The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

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.

Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

Baguette recipes

These baguette recipes are picture-perfect and picnic ready, bursting with fillings like slow-cooked beef tongue, poached egg and grilled asparagus and classic leg ham and cheese.

World's Best Chefs Talks

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

August

Winter is a challenge for the vegetable gardener in the colder states. I find it a challenge to keep up the salad supply. Radicchio seems to thrive in the cold, as do the frilly-edged oak leaf salad varieties. I still have brave cos lettuce plants growing, but slowly. Together with a few small spinach leaves and some rocket pickings, though, my salad bowl is still a treat each evening. I just have to remember to encourage all the green things by giving them a tonic drink of diluted seaweed solution.

And while mentioning plant tonics, this is the time to spray all deciduous fruit trees with Bordeaux mixture, ensuring that the spray is directed at the bark as well as the branches. The spraying of this fungicide should be repeated two weeks later and it must all be completed before the first leaf buds burst. And a spray of white oil on the citrus will help prevent attacks by sap suckers such as aphids.

Here in Melbourne we are enjoying a respectable amount of rain, thank goodness, often during the night. Don't forget to lay non-toxic snail baits and do have a bit of a hunt for snails in the morning.

I am keeping up the beetroot planting, both red and golden and the striped Chioggia variety. The first small beetroot were delicious steamed and made into a salad with the superb burrata cheese from La Latteria in Elgin Street, Carlton. It's made daily along with equally outstanding mozzarella, the freshest ever ricotta, and cream that's a trip down memory lane for me, so closely does it resemble the cream that came from the milk of our Jersey cow when I was a child.

As long as you leave the central leaves intact it's possible to pick a few of the beetroot leaves while the bulbs are still growing. I sauté them with olive oil and mix them into the salad. I don't enjoy uncooked beetroot leaves in a salad, finding them too tough to mix well with my tender salad plants. Other gardeners disagree. The leaf spinach is a delight - soft and silky - and takes less than a minute to cook in a covered pan with no more than the water clinging to the leaves.

I have hilled up the young leeks with a mulch of pea straw, hoping to encourage a maximum of white shank. The broad beans are flowering and the dwarf climbing snow peas and sugarsnaps are yielding several handfuls every couple of days. And I will plant out some more carrots this weekend, mixing the super-fine carrot seed with some fine sand so that the seedlings are not too close together. Thinning will still be essential but you can let the seedlings grow a bit before needing to separate them. The thinnings are always the gardener's treat.

There is an early promise of spring as the freesias push through the front lawn and the narcissus are already in bloom. Every year I mean to relocate my freesia bulbs so that mowing the small patch of grass will not be such an obstacle course, and every year I forget. Maybe I forget intentionally as the front garden looks dreamy once they flower, scattered higgledy-piggledy across the grassy patch. The freesias are all the old-fashioned variety: the colour of cream with here and there a deep butter-yellow throat. Hyacinth bulbs have appeared in the back window box where the tarragon has disappeared for the winter. The basil bushes have shrivelled and blackened while I have been travelling around the country visiting some of the schools in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

Often I visit nearby schools but the program is now national and it was a timely reminder of the different growing conditions around the country when I visited the demonstration school in the Northern Territory, Alawa Primary. What a contrast to chilly Melbourne. Under a clear blue sky with the temperature in the high twenties, the garden at the school was exotic and luxuriant to a visitor from the south. I admired hanging bunches of bananas and dangling pawpaw and jackfruit, examined patches of sweet potato and noticed the flashes of scarlet from the prolific birdseye chilli bushes. I was introduced to the rabbits, Chocolate Chip, Licorice and Pepper. In the kitchen the students were preparing a feast for the invited guests.

On the menu were honey-seared crocodile with a red pawpaw and avocado salad; green pawpaw salad; banana flower salad with grated cucumber; rice paper rolls with sliced omelette made from the school's gathered eggs; and roast pumpkin and basil salad with sunflower seeds. It was all incredibly delicious and a perfect example of what we always hope to see: organically grown seasonal food accurately reflecting its environment. These cooks were aged between eight and 10 years old.

It was a shock to return home to a freezing evening. I had to dig out my bedsocks.

Until next time.

For information on Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Foundation and schools program, visit www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au.

PHOTOGRAPHY JULIE CRESPEL STYLING CLAIRE DELMAR

This article is from the August 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Sydney’s heatwaves are affecting your croissants
22.02.2017
Recipes by Christine Manfield
21.02.2017
How to grow rocket
20.02.2017
On the Pass: Danielle Rensonnet
16.02.2017
Four ways with furikake
13.02.2017
The trailer for Chef's Table season three is here
10.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

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

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Chef's spaghetti Bolognese recipes: L to Z

We quizzed the best kitchen talents on their secrets to the ...

Chef's spaghetti Bolognese recipes: B to K

We quizzed the best kitchen talents on their secrets to the ...

Mother's Day recipes

Mum deserves nothing but the best, so why don't you make her...

Easter recipes

Hot cross buns, a whole lot of lamb, some chocolate treats (...

Classic Italian recipes

From spaghetti Bolognese to lasagne and tiramisu to panna co...

Easter lunch recipes

With the cooler autumn weather, heartier flavours begin to e...

Cupcake recipes

Scaled down to little more than a mouthful, tiny cakes take ...

Thomas Keller's sandwich recipes

America's most famous chef takes the smarts and good taste t...

Grilling recipes

Dust off the tongs, fire up the barbecue, and get grilling w...

Neil Perry's Spice Temple recipes

At his new Spice Temple, Neil Perry calls on the more exotic...

Pickle and preserve recipes

When it comes to last-minute entertaining, a lovingly made p...

15 (shameless) chocolate recipes

Mousse, souffle, mud cake and more... welcome to the dark si...

Sexy salad recipes

A salad can be so good when it's done just right. Check out ...

Recipes from Australia's best chefs

Peter Gilmore's snow egg, Justin North's smoked duck egg wit...

Quick winter meals

Fire up the stovetop with these wintry dishes, ready for the...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×