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Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

Thermomix cooking

I was a pots and pans cook. I took my Le Creuset to holiday houses. I lovingly paged through Stephanie Alexander then grabbed a favourite knife and wooden spoon. I read my David Thompson while fondling a mortar and pestle. I didn’t like the idea of plugging something in to get food on the table. My tax returns were more accessible than my food processor. But four years ago I was researching a story about chefs and the gadgets on their wish lists. “Thermomix,” they kept saying. “Thermowhat?” said I.

“It does what?” Chops, stirs and grinds, apparently. So, a food processor? “No, it cooks too, and at controlled temperatures,” said those 60/60-egg-loving professionals (that’s an egg cooked at 60 degrees for 60 minutes, kitchen Luddites). Mystified, I checked out the Thermomix website and emerged slightly wiser. So, it steams, whips, beats and – shut up! – cleans itself too. And it was $1939. Where’s the free set of steak knives, I muttered, sceptical but intrigued enough to host a demonstration. Demonstrations are the only way to see a Thermomix in action; they’re not sold in shops, which only adds to the cultish vibe that pushed my resistance buttons even harder.

Then a nice lady came to my house and cooked eight dishes in two hours, fed six of us, left us agog.

I loved the way it ground parmesan in a trice, kneaded bread dough, mulched ice to make lemon sorbet and – the killer blow – made risotto blindfolded. Risotto! In the kitchen-garden Slow-Food risotto of my parenting fantasy, the kids gathered herbs while I chopped onions, then we took turns stirring the pot, bonding in a steamy and aromatic fug as the rice and stock did their magic meld. In reality, the children preferred bickering to cooking and our risotto would turn to glug while I disentangled arms and legs from a snarling knot of hungry young life. Then I would plonk my precious pretties in front of the TV, weep onion/anguish tears into the sludgy pot and slug the verjuice by accident.

After three months of contemplating that $1939 and killing a few more risotti, I yelled at myself to stop my dithering and buy my Thermomix. So I did. Ah. Fun. The Thermomix’s special little beeps and rumbles burned into my brain as I whipped through the basics: peanut butter, béchamel, steamed fish, Bolognese, crème anglaise, all foolproof. I made five-second salads, marinades, championship mayonnaise, fluffy bread rolls. But the victory moment was when I played snakes and ladders while the risotto cooked itself.

Recently, I’ve been writing a book of Thermomix recipes, featuring dishes from chefs and bloggers around the world. I’ve nailed recipes I previously would never have attempted: a multi-part chocolate crumble tart from Benoit Blin, pastry chef for Raymond Blanc; Brent Savage’s poached salt cod with smoked potato mousse; Pierre Roelofs’s thrilling cucumber sorbet made with dry ice; a ridiculously rich and amazing parmesan royale from Hibiscus chef Claude Bosi. It’s also given me the courage to offer to cater for a friend’s 40th. Canapés for 50? Love to. I’ve done everything but give my Thermomix a nickname; the Italians call it Bimby, lots of people call it Thermi, I’ve heard of a Boris, but I just call it Great.

Concerned foodies still tell me it’s not “real cooking” and that they love to feel the food, to get involved. Don’t worry – buying a Thermomix doesn’t involve signing away your right to dice a carrot or lovingly knead pastry as sweat beads on your brow or take an Elizabeth David book to bed. I still have my pots and pans and wooden spoon and mortar and pestle. I use them too, just not as much: it’s the Thermomix that comes to holiday houses now. But it hasn’t made me a kitchen robot or cut me off from cooking: it’s made tricky cooking easier, easy cooking a cinch. And it’s done wonders for my snakes and ladders game.

Dani Valent’s Thermomix cookbook, In the Mix ($60, hbk), is available from Thermomix. 1800 004 838.

ILLUSTRATION ANTONIA PESENTI

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

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