The Paris issue

Our October issue is on sale - the Paris special. Grab your copy for all-things Parisian, plus ultimate French baking recipes and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before October 24, 2016 and receive 3 BONUS ISSUES - save 46%.

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Seven ways to do dumplings

Dumplings may be bite-sized, but they pack a flavourful punch. Here are seven mouth-watering recipes, from Korean mandu to classic Chinese-style steamed dumplings.

Best feta recipes

Feta's tang livens up all sorts of dishes, from beef shin rigatoni or blistered kale ribs to Greek-style roast lamb neck.

Recipes with zucchini

Whether served raw with olive oil, grated with fresh herbs, or pan-fried in a pancake - zucchini is a must-have ingredient when it comes to spring cooking.

Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie, Melbourne

Here’s Pickett’s inside running on the menu at Melbourne's new European-style eatery and wine bar Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie.

Apfel kuchen

"This is my mother's famous apple cake. The apples are macerated with sugar, cinnamon and lemon, and this lovely juice produces the icing," says Brigitte Hafner. The apples can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge. This cake keeps well for four days and is at its best served the day after it's made."

Nougat, salted peanut caramel and milk chocolate tart

What's not to love about a Snickers bar? All the elements are here, but if you don't feel like making your own nougat, you could always scatter some diced nougat in the base of the tart instead. The caramel is dark, verging on bitter, while a good whack of salt cuts through some of the sweetness - extra roasted salted peanuts on top can only be a good thing.

Chicken stir-fried with holy basil and chilli

Melbourne's best late-night bars

As the shutters come down in other Australian capitals, Melbourne's vibrant nightlife is just hitting it's stride. Michael Harden burns the midnight oil at the city's best late-night bars and diners.

September

With the almond tree in flower and nectarine in bud, Stephanie Alexander cuts back the capsicum bushes and cooks the cumquats down to jam.

We're nearly finished with winter and what a cold one Melbourne has had, but there are welcome signs that spring is on the way. The almond tree is in flower and the quince is in bud, as are the doughnut peaches, regular peach and nectarine.

For the first time in the 25 years I've lived in this house, my lemon tree went through a few months without any fruit.

It needed a big cutback and took quite a while to recover - happily the boughs are once again laden. Another near-casualty was my old wisteria vine. Over the years it had twined its way along the lacework of the verandah and coiled like a serpent around the iron verandah posts. It took hours to uncoil it so all the old iron could be replaced and repainted. What could be recovered has been restrung on a new wire, and while it's a shadow of its former self I'm delighted to say there are a few buds appearing. It will flourish again, and this time I'll train it away from spouts and verandah posts.

Outside my pantry window deep-blue hyacinths fill a window box. They're beautiful to look at, though I find their scent overpowering. From another window I can enjoy a very large orchid. It has long elegant sprays of primrose-yellow flowers that are a delight for at least a month. My gardener has hoisted the large pot onto my outside table so I can catch a glimpse of it every few minutes as I pass to and fro.

I made a successful batch of cumquat marmalade from my small tree. It amazes me how much fruit one small tree in a tub can produce - quite enough for me to pip, squeeze and cook a batch in my copper jam pan twice a year. I went to visit Maggie Beer for the weekend, and even though she's the queen of preserves, she doesn't make cumquat jam and she loves it, so it was the obvious choice for a gift.

Maggie and Colin have a new sunroom. Through the panes of glass the Meyer lemon trees were heavy with fruit, and a glorious potted hydrangea still had its leaves of gold and pink. Every now and then the glass panes were splashed with sudden rain, a reminder of the chilly world outside as we sat inside in the warm winter sunshine and caught up. How wonderful is longstanding friendship when one can talk about anything at all - worries, plans, holidays, children - and, of course, eat and drink some lovely things together: a venison pie, a new ice-cream flavour.

We spoke about the legacy of Peter Lehmann, the Barossa winemaker who was a legend in his lifetime, which has sadly just ended. He remains an inspiration to all in the wine industry and has passed his enthusiasm to his sons.

Back home I opened a 2005 Stonewell Shiraz in memory of Peter. And inspired by Maggie's Meyer lemons, I picked a few tangelos from my tree. The fruit juice was tart and delicious, but the smallness of the tree has proved once and for all that citrus don't thrive in the shade. The tree was moved and has flourished in its new location.

In the vegetable garden, leafy greens, brassicas, turnips and frilly salad leaves have survived winter. The capsicums have finally been cut back, but they held and ripened fruit well into July. The artichokes are bold and magnificent but yet to show fruit.

I'm often asked whether the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program offers support to schools with a vegetable garden but no kitchen. Growing vegetables and herbs is a valuable activity, but it doesn't show a child how to create simple delicious dishes that they can prepare for the rest of their life. Harvesting pupil-grown silverbeet will build pride and self-esteem, and increase the student's understanding of the environment, but it doesn't achieve the same result as showing a child how to roll and slice it, how to sauté it with olive oil and garlic, mix it with ricotta and use it to fill homemade pasta. The pride and delight that accompanies these activities is what will change behaviour for the longer term.

I demonstrated making one of the students' favourite dishes on a recent episode of MasterChef, a silverbeet, potato and ricotta torte. I've had many responses from parents and students telling me that they immediately had a go at making it. The filling is encased in a featherlight olive-oil pastry that's literally child's play to make.

Too much travelling leaves not enough time for gardening, though I think my energies will also be revived by spring's milder weather.

Until next time.

Newsletter

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

Latest news
The second Gourmet Traveller Chinese-language edition is here
27.09.2016
Recipes by Stanbuli
27.09.2016
Recipes by Yama Kitchen & Bar
20.09.2016
Cutting edge: Sydney’s new Chef’s Armoury store
16.09.2016
What is migas?
15.09.2016
Richard Cornish’s year without meat
12.09.2016
GT
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
Twenty
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

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...

New spring recipes

It’s the restaurant issue, so whether you bend the rules or ...

Spring salad recipes

Salads are perfect for spring, so we've collected some of ou...

Party season recipes

Canapes, finger food, jugs of cocktails – it’s party time. G...

Spring picnic recipes

Nothing beats a spring picnic, so we've rounded up some of o...

Charcuterie recipes

Big fan of charcuterie but looking for something different t...

How to grow your own spring onions

Despite their name, spring onions are great growers year rou...

Recipes with asparagus

Make the most of this versatile vegetable whether tossed in ...

Cloudy Bay at Eveleigh Farmers' Market

Ah, October. The sun is out, the layers are off and the wint...

Spring salads

I want to put more life into my salads this spring. What can...

Quick meals with green lentils

When you’re talking the tiny refined French variety of lenti...

Quick meals with flatbread

Leftover flatbread is smartly turned into a meal or snack wh...

Spring recipes

From Greece to Japan via Mexico and India, a globetrotting g...

Tips for spring lamb

Lamb production is pretty consistently good year-round in to...

get the latest news

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

×