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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The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017

Our April issue is out now. In his editor's letter, Pat Nourse walks you through what to expect.

Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
27.03.2017

Nelly Robinson of Sydney's nel. restaurant talks us through his favourite roasting joints, tips for crisp roast potatoes and why, when it comes to pork, slow and steady always wins the race.

Water carafes
24.03.2017

More than mere vessels, these pieces bring a cool breeze of style from the fridge to the table.

Fast autumn dinners

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

An ode to beans

Illustration by Adrianna Picker

Illustration by Adrianna Picker

It’s the International Year of Pulses – what better time to applaud the magic of beans, asks Paulette Whitney.

At the end of autumn when the summer crops are done, you'll find my kids tearing up and down the driveway, running over pillowcases on their bikes, and getting pocket money to do it. Those pillowcases are filled with dried bean pods in need of threshing, and there's no greater source of carbonneutral energy than a 10-year-old on a bike with icy-pole cash on her mind.

When the riding is done we empty the pillowcases onto sheets and throw big handfuls of beans and pods into the wind, winnowing the light pods away and leaving behind a pile of shiny beans, ready for a jar in the pantry.

I love baked beans, refried beans, white-bean dip, feijoada - you name it. In the coldest part of the year a rib-sticking dish of beans, laden with protein and carbohydrates is just what you need. In any dry-goods store the range is dazzling and the beans are dirt cheap. According to my farm budget equations there is no way I can sow, tend, harvest, dry and thresh them for sale and come out even; not when the same amount of land and work that produces five bucks' worth of beans could yield $20 worth of lettuce. But sometimes, for the good of your pantry, and for the good of your soul, you throw your spreadsheets to the wind, and plant drying beans.

Four ways with a can of white beans.

This year we grew two types of pinto to indulge our inner cowboys, an Estonian Black drying bean, Lazy Housewife climbing beans, highly sought-after borlotti beans, and, the best bang for my dry-bean buck, scarlet runner beans - surely the muse for Jack's magic bean with their speckled purple and black shiny skins.

Plants are magicians. I'm not sure plant scientists would describe it that way, but to me the act of sowing a hard, dry bean seed and watching it transform sunlight, air and water (with the help of a healthy soil, of course) into solid matter, is nothing short of miraculous. And these beans have another, very special trick up their sleeves.

Nitrogen is one of the building blocks of chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green and enables photosynthesis. In our garden we choose not to use synthetic fertilisers, opting instead for natural sources of nitrogen, and the very best of these is that provided by those magic beans and their teammates, rhizobia bacteria. Unseen by us, underground, tiny rhizobia colonise the roots of leguminous plants - those in the pea tribe; think beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, and even wattles - and trade with those plants; the rhizobia's skill of grabbing nitrogen from the air, in a symbiotic exchange for the plants providing them with a place to live and a ready source of carbon. At the end of the season the roots of these plants will be covered in white nodules made by the rhizobia and we'll leave these in the ground to break down and make their nitrogenous gifts available to the following crop.

Smoky baked beans with bacon crumbs.

This magic trick, and the fact that beans are a remarkable source of protein, fibre, essential minerals and carbohydrates, not to mention the diversity of flavour and texture, has led the UN to declare 2016 the International Year of Pulses. In regions where you can't pop to the rural supplies store for a bag of fertiliser, a plant that produces a food that contains most of the essential nutrients for life, stores beautifully and tastes good, as well as improving soil fertility, is invaluable.

Although my accountant may think it imprudent of me to toss out those spreadsheets, the pleasure of running my fingers through a bowl of those shiny, magic beans before covering them in cold water to soak cannot be accounted for in Excel any more than you can account for the satisfaction of cracking through the toasty, breadcrumbed crust of a tray of homegrown baked beans. So raise your bean-laden fork to the year of the pulse and to our tiny unseen allies, toiling away under the soil.

Cuban black beans with rice and pulled beef.

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