Alex Elliott-Howery - co-author of Cornersmith
What inspired you to write this second book following the success of Cornersmith?
The new book came out of Sabine’s and my shared love of vegetables and our obsession with reducing kitchen waste. We found that in the Cornersmith cooking classes our students were really interested in our tips
Interesting seasonal combinations for salads
Ideas to make vegetables the heroes of your meals
quick and easy tips and pickling ideas that not only make delicious condiments, but also help you use up excess produce like wrinkly vegetables and tired herbs.
It was so exciting to be able to put our heads together and have a place to put all our tips and tricks.
What did you enjoy most about creating the book?
It was really lovely making a second book. We knew what we were doing a bit more with this one, so we could relax and enjoy the process. We have such a wonderful team working on the book, so the shoot is always fun and full of laughs.
Tell us about foraging for food in your area.
We try to get as much as we can from our local area. We have bees on the rooftop of the Picklery and they make about 300 kg of honey each year for us to use in the café kitchens and sell to the neighbourhood. The bees spend a lot of time in local backyards so the honey is a really lovely floral mix. Neighbours are often thanking us for their bumper crops of cucumbers or zucchini because the bees have been so active.
We also pick a lot of fennel flowers to flavour our pickles or infuse our honey with. We usually go pickling in late summer. In early summer we pick lots of mulberries from neighbourhood trees and make compote for our shakes. Customers can also bring in their excess home grown produce and we trade for pickles. We have mountains of chillies coming in the doors at the moment. Over the winter months hundreds of kgs of citrus are brought in and we make marmalades, syrups and preserve them in salt.
We know you love all things food, do you have any other hidden talents?
My 10 year old son has recently turned our dining table into a ping pong table and I’ve surprised the entire family by being a champion ping ponger.
Who in the culinary world would you love to meet over a meal?
Alice Waters because she’s my food hero and Jamie Oliver because I think he’s making incredible changes.
Can you tell us about anything you are working on now?
I’m a busy bee. We’re just about to launch our Marrickville café into a day and night venue. It’s like a European bar where you can have coffee in the morning and come back for a glass of wine and a bite to eat in the evening. I’m very excited because once it’s open I won’t be working in there and I can I wander down the road and have an amazing glass of wine and some pickled fish!