THE Blue Ducks' Real Food recipe book hit my desk on a Friday and I couldn't help myself - I spent all day Sunday trying out some of the most delicious recipes I've tasted in a long time.
Created by Bondi boys Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy, Blue Ducks' Real Food has more than 80 recipes inspired by their love of nature and fresh, locally grown ingredients.
Many of these recipes would be at home on the menu of their successful restaurants in Bronte and Byron Bay, The Three Blue Ducks.
Their recipes mirror their philosophy of buying local in-season produce and using home-grown herbs, vegetables and fruit. The emphasis here is fresh.
As an apartment dweller without a garden I made a trip to my local Sunday market armed with my ingredient lists so I could enjoy the benefits of using fresh local ingredients. It makes a difference.
The results? Fabulous mouth-watering food boasting some unusual combinations and big flavours that work beautifully together. It was hard to choose which recipes to try first.
I started with the roasted beets, haloumi, pink grapefruit and bitter greens salad.
Wow, what a knockout dish, bursting with flavour punches of sweet roasted garlic, fresh fennel and gentle spicy hits of mild chilli. I paired it with their tender barbecued calamari. Yum. What a combo.
Moving on to something completely different for dessert - rhubarb, orange and rosemary cake. It's a flavour combination I would never think of putting together but is a tasty different take on dessert.
The boys suggest serving it with creme fraiche but you could have it with your favourite yogurt, sorbet or a dollop of cream too.
I loved it warm just on its own.
This is my new favourite cookbook and you'll find a fantastic collection of natural, fresh and tempting out-of-the-usual recipes for any occasion, which are easy to make, even for beginners.
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