Be taken on a global journey with Dining at Dusk »

Part travel guide, part cultural guide and part recipe book

By Paula Wriedt
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<i>Dining at Dusk</i> by Stevan Paul

Dining at Dusk by Stevan Paul [©Murdoch Books]

 

Sit back, relax and be taken on a journey around the globe with Dining at Dusk – Tapas, Antipasti, Mezze, Ceviche and Aperitifs from Around the World by Stevan Paul.

Part travel guide, part cultural guide and part recipe book, Dining at Dusk is both a coffee table book and one that you will find yourself using to put together memorable nibbles and drinks for loved ones.

Dusk is of course the time of day when a unique light appears – where the day fades into night and lights start coming on. It’s also the time that heralds that the day’s work is done for most people and that it’s time to unwind, particularly with food and drink. As the author says, “Dining at dusk is magical ….. we can let go and make time for a cool drink, accompanied by small, uncomplicated dishes.” 

Stevan Paul is an acclaimed chef, food blogger and now enjoys exploring the world and its various cuisines and cultural traditions.  Dining at Dusk is organised to follow the course of the setting sun around the world and takes us on a journey of snacks, local delicacies, music and tipples that all come together to make up the uniqueness of each destination.

One of the excellent features of this book is that each recipe comes with a suggestion of an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink to accompany the dish, as well as music recommendations to complete your authentic culinary experience. What a great way to showcase all that a destination has to offer!

Australia’s neighbour, Samoa is first up in the book with Oka I’a, (p.11), a fish salad not unlike ceviche and similar to many served in other Pacific Island destinations such as Fiji. I couldn’t resist trying this out to remember if it was as good as the last time I had the pleasure of sunning myself in the Pacific. I am happy to report it was every bit as delicious.

Like ceviche, the fish is 'cooked' by the acid of the lime juice, but the big difference is that later it is mixed with cucumber, tomatoes, onion, ginger and coconut milk. It is this addition that probably makes it more appealing to a wider number of people who otherwise would shy away from a raw fish dish. The coconut milk masks the fish’s rawness and makes this dish both fresh and comfortingly creamy at the same time.

I’m not sure however of the book’s recommendation to have this with a glass of kava. For those who have visited any of the Pacific Islands you can never forget the tongue-numbing properties of this dishwater-like substance made from the roots of a yaqona. I feel that a refreshing Tasmanian sauvignon blanc would make a much better accompaniment.  

Following the setting sun, Australia is next and 15 pages are based on the author's experiences during a trip around Western Australia.  It’s probably for that reason I found some of the entries surprising for my home country. I didn’t realise that gourmet toasted sandwiches were such a big deal in Australia – with two making the list – a Bacon, Apple and Gouda Sandwich (p. 16) which looks delicious with thick bread fried in bacon fat and topped with caramalised onions, bacon, apple and oozing with melted gouda.  It’s probably a dish my university student son would devour when he comes home to stay.

A few pages later another gourmet sandwich is there to tempt us.  The Reuben Bread Stack with Red Coleslaw (p. 21) is a huge and somewhat unusual combination of ingredients for a take on the classic Jewish American Reuben sandwich. The Aussie twist on this sandwich is the addition of caramelised fresh pineapple slices, adding weight to the myth that Australians will add pineapple to anything!  

Further afield Dining at Dusk provides some mouth-watering recipes from parts of Asia including a range of Japanese Yakitori sticks (p.31), much loved Karage Chicken (p 34), and Chinese Baozi – steamed yeast buns bursting with braised meat (p. 39). 

I’ve recently ventured into a lot more vegetarian cooking thanks to my teenage daughter’s desire to give up meat, so I was delighted to find the Indian chapter had a range of delicious meat-free dishes, some of which I hadn’t seen before, like the Paneer Cigar Rolls (p.45). I couldn’t resist making them to demonstrate my willingness to cater to her vegetarian desires, and like all the recipes in this book, these were simple and didn’t require a plethora of exotic ingredients that would lay dormant in the pantry for years to come.

The global journey continues through the Middle East, Europe and the UK, to end up in the United States, Brazil and finally Mexico. The recipes from the latter two countries had me particularly excited as they showcase true contemporary takes on traditional dishes.

Ceviche is given a facelift by using Salmon with sweet Potatoes and Black Beans (p. 207).  Empanadas are taken to the next level with Prawns and Black Beans (p. 213) and by the time I had reached the final recipe of Chilaquiles on p. 229 my mouth was simply watering. It brought back fond memories of having eaten a similar dish at a beautiful bed ‘n’ breakfast in New Mexico over twenty years ago. Chilaquiles, the Mexican breakfast dish that uses left over tortillas but could be eaten any time throughout the day, will definitely be on my dinner menu in the coming weeks.

Dining at Dusk delivers exactly what it sets out to achieve, taking readers on a culinary and cultural journey around the world.  If you are planning travel there are some great recommendations in the book. Even if travel isn’t on your horizon the recipes, combined with the music and drink recommendations, will help you realise to recreate the magic of some of these glorious destinations from the comfort of your own home

 

Dining at Dusk by Stevan Paul is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney/London; April 2019; Hb; 240pp; RRP A$39.99). It is available at good bookshops and directly from the publisher » 

It can be purchased online via booko.com.au »

Read the press release here »

or try the recipes from the book:


About the reviewer

Paula Wriedt is a self-confessed foodie.  Whilst she loves her job running the small charity Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania, her real passion is food.   She lives in Kingston with her partner and nearly adult daughter, with her son having recently moved to Launceston for University studies. His mum’s cooking though is never far away as he often returns home after a visit with a few favourite dishes to tide him over until next time.

As a former State Minister for Tourism, Paula is passionate about Tasmanian produce and our beautiful island state.  Travelling is high on her agenda but she enjoys returning to Tasmania and sharing with friends and family the many recipes she discovers on her travels.

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