The February issue

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Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Fig recipes

Figs. We can't get enough of them. Here are a few sweet and savoury ways to add them to your summer spread.

Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

Top Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2017

A lot has changed since we first published our pick of the best chefs to follow on Instagram (way back in the dark ages of 2013). Here’s who we’re double-tapping on the photo-sharing app right now.

Christine Manfield recipes

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."

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

Method

  • 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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