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 for your chance to win a $20,000 Flight Centre gift card! Offer ends 24 May 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

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.

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.

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.

Where to stay, eat and drink in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Beyond Kuala Lumpur's shopping malls, Lara Dunston finds a flourishing third-wave coffee scene, tailored food tours and charming neighbourhoods.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

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.

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.

How to carve a jack-o'-lantern

George Francisco's 1995 jack-o'-lantern

George Francisco's 1995 jack-o'-lantern

Let's be real for a moment. Down here in the southern hemisphere, Halloween isn't as huge a production as it is for our friends above the equator. We like any excuse to throw a party, sure, but we're no experts when it comes to pumpkin carving.

Which is why we've turned to American natives Danielle Alvarez of the Merivale group, George Francisco of Robert's and Chase Lovecky of Momofuku Seiobo - three chefs with an impressive number of jack-o'-lanterns in their repertoire for advice. (Francisco alone has carved more than 60).

Here are their top tips for how to carve a Halloween pumpkin.

The flatter (and bigger) the better
While in theory you can use any type of pumpkin for a jack-o'-lantern, Alvarez reckons a flatter surface is easier to carve.  Francisco, who has carved more than 60 jack-o'-lanterns in his day, prefers the larger varieties*. "I've used every type of pumpkin but the big orange ones used in the US are the traditional favourite," he says.

Work from the middle
Lovecky, who grew up carving pumpkins in New England, has always worked from the inside out. "We would start by cutting a hole around the stem and then scrape out all the seeds," he says, "then we would carve out the face and put a candle in the hollowed-out head."

Stencils make perfect
Francisco, whose pumpkin-carving portfolio includes the "surgeon skeleton" number pictured above, claims his "big light-bulb moment on pumpkin carving" occurred 22 years ago when he applied the concept of stencilling (borrowed from his love of graffiti) to his jack-o'-lanterns. "You take a photo or picture and tape it to your pumpkin," he says. "With a push pin you trace the important parts of the picture by pushing the pin into the face of the pumpkin. When the picture is removed you have a perfect follow-the-dots template."

Don't be afraid to shade
Francisco also says you don't have to cut all the way into the pumpkin all the time. "You can just shave off the hard orange outer skin and leave the soft, inner, edible part," he says. "This gives you the ability to shade certain areas, giving subtlety to the picture with different darker and lighter shades." Just make sure you cut the key features all the way for maximum impact when the light shines through.

Pick the right blade for your level of skill
Both Alvarez and Lovecky suggest using a small serrated knife, particularly for novices. For those with a little more experience (or courage), X-Acto knives or Stanley knives are the go. Looking to go even more extreme? "A hand-held electric drill is good, too," says Francisco.

Save the seeds
While the pumpkins more popular for carving are usually less flavoursome than those grown for eating, the seeds are still fair game. "Wash them off, toss them with oil, salt and pepper, then bake for 10-15 minutes," Lovecky suggests. They can add to the creative process, too. "Occasionally I've made them into teeth for an even spookier jack-o'-lantern look," says Francisco. Alvarez toasts hers with chilli powder, salt and olive oil. "It's labour intensive," she says, "but worth it."

Keep some bleach handy
For a jack-o'-lantern that'll go the distance, Alvarez suggests pouring a few caps of bleach inside the pumpkin after carving. "Swirl it around the inside flesh," she says. "It'll keep insects away and make it last longer."

Are you carving a pumpkin this year? Tag your designs on Instagram with @gourmettraveller and #GTpumpkin

*We spotted Halloween pumpkins at Thomas Dux. If you're in Sydney on Sunday 26 October, head to the pumpkin patch pop-up on the corner of Oxford St and Glenmore Rd, Paddington and pick up a free one to take home.


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 ...

get the latest news

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

×