The Hot List: avocado roses, watermelon jellies and talking sausages

Amsterdam-based Colette Dike of Food Deco makes pretty avocado roses.
Amsterdam-based Colette Dike of Food Deco makes pretty avocado roses. Photo: Supplied

We're making… AVOCADO ROSES

Smashing avocado is out. Crafting it into aesthetically pleasing flowers is in. We watched a simple video by Amsterdam-based Colette Dike of Food Deco to learn how: brush peeled avocado halves with sushi vinegar, slice them finely, fan the slices out in a long line and then carefully roll the line up like a snail shell to form a rose. Dike's Avocado Cookbook was just released, but unfortunately it's only available in Dutch at the moment. fooddeco.nl

We can't believe that… VEGAN PARENTS COULD FACE JAIL TIME

Italians taking food seriously is nothing new, but Elvira Savino from the conservative Forza Italia party has introduced a bill that could see vegan parents jailed for up to six years if they force children under 16  to adopt their animal-free diet. The proposed law follows  several serious malnutrition cases in young Italians on vegan diets.

Why you should eat the skin of fruit and vegetables.

Plant-only diets are under attack in Italy. Photo: 578foot

We're eating… VODKA JELLY WATERMELON  

From the restaurant that brought translucent Japanese raindrop cakes to Australia comes jelly watermelon slices studded with chocolate chips and spiked with vodka. Introduced by Harajuku Gyoza in Potts Point and Queensland, the wobbly dish is suitable for vegetarians and can be kid-friendly if you opt for the non-alcoholic version.

Harajuku Gyoza's watermelon vodka jelly

Harajuku Gyoza's watermelon vodka jelly Photo: Supplied

We're drinking… HERBAL COCKTAILS

Saké restaurant's Melbourne venues are ahead of the season with their winter cocktail menu. The specials, available into September, are packed with plants and herbs that taste like a spring garden. Order the Ureshi namida ("Happy Tears" in Japanese) with strawberry and rosemary-infused shochu and thyme syrup and Sukuti Kobito (Scottish midget) with lavender, sochu, Japanese mint and chilled earl grey tea.

Sake restaurant's herbal cocktails

Sake restaurant's herbal cocktails Photo: Kitti Gould

We're obsessed with… FOOD MINIATURES 

Friday marks a month since season eight of MasterChef  wrapped up, but Shilpa Mitha in India has immortalised the dishes with minute polymer clay models just a few centimetres  in diameter. Inspired by Heston Blumenthal's Botrytis cinerea dessert at the end of season seven, Mitha went on to sculpt Shannon Bennett's chocolate peanut butter bar, Nigella Lawson's tequila and lime chicken and more.

Shilpa Mitha makes mini versions of MasterChef dishes

Shilpa Mitha makes mini versions of MasterChef dishes Photo: Picasa

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We're loving… GOURMET TOASTIES

It could be seasonal, our sense of nostalgia or a general Australian tendency to be hung over – whatever the reason, the humble grilled sandwich is fancier than ever. Toasta food truck's new West Melbourne cafe cooks theirs in duck fat instead of butter for an extra buck while in Sydney, Mercado ditched ham and cheese in favour of smoked wagyu tongue, pickled green tomato and gruyere on pork fat brioche. 

Mercado does a gourmet toastie

Mercado does a gourmet toastie. Photo: Supplied

We're watching… SAUSAGE PARTY

Make no mistake; this is not a kids' movie. The first ever R-rated CGI animated film, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express), follows a supermarket sausage and other groceries that aspire to be bought  – until they learn what awaits them. There is a completely lack of political correctness, an over-the-top sex scene (actual food porn, geddit?) and racial and religious stereotypes that will have you  baulking.Everyone will be offended, but that's the point. 

Hot dog bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig) and taco Teresa (Salma Hayek).

Hot dog bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig) and taco Teresa (Salma Hayek).

We're buying… FIRST HARVEST OLIVE OIL 

First in, best dressed. The same applies to olive oil and once you've dipped crusty bread into vibrant green and fruity first-press EVOO it's hard to go back to the old stuff. Cobram Estate offers a delicate, limited edition first harvest blend of Hojiblanca, Picual and Coratina olives (buy two at cobramestate.com.au with the checkout code firstharvest2for1) while JOSEPH First Run Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the first run of the season's first crop created by winemaker Joe Grilli, is available at Simon Johnson, simonjohnson.com.

Joseph produces a first-run extra virgin olive oil at the beginning of its season.

Joseph produces a first-run extra virgin olive oil at the beginning of its season. Photo: Daniel Grilli