The Paris issue

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Seven ways to do dumplings

Dumplings may be bite-sized, but they pack a flavourful punch. Here are seven mouth-watering recipes, from Korean mandu to classic Chinese-style steamed dumplings.

Best feta recipes

Feta's tang livens up all sorts of dishes, from beef shin rigatoni or blistered kale ribs to Greek-style roast lamb neck.

Recipes with zucchini

Whether served raw with olive oil, grated with fresh herbs, or pan-fried in a pancake - zucchini is a must-have ingredient when it comes to spring cooking.

Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie, Melbourne

Here’s Pickett’s inside running on the menu at Melbourne's new European-style eatery and wine bar Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie.

Apfel kuchen

"This is my mother's famous apple cake. The apples are macerated with sugar, cinnamon and lemon, and this lovely juice produces the icing," says Brigitte Hafner. The apples can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge. This cake keeps well for four days and is at its best served the day after it's made."

Melbourne's best late-night bars

As the shutters come down in other Australian capitals, Melbourne's vibrant nightlife is just hitting it's stride. Michael Harden burns the midnight oil at the city's best late-night bars and diners.

Nougat, salted peanut caramel and milk chocolate tart

What's not to love about a Snickers bar? All the elements are here, but if you don't feel like making your own nougat, you could always scatter some diced nougat in the base of the tart instead. The caramel is dark, verging on bitter, while a good whack of salt cuts through some of the sweetness - extra roasted salted peanuts on top can only be a good thing.

Tokyo eating guide

Whether it's yakitori or yakiniku, sushi or soba, dress down for ramen or dress up for kaiseki, chef Michael Ryan has every meal covered in the Japanese capital.

The good life

"The zucchini have gone crazy," says Rodney Dunn. "Which is great. The lettuce is always happening, it's just prolific and everywhere. The corn grows a foot every day, and the raspberries are finishing, with the birds getting the last of them. We had our first tomatoes the other day, so that's good. The pigs are getting fatter by the day, and I'm waiting for them to be old enough to go and have some fun with the boar so they can give me some little piglets. The geese are biding their time, and I'm going to fatten them over winter; the Jersey cows are being nuisances. They've been to the bull, but I'm not sure if they're pregnant."

Welcome to a day in the life of Rodney Dunn. As a former full-time food editor here at Gourmet Traveller, he was more accustomed to whiling away his hours in the city in the test kitchen and photo studio, but for Dunn, it has been a matter of taking the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy. Raised in Griffith, in southern central New South Wales, he left home for the city to pursue his interest in cooking, cutting his teeth in restaurants such as Tetsuya's before turning to work in magazines. For all his flair in the kitchen and his talent for preparing food for the camera, the country kept calling. "I wanted to have access to better food," he says. "I really wanted to eat vegetables we couldn't buy, to have the experience of having our own animals, our own milk, and to make a living out of sharing that experience with other people."

So it was that in 2007, Dunn, his wife Séverine Demanet and their toddler Tristan left Sydney and settled in a 19th-century schoolhouse 45 minutes north of Hobart at Lachlan in the Derwent Valley. After some hard yards with shovel, sledgehammer and backhoe, they opened the doors on The Agrarian Kitchen late last year, and it's already being hailed by local and overseas pundits as a cooking school in a class of its own. The first part of most sessions involves pulling ingredients from the garden, but despite the rustic setting, the kitchen is equipped with shiny new professional-grade equipment, augmented by a wood-burning oven designed by fire-guru Alan Scott. In addition to the heirloom fruit and veg and the Barnevelders, Wessex saddlebacks and other assorted rare-breed livestock on the farm, other topnotch Tassie produce plays a part, whether it's black truffles, wild trout or rock lobster. Locals pitch in their skills, too; butcher and pig breeder Lee Christmas lends a hand with the Whole Hog class (yes, it means exactly what you think), for example, while Gordon Ramsay protégé and pastry chef Alistair Wise gives lessons on the sweet stuff.

The romance of the setting is undeniable. "I look at it, and think, gee, that's not growing as well as I'd like it to, and the weeds are getting away a bit over there, but other people come here and just fall in love with the place," says Dunn. There's no lack of poetry in Dunn's soul, but his mind, nonetheless, is on smokehouses and greenhouses, root cellars and milking sheds. How long will it take to get The Agrarian Kitchen to a point where he'll be satisfied with it?

"The rest of my life," he says, "I hope."

The Agrarian Kitchen, 650 Lachlan Rd, Lachlan, Tas, (03) 6261 1099.

WORDS PAT NOURSE PHOTOGRAPHY SHARYN CAIRNS

This article appeared in the March 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.


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