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An Australian dining landmark rises from the ashes: the Stokehouse is back ready to please the crowds for at least another generation to come, writes Michael Harden.
French bistro classics are suddenly hotter on the Queensland dining scene than a bubbling pot-au-feu.
Take our quiz to check your knowledge.
Pierre Khodja’s Camus opens this week, bringing the vibrant flavours of his Algerian homeland to Northcote’s High Street.
What better way to ring in the Year of the Rooster than a culinary spectacular?
Here's the story behind it.
Destroyed by fire in 2014, the Stokehouse has returned as an elegant foreshore precinct. Michael Harden talks to owner Frank van Haandel about the rebirth of a landmark.
Millbrook Winery chef Guy Jeffreys walks us through his approach to cooking and what's on the menu this month and next.
Attica’s chef isn’t happiest when eating soils or smears on his days off, it’s souvlaki. We follow him to his favourite spot.
Whether it's mixed through black rice pudding with caramelised bananas, shredded on top of mango trifle or toasted and served with coconut jelly, coconut adds tropical touch and fragrance to summer desserts.
Whether caramelised in a tarte Tartin, paired with slow-roasted pork on top of pizza or tossed through salads, this sweet stone fruit is an excellent addition to summer cooking.
We approach an expert on the ground in Turkey for the inside word on the Salt Bae phenomenon. Just how salty is that steak?
Melbourne, it's finally your turn for a taste of David Thompson's uncompromising Thai cooking.
With fresh ingredients and lots of spices, these light and healthy recipes are perfect for summer.
After a year of big name openings, a new Alexandria eatery arrives as a likable - and possibly lovable - local.
There’s never a dull moment at ultra-glam, slightly mad Pascale, QT Melbourne’s dazzling flagship diner, writes Michael Harden.
I spent my summer on the beautiful sleepy coast of northwest
Tasmania, and despite the fact that we were on the island that
happens to grow some of the best produce in Australia, in the heart
of rich farming country, I had a hard time finding good food. In
fact, I was surprised I couldn't even find a decent loaf of bread.
I searched everywhere for a bakery that might have sourdough, but
the only bread I could locate was soft white sliced or buns.
It seems natural to assume that when you go to the country there'll be good local ingredients available. Unfortunately, in Australia often the opposite is true: in some rural areas we seem to be least connected with good food.
So, ironically, in this picturesque agrarian setting, I spent a week contemplating the sad lack of quality local produce and desperately missing good bread. It highlighted just how much I take for granted living in a city like Melbourne, where we can get excellent produce and great bread from artisan bakeries all over the city.
It's not that I travel with the expectation of finding restaurants in every corner of the nation as fancy or varied as you find in the city, of course. But one good baker, a good store where decent olive oil and fresh produce are available, and a butcher that sells local beef, pork and lamb seem like fundamentals.
At its best, country life can be a celebration of what people are growing from and making of the land they inhabit. How can people find joy and nourishment in their food if there is nothing more than takeaway shops and chains selling processed food that's sugary and over-refined or fried and fatty?
But back to my bread. It wasn't just sourdough toast and jam for breakfast I was missing, it was beautiful bread with my lunch that I couldn't go without. A favourite afternoon snack of grilled ciabatta drowned in extra-virgin olive oil. The crisp baguette smeared with French butter to have while I prepare dinner. Good bread is an intrinsic part of our daily life, and it's a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen too. A creamy celeriac soup or a braise of beef with onions and red wine are twice as good with well-made bread to mop them up. Buttery fried croûtons make salads into meals, adding texture as well as flavour. Think of a smoked trout salad with watercress, fennel, croûtons and crème fraîche for example. One of my favourite simple pasta dishes is spaghetti with fried crumbs: breadcrumbs fried in extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and anchovies, with a little chopped parsley - delicious with grated pecorino.
Homemade breadcrumbs are a world apart from anything shop-bought. A humble schnitzel can be elevated to something to savour with the simple addition of sourdough crumbs, parmesan and sage. I sometimes serve as an entrée steamed mussels that have been topped with crumbs flavoured with garlic, parmesan and parsley, then grilled - they're equally good hot or cold.
Around this time of year while tomatoes are still their best I love to make panzanella, the Italian salad of stale bread with the ripest of tomatoes, basil leaves and lots of fruity extra-virgin olive oil. I like to pair it with fresh buffalo mozzarella or baked ricotta and slices of prosciutto; its success relies on ingredients of the highest quality. I also think the best panzanella is made with day-old ciabatta; fresh bread doesn't have the right texture to carry it and the flavour of sourdough tends to be overpowering. After toasting the torn bread lightly in the oven, I sprinkle it with a little water then combine it with the tomatoes, salt, olive oil and vinegar, allow the lot to sit for 10 minutes, then add a little more oil and vinegar after the bread has soaked up the juices.
I never throw away good bread because it has so many uses. Softened in warm milk with a little browned onion, herbs, egg and parmesan cheese, stale bread makes a wonderful stuffing for roast chicken. Mix it with minced beef and you've got polpette, or meatballs, ready to be baked in the oven with tomato sugo. Stale bread is also excellent cut into crostini. Thinly sliced and drizzled with olive oil then baked to a rich golden brown, it can carry anything from a bit of cheese or a slice of terrine to a rich chicken liver ragù.
And if there are any keen young bakers out there looking for an idyllic lifestyle in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, north-west Tasmania is surely a great opportunity.
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