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.

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.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

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.

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.

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.

Fergus Henderson on his forays into hospitality

Fergus Henderson reflects on a brace of shaky forays in hospitality - grand designs but sadly short and sweet.

It's not many restaurant endeavours that can cite the bombing of the Prime Minister's motorcade, Israeli air raids and invasion as reasons for failing to get off the ground. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back in time a few months before it all went pear-shaped. I went to a wedding in Beirut where I met a lady who knew and liked my restaurants in London. She went on to suggest we open one there. In fact, she had the perfect spot - a wee palace, no less. It was fantastic, set in a garden shaded by trees. You walked into a stained-glass lobby, then into the main hall, which was in the Arabic style. Off this space were rooms; one that particularly sticks in my mind looked like a library from a baronial castle. I instantly had fantasies of me in a white dinner jacket like Rick in Casablanca, sitting in a corner drinking little glasses of something strong and wonderful.

It all seemed so perfect. For the menu we would simply shift the St John emphasis from pig to lamb - they have a fantastic breed in the Middle East with plump, round tails that you can render down to produce a very pure fat, which you can then use to confit the meat. They are no strangers to nose-to-tail eating, our Beiruti friends - stuffed lamb's intestine, lamb's trotters, the brain and the tongue. Have you ever tried green chickpeas - the fresh ones, before they're dried? And the fruit is ripe!

As for wine, everything is available there, but we would have celebrated wines from Lebanon. We went to see Château Musar and got harangued by one of the brothers, but it was worth it. We descended deeper into the cellar, tasting older and older wines. He went on somewhat, and insisted that we had to keep changing rooms when tasting the wine, the thinking being that moving rooms made us take the memory of the previous room with us to experience the wine afresh in a new place. I'm not sure I'm convinced.

We got far enough into the project that we even started to look at staff costs, which I'm ashamed to say seemed amazingly low. But it wasn't the air raids or invasions that put paid to this plan in the end (we even checked with the embassy who said that all would be fine - slightly worrying, looking back). It was the five glamorous sisters who owned the place being wooed by a developer to build a block of flats on the site instead. Sigh. On some level it might have been rather appropriate to my white-tux dreams to have been opening the place in a war zone.

Closer to home we built a small hotel in London's Chinatown. This we really did manage to get up and running, even though the odds turned out against us. The streets were being dug up when we finally opened, we had builders on site for a year longer than planned and the Olympics made London a ghost town. Sadly she was not alive for long but in her short life she shone like a beacon of hope and joy. The St John Hotel was a place that expressed its being as a hotel, but also stayed within the scale of its ambitions: a small hotel with grand ideas.

The restaurant was splendid: the chefs were cooking with real zeal, curing their own pig-cheek ham, wonderfully drying pig skin which they then fried and served with cod's roe, along with a fine selection of savouries. The rooms were an antidote to the horror of most hotel rooms, and I quickly picked up a taste for the hotelier lifestyle. The day always starts with a good breakfast, and if you have a moment of weariness you can retire to a room. If the rooms happen to all be full, on the other hand, that news also comes as music to your ears. Fate obviously decided I was having too good a time.

On a bonny note, I should count myself lucky that these two are my only ventures that ended unsatisfactorily. Wounds licked, I'm ready to embark on a new mission, though where I'm not quite sure. The great writer and illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans was a proud advocate of being an inn owner: always a maid to hand, a driver, a chef, of course, and a wine cellar at your disposal. I'm with you all the way, Ludwig. I will miss the succour we could have offered Beirut, but my taste of hotel life in London was sweet while it lasted. Let's see what tomorrow will bring.

Illustration Lara Porter

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Latest news
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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