The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 28th December, 2016 for your chance to win a share of $50,000!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

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 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.

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

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."

Taming the Wilderness

Heading to Canada’s far-flung places means a whole lot of adventure with life’s luxuries on the side.

Vegetarian canape recipes

If you're skipping meat at your next party, try these fast and fresh vegetarian canape recipes.

How to avoid a kitchen nightmare

1. Got till it's gone
When assessing aesthetics, take the rest of the home into account. "Don't be too quick to remove the old kitchen entirely," says Melbourne architect Andrew Maynard. "Sometimes, a few key changes are all you need." As well as saving time and money, maintaining at least part of your old kitchen means you won't create a stark contrast "between a blinged-up new kitchen and a beautiful old home".

2. Know your enemy
As tempting as it may be, don't defer demolishing an old kitchen until the new one is ready, advises Colin Kippax, of Sydney's A la Carte Design. He recalls the experience of one apartment dweller who didn't count on a downpipe hiding behind existing joinery, in the spot a just-finished $1000-plus chrome carousel was to go. Because the pipe couldn't be moved, the cabinets had to be remade, minus the prized chrome baskets. Ouch.

3. The Bermuda Triangle
Forget the "golden triangle" of kitchen design, dreamed up when kitchens had three points of focus: sink, fridge and stove. Today's kitchens have eight or nine, including the microwave and the coffee machine. Layouts should be dictated by how many people use the space and how they use it. A few pointers: don't place the pantry and the fridge at opposite ends of the room, cautions Kippax, because it generates unnecessary traffic. And don't use your galley kitchen as a corridor. "The cook may turn around with a dish of hot oil and be blindsided by someone behind them."

4. DIY (aka disaster is yours)
Don't design it yourself, says Susan Hasler, national sales director of Freedom Kitchens. "People look at kitchens in magazines and stick in everything they'd like. They have to have all drawers, but they forget they need somewhere to put their food processor." And, odds are, you won't get a kitchen that flows. "You'll often find a fridge stuck in front of you - because that's the only place left." Tall items, such as the fridge and the pantry, should be at the end of a run.

5. Micro mismanagement
Another common mistake is placing the microwave above the fridge, the likely rationale being "we don't use this often, so let's keep it out of the way", but having scalding dishes above eye level is not a smart idea. "It's crazy stuff," says Hasler. Ideally, the microwave shouldn't be more than 130cm above the floor.

6. The big chill
When measuring up, the fridge is often left in the cold. Kippax tells of a manufacturer that changed the external dimensions of a fridge but retained the model number, so the unit didn't fit the cavity. "I have heard of cases when the kitchen has been installed around the fridge and then they can't get it out," says Hasler. "One time, the fridge hadn't been measured at all and ended up in the middle of the kitchen floor." Because the kitchen company on the job had gone into liquidation, the hapless customer, too, stayed in the cold.

7. On the surface
One customer complained to Kippax about scratches on his stainless-steel benchtop, just two days after its installation. "Clients see showrooms and images in magazines, but they don't see the problems," he says. "I told him to live with it for six months and see what he thinks. It's part of the patina." Just about any surface will stain, he adds. "Marble, even black granite. Food acids are unforgiving." Melbourne architect Matt Gibson urges people not to be put off by marble. "Marble is such a beautiful, character-filled natural material that has been used for centuries," he says. "There are treatments to repel most stains. To reseal it is a simple and inexpensive process."

8. Antisocial veneer
"Many people choose their joinery finishes with their heart rather than their head, and they don't treat them with respect," says Kippax. He had clients who paradoxically cleaned their oak furniture with the finest polish and their oak joinery with bleach. Little wonder, then, that the kitchen was developing black spots and peeling - and that the doors had to eventually be replaced. Even polyurethane can scratch and chip. "If you have children," he asks, "is a painted finish what you should be looking at?"

9. Zero tolerance
A kitchen with a difference, in decadent midnight-blue, tripped up one of Hasler's clients. When the home went on the market, would-be owners baulked at the intense colour and the scratches it revealed. "The owners had to rip out the kitchen and replace it - for $20,000-plus," she says. "Often my clients give incredibly detailed descriptions of the appliances they have and where they want them," adds Maynard. "If you design your kitchen with tight tolerances, the moment you change an appliance, you've created a difficult or redundant space."

10. See the light
Highly popular pendant lights look stylish, but are not always practical. A customer wanted a row of pendants in a galley kitchen, says Hasler, but the 60cm-wide cupboard doors hit them every time they opened, so the lights had to be moved. Home owners often fall into the trap of placing the sink directly under the window, says Kippax. That's fine during the day, but after dusk you'll have the light behind you.

11. High ideal
Don't think because you are 200cm tall you need a lofty bench. "I've seen a bench a metre high," says Hasler, "but you just can't work at that. The whole kitchen had to be pulled out." Kippax maintains 92cm-94cm is ideal, but most sinks are too low. For the ultimate comfort test, you should be able to lay the backs of your hands flat on the base of the sink. On the subject of sinks, Gibson says not going big enough is one of the key mistakes in kitchen design. "Big and deep is best, two even better, with an inset drainer better still."

12. Store wars
In the endless quest for storage, island benches have become "bulky blocks that cut off the kitchen from the living spaces," says Maynard. "I try to create light, open island benches with simple racking underneath." He often places them on wheels, a great option for entertaining. Another common mistake is filling every wall with cupboards right up to the ceiling. It not only overpowers the kitchen visually, but for anyone bar King Kong, those top cupboards are virtually useless.

13. Watch the wallet
Concerned about their budget and the up­heaval of laying new tiles, customers often want to retain the old floor. "Yes, the old floor looked fine - with the old kitchen," says Hasler. They end up having to rip it up, even more tricky once the kitchen is installed. Cheap cabinetry, too, is false economy. Source your hinges and other hardware from European manufacturers, she urges, and buy your joinery materials from reputable manufacturers. "If you buy off Bob the Back­yarder, you don't know what you're getting," she says. "You should expect your brand-new kitchen to last 15 years."


This article is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.


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

Latest news
Explainer: wild scampi caviar
GT's Christmas hamper
David Thompson's favourite hot sauce
Our 2016 Christmas issue is out now
Bruce Pascoe’s crowd-funded Indigenous agriculture project
Where to start with French beef cuts
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
Christmas Boutique is now open

The smallgoods, homewares, art and more from the pages of GT are now all under one roof, ready to take their place under the tree.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Adriano Zumbo's Christmas recipes

So you think you know trifle? Think again. Adriano Zumbo tur...

Holiday entertaining recipes

Dare to think outside the box this season with an elegant lu...

David Thompson's Thai recipes

Scholarship and street food come together in David Thompson’...

Strawberry recipes

Sweet, juicy and bursting with flavour, strawberries add a b...

Longrain recipes

It’s been 10 years since Longrain introduced us to big Thai ...

Barbecue recipes

Grab the tongs and novelty apron and fire up your imaginatio...

Fast spring recipes

Fast and fresh food can be ready in just 30 minutes with the...

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This ver...

Recipes inspired by Julia Child

So you can't wait to watch Julie & Julia and don't have a co...

Spanish dessert recipes

The Spanish know exactly how to sweeten the post-prandial de...

Recipes from Spain's Catalonia region

Who better to extol the virtues of this rich Spanish cuisine...

Recipes from Spain's Basque country

Spanning the French and Spanish borders and the fertile land...

Tapas recipes

Small bites of savoury delights and a glass or two of sherry...

Fast Spanish recipes

Put down that packaged meal and step away from the microwave...

Light spring lunches

Spring ingredients sparkle when handled with a little tender...

get the latest news

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