Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

Roti canai

Here, we've made the dough in a food processor, but it's really quick and simple to do by hand as well. If the dough seems a little too wet just add a little more flour.

Margot Henderson's tips for entertaining

Get your entertaining principles right and it could lead to dancing, writes party maven Margot Henderson.

Last issue Fergus outlined his best party practices, but given that Margot Henderson, his wife, is a party professional, having catered London's most sparkling art- and fashion-world events with her company, Arnold & Henderson, we thought it would be remiss not to ask for her side of the story. Over to you, Margot.

I've been organising parties all my life, right back to when I was about 12, and I started organising my little brothers' birthdays in Wellington, back home in New Zealand. My mother was a health nut and I just felt my brothers couldn't go through the same embarrassment I had with the bran biscuits and carrot cake. So out went the brown flour and in came the white flour and sugar, just for the day.

But why have a party? All that work, all that stress? It's for all that fun. It's an awakening of the senses.

A good party has it all - it's a sensory explosion.

To feast our eyes, ears, taste and touch by entertaining, drinking and eating.

It's a wonderful moment when all your friends first come in the door; people are introduced, coats are taken. The clink of ice in the glass as gin and tonic is poured. I like a cocktail to get the party going. There's always a different drink for a different time of day.

A Black Velvet for a Sunday lunch, a G&T or Negroni for an evening soirée. And, of course, you can't go wrong with a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne.

A big bucket piled with ice and lots of bottles helps the scene go with a bit of swing.

It's always best to sit down to eat, at long tables, not too wide. The tablecloth shouldn't be too long, and the flowers shouldn't be too high. Everyone should see each other, hear each other. At a big dinner I catered for in Vienna, the tables were so wide and round, and the music so loud that guests had to resort to speaking to each other on their mobile phones. Mental. Keep things snug, instead; keep it intimate. You want everyone to be able to have a little flirt.

Music is tricky. Before, yes; after, yes. But please, not while you're eating. It doesn't aid digestion.

What to cook? It should be something special, but not too crazy - nothing that kills you in the making. You also should be able to sit down and enjoy yourself. Your friends have come to see you, not listen to you frantically cooking away, looking stressed.

It's nice to have some things on the table that everyone can pick at in a relaxed way. Rillettes and terrines work well here. Bowls of warm brandade and baskets of fresh toasted bread, followed by whole artichokes with vinaigrette are a beautiful beginning to any feast. Artichokes running down the whole length of the table with everyone happily sucking away, expressing their personalities with the way they place their leaves, is a beautiful sight to behold. I love all the action and movement and excitement and mess.

Some dishes certainly work better for parties than others. It's all about the shopping. Try to buy really good seasonal produce - fresh and happy. If you don't like the way it looks, don't buy it. One-pot dishes are good for stand-up parties. Risotto is tasty, and everyone loves it - all that butter and parmesan. We often serve it in paper cups. Less washing. Less hiring.

For stand-up drinks parties, I tend to serve a few simple canapés like really good crisps, a large bowl of olives and some radishes with their leaves left on. It used to seem so naughty to serve them that way, but everyone looks so glamorous munching on a radish, and women love them.

Cheese is important. Not too much choice, though - maybe just one whole cheese served with a green salad. And more wine.

Ahh, everyone is relaxed now and it's time for pudding: fruit tart with crème fraîche, crumble or a simple chocolate nemesis. Break up some glamour-chocolate roughly, then let them pick away at it with their coffee and digestif. Another winning combination is whisky - a malt such as Lagavulin - with shortbread.

Then, afterwards. A really good dinner party will end with dancing. That's my firm opinion. If the bride is seen dancing on the table at a wedding, it's a sure sign that marriage is going to last.

Feast, dancing, action!

Illustration Lara Porter

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