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Q&A With Masterchef Callum Hann

Q&A With Masterchef Callum Hann

We loved watching Callum Hann on Masterchef – he nabbed second place in the second series aged just 20! In between  running Sprout Cooking School in Adelaide and traveling around the country, he somehow found time to write his second cookbook I’d Eat That – and it’s one of the loveliest cookbooks we’ve read in a while!

We asked Callum for his tips to elevate everyone’s home cooking skills, his favourite easy dinner recipe and what ingredients he can’t live without.

Congratulations on the book! What’s the one tip that will make people better home cooks tonight?
Thanks! For tonight’s dinner, look up a list of what’s in season right now and pick your favourite vegetable from that list. Base your dinner around that vegetable. I always think it’s an interesting way to look at a meal, to start with vegetables as the hero and work backwards to the protein, no the other way around.

It’s Monday, and we’re knackered. Can you share a quick and easy dinner idea?
A simple frittata is quick, satisfying and healthy. Whisk six eggs together with a splash of milk. Fry off whatever veggies (diced capsicum, zucchini, butternut, onion etc) you have in a pan, and add some bacon, smoked salmon or tuna if you have some. Pour over your egg mixture and add some spoonfuls of ricotta or grated cheese and a few twists of black pepper. Put it under the grill until it bubbles and turns golden brown. If you have any fresh herbs growing in your garden (think parsley, chives, tarragon) roughly chop them and scatter over the top. Serve with a simple salad drizzled with olive oil and balsamic.

What are your top three cant-live-without ingredients?
Garlic, chilli and good olive oil.

What are some of your favourite, more unusual ingredients that will improve anyone’s cooking game?
Porcini mushrooms give heaps of flavour to risottos and soups with little effort. They are a bit pricey but you don’t need to use much. I love using aromatic spices like star anise and cardamon to inject flavour into broths, curries and milk-based desserts. I think it’s worth learning the simple art of removing seeds from a pomegranate; cut it in half, hold it cut side facing down and hit it repeatedly with a spoon until they all fall out. The seeds give brilliant sweet-sour to salads, desserts and cocktails.

What are your go-to cookbooks?
Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Companion is a brilliant resource for all your ingredient-related questions, and I love Justin North’s French Lessons for his explanations on classic techniques.

Which celebrity would you love to cook dinner for?
Jamie Oliver – I was lucky enough to cook a dinner with him, but not for him!

What would be your ultimate day off?
A relaxed stroll to the market to buy good bread, charcuterie and cheese, and enjoy a big platter of it all on the beach with friends and a glass of wine.

I’d Eat That by Callum Hann, photography by Alan Benson. Published by Murdoch Books, RRP $24.99.

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