We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.
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Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.
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.
Single-source honey putting community and sustainability next to sweetness.
More and more adventurous local winemakers are embracing Vermouth's botanicals, writes Max Allen.
Indonesia's Komodo National Park is home to staggering scenery and biodiversity. Michael Harden sets sail in a handcrafted yacht to explore its remote islands in pared-back luxury.
Cue the Champagne.
Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.
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.
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.
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.
Sydney’s Eleven Bridge to close. For real this time. Sort of. Again.
Hobart is enjoying a wave of CBD restaurant openings. Add these to the top of your list.
Whether baked into a bubbling crumble, caramelised in a puff-pastry tart or served in an all-American pie, apples are a classic filling for fruity desserts. Here are the recipes we keep coming back to.
Cue the Champagne.
Discussing the real issues faced by chefs and producers.
Here, we've made the dough in a food processor, but it's really quick and simple to do by hand as well. If the dough seems a little too wet just add a little more flour.
In my early years as an apprentice, as I learnt to cook like a chef, family members would look on in horror as they watched how much salt I would throw about. Thankfully, for the most part, they enjoyed my food and this fear of over-salting soon abated.
But this experience really illustrated how much salt chefs use compared to the average home cook.
I'll admit that chefs sometimes over-salt food, and this is a crime, particularly when under-salting can be partially corrected at the table to suit individual palates. What I came to understand as an apprentice, however, and continue to appreciate, is that salt makes food taste better, and the way you salt your food - the amount you use, the type you use, and when you add it - is one of the most defining influences in the finished taste of a dish.
Salt doesn't so much add flavour to a dish as act as a flavour-enhancer, bringing out the natural tastes of ingredients it's added to.
Try this test: bite into a slice of ripe tomato, sprinkle it
with flaked sea salt and bite into it again. It tastes remarkably
different: sweetness and acidity are heightened with the addition
There has been a lot of noise about the danger of salt in our diet, and there's some evidence that excessive sodium chloride can be harmful to some people's health. But natural, unrefined sea salt also contains magnesium, calcium, potassium and other minerals that are essential for good health. In other words, if taken in moderation, natural unrefined salt is good for you.
Fleur de sel is a good example. This artisan salt is hand-harvested from large shallow ponds where sea water is left to evaporate in the sun. Scraped from the top layer of crystals, fleur de sel is pure white (the crystals that sink to the bottom are tinged grey and known as sel gris). It's then packaged and ready for use without any further processing or refining.
I love fleur de sel. It has a beautiful albeit subtle flavour that just can't be compared to heavily refined, industrially produced table salts, which have hardly any flavour at all. And while I use fleur de sel a lot, I certainly wouldn't waste this expensive artisan French sea salt in my pasta water. I save it for salad dressings and to prepare and cook meat and vegetables where it can be appreciated. Sometimes I'll crush the coarse salt crystals with a small mortar and pestle so it better integrates with a dressing, but I'll usually leave them whole and coarse to sprinkle over just-cooked asparagus, because their texture can be lovely.
I also really like Murray River salt from the salt lakes around Mildura, because the perfect-shaped flakes crush easily between your fingers. And it's Australian.
Knowing when to salt your food is also important. Timing is everything. For example, if you salt your minestrone at the very end of cooking it will never have the same depth of flavour as it does when you salt everything early in the piece, while the vegetables are still sautéing in the pot.
Salt also draws the moisture out of food. When I sweat onion in a pan, I like to add a little salt for this very reason. This may or may not be desirable, depending on how you want your onions to turn out. As a general rule, though, I like to add salt to my onions or sofrito once they have started to soften and colour slightly, because this is often when you could use some moisture in the pan.
Salt in large quantities also acts as a preservative, preventing the growth of bacteria, yeasts and microorganisms and slowing the oxidation of fats. Cover a side of salmon in salt and the fish will be cured in just a couple of days, and not only will it be preserved, but its texture and taste will also have changed.
I've often been asked if it's okay to salt meat before cooking it. The answer is yes: seasoning your meat well before cooking - whether it be a steak on the barbecue, a chicken in the oven or a whole lamb on the spit - gives the salt time to penetrate the meat and subtly enhance its flavour. I wouldn't recommend pre-salting small or thin pieces of meat, however, lest the salting draw too much moisture from the meat, drying it out and making it less tender.
In short, salt makes food taste better, but the key is to use it wisely.
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