Jane de Graaff and Melissa Leong sorting your ultimate pantry dinner tonight…
One of her greatest joys is celebrating and championing home cooks and the extraordinary dishes they can create, from humble cheese toasties to extravagant multi course spreads.
So, it was a true eye-opener to sit down with her recently in the dimly lit surrounds of Melbourne’s The Mayfair to talk about how to make the best dinner of your life out of just pantry staples, and why it’s so important to have a huge array of condiments on hand to pep-up any meal. It’s basically a free-pass to create a kick-ass meal any time without thinking too hard about it.
“[We all] do the fridge and pantry dance, right? Where you stand with the fridge door open, look at everything. Then you close it, walk away and look in the pantry. Then go back to the fridge and wonder if anything new has magically appeared in there,” she laughs.
Food writer and TV host, Melissa Leong - aka Fooderati
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It’s a relief to know that someone who has restaurants in the family and spends her time interviewing Australia’s best chefs still faces the same dilemma we all do come dinner time.
Take a listen to the podcast to hear Melissa’s pantry trick for overcoming the last-minute dinner question, and I can guarantee that it’s a brilliant one that you will simply lap up tonight.
“Some of the best cooks in my life are home cooks, and as much as we love going out to restaurants and eating really delicious, fancy, professional food, heart and soul you’ll always come back to eating the stuff of your dreams and the stuff of nostalgia and your childhood.”
It’s why top end chefs spend a lifetime trying to recreate their grandmother’s best cakes and dinnertime staples. Because we all want that food that was made with so much love.
“Practical home cooking needs to rely on things that you can just have on hand all the time,” says Melissa. “So that when you do stand in front of the cupboard or fridge and go ‘what the f is for dinner’, you can pull together a really amazing meal based on pantry staples that can survive a nuclear holocaust.”
Her ultimate trick is a twist on XO sauce… but I’ll let Melissa explain why in the podcast. Because no one can sell it better than the woman herself, and you’ll be ready to ditch the chicken salt and swap it for this little trick in no time.
“I’m all for hacks that add lots of flavour with very little effort” – and that sounds like our kind of cooking. Especially when it comes to Melissa’s easy Chinese hot pot.
And that’s dinner, done, easy.
Note:You can catch Melissa hosting and judging SBS’s The Chef’s Line, championing home cooks and encouraging us all to have a crack in the kitchen.
You can also find our 9Honey Kitchen easy vegetable hot pot recipe here for another easy take on dinner