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Everything's coming up Adelaide...
Sydney’s latest authentic, ambitious yakitori bars raise chicken-on-sticks to new heights, writes Pat Nourse, and Sydneysiders are eating them up.
Say hello to a zesty relative of the Martini.
The who's who of the Australian travel industry got together last night for the launch of the GT 2015 Australian Hotel Guide.
Low-maintenance with a speedy turnaround, the radish is this season’s hero for “instant” crop gratification.
Melbourne’s Saint Crispin celebrates its second birthday with a truffle-powered dinner, and you’re invited.
The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about global warming. From food to faraway destinations, artistic accomplishment to technological triumph, our trend-hunters have combed the planet for what to eat, see, do and watch – right now. Here are the travel trends to watch for this year.
The restaurant has gone through some major changes of late, George. What’s the story?
Looking for the best restaurants in Sydney? Here are the top ten Sydney restaurants from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.
As temperatures drop, our thoughts turn to comfort food, and what’s more comforting than a roast? Our collection of cool weather roasts features everything from rib roast with potato gratin to roast chicken with Russian salad.
The cooler months can be dreary, no doubt. Fortunately there are baked goods to ease the pain...
Looking for the best restaurants in Melbourne? Here's our top ten from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.
We know that sometimes all you want is a beer. Here are some great recipes that have beer as a main ingredient or that go great with a pint (or two).
Sweet, salty, sour and spicy, Thai food hits all the right notes and then some. Hungry for Thai? Then we've got you covered with everything from a classic green papaya salad to a red curry of beef with green peppercorns, wild ginger and holy basil.
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.
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