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The benefits of live yoghurt
23.03.2017

Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

All-Star Yum Cha
22.03.2017

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.

Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017

Single-source honey putting community and sustainability next to sweetness.

Vermouth is having a moment
21.03.2017

More and more adventurous local winemakers are embracing Vermouth's botanicals, writes Max Allen.

Exploring Indonesia's Komodo National Park
21.03.2017

Indonesia's Komodo National Park is home to staggering scenery and biodiversity. Michael Harden sets sail in a handcrafted yacht to explore its remote islands in pared-back luxury.

The new cruises on the horizon in 2017
21.03.2017

Cue the Champagne.

Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017

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.

Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
20.03.2017

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.

Fergus Henderson on lunchtime entertaining

The true magic of a meal shared with friends is at its most potent at lunch, writes Fergus Henderson, rather than dinner when the puff has gone out of the day.

The nights have drawn in and winter, the season of the dinner party is upon us. But why? I see the point of a party-party, the drink and conversation flowing with abandon. What I don't understand is a dinner party. I think that in life people can be divided into two camps: those who favour dinner and those who have a serious lunch habit. I am firmly in the latter category. Let me tell you why and help you break the shackles of dinner.

Lunch is a wonderful thing, unlike supper which acts as a full stop to the day. What sort of basis for a party is that - where you eat your supper and then fall full into bed? Lunch, on the other hand, brims with potential. I'm sure there's a correlation between how good your lunch has been and the potential of your afternoon. But dinner? This spells disaster: I sometimes feel there is a finite amount of talking one can do in a day. As the evening looms so your appetite wanes - or at least mine does - especially if you've lunched well. (Unfortunately lunch and dinner don't get on as well as you might hope.) There are few moments that reach such culinary appropriateness as eating cheese on toast in bed while watching Game of Thrones. Now there's a way to spend your dinner time.

Do not think I am against meals with friends; indeed I can scarcely muster an appetite when I'm alone. This is where we run into trouble: when someone joins me they expect to do lunch not just to have lunch, so those who are after a demi-lunch tend to give me a wide berth around midday. (What happened to innocent until proven guilty?) This means that those who do join me have expectations that must be met: before you know it the lunch is being done properly, the afternoon fulfils its potential and suddenly you are in no mood for dinner.

There are other things that can whip up the appetite, too. With the first apéritif of the day an amazing chemical reaction starts, putting you in a much better condition to attack your food. But the biggest boost to the appetite in the daytime, I find, is people disapproving of the hearty lunch. I was on a train in Wales a few years ago heading to Abergavenny for lunch at the legend that was The Walnut Tree (then under Franco Taruschio, who ran a sublime kitchen; it is still a magnificent place, now overseen by the splendid Shaun Hill). A woman I knew slightly sat down opposite me and revealed she was off to spend a week on a yoga retreat, fasting and concentrating on the breath between her mouth and nose. This news did wonders for my appetite. But whoever disapproves of a hearty dinner?

Lunch has great powers of putting things right. If you are having trouble with something, after lunch the problem has gone; for example, it can free up writer's block, bad news always seems much better after lunch and even if you're diagnosed with a terrible disease, lunch can put it into perspective (and here I speak with authority). Lunch has a pivotal nature - it's a bit like a hook on which to hang your day. A day without lunch lacks structure. A day without dinner is merely an early bedtime. And no bad thing, at that.

But if you must have a dinner party, let me give you a tip: however done-in you are by the day's rigours, the healing powers of lasagne will rally the troops for dinner. I don't quite understand how it works but the magic in layers of pasta, béchamel and ragù is not to be underestimated. And have you noticed that when you cook lasagne you always find you have twice as many to feed that night? The culinary jungle drums start to play; they're not audible to the normal ear, but their message is clear nonetheless.

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Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017
Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017
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Eight recipes from Flour and Stone
20.03.2017
A homage to classic 1970s recipes
13.03.2017
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