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Food-truck tribulations
29.03.2017

Chicken or pork? Kelly Eng takes on a food-truck challenge but fails to cement her millennial credentials.

Take me to the river
29.03.2017

For serial cruisers who have done the Danube and knocked off the Nile, less familiar waterways beckon.

Gourmet Institute is back for 2017
29.03.2017

Fire-up the stove, tie on your favourite apron and let’s get cooking, food fans. This year’s line-up is brimming with talent.

The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

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.

Jamón 101

What is jamón?
Jamón is Spanish for ham, the meat coming from the rear leg of the pig, or what Italians call 'prosciutto'.

How should I pronounce that?
'Ha-mon' - (with a hard 'H') our J's are pronounced like H's in Spanish.

What's the difference between jamón serrano and jamón Ibérico?
Most significantly, the difference lies in the race of the pig. Jamón serrano comes from the white pig, a common race of pig found in most countries, like the Italian prosciutto. Jamón Ibérico comes from the Iberian race of pig, which is unique to the Iberian Peninsula and mostly only found and bred in certain parts of Spain.

The jamón Ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed Iberian ham) has the unique ability to transform more than half of its fat into 'good fat' with properties similar to oleic acid - like olive oil. This is the only race of pig that can do this. Another important difference is that the Iberian pigs are left alive usually double the age of the white pig (average age at time of slaughter is 14-20 months). This allows the 'marbling' effect of the fat to occur within the meat. Iberian pigs are also left free to roam the pastures with plenty of natural space.

Is it popular in Spain?
Very! Jamón Ibérico is the most famous delicacy from Spain, especially when it is jamón Ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed Iberian ham). It's eaten on every special occasion or celebration.

How is it normally eaten?
Jamón Ibérico is normally served as a starter to a fine meal. Freshly sliced, very thin, with small slices served on a plate. It is usually eaten straight with no accompaniments, but there may be a bit of fresh bread on the side. Jamón serrano is normally eaten together with melon (as a starter) or on a toast rubbed with tomato and olive oil (especially in Catalunya). It is also used to make sandwiches with fresh bread.

And when do you eat it?
Spanish typically eat jamón at lunch or dinner. However, you can grab a jamón sandwich at any time of the day in Spain.

What should I serve with it? Bread? Cheese? Olives?
When the jamón Ibérico is served as a starter, you may find some Manchego cheese and olives served alongside it. However, the jamón is always the star.

What should I drink with it? Cava? Sherry? Beer? Whisky? Red wine?
Any of the above except for whisky. A cold dry sherry or manzanilla creates a great combination with the sweet and nutty Iberian ham. Any wine (red, white, rosé, sparkling) or even beer goes well too.

Any tips for serving it?
It is best to serve the jamón freshly sliced and at room temperature. The thinner the slices the better. It is also important to leave the fat on.

What's the story with those excellent cradles?
We call these 'jamóneros' in Spanish and this is the way the jamón is served and presented in Spain - with the bone in, cradled in a jamónero. It is all part of the theatre of jamón. In good restaurants in Spain you will find a specialised waiter who will hand-slice the jamón in front of the guests and serve it straight to the table. It is very important to have this hand-sliced properly and with a certain process to best use the jamón and to achieve thin slices.

How long does jamón keep?
It is best kept in the fridge for up to 12 months. It is a rather robust produce.

How much does jamón Ibérico cost?
Jamón Ibérico de bellota retails between $400-$500 per kilo.

Is the rear leg ('jamón') better than the front leg or shoulder ('paleta')?
There are common misconceptions that the rear leg (jamón) is better than the shoulder or front leg (paleta). This is not the case and you will find an equally rich, nutty, marbled ham from both the shoulder and the rear leg.

Is jamón better the longer it is cured?
Again, it is another misconception that the longer a jamón is cured, the better it must be. Curing jamón is a careful process that needs to be monitored under the right conditions and will vary according to the weight of the ham and environmental factors. Generally speaking, an average-sized jamón Ibérico can take from 24 to 36 months to cure. There is a balance that needs to be achieved to get the jamón right as over-curing can dry out the ham.

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