Lunch with Bill at Rickys

Being a foodie destination, Noosa attracts a number of food personalities and we are currently enjoying a spate of cookbook launches.  With culinary celebrities such as Matt Moran, Luke Nguyen, Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Annabel Langbeim coming to town to promote their latest releases, we are spoilt for choice. Last Friday I was fortunate enough to attend Bill Granger’s launch of his latest cookbook at Rickys River Bar & Restaurant. Lunch at one of my favourite restaurants with one of my favourite cookbook writers – I was not going to miss this event!

I have long been a fan of Bill Granger and own several of his cookbooks. Bill and I have a lot in common – we are both self-taught cooks, and believe in fuss-free food that tastes great and is also good for you. When I posted the above photo on facebook last week, a number of people commented that we even look alike and could be brother and sister!  Upon meeting Bill he was exactly as I expected – down to earth, charming and passionate about food.

Like many Australians growing up in the 70’s, Bill was raised on family meals of “meat and 3 veg”.  He was exposed to Asian flavours at an early age, thanks to his childhood friend whose family ran the local Chinese restaurant.  Travels in his late teens and early 20’s to a number of exotic Asian destinations reinforced his love affair with Asian food, and as a consequence his desire for exciting flavours became his inspiration to cook.

Bill’s latest book is titled “Bills Everyday Asian”, which as the name suggests, is a collection of Asian dishes that can easily be prepared by the average home cook. Drawing on his own experiences and travels throughout Asia, Bill has written a book of tantalising recipes that don’t require complicated or time consuming preparation, without compromising on taste.  During lunch, Bill spoke about the principle of achieving the right balance of sweet, sour, hot and salty as being the secret to Asian food. He also insisted that contrary to popular belief, Asian food is not a difficulty cuisine to prepare; that it is relatively simple and uses a few basic ingredients and minimal cooking equipment.

For lunch, Rickys served a gorgeous selection of dishes from Bill’s Everyday Asian:

Entree:

Tuna Taktaki
Thai Fish Cakes with Cucumber Relish
Duck & Cucumber Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Barbequed Prawns with Soy, Chilli and Garlic Dipping Sauce

Main Course:

Glazed Salmon Fillet with Cucumber Sesame Salad
Lamb Cutlets with Satay Sauce
Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Pickled Carrot and Mint
Chilli Fried Rice with Broccolini and Tofu
Sesame Bean Salad

Dessert:
Fruit Salad with Lemon Grass and Lime Syrup
Coconut Lime Slice
Ginger Fudge
Coconut Truffles

The food was full of flavour and there was plenty of it.  As usual Rickys did a sterling job of looking after their guests.  Judging by the dishes we enjoyed at this literary lunch, Bill’s Everyday Asian is going to become one of my most loved cookbooks.

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