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.

What is a pineapple tomato?

Venturing beyond the mass-produced plant varieties brings fruitful rewards, says Mat Pember, as he introduces the pineapple tomato.

While more than 3,000 varieties of tomato exist, the few varieties that make up the bulk of those farmed are not planted because of their flavour, texture and colour, but because they're durable and transport well. Just because 2,995 varieties of tomato may be softer-skinned or oddly shaped, they're no more difficult to grow.

See our favourite tomato recipes here.

This month, rather than looking broadly at a vegetable type, we're zooming in on a specific heirloom variety, the pineapple tomato, available in the Little Veggie Patch Co's new seed range designed to introduce gardeners to fresh possibilities.

Believed to have originated in Kentucky in the US, the beefsteak-style pineapple tomato is a monster - a single fruit can weigh up to a kilo. The flesh is sweet, meaty and low in acidity, with a citrus-like tang (some say like a pineapple) and its marbled golden, red and orange skin is as captivating as its flavour. It's a next-level tomato.

When planting seeds, sow them in individual seed cells, preferably in a mini-greenhouse to protect them from the early spring chill. Place two seeds in each cell to a depth of a centimetre and keep them damp until they germinate, which should take seven to 10 days. Once the sprouted seeds are large enough to handle, cull the weaker one of each pair and let the remaining seedling develop for three to four weeks in the greenhouse, then transplant to the patch.

A hungry feeder and big vine, the pineapple tomato grows to upwards of two metres in height, so adequate soil and infrastructure preparation is vital. Prior to transplanting, integrate plenty of compost and slow-release organic fertiliser into the patch, ensuring it drains well, and erect a substantial growing frame up which the plants can clamber.

If you're planting in pots, use a good-quality organic potting mix and sprinkle slow-release organic fertiliser on the surface. A dash of rock dust is advisable, too - this hit of trace elements will safeguard against blossom-end rot.

Plant seedlings in the sunniest part of the patch 40 to 50 centimetres apart, but eventually thin to 80 to100 centimetres if they don't all take. Less is always more with tomatoes, especially larger varieties - overcrowding increases the potential for pest or disease problems.

Once planted, mulch to a depth of two to three centimetres with pea straw or lucerne hay, keeping clear of the stems so they can breathe. Water them daily for the first month for in-ground plants, then cut back to three good soakings per week, weather dependent. For potted tomatoes, continue to water daily for the plant's lifespan.

One of the biggest problems with growing tomatoes is keeping their growth in check. Pruning the vine and securing it to the trellis is an essential weekly task, and keeping it in order will prepare the plant for a successful push at producing fruit.

After two to three months in the ground you'll begin to notice flowers, which signal the start of fruit. For the pineapple tomato, being such a large fruit, it's a slow process, but an intriguing one. As it reaches full size the ribbed skin begins to colour and then softens - the indicator it's ready. When you pick ripe fruit, be aware the skin is thin and can easily haemorrhage; use scissors or secateurs.

Regular picking and plant maintenance will yield sweet delights until late in the warm season. To prevent the fruit blistering under the hot summer sun, set up a shade cloth. You might also consider netting to prevent birds, rats and possums from feasting on your crop.

If a tomato is one of summer's delights, the sweet taste and more than interesting citrus flavour of the pineapple tomato makes it truly next level

 

WHAT TO PLANT

Temperate:

Artichoke seedling

Asparagus seedling

Basil seedling

Beans seed

Beetroot seed

Bok Choy/Pak Choy seedling

Capsicum seedling

Carrot seed

Celery seedling

Cucumber seedling

Eggplant seedling

Fennel seedling

Herbs  seedling

Kale seedling

Lettuce seedling

Parsnip seed

Peas seedling

Pumpkin seedling

Radish seed

Rocket seedling

Silverbeet seedling

Spinach seedling

Spring Onion seedling

Squash seed

Strawberry seedling

Sweetcorn seedling

Tomato seedling

Turnip seed

Zucchini seedling

WHAT TO PLANT

Temperate:

Artichoke seedling

Asparagus seedling

Basil seedling

Beans seed

Beetroot seed

Bok Choy/Pak Choy seedling

Capsicum seedling

Carrot seed

Celery seedling

Cucumber seedling

Eggplant seedling

Fennel seedling

Herbs  seedling

Kale seedling

Lettuce seedling

Parsnip seed

Peas seedling

Pumpkin seedling

Radish seed

Rocket seedling

Silverbeet seedling

Spinach seedling

Spring Onion seedling

Squash seed

Strawberry seedling

Sweetcorn seedling

Tomato seedling

Turnip seed

Zucchini seedling

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