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.

Taming the Wilderness

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

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.

Garlic recipes

This pungent yet essential little bulb sets the foundation for countless dishes across the globe. Slowly roast it alongside spatchcock or whole snapper, or grind it down to thick paste for a rich alioli. When it comes to garlic, the possibilities truly are endless.

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.

Cooking breakfast like a chef

Direct from our Fare Exchange column and recipe vault, we've picked the best breakfast recipes from chefs cooking around Australia. From croque-monsieur to Paris Brest, you won't find poached eggs on toast here. All of the dishes are the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee.

Flippin’ eggs

When it comes to the issue of eggs, for a conflicted Jennifer Byrne it's a question of good versus evil.

Eggs are my issue. But not all of them, and this is the core of my problem. Life would be easier if I could just tick the dietary-requirements box that says, "no eggs" - like some people tick "no offal" or "no milk" - but this would not be correct and would deny me one of the joys of life, because a good egg makes delightful eating indeed. A bad egg, on the other hand, is an evil thing and to allow one on my plate would be a disaster, not least because it would make me physically sick.

How can one person be so conflicted about the humble egg? It makes total sense to me. Eggs belong on a spectrum that has nothing to do with their freshness and everything to do with the nature of their egginess. And, for me, the less eggy the better.

At the positive end of the spectrum is the omelette, a delicious construction that I will happily take nude, but prefer stuffed with the traditional ham-cheese-tomato combo or the way the Spanish do it, with capsicum, chorizo and a hint of chilli. Yum. This is an unreservedly good use of eggs - a perfect supper or breakfast.

A close neighbour to the omelette in tastiness is the scrambled egg, which goes particularly well with a smear of Vegemite on toast or, if I'm feeling a bit grand, smoked salmon or trout. This is not quite as good as the omelette, but it's still well up the chart. Then there's the questionable zone, occupied by the fried egg. It's all in the cooking here. A runny fried egg is okay - runny yolk, that is; the white must be crisp at the edges - preferably with lashings of bacon to help it go down. But any variation to the mix and we're in dangerous territory. Hard yolk, no. Soft white, no.

Any hint of uncooked albumen, no and no again. The simple solution, to flip the egg (over easy, I think they call it), is unsatisfactory on the grounds of both taste and aesthetics, spoiling the perfect full moon of the unflipped yolk that is the saving grace of the egg in its fried form.

It's all downhill from here. It doesn't matter how you poach an egg - cracked and dropped loose into vinegared water, or bubbling away in one of those sectioned steamers - it's still a poached egg, thus profoundly unacceptable. And no amount of fancy hollandaise camouflage dims its horror.

This egg issue was born in me, I suspect. But there's also the childhood memory of being put in charge of a flock of chickens and selling their eggs for pocket money. Deep down, I hated those chickens - mean, stupid creatures who would peck my bare toes and cover their eggs in poo. Four years at boarding school followed (you knew it was coming) where the kitchen staff would decant poached eggs into steel serving trays, then float them in warm water for hours until the tops of these egg islands skinned over like a hard plastic. When pierced by our schoolgirl teeth, they would explode in a hot yellow tide across our faces. The headmistress one day spotted me trying to conceal bits of egg beneath a mess of tuna; come dinner, I and my congealing meal were still at the table. But I would not yield.

The very worst, the font of evil, is the boiled egg. Weirdly, I quite like peeling them - there's something almost sensual about baring that smooth white surface - but eating them is unthinkable. The texture. The purity of the eggness. The very thought…

The closest I came to eating one was during my days at 60 Minutes, when a family of Cambodian refugees - people with nothing - laid their hands on the scarce treasure of four eggs, one for each in the crew. They boiled and served them with all the dignity and generosity of which humans are capable. I still couldn't do it. It went down my boot (sadly, it was soft-boiled, but it was better than throwing up).

So, you see how it works. I want my eggs in disguise, preferably smashed up or transformed by additives. It's a cruel world that tolerates hysteria over gluten, yet refuses to acknowledge the complex and mutable chemistry of the egg. But I beat on, against the current. Searching for the green light on the dock that is the perfect, unrecognisable egg.

+ Jennifer Byrne is host of ABC1's The Book Club and the Jennifer Byrne Presents series.


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...

Hot 100 2015 - Food

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

The producers: Two Rivers Green Tea

A leading local tea exporter now offers his leaves to the do...

The producers: Colony honey

A selection of regional monofloral honeys sourced direct fro...

Liquid gold

We find ourselves inexorably drawn to salt caramel in a jar....

The producers: Atssu Divers

Hand-dived abalone, turban shell and sea urchin.

Making a scene

Entertainer Julia Zemiro notes there’s little difference bet...

Game of Thrones food

Pat Nourse caught up with George RR Martin to talk about one...

Deutscher’s Turkey Farm

When it comes to talking turkey, the best birds have lived t...

Sandor Ellix Katz Q&A

Food fermentation 'revivalist' and guru Sandor Ellix Katz di...

The producers: Alexandrina Jersey milk

Meet the producers of the creme de la creme of Australian fu...

On the pass

Looking back over the 20 years she's been in business, Phill...

Gamze smokehouse

Bringing local flavour to artisan-made bacon.

Gourmet Traveller Gourmet Fast app

Now, here's a mighty handful: GT's Gourmet Fast recipes are ...

Food emoji we wish existed

What? More than 200 new pictograms in the latest Emoji set, ...

What is jumbuck?

The jumbuck has leapt straight from the pages of Banjo Pater...

get the latest news

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