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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OzHarvest opens Australia's first free supermarket

"This is about dignity. This is about anyone walking through this door, taking what they need, and only giving back if they can."

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Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint

Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

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We say si to these six takes on the Italian classic. From coffee and caramel to red wine and figs, panna cotta proves to be a versatile dessert to suit all palettes.

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Here are four spins on the classic French eclair, from Flour & Stone's pillowy choux pastry with salted caramel to a colourful take with strawberry-flecked creme fraiche filling and sprinkled pistachios on top.

Blue Nile's Ethiopian eggplant dip

"I'd love the recipe for the eggplant dip the wonderful Fatuma Tikuye serves at Blue Nile in Blacktown." - Helena Rosebery, Annandale, NSW REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

Fifty-four thoughts at Noma Mexico

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Tarte a la tomate

Make the most of end-of-season tomatoes in this delicious tart - perfect for a picnic spread.

Hetty McKinnon returns with 'Neighbourhood'

Hetty McKinnon

Hetty McKinnon

It's been one year since Hetty McKinnon packed up her Surry Hills salad delivery service, Arthur Street Kitchen, bid adieu to Sydney and set up shop again in Brooklyn.

In her new cookbook Neighbourhood, McKinnon explores the new flavours she's encountered along the way as well as those she found in the communities of her new city.

McKinnon's salad and sweets recipes are accompanied by striking photographs by Luisa Brimble highlighting the simple and unpretentious nature of her cooking. That's not to say the food is uninventive - recipes such as roasted chestnuts with pan-fried pears, blue cheese, witlof and mustard vinaigrette remind the reader that there's a creative spark behind these pages.

We caught up with McKinnon to talk vegetable-love and what 'salad' means to New Yorkers.

GT: How has your cooking developed in the three years since you published Community?

Hetty McKinnon: Since Community was published my life has changed dramatically. Being in New York has introduced me to many new cooking styles and influences - it has been so exciting to learn about American culture, with its southern roots, Caribbean culture, Mexican flavours and diverse influences. Neighbourhood reflects my evolution as a salad-maker.

What is it about fruit and vegetables that keeps you fascinated?

As a cook, I'm inspired by how versatile fruits and vegetables are. They challenge me to be truly creative. You can cook roast, grill, barbecue, smoke them, fry them or eat them raw - all these cooking methods will produce vastly different results.

You visited quite a few places (including France, Italy, Germany and London) before settling down in Brooklyn. Where did you find the best quality produce?

Honestly, I'm blown away by the produce here in New York. It surprises people, especially New Yorkers, when I say this. There are greenhouses throughout the city and rooftop farms which keep the city with a ready supply of fresh food. My friend even grows sprouts in a makeshift greenhouse housed in an old shipping container.

What's your favourite recipe from the book?

I have so many favourites! The roasted Brussels sprouts with lotus root, black fungus and tofu salad features a delicious hoisin-sesame dressing which is a riff of a similar sauce that is served with fried rice noodles at yum cha. I love that sauce so much that I created a whole salad around it.

Are there any flavours that have come as a surprise to the American palate?

I think my whole concept of a salad has often surprised diners here in New York. When I ran my salad pop-up, Salads on Sundays, late last year, a lot of customers would come in very interested in what I was dishing up. Some called them 'roasted vegetables', as the widespread perception of a salad here is still very leaf based.

Do you have a go-to ingredient for home cooks keen to spice up their own salads?

Herbs and nuts can really transform your salads. Herbs add so much texture and finish, and nuts and seeds are a perfect finish to a dish. They add depth and interest. Also, make use of all those spices in your pantry. And always remember to season your dish before tucking in - a final sprinkle of sea salt and grind of black pepper makes all the difference.

Neighbourhood by Hetty McKinnon, $39.99 (Pan Macmillan, pbk).

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