Playing with fire? In Finding Fire, Lennox Hastie, of the acclaimed Sydney restaurant Firedoor, reveals how he learnt the language of fire and why this simple form of cooking creates sumptuous results
Alongside Lennox’s journey from the UK to the Basque mountains and ultimately Australia, Finding Fire offers an uncompromising historical, cultural and culinary account of what it means to cook with red hot flames.
In a world yearning to re-engage with what makes us human, it reveals how it is possible for all of us to embrace this ancient and revered form of cooking.
“In one way or another, I think we are all fascinated by fire. We’re mesmerised by the flames that flicker as wood crackles and snaps.”
Lennox explains: “There’s something about its colour and movement that comforts us to our core, and there’s a sense of security around the ethereal heat and energy it radiates.
Fire can also be unpredictable and powerfully destructive; perhaps it’s this edge of danger that’s attractive. Fire commands our attention, it stirs our emotions and, ever eternal, it continues its story long after we are gone. ”
“It is elemental, it lays an ingredient bare; it makes cooking more intimate, more exciting and more enjoyable.”
With its ability to enhance natural flavours in ways that are unique, it is compelling, primal and an essential part of who we traditionally are. I have become addicted to fire and to rediscovering the grace of the ingredient through it. But the journey of finding fire has only just begun…
Get a taste with five red hot recipes…
1 Coconut, chocolate, cherry granita
” A chocolate with notes of dried fruit pairs well with the fresh cherry granita and grilled cherries, making it quite decadent.”
2 Leaves, guanciale, pecans
“Grilling lettuce and bitter leaves lifts them to hero status, creating a beautiful balance of lightly charred outer leaves and a caramelised body.”
3 Beetroot, black sesame
“Black sesame offers a rich, sweet, earthy nuttiness that mirrors the flavour of roasted beetroot.”
4 Pipis, garlic, karkalla
“Found all along the eastern coast of Australia, pipis have long been an important food source for Indigenous Australians, found in many middens dating back more than 2000 years.”
5 Banana ice cream, smoked chocolate, honeycomb
“Banana, chocolate, honeycomb … three simple ingredients that, when combined, produce the most satisfying dessert.”
All recipes courtesy of Lennox Hastie, extracted from Finding Fire, Hardie Grant Books