Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Lemon tart

It's really important to seal the pastry well to prevent any seepage during cooking, and to trim the pastry soon after cooking. Let the tart cool in the tin before removing it, or it will crack.

Spelt cashew and broccoli bowl with yoghurt dressing

This nicely textured salad transports well, making it ideal for picnics or to take to barbecues. The broccoli can be kept raw and shaved on a mandolin, too.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

The party planner

1 Get the idea right from the beginning
Envisage the kind of party you want to throw, and be true to the dream. A party should be an expression of you and your true style.
 
2 Plan
Establish realistic timelines and deadlines, and stick to them. This is vital for remaining organised and keeping stress to a minimum. Creativity paired with administrative efficiency and financial understanding is a party match made in heaven.

3 Set a budget

This will allow you to engage the best and most appropriate suppliers for your needs.

4 Know your audience
Understand your invitees' likes and dislikes. If you're having a dinner party, seat guests appropriately because, at the end of the day, this is what makes the party work. I never seat couples or best friends together and I even like the idea of switching seats after each course (when there are, of course, not too many guests) - it gets people talking.

5 Create a point of difference
Not just for the sake of difference but to ensure you give guests a heightened experience. Read magazines and books, travel, dine out and listen to other people's experiences - you will gain plenty of ideas from this kind of activity.

6 Stay true to the original concept
Write down ideas, create a concept (where required) and stick with it - deviation will only cause disintegration.

7 Appeal to the eyes as well as the tastebuds

Food stations or buffet installations are great at cocktail parties because they allow those with a large appetite to graze throughout the entire evening while providing the host with a catering expression of generosity. Food needs to not only be delicious according to your tastes, but visually exciting, too. Simplicity is de rigueur - there's nothing like a perfectly ripe peach or a big bowl of beluga.

8 Set your stage for the right occasion
Lighting and candles, music, table settings, flowers and place cards all create ambience. The lighting is key to making everyone look sexy - votive candles are best as they are inexpensive, easy and you can spread them everywhere.

9 Don't say no to help
One man or woman can do nothing - a team of creative people collaborating is what makes a party. Find people you work well with; mutual respect is paramount.

10 Make sure your chosen environment can handle what you are trying to create
If there is not a lot of room in the kitchen for extra ovens, pots and pans, be clever with the menu. Devise it so that all the courses don't need cooking or heating - a fresh lobster tail with crunchy iceberg, avocado, citrus mayo and a wedge of lime is simple yet so luxurious.

11 Chic invitations
Invitations set the scene for your party and build anticipation for your guests, so take the time to get them right. Make sure all details are correct and instructions are easy to understand - a map reference, information on where to park, dress codes, clear RSVP details and so on. The new luxury is writing invitations on the thickest paper stock available.

12 Enjoy the process
Enjoying yourself is both the hardest and most important thing a party planner must do. The event itself is actually the least amount of the overall time you spend on creating the experience - ensure you have fun in the lead-up and after the event. If your guests see you enjoying yourself, they will too.

13 Embrace excess
Lots of food, lots of drinks, lots of ice. It's a bore to run out of anything and more means more fun. If your budget doesn't allow for an entire range of things, then have just one thing really well done - and lots of it.

Bruce Keebaugh is the CEO of The Big Group.

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Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

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Recipe collections

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