The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 28th December, 2016 for your chance to win a share of $50,000!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Gifts under $100 at our pop-up Christmas Boutique

Whether it's a hand-thrown pasta bowl, a bottle of vodka made from sheep's whey or a completely stylish denim apron, our pop-up Christmas Boutique in collaboration with gift shop Sorry Thanks I Love You has got you covered in the $100 and under budget this Christmas.

The merry cherry

Every year for my birthday I would ask Mum to make me a Black Forest cake. She used to make a rather spectacular version of this layered chocolate cake, sodden with kirsch and morello cherries. My favourite bit was standing on a chair licking the cherry pot and watching the layers being covered in a mountain of whipped cream and grated dark chocolate.

I have loved sour cherries since my earliest birthday cakes. I now look forward each year to the end of December, when I expect my uncle Wilfried to call and say, "Are you ready for the cherries?" He has two large morello cherry trees on his farm in the Strzelecki Ranges that ripen around this time. He picks almost the entire crop for me in exchange for wine and I set about pickling, preserving and making jam from this glorious fruit. His cherries are small and ruby-coloured and have an intense flavour with mouth-puckering sourness. They can really only be enjoyed cooked.

Once cooked, a wonderful transformation takes place: sour cherries develop a deeper, more complex flavour than sweet cherries. Turned into jam they make a decadent breakfast treat; sweetened and thickened with a little cornflour they make a beautiful sauce for pancakes; or sandwiched with cream in a freshly baked sponge they become a delicious dessert.

We turn most of Uncle Wilfried's cherries into jars of spiced pickled cherries to go with our pork and duck terrine. It's a very simple preparation of red wine vinegar, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, allspice and pepper. We leave them for three months, by which time they have turned a deep magenta with an intense flavour. They're absolutely beautiful with duck cooked any way, roast pork belly, and of course pork and duck rillettes or terrine.

One of the simplest ways to prepare morello cherries is to preserve them in sugar. For every kilo of cherries bring two cups of sugar and 750ml water to the boil. Add the cherries and simmer for two minutes, then pour into sterilised jars and seal. If you want to keep them for a long time, it's best to boil the filled jars in a large pot of water for 15 minutes before cooling and storing them in a cool, dark place.

They can then be easily used in desserts and cakes. One of my favourite simple desserts is morello cherries cooked in syrup with star anise and cinnamon, served with vanilla ice-cream and Valrhona chocolate sauce. And I love a traditional baked cheesecake with a layer of morello cherries on the bottom. They're also lovely baked in an almond tart.

I generally don't like to remove the seeds before cooking (except when making jam) - partly because I'm lazy, and partly because it's a waste of precious juice and flesh. I also think the seeds contribute a subtle almond flavour during cooking. Once cooked, simply press the cherries through a coarse sieve or colander to get the seeds out.

Trevor Holmes of Red Hill Cherry Farm has been growing cherries for more than 42 years. Almost all the cherries - both sweet and sour - from his 4000-plus trees are sold as pick-your-own. When his customers ask, "Why can't we get this flavour in the cherries we buy from the market?", his reply is straightforward. When cherries are picked fully ripe from the tree, he explains, the flavour's incredible. Cherries you buy at the market are picked four to five days before they are fully ripe. (Since cherries take only six weeks from blossom to harvest, that's a significant time period in terms of flavour development.)

It's also worth noting that the soil in Red Hill is excellent and that the sustainable agricultural practices at Red Hill Cherry Farm incorporate organic and biodynamic principles. Further, Holmes doesn't irrigate very much so the cherries aren't pumped full of water. Pretty simple: pick thoughtfully grown fruit at its ripest point directly from the tree and enjoy a superior experience.

Cherries will keep well in the fridge for several days. They only need a light wash just before eating, and it's best to keep the stalks on to help them stay fresh. When buying cherries look for bright, shiny fruit with no blemishes or sunken, bruised flesh. Dull skin usually indicates they're past their prime.

Sweet cherries eaten on their own are such a delight that there's little embellishment a cook need bring to them. That said, this Christmas I'll be making a coconut and lychee trifle with fresh (pitted) cherries set in sweet wine jelly. The possibilities are endless.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Explainer: wild scampi caviar
30.11.2016
GT's Christmas hamper
29.11.2016
David Thompson's favourite hot sauce
28.11.2016
Our 2016 Christmas issue is out now
28.11.2016
Bruce Pascoe’s crowd-funded Indigenous agriculture project
27.11.2016
Where to start with French beef cuts
18.11.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
The GT x STILY
Christmas Boutique is now open

The smallgoods, homewares, art and more from the pages of GT are now all under one roof, ready to take their place under the tree.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Blame the flame

Chef Lennox Hastie worked the coals at Spain’s famed Etxebar...

Prepared chestnuts

A fresh chestnut is a hard nut to crack, so we’re lucky, the...

Home-dried herbs

I’ve got a surplus of herbs in the garden; how do I get the ...

How to carve a jack-o'-lantern

We ask three American chefs to share their pumpkin carving s...

How to grow chillies

This is the time of year for vegetables that like it hot and...

How to grow garlic

Garlic has a long growing time, but low maintenance and fres...

How to grow broccoli

Broccoli is the most prolific member of the brassica family ...

How to pickle fruit and vegetables

I’m keen to get in on this pickling thing. Where’s a good pl...

How to plant broad beans

Plant broad beans now, when the weather is cool, and they’ll...

How to cook wagyu

I’ve been noticing restaurant-grade wagyu in good butcher’s ...

Classic Sunday roast ideas

What’s the key to nailing a really good classic Sunday roast...

Quick meals with chilli bean paste

This handy Chinese condiment is a sure-fire speedy way of ad...

What is Buddha’s hand?

This freakishly shaped fruit, aka fingered citron, hails fro...

Best meat for big parties

What can you suggest that’s low maintenance and high impact ...

How to grow your own strawberries

A real ace of the garden, strawberries may require attention...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×