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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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.

Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017

Our April issue is out now. In his editor's letter, Pat Nourse walks you through what to expect.

Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
27.03.2017

Nelly Robinson of Sydney's nel. restaurant talks us through his favourite roasting joints, tips for crisp roast potatoes and why, when it comes to pork, slow and steady always wins the race.

Water carafes
24.03.2017

More than mere vessels, these pieces bring a cool breeze of style from the fridge to the table.

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.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

1980s recipes

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.

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.

Savoury tarts

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.

Four ways with soba

Served hot or cold, these buckwheat noodles are a smart standby for making fast and tasty one-bowl meals.

Among our favourite Japanese larder standbys, we count a good light shoyu, furikake (the confetti-like seasoning that makes plain rice sing), and soba noodles.

Soba noodles are typiclly made with buckwheat flour, with a portion of wheat flour added for stability. We like to use Japanese soba noodles made from 100 per cent organic buckwheat flour. Not only are they gluten-free, we prefer the flavour and texture; Japanese grocers and Asian supermarkets stock a wide selection of styles, green tea among them.

The soba noodles from Australian brands Hakubaku and Spiral Foods, available at supermarkets, are also good choices. The first is a blend of wheat and buckwheat flours; the latter is organic and all buckwheat. It's worth noting that 100 per cent buckwheat soba noodles break easily during cooking, so be gentle. Carefully slide them from the packet into a large saucepan of boiling water, separating them as they go in, and give them only a gentle stir as they come up to the boil.

It's traditional to halt the cooking of the noodles by adding cold water to the pot. As Jane Lawson, author of Zenbu Zen and operator of Japanese Zenbu Tours, notes, "Japanese chefs arrest the boiling water once or twice with half a cup of cold water, then bring up to the boil again, which helps cook them more slowly and maintain a good texture."

Whether you're eating them hot or cold, refresh soba in a large bowl of cold water after cooking - the starch sticks easily once the liquid is drained away. Serve them in soups in winter, and chilled with a dipping sauce in summer, or toss them in a salad. A little grated daikon or ginger complements the earthy buckwheat flavour nicely.

Soba salad with red cabbage, coriander and cucumber
Serves 4 as a light meal

Bring 60ml (¼ cup) brown rice vinegar, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Transfer to a large bowl and cool, then whisk in 2 tbsp olive oil and 1½ tbsp unhulled tahini. Add ¼ small thinly sliced red cabbage, toss to combine and set aside. Cook 270gm dried soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice (see left), until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then add noodles to cabbage along with ½ cup coarsely chopped coriander, ½ diced telegraph cucumber, 1 thinly sliced spring onion and a large handful baby spinach leaves, toss to combine, season to taste and serve.

Chicken with green-tea soba
Serves 4

Fry 2 chicken breasts (250gm each) in a frying pan in 2 tsp grapeseed oil over medium heat turning once, until cooked through (10-12 minutes). Thickly slice, return to pan with 100gm wood-ear mushrooms and stir to warm through. Cook 250gm dried green-tea soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice (see left) until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then transfer to a large bowl. Add 60ml (¼ cup) grapeseed oil, 2 finely chopped spring onions, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, juice of ½ lemon, 20gm finely grated ginger and the chicken and mushrooms, toss to combine and serve.

Soba with tempura prawns
Serves 4 as a light meal

Bring 50gm katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and 900ml water to a simmer in a saucepan, then remove from heat and leave to steep, stirring occasionally (5-6 minutes). Strain, pressing on solids, season with 2 tbsp light soy sauce and 1 tsp roasted sesame oil, and keep warm. Cook 270gm dried soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice, until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then transfer to a bowl and drizzle with 2 tsp grapeseed oil. Heat 5cm grapeseed oil in a saucepan until hot. Whisk 50gm tempura flour with 150ml iced water in a bowl. Coat 8 shiso leaves and 4 peeled uncooked prawns in batter, fry until crisp (2-3 minutes), then drain on paper towels. Divide soba and warm stock among bowls, top with tempura and toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Zaru soba with dipping sauce, grated radish and kingfish
Serves 4 as a starter

Bring 25gm katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and 300ml water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add 1 tsp caster sugar and stand for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Strain, pressing on solids, add 2 tbsp light soy sauce or to taste, 2 tsp finely grated ginger and 1 tsp each mirin and rice vinegar, then refrigerate to chill. Meanwhile, cook 270gm dried soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then divide among bowls and drizzle with ½ tsp grapeseed oil. Top with finely grated radish and thin slices of sashimi kingfish, scatter with toasted sesame seeds and serve with dipping sauce.

Hot tips

In Japan, cold soba served simply on a bamboo mat with a dipping sauce is called mori soba. They can be served the same way with a variety of toppings on the side, such as shredded nori, grated daikon, shoyu, roasted sesame oil, gomasio (sesame salt), shichimi togarashi (chilli seasoning), yuzu juice, chopped spring onions and wasabi.

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