FB: How would you rate yourself as a cook?

PH: Here’s the thing. I’m no great foodie. I’m not a collector of fine restaurants and fine wines and fine dining experiences. My last regular cooking I suppose happened many decades ago. I seemed to have more time them. I used to cook – we’re talking here back in the late ’60s and ’70s when food was different. You could add dollops of cream and this and that and the other and somehow it didn’t go to the waist. I don’t know how that was! I’m thinking back to a time when sweet wines were the go. Switzerland’s little gift to the world was of course the fondue … did you ever have those strands of hot cheese going down the chin while everyone’s digging in with their forks? That’s when I stopped cooking actually.

FB: What is your favourite food?

PH: I like Japanese food. It seems very simple and fresh.

FB: What do you like to drink?

PH: These days I rarely will have an (alcoholic) drink. Very rarely indeed because – I don’t know – I’m too busy.

FB: Are you a coffee drinker?

PH: Oh yes! Once upon a time there was Bushell’s coffee with chicory essence. We’re talking the ’50s here. We’re talking about when Arnott’s SAO biscuits came in big tins! These days of course, you can have soyacino, moccacino, skinny cinos, latte … chai … something chai … you’ve got to have chai every now and again. Remember the thermos? I’d take a thermos of instant coffee with me into the studio every night and sip at it during the news. Wherever it comes from, I’m happy with that. I also like a cup of tea, too. Without sugar. Without milk. Russian Caravan Tea is my favourite.

FB: Have you got a sweet tooth?

PH: Yes. I keep getting lectures at the gym and from the doctor (about sugar). Give me one of those ice creams at the McDrive Thru will you? And hurry up about it!

FB: Which five people would you most like to invite to dinner?

PH: Tony Jones (Channel Nine colleague), Denis Walter and their wives (both named Annette), Livvo (Livinia Nixon), Brett McLeod, Alicia Loxley … people I work with. We all feel like family anyway, so that would actually be a nice extended family meal.

 

BURIED TREASURE

I’m sure many of us – as children – remember the excitement of being on the receiving end of a birthday cake from the Women’s Weekly Cookbook. Back in the ’70s, I remember the Dolly Varden cake being a regular staple of birthday celebrations for little girls … a Barbie or Cindy doll speared feet-first into a pudding-shaped cake which – with a bit of icing, silver cacous and a pinch of imagination – then became the doll’s skirt.

My personal favourite, though, was the treasure chest – a rectangular box-shaped cake slathered in chocolate frosting (swirled with a fork to give it the look and texture of wood) and overflowing with lollies and coins. All my life I have wanted an excuse to make one, and the other day I did, for a dear friend of mine who loves the childhood memories these kinds of cakes evoke. Who knew Curly Wurly chocolate bars could double so well as leather straps? It was so much fun to do, and gratefully received. Have you made any cakes from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook? I’d love to see them.

My personal favourite, though, was the treasure chest – a rectangular box-shaped cake slathered in chocolate frosting (swirled with a fork to give it the look and texture of wood) and overflowing with lollies and coins. All my life I have wanted an excuse to make one, and the other day I did, for a dear friend of mine who loves the childhood memories these kinds of cakes evoke. Who knew Curly Wurly chocolate bars could double so well as leather straps? It was so much fun to do, and gratefully received. Have you made any cakes from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook?You can now also follow Food Bytes With Sarah Patterson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Treasure Chest cake (photo supplied)