Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 25th June, 2017 and receive a Laguiole cheese knife set!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Hot chick

My friend Ludovic, who is from My friend Ludovic, who is from Lyon, was very excited one evening when I cooked my version of poule au pot - poached chicken in a pot. It reminded him of something his grandmother and mother both used to make back home. I cooked the chicken with some chopped carrots, waxy potatoes, celery, leeks, shallots, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, parsley stalks and bay leaves until the meat was falling off the bone, then flaked the chicken into a serving bowl with the vegetables, ladled over the seasoned broth, added a dollop of crème fraîche and served it with crusty bread.

Chicken is nurturing and nourishing and its healing properties are renowned. To this day I associate the smell of chicken stock cooking away on the stove with the smell of home, because my mother always had a chicken on the go: golden aromatic broth with chopped parsley if we were sick, or simply a whole chicken cooked with carrots, onion, celery and herbs in a pot of water. Mum would let it cool before she flaked the meat and the jelly and made delicious sandwiches with salt, pepper and butter on rye. My own rescue chicken soup is stracciatella, but with broken pasta cooked in it until really soft. It's deeply restorative.

Not just any chicken will do. If I'm cooking a dish that is all about the chicken I go to my favourite poultry supplier, who buys directly from small farms. The birds are all genuinely free-range and are fed a high-quality diet. Most of them are grown for several weeks longer than the average commercial bird, so they have a more developed flavour and a firmer texture. They also cost a lot more, somewhere between $16 and $26 for a bird, and some people can't fathom spending that much on a chicken. After all, you can buy a fresh free-range chicken from the supermarket for around $10 or a cage bird for even less. It boils down to quality and flavour - and you get what you pay for. Chicken, more than any other meat, I think, is a barometer of the effect of diet on flavour.

Matthew Waechter has been rearing chickens in the Barossa Valley since he was a boy and genuinely loves his work. His chickens are fed on his own mix of grains with no fish- or meat-meal and are rotated from pasture to pasture so they have a plentiful supply of insects and worms. Waechter grows them for eight to 10 weeks, although at Christmas he grows them for as long as 16 weeks so he can supply really big birds of about three kilos. These chickens do a fair bit of walking and you can see this in the flesh, which is plump, dense, firm-textured, dark around the leg and pink throughout the breast. The skin is light golden and the flavour is great. This is what I call the ultimate chook.

I asked Waechter what makes his chickens taste so good, and he said it's the way they're reared. "I place the water and the feed a few feet away so they actually have to walk," he said. "They have the tendency to eat, drink and be lazy - they won't move around unless they have to." He makes his own feed mix and doesn't buy pellets -"You don't know what's in them." The breed of chicken is your everyday ordinary chicken, so the taste really comes down to what they eat, how much they move around and develop their muscles and how long they get to live.

Now that I have my well-fed, free-range, athletic chicken, how will I be cooking it? I like to cook it on the bone because the flavour is much better, and you can't beat a great roast chicken. It's just the thing at the end of a hectic week to unwind with a glass of wine and the smells of roast chicken wafting from the oven. I usually stuff the bird with an apple, some butter, sage and salt. Then I whip up some butter with a little extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, salt flakes and some chopped tarragon or sage or, in summer, basil. I put the butter under the skin, rub salt and extra-virgin olive oil over the bird and dot it with more butter, then it's into the oven with whatever vegetables I feel like. Trussing the chicken helps it to cook evenly and makes it look nice, but usually I forgo this last step (because of laziness).

I've tried turning the chicken from side to side and upside down to moisten the breast, but I find this fiddly (it's not easy to flip a hot bird with tongs and wooden spoons) and, in fan-forced ovens, unnecessary. In my experience, the secrets are starting with a good-quality chicken, seasoning it well, basting it often, and, when it has finished roasting, letting it rest for about 15 minutes.

I'm not a big fan of gravy, perhaps because in our house that always meant one made from a packet - my mother must have thought it was a terrific invention! I prefer to skim the fat from the meat juices, add a drizzle of extra-virgin oil and perhaps a squeeze of lemon, and pour the juices over the chicken.

Newsletter

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

Latest news
What is rou jia mo?
28.04.2017
OzHarvest opens Australia’s first free supermarket for people in need
27.04.2017
Westmont Pickles, Belles Hot Chicken's pickle of choice
26.04.2017
Our Hot 100 issue is out now
24.04.2017
Does Newcastle have Australia’s best eclair?
21.04.2017
Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017
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
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

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 ...

Are any spring flowers worth eating?

With borage flowers and violets everywhere, it’s easy to for...

get the latest news

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

×