Healthy Eating

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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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.

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.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

How to grow broccoli

Broccoli is the most prolific member of the brassica family and the easiest to grow - just beware its mean, green nemesis, says Mat Pember.

It's April and we're a step closer to autumn and the fresh change we all need. For the patch, this is the first real opportunity to get intimate with cool-season crops. This month, we shack up with an old favourite: broccoli, of the brassica family. Of the heading brassicas, which include cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, broccoli is the simplest to grow. Add to that, it's the only one that regenerates, delivering a prolonged harvest.

But don't fall into a false sense of security because, despite the advantages broccoli has over its brassica counterparts, it's still a target of the cabbage white butterfly, or rather its caterpillar (see one-minute skills below). The level of warfare with the critter is generally determined by the variety of broccoli you grow. Larger heading varieties, known as Calabrese broccoli, require a longer growing and maintenance period than sprouting varieties or broccolini. This gives the caterpillar a larger window of opportunity to strike, and more cover to hide, so bear that in mind when selecting your variety.

April can throw up a few surprises weather-wise so it's best to propagate seeds in individual pots stored on a tray. It's important that your seedlings are easily transported; if a heatwave strikes, take your tray indoors to a cooler place. Otherwise, it's outdoors in the day, indoors at night.

Once planted, water seeds twice daily in short, sharp bursts until germination occurs. As the seedlings begin to mature in the pots, water daily for the first month, then get set for a transplant into the patch. Timing is everything - avoid hot, sunny planting days and planting before a prolonged wet slog is predicted. A wet garden at this time of the year is a highly active one for snails and slugs that will favour new arrivals.

Broccoli is one of the most nitrogen hungry crops out there, so incorporate plenty of compost and slow-release organic fertiliser into the patch before planting. If possible plant seedlings where your summer beans previously grew because they would have fixed the soil with a reserve of nitrogen that will be appreciated by your broccoli. Also, ensure the patch is free draining.

Mulch the patch once the broccoli is in. This helps insulate the coolness in the soil, and an even soil temperature is a bonus for any plant. Use pulverised pea straw, lucerne or sugar cane and mulch to a depth of two to three centimetres.

Water your broccoli two to three times a week and, as always, make sure it's first thing in the morning to keep night-trawling pests - in search of moisture - away from the patch. If you're growing in pots, water every second day in the absence of rainfall - potted plants dry out much quicker.

Get into the habit of feeding your plants every fortnight with liquid seaweed fertiliser. Broccoli can go into flower when stressed - either through lack of water or nutrition - so this helps develop a strong, large head. You should see the first peep of it after two months of growth.

Once you've deemed a head large enough for the dining table, cut it off at the first junction of leaves on the stem, then await the next batch. The first head is always the largest, while successive harvests, known as florets, resemble broccolini.

It's possible to gather three or four sets of florets over a two- to three-month period before you get just pretty yellow flowers. By that stage, the caterpillars, snail, slugs and UFP (unidentified flying pests) will have more than likely overrun the plant, but by then your patch is probably ready for the next change of season anyway.

One-minute skills: cabbage white butterfly
Patch enemy number one, particularly moving into the cooler months, is hands down the caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly. Ironically, the pretty white butterflies flapping around your garden are often mistaken as allies, but they're the parents of green, camouflaged caterpillars that have a large appetite for ruining your crops.

The first preventive method is to erect netting to prevent them laying larvae. Without larvae in the big wide world of your patch, there will be no caterpillars, so fine netting is a sensible option - particularly when your plants are young, sweet and at their most vulnerable.

Another option is an opportunity to get crafty and make dummy butterflies. As the insect is territorial, and thankfully without great eyesight, setting up white butterfly-shaped plastic pieces attached to rigid wire confuses them into thinking other butterflies are already in the patch causing mischief. This is often enough to send them over the fence to bother your neighbour.

Illustrator Tom Bingham

What to Plant
Cool/mountainous
Beetroot seed
Broad Beans seed
Broccoli seedling
Brussel Sprouts seedling
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Carrot seed
Cabbage seedling
Cauliflower seedling
Celery seedling
Coriander seedling
Fennel seedling
Garlic (bulbs)
Herbs (all except basil) seedling
Kale seedling
Lettuce seedling
Parsnip seed
Peas seed
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Turnip seed
Strawberry seedling
Swede seed

Temperate
Beetroot seed
Broad Beans seed
Broccoli seedling
Brussel Sprouts seedling
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Carrot seed
Cabbage seedling
Cauliflower seedling
Celery seedling
Coriander seedling
Fennel seedling
Garlic (bulbs)
Herbs (all except basil) seedling
Kale seedling
Lettuce seedling
Parsnip seed
Peas seed
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Turnip seed
Strawberry seedling
Swede seed

Sub tropical
Beetroot seed
Broad Beans seed
Broccoli seedling
Brussel Sprouts seedling
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Carrot seed
Cabbage seedling
Cauliflower seedling
Celery seedling
Coriander seedling
Herbs (all) seedling
Kale seedling
Lettuce seedling
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Peas seed
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Strawberry seedling

Tropical
Beetroot seed
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Carrot seed
Capsicum seedling
Celery seedling
Chilli seedling
Cucumber seedling
Eggplant seedling
Herbs (all except basil) seedling
Lettuce seedling
Pumpkin seedling
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Squash seedling
Strawberry seedling
Zucchini seedling

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