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Autumn recipes

Comfort food and fun Easter eats feature in our collection of autumn recipes, featuring everything from an Italian Easter tart to carrot doughnuts with cream cheese glaze and brown sugar crumb and braised lamb with Jerusalem artichokes, carrots and cumin to breakfast curry with roti and poached egg.

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Looking for the best restaurants in Sydney? Here are the top ten Sydney restaurants from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Easter Baking Recipes

Dust off your mixing spoon, man your oven and have your eggs at the ready as we present some of our all-time favourite Easter baking recipes, from praline bread pudding to those all-important hot cross buns.

Italian Easter tart

"This is a traditional tart eaten in Naples at Easter," says Ingram. "The legend goes that a mermaid called Parthenope in the Gulf of Napoli would sing to celebrate the arrival of spring each year. One year, to say thank you, the Neapolitans offered her gifts of ricotta, flour, eggs, wheat, perfumed orange flowers and spices. She took them to her kingdom under the sea, where the gods made them into a cake. I love to add nibs of chocolate to Parthenope cake because I think it marries nicely with the candied orange and sultanas, but, really, do you need an excuse to add chocolate to anything?" Start this recipe a day ahead to prepare the pastry and soak the sultanas.

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Looking for the best restaurants in Melbourne? Here's our top ten from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Chocolate Recipes for Easter

Easter + chocolate: it just makes sense. So, in celebration of the annual cocoa frenzy we’ve put together a collection of our hottest chocolate recipes. You’re welcome.

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns

The mix of candied apple and dried apple combined with a sticky cinnamon glaze provides a new twist on an old favourite. These buns are equally good served warm on the day of baking, or several days later, toasted, with lashings of butter.

Momofuku's steamed buns

Panning for gold


You'll need

2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock 2 tsp saffron threads, toasted 2 tbsp olive oil 1.4 kg corn-fed chicken or farmed white rabbit, cut into 8 pieces 2 chorizo, cut into 2cm pieces 2 onions, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced 6 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped 400 gm (2 cups) Calasparra rice (see note) 2 tsp Spanish smoked sweet paprika 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped 300 gm podded green peas 300 gm baby green beans, trimmed

Method

  • 01
  • Combine chicken stock and saffron in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until saffron has infused and coloured the stock.
  • 02
  • Heat olive oil in a 38cm caldero (paella pan) or frying pan, add chicken and chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until golden, then remove from pan.
  • 03
  • Add onion, garlic and capsicum and cook, stirring continuously, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Add tomato, cook for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates, return chicken and chorizo to pan and pour over stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is almost cooked through.
  • 04
  • Add rice, paprika and rosemary, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, for 5 minutes, then scatter with peas and beans and cook for another 15 minutes or until rice is tender and stock is absorbed. Stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Note Calasparra rice is a short-grain Spanish rice available from Simon Johnson and Spanish delicatessens.

Spain’s most famous food export, paella, has reached the four corners of the globe, but sadly bears little resemblance to its original form. The original paella would never have included a combination of meat and seafood, let alone peas, red capsicum or chorizo. This modern interpretation would be unrecognisable in the dish’s birthplace, Albufera, a lakeside region south of Valencia. Here, it was more likely to include hunks of rabbit or chicken and a handful of seasonal vegetables – broad green or pale yellow beans, tomato, saffron and onion. It was just as likely to include snails, said to deliver a hint of the rosemary which formed the basis of their diet.

Paella is all about simplicity: it is not a dumping ground of ingredients. It is, above all, a rice dish, and it’s the quality of the rice that must shine. The only exception is fideuá, a paella made with fideus noodles, similar to vermicelli pasta, rumoured to have been created by fishermen at sea without access to rice. A true paella calls for a short-grain rice, which has the ability to absorb cooking liquid and form a crust while retaining its shape. Calasparra is the most common paella variety available here.

As with all classics, paella varies from village to village and even from household to household. Some say true paella Valenciana must be cooked outside over a fire made of orange branches, dished up with a boxwood spoon and eaten only at midday. In his book, Catalan Cuisine, Colman Andrews goes one further and writes that for men cooking and sharing paella, the only acceptable topics of conversation are “women, bullfighting and crops”.

Andrews gives three rules to follow when making a paella: never stir it once the rice has been added and never add more liquid than is called for (if the paella is drying out too quickly, reduce the heat; if it’s too soupy, increase the heat). Lastly, always let the paella rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.

Paella should only ever be cooked over the stove, never in the oven, and is eaten straight from the pan, making it the perfect communal dish. While it can be made in a frying pan, it’s a good idea to invest in a caldero, or paella pan. Its shape gives the largest possible surface area to create the highly prized crust, or socarrat, on the base. Calderos are made from iron and should be seasoned like a wok; rubbed with oil and cooked over high heat until black, then wiped out with a cloth or paper towel to remove any residue until the pan wipes clean. To prevent rust developing, always wash the pan with warm water, dry it thoroughly and rub it with oil before storage. The enamel version won’t require this level of care but produces an inferior crust.

Next time you set out to make a closer-to-authentic, rustic paella, forget the shellfish, and let the hearty flavours of saffron, meats and seasonal vegetables sing.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Additional Notes

WHERE TO BUY PAELLA PANS

Casa Iberica
Stop here for all your Calasparra rice, jamón and chorizo needs. 25 Johnston St, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9419 4420.

Torres Cellars and Delicatessen
Stocked to the rafters with Iberian meats, cheeses, wines and perfume. 75 Liverpool St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9264 6862, www.torresdeli.com.au.

Pennisi Distributors
Pick up paella pans and burners so you can cook it outdoors the traditional way. Also stocks Manchego, chorizo, Spanish drygoods and sweets such as turrón. 17 Balaclava St, Woolloongabba, Qld, (07) 3891 7643.

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