Here's Recipes for a Good Time, a new cookbook from Sydney chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate. You may remember them and their restaurants Porteño and Bodega from Anthony Bourdain's trip to Sydney during the final season of No Reservations. If not, here's the quick version: two tattooed, classic car loving Australian chefs got inspired by travels to Argentina and started selling flame-cooked meats to the hip young masses, who can't get enough of it. And now they've written a cookbook.
The book — which is heavily influenced by that imaginary twilight mid-century aesthetic to which rockabilly dudes worldwide aspire — pulls recipes from both restaurants as well as the cocktail lounge above Porteño, Gardel's Bar. Much of it is labor intensive, with an emphasis on handmade pantry items, smoked meats, and grilled whole beasts. Think of it as sort of an Australian version of Tim Byres' Smoke.
And, just in time for Summer in Australia, there's a whole section dedicated to picnics. Quote: "Outside of a picnic, there's no other situation, really, where you can have your car, your food and your friends all in one place." Here you'll find Australian takes on burgers and other outdoorsy summer fare, as well as a few nods to 1950s food-on-stick cuisine, and tips for picnic outfit selection from Abrahanowicz's wife Sarah Doyle: "You'd probably want to wear capris to be practical — you can sit down without worrying about flashing anyone your knickers — but it's always spectacular to wear a big skirt and petticoats so you can spread out."
Much of Recipes For a Good Time will be familiar territory for anyone who has kept up with American cookbooks over the past several years, but the rockabilly flavor and Australian angle do add a fresh twist to things. (Although good luck getting your hands on key cocktail ingredient Passiona, the passionfruit flavored soda is only available in Australia.) Additionally, the layout and art direction is more fun than many stuffy, self-serious American cookbooks will let themselves aspire to.
Recipes For a Good Time is out now in the US from Murdoch Books (order on Amazon). Take a look inside: