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 and receive a copy of Nordic Light - offer ends 23 April 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Food-truck tribulations
29.03.2017

Chicken or pork? Kelly Eng takes on a food-truck challenge but fails to cement her millennial credentials.

Take me to the river
29.03.2017

For serial cruisers who have done the Danube and knocked off the Nile, less familiar waterways beckon.

Gourmet Institute is back for 2017
29.03.2017

Fire-up the stove, tie on your favourite apron and let’s get cooking, food fans. This year’s line-up is brimming with talent.

The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Lemon tart

It's really important to seal the pastry well to prevent any seepage during cooking, and to trim the pastry soon after cooking. Let the tart cool in the tin before removing it, or it will crack.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Spelt cashew and broccoli bowl with yoghurt dressing

This nicely textured salad transports well, making it ideal for picnics or to take to barbecues. The broccoli can be kept raw and shaved on a mandolin, too.

Cabbage

The words "cabbage" and "revelation" don't often have much to do with each other, but bear with me. There are moments of magic that can happen in kitchens to suddenly change the way you think about an ingredient, and the way you might cook it.

I had my brassica epiphany with Jacques Reymond and a Savoy cabbage many years ago. He was showing me how to cook cabbage "en beurre", which was unlike anything I had seen before. He used a large, thin-based pot, melted loads of butter and waited until it was foaming before adding torn pieces of cabbage, whole cloves of garlic, thyme and salt. Once the cabbage started to cook, he covered the pot and reduced the heat just a little. He then stood over the pot, tossing and stirring for a good five minutes, took it off the heat and served a spoonful as a base for a fillet of roast wild barramundi. The cabbage was a lustrous pale green, pleasantly yielding, and it tasted beautifully sweet and fresh.

It was a world away from the old-school cabbage I was familiar with, cabbage that had generally been cooked for a long time, usually with pieces of smoked pork or sausage. Don't get me wrong, I love that kind of cabbage.

I grew up on the stuff: my mother cooked marvellous sauerkraut, and dishes such as stuffed cabbage and pork rolls were stand-bys in the Hafner household. But up until that point it was all I knew, and now I understood that cabbage could be vibrant and fresh.

Cabbages are cruciferous vegetables, related to cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. They grow in a wide range of climates but are best suited to cool, moist conditions. In Australia, various varieties grow throughout the year, but the height of their season is from autumn to spring.

My favourite cabbage to cook is the Savoy, which has deep green-blue outer leaves and wrinkly pale-green inner leaves. It has the nicest flavour and is also beautiful raw. Sugarloaf cabbage is smaller with a distinctive conical shape. It has a sweeter flavour and is ideal raw in salad.

Then there's the Chinese cabbage, with its elongated shape, pale-yellow crinkly leaves and a thick white inner stem. It's excellent wok-fried, in a soup or thinly sliced in a salad. My favourite accompaniment to steeped Chinese chicken is stir-fried Chinese cabbage with ginger, chilli sauce and Shaoxing wine.

Red cabbage is less commonly used in Australia, but it's great both raw and cooked. I love it braised, again with some pork bits to help with the flavour and to give it a bit of sheen, then a splash of Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar to give it a little piquant edge. Avoid overcooking the cabbage; cook it until it is just soft rather than melting to maintain the fresh flavour.

While it will last for several days in the fridge, cabbage tastes best really fresh. A whole head can be enormous, though, and there's no major compromise in quality if you're buying a half or quarter - just check that the cut side has no discolouration.

Cabbage is wonderful pickled - kimchi and sauerkraut are just two of the more addictive examples. Cabbage leaves can also be softened in boiling water and used to wrap minced meat as in the Eastern European dish of stuffed cabbage rolls in tomato sauce.

Raw, it shines in salads - shaved sugarloaf cabbage with mint and fresh peas with lemon dressing, say, or the Savoy cabbage salad with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and balsamic vinegar made famous by Andy Bunn while he was at Sydney's Fratelli Fresh. The salad's textural appeal relies on how thinly the cabbage is cut. If your knife skills aren't quite up to the fine julienne required, use a mandolin. Adding salt 15 minutes before serving will help to break down the cabbage; I usually like to add the dressing 10 minutes before serving so that it wilts lightly, unless the cabbage is so finely shaved it doesn't need it.

For the best cooked cabbage, I also like to cut it very finely - this reduces the cooking time needed and keeps it tasting fresh and lively. I'll sweat some shallots in extra-virgin olive oil and butter till they're soft, add some slices of smoked pork belly and cook them till they're crisp, then add the cabbage and some salt and cook it partly covered with a lid until it's just soft and still green. Sometimes I add slices of Granny Smith apple - it's particularly good with the pork. Get ready for a revelation of your own.

Newsletter

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

Latest news
Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017
Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017
Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017
Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017
What is aquafaba?
20.03.2017
Eight recipes from Flour and Stone
20.03.2017
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.

×