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Autumn recipes

Comfort food and fun Easter eats feature in our collection of autumn recipes, featuring everything from an Italian Easter tart to carrot doughnuts with cream cheese glaze and brown sugar crumb and braised lamb with Jerusalem artichokes, carrots and cumin to breakfast curry with roti and poached egg.

Top 10 Sydney Restaurants 2014

Looking for the best restaurants in Sydney? Here are the top ten Sydney restaurants from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Top 10 Melbourne Restaurants 2014

Looking for the best restaurants in Melbourne? Here's our top ten from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Italian Easter tart

"This is a traditional tart eaten in Naples at Easter," says Ingram. "The legend goes that a mermaid called Parthenope in the Gulf of Napoli would sing to celebrate the arrival of spring each year. One year, to say thank you, the Neapolitans offered her gifts of ricotta, flour, eggs, wheat, perfumed orange flowers and spices. She took them to her kingdom under the sea, where the gods made them into a cake. I love to add nibs of chocolate to Parthenope cake because I think it marries nicely with the candied orange and sultanas, but, really, do you need an excuse to add chocolate to anything?" Start this recipe a day ahead to prepare the pastry and soak the sultanas.

Momofuku's steamed buns

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns

The mix of candied apple and dried apple combined with a sticky cinnamon glaze provides a new twist on an old favourite. These buns are equally good served warm on the day of baking, or several days later, toasted, with lashings of butter.

Sydney's Best Restaurants 2015

Looking for the best restaurants in Sydney? Here are our favourites from our 2015 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Easter Baking Recipes

Dust off your mixing spoon, man your oven and have your eggs at the ready as we present some of our all-time favourite Easter baking recipes, from praline bread pudding to those all-important hot cross buns.

January

It always surprises me how speedily the last weeks of the year collapse like dominoes. I tried hard not to be panicked by too-early carols and bunting, and to avoid crowds, so my Christmas gifts tended to be bought in calm surrounds - sweet-smelling plant nurseries, bookshops early in the morning or at the end of the day, or specialist food stores to get treats for food-loving friends.

I suspect the end of 2012 seemed faster than ever because I had several major events around the Kitchen Garden Foundation to manage. Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse fame and vice-president of Slow Food International, invited me, along with foundation CEO, Ange Barry, to attend a panel on global food education in Turin. Every two years Slow Food hosts Terra Madre in Italy, a sort of global coming-together of many Slow Food representatives to discuss and raise awareness of global food issues.

Alice suggested that the panel variously address six guiding principles of an edible education manifesto. Our topic was public policy. The single factor that made our presentation surprising to many of the standing room-only crowd was the degree to which our work is supported by government, and recognised as an effective preventative health measure. We are very aware of the responsibility this brings and are deeply grateful. Without it the spread of our work would be greatly diminished.

And it was the extent of the program that impressed the Prince of Wales when he visited. Just back from Turin, I was then off to meet the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall at Kilkenny Primary School, about 20 minutes from Adelaide. What a marvellous invitation. The Prince is well known for his deep interest in organics and sustainability. Kilkenny is an outstanding school and it certainly put its best foot forward. The sun shone, the garden was green and inviting. The Prince and Duchess strolled under an archway of grapevines, toured the vegetable beds, chatted to the young gardeners, admired the compost bins (truly!), then came to the kitchen via the chicken run and extensive orchard. The well-organised year-seven students were ready. They had done quite a bit of preparation, but every student was busy chopping, or stirring, or folding, or filling as the royal couple arrived. The Prince beamed as he complimented us on a wonderful program. On hearing of our level of government support he hinted that maybe I should visit the UK and try the same tactics. (It was a lighthearted aside, but the press pack nearby wondered whether he had invited me to visit Clarence House. He did not.) He pronounced the leek, fennel and broad bean risotto "frightfully good".

Finally to my own backyard. As I walk around my neighbourhood I admire several gardens displaying banks of sweetly scented gardenias. They seem to grow in these gardens as readily as mine grows nasturtiums. I did not have tomatoes for Christmas, but the first were just a few weeks later. I have so many tomato plants and I hope the season extends for a few months. Last summer I made a big pot of roasted tomato sauce and froze it in smallish batches. It was a fantastic resource.

I found it difficult to tear down the sweet peas that had been so enchanting for weeks but they were finishing and I needed the supports for climbing yellow beans. (I saved the seed, though.) For the past three years I've had bumper crops from two different varieties of yellow bean: Kingston Gold and Golden Wax Pole. I love them and have found it nearly impossible to find commercially available yellow bush beans or climbing beans that are tender and sweet. Even home-grown ones toughen after one day in the refrigerator, so it is a ritual for me to boil them within an hour or so of picking and enjoy them drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. For an extra treat I make a summer salad of the beans mixed with small waxy potatoes, a few anchovies and a shower of freshly chopped parsley.

The capsicum plants from last year have put out plenty of new leaves. I was very doubtful about keeping these bare sticks all through winter and spring, but my gardener was right and I was wrong.

I've netted my doughnut peach tree and have high hopes the first crop will ripen without attack. The first yellow peaches and nectarines were delicious. I've had more trellising added to my carport and hope I have now excluded another possum corridor. Birds are starting to spy red strawberries in my hanging baskets. I'm growing two varieties of zucchini: a small round one and my favourite ridged Romanesco. They love the heat and respond with ever more fruit. Early in the morning is the time to pick the wide open male flowers. I store them in the fridge wrapped in damp kitchen paper to make a delicious appetiser. I have several recipes for stuffing zucchini flowers in The Kitchen Garden Companion (my favourite includes mortadella sausage), but they don't have to be stuffed. Twist the petals closed, dip into light batter or simply a whisked egg, then panko crumbs and shallow-fry in olive oil.

By the time you read this you will be planning to welcome 2013. I have a good feeling about this new year. Happy New Year.

More info

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

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