Healthy Eating

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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.

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.

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.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Fergus Henderson on Italian food

I'm not the first to say it, but Italy has a curious effect on my people. Australians probably find this hard to understand, but the thought of the Mediterranean, and the promise of ease and warmth that come with it, does odd things to the British soul. One of the side-effects of this phenomenon is the now long-standing connection between Italy and Britain which entails Britons, having been whipped into a frenzy by food writers such as Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and Patience Grey, buying up farmhouses, barns and villas in Tuscany. Chiantishire indeed.

Interestingly, Italians are not buying great tracts of the British countryside, though they have a particular relationship with British culture, ripe with its own quirks. I remember a cartoon in The Guardian depicting a British couple taking an Italian couple to the Tate gallery; as they're leaving, the Italians wax lyrical about the colours, the muted tones, the gorgeous hues. So, their hosts ask, are they referring to the Turners? The Sickerts? "No," they reply, "we speak of Burberry and Pringle."

I live in Britain and cook British ingredients. Not in a jingoistic way: I am a British chef by default. But I love Italian food. I'm always coming back from Italy with the mantras in my head: less on the plate, simple but delicious. The fact that you can go out to the garden and pick a warm, perfectly ripe tomato for lunch, or have a perfect dinner of pasta and white truffle, then a slice of roast lamb - very hard on the outside, melt-in-the-mouth in the middle - and finish off with fortified red wine and biscuits is hard to resist. The meals I have eaten - what joys.

We cook a lot of Italian at home, mainly because the only good shop near us is a little Italian deli. In spite of this I find that you can watch an Italian cook pasta or a risotto very closely, but you never can make it as well as them. There's a mysterious vibration between ingredients and cook - maybe this is what takes the British to Tuscany to learn the ways of the pasta force. We can't talk about Italian food in the UK without mentioning Giorgio Locatelli. The force is very strong with him. Come the white truffle season you want to go straight to his restaurant to marvel at his Jedi pasta ways.

There is a danger that if Italians stay away from the homeland too long, the force can weaken and we get the Italian who has been off the reservation too long - a species that seems to continue to flourish in the UK. In the '60s and '70s these folk opened slightly out-of-kilter trattorias all over Britain, with waiters in tight red shirts, large phallic pepper grinders, chicken Kiev and always very good linen. These certainly have their place, but they add confusion to the question of what Italian food means in the UK.

There is always hope, and in the '60s this hope was Franco Taruschio at the Walnut Tree near Abergavenny in Wales, who cooked fantastic food from ingredients gathered in his surroundings, showing a respect for his genius loci. This and Marcella Hazan, who prepared the fertile ground for the River Café, marking a happy new chapter in Italo-British culinary relations. This was a much truer form of cooking, bringing ingredients from Italy and cooking them here appropriately, and cooking things here in an Italian fashion. Where there was chaos, now there is order.

While I am outing myself as an Italianist I must pay further tribute to Marcella. When her book landed in Mum's kitchen our life changed. She showed us the way. This was a real Italian talking about food, not a rose-tinted outsider's view. You could learn from her and apply what you learnt to a British larder. Her writing on boiled meat! That pot-roast chicken with two pricked lemons! The squid and potato stew! Influential stuff.

Since there's less on the plate, it has to be delicious. Recipes can be like huge steaks that can defeat you even before you pick up your knife and fork; Marcella is like a sparkling apéritif in comparison. Everything works. Before her, olive oil was something bought from the pharmacy to be poured into gloopy ears. Parmesan is now a marvellous cheese, not the smelly granules that came in a shaker. The bringer of light, Marcella. Consider my tricolori nailed to the mast.

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Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017
Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017
Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017
What is aquafaba?
20.03.2017
Eight recipes from Flour and Stone
20.03.2017
A homage to classic 1970s recipes
13.03.2017
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