The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Prepared chestnuts

A fresh chestnut is a hard nut to crack, so we're lucky, then, that we can buy them ready to go, making it that much easier to add some northern magic to our Christmas.

Seasonality alert! Much as we normally like to cleave to what's in season at our local fruiterer, at Christmas the usual rules don't have to apply. How else to explain roast turkey in Cairns and all those Thermoses of eggnog on Bondi Beach?

Chestnuts are a Christmas staple in the northern hemisphere, and though you won't see them imported "fresh" Down Under at this time of year, it just so happens that they freeze and vacuum-pack pretty darn well.

And the best news? They're frozen after some other poor soul has done the hard work of shelling and cooking them for you. Most good delis and fancy food stores stock them, especially at this time of year (Cheznuts, The Essential Ingredient and GJ Food are our go-to suppliers).

Prepared chestnuts can be used straight from the vac-pack, for roasting or simmering in milk for a dessert, as we've done here.

Roasted chestnut and cabbage salad
Serves 4-6 as a side
Preheat oven to 250C. Soak cup golden raisins in a bowl with 60ml sweet Sherry until plump (30 minutes), then drain (discard Sherry). Scatter 250gm halved prepared chestnuts in a roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, season generously with sea salt flakes and roast until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly. Combine 2 golden shallots, finely chopped, ¼ cabbage, finely shredded, ¼ cup finely grated parmesan and ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley in a bowl. Add chestnuts, 1 tbsp Sherry vinegar and 60ml extra-virgin olive oil, toss to combine and serve.

Chestnut, sage and sausage stuffing
Serves 6-8 (pictured)
Preheat oven to 220C. Combine 350gm crumbled pork sausage meat, 200gm prepared chestnuts, 160gm crusty bread, torn into bite-sized pieces, 1/3 cup firmly packed sage leaves, 4 golden shallots, cut into wedges, 60gm softened butter, a few strips of lemon rind and 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl and season generously to taste. Transfer to a roasting pan, cover with foil and bake until bread has soaked up most of the butter and sausages are cooked (20 minutes). Remove foil and roast until golden (15-25 minutes). Season well to taste and serve with your Christmas turkey.

Baked plums with roast chestnut and rosemary ice-cream
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 200C. Roast 200gm prepared chestnuts in an oven dish until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool, then finely chop and combine with 600gm vanilla bean ice-cream and 3 tsp finely chopped rosemary in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until just combined. Transfer to a container and freeze until required. Meanwhile, halve 4 plums and place cut-side up on an oven tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with 2 tbsp brown sugar and bake until plums are soft and caramelised (10-15 minutes). Transfer to bowls, add scoops of ice-cream and serve.

Fried chestnuts with Gorgonzola and bitter leaves
Serves 4-6 as a side
Heat 60ml olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add 250gm prepared chestnuts and fry, stirring occasionally until golden and crisp (10-15 minutes). Drain excess oil, season generously and set aside to cool on absorbent paper. Combine in a bowl with 100gm mixed bitter leaves, such as frisée and radicchio, 60gm Gorgonzola, crumbled, 50ml extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp aged red wine vinegar, toss to coat and serve.

Mont Blanc
Serves 4
Combine 500gm prepared chestnuts, 500ml milk, 75gm caster sugar and the scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean in a saucepan and cook over low heat until chestnuts are very soft (20-30 minutes). Set aside to cool, then process in a food processor to a purée. Pass through a potato ricer into 4 bowls to create mountains of puréed-chestnut noodles. Top with a large dollop of gently whipped cream and a generous grating of dark chocolate and serve.

Hot tips
+ Both frozen uncooked chestnuts and packaged blanched chestnuts have great flavour; choose frozen chestnuts if the colour is important.
+ Be careful when separating the packaged blanched chestnuts - they tend to clump together and break.

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