Healthy Eating

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

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a copy of Nordic Light - offer ends 23 April 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

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.

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.

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.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Inner city vegie patch

Living in a flat in inner Melbourne with a small concrete and brick balcony, I figured my attempts at vegie growing were unlikely to get much further than the existing pots containing a depressed looking bay tree and a plucky-despite-the-odds rosemary bush. But that was before I’d read Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember’s excellent gardening book The Little Veggie Patch Co: How to Grow Food in Small Spaces. In the interests of full disclosure, I must tell you that after I’d flipped through its humorous, easy-to-follow pages, I got the authors around to do a number on my outdoor space, and now the rosemary bush and the bay tree – re-potted, fed and looking much better for it – share the balcony with thyme, oregano, marjoram, lemon balm, sorrel, chives, cos and mignonette lettuce, chicory, tatsoi, and lime and peppermint geraniums, and will soon be joined by a couple of varieties of bush tomatoes that fruit without the need for staking.

The best thing about all this greenery (aside from the improvement to my cooking – sorrel omelettes have become a weekend mainstay) is the way the plants actually make the balcony feel bigger than it did before.

One of the principles of the gardening philosophy of Pember and Capomolla is that gardens, no matter how small, should always look good, because, as they write in their book, “an uninviting patch… will help you become an even better procrastinator.” They’re also keen to stress that your vegie patch shouldn’t rule your life, so when it came time to design mine, the boys asked me how I used my balcony and what vegies and herbs I was likely to use: “You need to find a balance between your overwhelming enthusiasm, your needs, and the means at your disposal.”

On my now-lush balcony I have plants in a number of different containers, my favourite being the bespoke vegie patch/barbecue stand made from recycled packing crates. My small barbecue sits to one side of a 40cm-deep planter box, and there is enough room underneath for the gas bottle, a watering can, and space to hang barbecue implements and gardening tools.

To take advantage of a brick wall that gets a lot of morning sun and so will be ideal for tomatoes, an old, metal ammunitions box (painted a nicely weathered blue) has been planted with seedlings, given holes for drainage and attached high enough to catch all the sun.

Another ammo box sitting on the ground contains two rosemary bushes (both heavily in purple flower at the moment), and a series of brightly coloured glazed pots sport the bay tree, the marjoram and the thyme. On the balcony ledge are three long, narrow concrete pots ideal for quick-growing leafy greens.

There’s more to The Little Veggie Patch Co gardening book than just step-by-step set-up instructions. There are tips on everything from watering to scarecrows (something my daughter has expressed the most interest in) and an extensive list of food plants best suited to spaces like my balcony.

I understand that self-sufficiency with a space like mine is a ludicrous notion, but the huge leap in production on my balcony is enormously satisfying. I’m already eyeing off the other planters available and trying to work out what new plants I can fit. I’m thinking garlic, perhaps some broad beans and radishes, maybe an espaliered dwarf pear tree…

The Little Veggie Patch Co by Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember is published by Plum/Pan Macmillan Australia ($45, pbk).

PHOTOGRAPHY JOHN LAURIE

This article is from the November 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

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

Latest news
Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017
Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017
Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017
Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017
What is aquafaba?
20.03.2017
Eight recipes from Flour and Stone
20.03.2017
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.

×