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Subscribe this month and receive a copy of the Agrarian Kitchen cookbook by Rodney Dunn. Hurry, offer ends February 22.

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Recipes for big cuts

Go big this season with cuts large enough to feed a crowd: legs of lamb, sides of beef, suckling pigs, and whole fish. The pineapple jerked pork neck with crushed pineapple relish and black bean and rice salad is calling your name...

Bali's best local food

You haven’t eaten on Indonesia’s most popular island until you’ve explored the rich, bold flavours found in the traditional warungs. Bali insider Maya Kerthyasa takes us on a tour of the best.

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.

Jamaican goat curry

"Goat is the world's most consumed meat and we hardly give it a look in Australia. I adore it in so many different preparations, from South-East Asian dishes through to Italian braises, but my favourite is Jamaican curry with its heady spices," says Evans. "I see spices as nature's medicine cabinet and use them in as much of my cooking as possible. If you can't get your hands on quality goat meat (farmers' markets are a good bet or online), then feel free to substitute lamb or another protein. But if you've never had goat before, I urge you to give it a whirl."

Pavlova Recipes

Everyone loves a pav. Here are some of our favourite recipes.

Top 10 Melbourne Restaurants 2014

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

Kung Pao chicken

"I'm a longtime GT subscriber and fan. My fiance is obsessed with the Kung Pao chicken from Mr Wong in Sydney. He keeps trying to replicate it every time he goes near the kitchen. The results haven't been too bad, but he isn't happy with them, which means further experimentation. Would you please ask for the recipe so we can move on to something else?" Jules Clancy, Cooma, NSW REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

Fast summer salads

There's nothing wrong with a simple green salad, but why stop there when you can take a couple extra minutes and make anything from a grilled chorizo with black bean and avocado salad to a lentil and asparagus salad with egg and sumac. Check out our slideshow for some of our best-ever fast salad recipes.

February

At the first farmers' market of the year at Melbourne's Collingwood Children's Farm, I noticed that the walnut tree at the entrance was laden with nuts. The woman who sits almost underneath the tree selling charming posies had also noticed it, but we agreed that it was far too late to gather the crop to make pickled walnuts - late October or November was when a needle would have slipped easily through the shells while the nuts were still green.

At home, my almond tree is full of nuts, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to save them. Last summer, the lorikeets demolished my crabapple crop from four trees in a matter of days, but, for whatever reason, didn't discover the almond tree out the front.

Meanwhile, the possums made short work of the quinces. Sometimes it's hard trying to live in harmony with the natural world and all its creatures.

A new generation of cabbage moths has appeared, fluttering around the vegetable boxes. I find those rather unattractive brightly coloured silverfoil whirly things suspended from polypipe hoops seem to dissuade birds, so maybe they'll work for cabbage moths, too.

My cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and basil are all growing well, but something is munching the leaves of a new crop of bush beans. Intense heat seems to have stopped the salad greens thriving, no matter how much water they get, although the cos varieties cope better than the very soft-leaved salads.

I've also planted seeds of the miniature watermelons that produced a single glorious fruit last year. This year, I'll do a bit more hand-pollination, in case that was the reason for the single fruit. The leaves are so attractive and, as the crop romps happily around the lemon tree, I'm reminded of old-fashioned watermelon rind pickle. I made some a month or so ago (with fruit I'd bought) and it looks so pretty in the jar and is delicious with any charcuterie or smoked meat. I served it alongside the Christmas ham. Recipes abound; mine is in The Cook's Companion. And the pickle keeps for at least six months.

I'm about to take my late-summer holiday at the beach. The children who have featured in this column over the years have grown into pre-teenagers and, as with their stature, so with their appetite. Where once tiny amounts of food kept them content at lunchtime, now, after a morning in the surf, they seem difficult to fill up. So I've done a bit of pre-planning to ensure that I don't panic. Fortunately, there's fabulous local sourdough bread in Irrewarra - and a lot of it gets eaten.

I'll cook a kilo of chickpeas before leaving home, cool them in the cooking liquid, drain and divide them in half and freeze the parcels. I'll do the same with a kilo of cannellini beans. Both make popular lunchtime salads and can be extended with caramelised onion, harissa or a milder chutney, pesto, crumbled goat's cheese and plenty of mint and parsley - or sliced garlic sausage or leftovers from a roast leg of lamb for the non-vegetarians.The frozen bags of chickpeas and cannellini beans will make convenient iceblocks in the esky on the way to the holiday house.

I'll also stock up on tomatoes and fruit, some tomatoes from my own crop but more will come from one of the many roadside stalls crammed with locally grown produce.

Panzanella salad is another lunchtime favourite. The moistened chunks of sourdough are a very easy way of stretching this tomato salad and making it more substantial.

I expect to find wonderfully fresh, just-picked sweetcorn, peaches and strawberries, and every lunch will finish with a large platter of roughly chunked or whole fruit. Last year, the holiday coincided with the harvest moment for local sour cherries. A group of us picked and picked and I made a really lovely sour cherry yeast pastry following the recipe for rhubarb yeast cake in The Cook's Companion. Sour cherries keep wonderfully well in the refrigerator for up to a week, probably longer.

The Kitchen Garden Foundation will be back in full swing this month, once schools have returned for the new school year. Public workshops start again in February in the wonderful Learning Centre at Collingwood College - the first will be on how to make your own tomato passata. Interested food lovers can book on the website (see left), where you'll also find all the details of the new, more flexible and more accessible kitchen garden model.

Applications are also invited from all schools with a primary enrolment. Our aim is to be represented in 10 per cent of Australian schools by the end of 2015.

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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