The Paris issue

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Best feta recipes

Feta's tang livens up all sorts of dishes, from beef shin rigatoni or blistered kale ribs to Greek-style roast lamb neck.

Seven ways to do dumplings

Dumplings may be bite-sized, but they pack a flavourful punch. Here are seven mouth-watering recipes, from Korean mandu to classic Chinese-style steamed dumplings.

Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie, Melbourne

Here’s Pickett’s inside running on the menu at Melbourne's new European-style eatery and wine bar Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie.

Recipes with zucchini

Whether served raw with olive oil, grated with fresh herbs, or pan-fried in a pancake - zucchini is a must-have ingredient when it comes to spring cooking.

Recipes for the long weekend

Long weekends leave ample time for sharing a home-cooked meal with friends. Take your pick from this selection of slow-cooked roasts, modern side dishes and sweet desserts.

Apfel kuchen

"This is my mother's famous apple cake. The apples are macerated with sugar, cinnamon and lemon, and this lovely juice produces the icing," says Brigitte Hafner. The apples can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge. This cake keeps well for four days and is at its best served the day after it's made."

Chicken stir-fried with holy basil and chilli

Nougat, salted peanut caramel and milk chocolate tart

What's not to love about a Snickers bar? All the elements are here, but if you don't feel like making your own nougat, you could always scatter some diced nougat in the base of the tart instead. The caramel is dark, verging on bitter, while a good whack of salt cuts through some of the sweetness - extra roasted salted peanuts on top can only be a good thing.

Gay Bilson's Americano

First it was the Negroni, but now a quiet Americano is Gay Bilson's drink of choice at day's end.

You'll need

30 ml Campari 30 ml Martini Rosso 1 large splash soda 1 orange, washed well, dried, cut into quarters


  • 01
  • Pour the Campari and Martini Rosso over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Add soda according to taste (80ml-100ml for the 60ml of alcohol works for me) and a big piece of orange, at least a quarter, squeezing a little juice into the drink before dropping it in. Stir before drinking.

Watch Campari brand ambassador Mauro Mahjoub talk about the history of the Americano.

It's a treat to discover something quite late in life, be it a novelist, a poet, a plant, a food or an after­noon cocktail. The Americano and I met quite recently, which is to say rather late in both our lives. Mine began in 1944 but the Americano was invented in the 1860s in Milan. In 1995, when I took on the refurbishment of the Bennelong restaurant (with partners Leigh Prentice and Anders Ousback) at the Sydney Opera House, I had wanted the list of drinks at the central bar to include only classic cocktails rather than those invented yesterday by a barman who replaces the tried-and-true with something new. The Manhattan, for instance, was on the list, as was the Negroni. Were it not such a stinker, I would have included the Stinger for its literary connection: John Updike's Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom took to drinking Stingers in Rabbit Redux. He had been a Daiquiri man in the first of the Rabbitnovels. As an admirer of Updike's wonderful portrait of Middle America, I once ordered a Stinger (brandy and crème de menthe), drank it out of literary loyalty, and left it there. I did include one drink that seemed to have no formal precedence, and named it for the novelist who told me about it in London. The Barnes is built with sloe gin (not a true gin but an alcohol infused with the astringent blackthorn or sloe fruit), gin, orange juice and blood orange juice, stirred and served over ice. It is, of course, a seasonal cocktail, because of the blood orange, but all the better for its short annual life. Having turned a living English novelist into a drink, I sent the bar menu to Julian Barnes and he kindly gave his permission, after the fact. Indeed, he was rather chuffed. When he ate at Bennelong in 1998, we made a Barnes granita for his table as a prelude to the desserts, shaving very dark Valrhona chocolate over the frozen ingredients. Nearly 15 years after this pretty invention I am of a mind to create it again.
The Negroni is equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, served on ice. It is, then, a rather strong drink, and so is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, a couple of years ago I began to make one every now and then at the close of a day's gardening or cooking and rather enjoyed it, which is to say no more than one. When I mentioned my admiration for the Negroni to a friend who is far more knowledgeable about alcoholic drinks than me, he drew my attention to the Americano. The Americano, he said, is an "afternoon cocktail" - that is, long and far less alcoholic than the Negroni. The Americano became my drink of choice at the end of the day. The gin stays in the cupboard and a big splash of soda is added to the Campari and sweet vermouth. I also add a quarter of an orange, sometimes more, washing and drying the skin first, and squeezing some of its juice into the glass. I have moved from grape, almond and olive country south of Adelaide to the lush green humidity of northern New South Wales. Ginger, chillies and Vietnamese mint may be the replacement food triumvirate, but drinks are drinks and the Americano has moved with me. The few people I know here came over for drinks; the landlady loaned me the right kind of glass and the Americano continued its existence in yet another climate. This new friend will outlive me - that's what traditional things do - but we shall have had a good time together, late in life, wherever we have had the makings.

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Apr 2012

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