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.

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.

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.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

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.

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."

I heart artichokes

I'll never forget my first experience of preparing artichokes in a restaurant. A huge box of them was placed on my bench and a demonstration followed. I was then left with the monumental task of whittling down 50 or more by myself. It seemed to take forever, and there was very little to show once I had finished.

Yesterday, at my local grocer, I bought six large, impeccably fresh, bright green globe artichokes. As my friend Henrietta and I prepared them for dinner, my friend confessed to loving artichokes but being quite bemused by the effort it took to prepare them: "I never know how much to peel to get to the edible part," she said. This is a common complaint, as artichoke leaves change from tough and fibrous to soft and delicate with nothing in between. But as Marcella Hazan writes in her cookbook Marcella Cucina, "you must be ruthless and leave nothing on it that might be incapable later of bringing you untroubled pleasure". And she's right - extracting a tough leaf or stem from between your teeth at the dinner table is very off-putting.

So how do you know you've reached the tender edible part? As it happened, the hearts of the artichokes I'd just bought were quite generous in size. Unfortunately, this is more about luck than knowledge, as you can't tell what size the edible part will be until you start paring it, and the variations are considerable.

My technique in paring an artichoke is to hold one in my left hand and snap the tough outer leaves away from me with my right until I reach a leaf that is soft to the bite and light green in colour. This is your marker. Once you've reached it, slice the top centimetre of the head off with a paring knife, cut away the outer green stem until you get to the delicate white core, then trim underneath. Be careful not to trim too much, but err on the side of too much rather than too little. Cut the artichoke in half to reveal the furry, inedible choke. Scoop out the choke with a small teaspoon or with the point of a knife and discard it. At this stage most recipes direct you to put the artichoke into acidulated water (water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar) to prevent it from going black, which happens very quickly. If I'm only cooking a few, though, I usually don't bother. They'll change colour as they cook anyway, and the flavour remains the same.

Artichokes have a delicate but persistent taste. They go very well with olive oil and with something with a sharp flavour, such as a hard goat's cheese or ewe's milk cheese. They work well with a splash of lemon juice or a good sherry vinegar, perhaps with some crisp radicchio leaves and grilled quail or fried slivers of jamón - the touch of acidity gives their earthy flavour a lift.

Many classic recipes call for you to braise artichokes in white wine and herbs, or to cook them in tomato sugo. I like to cook them quickly and gently, keeping them fresh and light, so they don't stew or overcook. I like them sautéed with olive oil, garlic and a hint of chilli and tossed through spaghettini with shavings of salted ricotta. And they make a perfect accompaniment to veal. I make a fricassée of artichokes, peas, mint and waxy potatoes to go with veal schnitzel - a delicious combination.

Artichokes have a long season - from autumn to spring - and they're particularly good at the end of winter. At this time of year, they're especially good crumbed or fried, with lots of lemon, mint, and grilled haloumi or aïoli. But as the weather warms they are also great served raw: they can be thinly sliced and tossed through a salad of delicate leaves; combined with finely julienned raw carrots and zucchini; or thinly sliced and dressed in the best salt flakes, lemon juice (or white wine vinegar) and extra-virgin olive oil.

Last night, though, I tried something different. I sliced the artichokes and put them into my copper saucepan along with a generous amount of my best extra-virgin olive oil and some finely sliced garlic. I sautéed them until they started to brown and wilt, then sprinkled them with salt and covered the pan with a lid. I love this technique of part-sautéing and part-steaming; it gives the artichokes a much richer flavour than if they'd been boiled or braised. I added a splash of white wine, reduced it a little, then added a splash of chicken stock and cooked them until they were just tender and swimming in a lovely sauce. I served them to Henrietta with a good grinding of black pepper, some shavings of parmesan, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh borlotti beans and some kipflers finished in nut-brown butter. It was completely delicious.


Check out our Masterclass on artichokes for more tips. 


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

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