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My greedy lunch

Last week, I attended Guy Mirabella’s cooking class at The Essential Ingredient. I trawled through the long list of classes for weeks before deciding this was the one for me. The main factor that won me over was that the class was ‘meat-free’, which meant I could eat everything. It also promised to be ‘garden-driven’. This appealed to me, because even though my vegetable garden consists of a few straggly sticks of sage, I like to think that one day in the future I’ll have a quarter-acre block abundant with edible delights.

Watermelon Bread Salad

Watermelon and bread salad


Broad Bean Soup

Broad bean soup

Guy Mirabella runs the cafe ‘Shop Ate’ in Mount Eliza. Interestingly, he began his culinary career designing cookbooks and has helped produce books for Stephanie Alexander, Christine Manfield and Charmaine Solomon. At the class, Guy insisted that he was not really a chef or even a cook; he said that he is simply a designer who enjoys cooking. I think he sells himself a little short. The man is multitalented!

We made several delectable dishes including cauliflower bread and butter pudding, eggplant chutney and a watermelon and bread salad. These are going to feature in Guy’s upcoming cookbook, which I can’t wait to get my hands on…

Cauliflower Pudding

Cauliflower bread and butter pudding



Sauteeing leek and mushrooms

Guy declared that the word of the day was ‘rustic’. This was license to tear food rather than chop it, and to artfully pile everything on the dish rather than preciously ‘plate up’.  Guy taught us that looks are important – but not in terms of perfection. As usual, food lessons can be applied to life.

Guy’s food is the kind of food that you can imagine eating on a fantasy Sunday picnic with a raucous group of family and friends who all bring a plate of lovingly prepared home grown goods. A bit like in a little Italian film on SBS!

Mushroom and Eggs with Guy

Guy breaking eggs in the mushrooms



Endive (?) salad

I couldn’t leave without snapping up Guy’s last book, Eat Ate. As expected, it’s beautiful and I look forward to preparing some more of his ‘rustic’ recipes!

Fig Pavlova

Fig, pomegranate, blood orange and passionfruit meringue

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6 Responses to “Guy Mirabella at The Essential Ingredient”

  1. This was really interesting to read! I admit to not having heard of Guy Mirabella before, but he sure sounds like my kind of guy! I’m not a big fan of ‘plating up’ as well , maybe because I’m so bad at it, so rustic is certainly the way to go!

  2. Hannah says:

    I’ve heard of watermelon and feta salad but not watermelon and bread salad – sounds fantastic! I wonder if the Essential Ingredient does classes here in Canberra…

    • Saskia says:

      Thanks Hannah! Yep we’ve been lucky with our classes. Maybe next year you’ll have to make a special Essential Ingredient trip to melbs or sydney?

  3. Megan says:

    That looks fantastic! Especially the watermelon in that salad… the texture would be amazing.

    By the way, you’re right with the labelling of endive, though the heads on the left often get called witlof (or Belgian Endive), though the right looks like it’s just curly endive. They’re all related! And so pretty… 🙂

    • Saskia says:

      Thanks Megan. Yes, the watermelon and crusty bread was a winning combo.

      Also thanks for identifying the endive. I’m very impressed by your lettuce expertise!

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