The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Gifts under $100 at our pop-up Christmas Boutique

Whether it's a hand-thrown pasta bowl, a bottle of vodka made from sheep's whey or a completely stylish denim apron, our pop-up Christmas Boutique in collaboration with gift shop Sorry Thanks I Love You has got you covered in the $100 and under budget this Christmas.

Vegetarian canape recipes

If you're skipping meat at your next party, try these fast and fresh vegetarian canape recipes.

Big red alert

Step away from the cheeseboard with that gutsy red wine. Max Allen and Will Studd have done the research and found more harmonious drink and cheese pairings.

If you want to spark a lively discussion - and hopefully put smiles on your friends' faces - the next time you sit down to tuck into some cheese and wine, try this simple tip: don't open a bottle of red.

In fact, try not even opening a bottle of wine at all.

We've been exploring the gastronomic permutations of cheese and drink matching for almost two decades. And we've found, time after time, that the traditional go-to choice of a big red wine is seldom the best: the drying tannins of a cabernet, or the full-bodied power of a shiraz can often clash with the complex flavours and textures of good cheese.

White wine, sweet wine, sparkling wine - even (or especially) non-wine drinks such as cider, beer and Japanese sake - are often far better choices. And the fact that a lot of people haven't even considered there could be an alternative to red wine when it comes to the cheese course makes it worth trying at least one of the following combinations. You might be surprised - but you won't be disappointed.

Riesling and Comté
The word we keep coming back to when describing great cheese and drink experiences is "retronasal": how the flavours on your tongue shoot up the "smell chimney" at the back of your mouth to be perceived by the aroma receptors behind your nose. Which is why crisp perfumed riesling plus dense perfumed Gruyère-style cheese equals retronasal joy.

Cider and Camembert
Not an unusual match at all, really - if you're from Normandy, that is. Look for the most rustic, cloudiest cider you can find (preferably from Normandy), ripen your Camembert to its oozing best, and then revel in the rich, barnyardy retronasal explosion of flavour as you combine the two in your mouth.

Ale and Cheddar
Or Wensleydale, or Cheshire - the point is, we have found that a full-flavoured English-style beer, such as a fragrantly hoppy India Pale Ale, is a sensational partner for England's hard, cooked cheeses. We think it's the tangy intensity of the cooked curds and the oily intensity of the hops that have something to do with it.

Fino Sherry and Manchego
This is a classic Spanish match, when you think about it: you arrive at a small, welcoming tapas bar down a narrow laneway as dusk falls, you settle at the bar and the waiter offers you a plate of dry-textured, salty sheep's milk cheese and a glass of bone-dry, briny fortified wine, and suddenly all is right with the world.

Moscato and Fresh Curd
Think freshness and youth: barely fermented curds, almost straight from the udder, matched with a wine style that, effectively, is still-fermenting grape juice, almost straight from the vine. Think opposites attracting, too: the sweetness of the moscato is a great companion for the acidic twang of the cheese.

Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano
The key to this match is texture: there's an exquisite affinity between the tingling feel of bubbles in Champagne and the crunchy little crystals of calcium lactate embedded within the dense richness of a good old parmesan. Oh, and umami, too: there's heaps of savoury deliciousness in both the yeastiness of Champagne and the cheese.

Sake and Roquefort
We know, it sounds bizarre: Japanese rice wine and French blue cheese - a culture clash. But trust us: splash out on a good, medium-dry junmai sake and try it with this classic cheese. We think you'll be surprised. The fruity aroma and intense flavour of the koji mould used to make the sake is a great match for the saltiness and sweet blue-mould flavour of the Roquefort.

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