Healthy Eating

After fresh ideas for meals that are healthy but still pack a flavour punch? We've got salads and vegetable-packed bowls to soups and light desserts.

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Pea and ham soup

Tarta de Santiago

"Gordita makes a splendid version of the Galician almond cake Tarta de Santiago, with its dramatic design. Would you please publish the recipe?" Michael MacDermott, Taringa, Qld 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.

Curry recipes

It's time for you to find a new go-to curry recipe. Here are 20 curries - from a Burmese-style fish version to a Southern Indian lobster number - we think you should try.

Bread and butter pudding

Just what you need on a cold winter's night; a bowl of luscious pudding. Make sure to leave room for seconds.

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.

Autumn's most popular recipes 2017

As the weather started to cool down, your stoves were heating up with spicy curries, hearty breakfast dishes and comforting bowls of pasta. You balanced things out nicely with some greens but dessert wasn't entirely forgotten. Counting down from 30, here are your 2017 autumn favourites.

Ham hock soup

New Indian restaurant breaks new ground in breakfast and lunch

Cafe Southall, a contemporary all-day Indian eatery from the family behind Bombay by Night, opens in St Kilda.

December

The year hurtles towards its end. The last two months become chock-a-block with events, so I tend to feel panicked rather than enjoying each occasion.

Much earlier in the year I needed to make Christmas pudding for a photo shoot. Once the mix was photographed I divided it between two very large pudding bowls, steamed them for five hours, then stored them. So now every time I open my small bar fridge I get a whiff of Christmas. One task done!

A round of the vegetable garden reveals a second crop of carrots coming along. The sprouting broccoli is nearly done, and the second crop is growing well. The leeks have been pulled and replaced by two rows of yellow butter beans, and the cauliflower's been replaced with more bush beans - green this time. It's been such a wet spring that the ground is easily worked, and I think I'll delay mulching the boxes until January.

I had the privilege recently to launch the story of Lina and Tony Siciliano's astonishing property, as told by Gabriella Gomersall-Hubbard in Growing Honest Food. The book follows the seasons and details the activities that take place in the vineyard, the olive grove, the kitchen garden and the kitchen. It includes a helpful planting and growing calendar for the south-eastern states.

This is the month for setting out tomatoes, and I have 10 tomato plants grown from seed given to me by Lina. Without a name they will be called Lina's tomatoes. Lina also gave me a special gift: a rare cedro fruit from her tree. Well known in Sicily, but little seen elsewhere, this fruit is as large as an emu egg, has a very thick skin, and flesh of little consequence.

It's the thick peel that's candied and used to decorate cassata or enjoyed alongside a piece of cheese.

I was given a seven-day recipe for candying peel by the kitchen specialist at Margaret River Primary School, and I can report it a brilliant success. I had friends for dinner last night and made a fancy Italian zuccotto pudding. The pudding bowl was lined with cake sprinkled with a limoncello and blood-orange syrup and then filled with a rich mix of whipped ricotta, pistachio, grated chocolate and sliced cedro peel. I served it with blood-orange slices, and it tasted pretty good.

I'm picking tender salads: snow peas, golden beetroot and young cucumber. I have frozen some podded broad beans. It's still a challenge to get the quantities right for a small household. I planted so much of my favourite leaf spinach and when the first hot days came I had to harvest it quickly before it wilted. I'm fussy about my spinach preparation: I rip out the central stem of each of the leaves before giving them a double wash then a fast boil with just the water clinging to the leaves. A quick drain, a press, then into the food processor with a knob of butter and a light seasoning. This brilliant green purée keeps for three days in the refrigerator and takes 20 seconds to heat in the microwave. In a few weeks I'll harvest my garlic crop - just before Christmas Day, I think.

I've hauled out the Christmas tree that spends 11 months of the year in a large pot in a dark and ignored corner of the garden. With a tidy-up and a good soaking it will be ready for tinsel and baubles. And it will have grown at least 10cm since last Christmas.

Capsicum and eggplant bushes are growing, but the fruit is months away.

The two zucchini bushes are yet to fruit, although they are sprawling over the front path. The stone fruit and quinces are swelling in a promising manner, my doughnut peach included. All the trees are netted now. This may protect the fruit from the birds, but it doesn't seem to completely fool the possums. Last season I found that as soon as a nectarine or peach softened even a little it had a bite taken out of it. I don't mind sharing, but I do mind if I'm left without any perfect fruit. I shall move the strange staring owl that's supposed to frighten possums into one of the nectarine trees to see if it helps.

I joined a busload of teachers and members of the public to visit three of our Kitchen Garden schools in Tasmania. All were well established, with flourishing gardens, bright, busy kitchens, and children bursting with pride to be guides to the visitors. At Moonah Primary School in Hobart the shelves in the kitchen were filled with preserves made by the students, sometimes with fruit donated by friends of the school. I bought peach jam, but wavered between it and the greengage. The nettles growing among the strawberries were going to be harvested to make gnocchi, said garden specialist Tino Carnevale. I was astonished to see a roast pig coming from the handsome adobe oven built by Oz Earth at St James Catholic College in Cygnet. It was to be cut up as part of our lunch. And at Snug Primary School the chickens roamed free and even perched on the shoulders of the students.

I'm off to Turin to contribute to a panel on Global Food Education. We think what we are doing is unique in the world. I wonder if I'll still think this after listening to other panellists.

Until next time.

More info

For more information on Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Foundation and schools, check out her website.

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