Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.
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The Botanical Hotel’s public bar has been re-opened as Gilson thanks to the founders of some of Melbourne’s busiest cafes.
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? Melbourne provided 14 answers.
It may be a magnet for destination diners the world over but Attica circa 2016 is more firmly planted in Australia than ever, writes Michael Harden.
After three years and $645 million of construction, Crown Towers Perth is open. Expect a lavish spa experience, an extravagant pool and spacious rooms.
Travel photographer John Laurie's first solo exhibit spans the globe, capturing serene moments in often unlikely spaces.
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When it’s time to raise a toast, choose a glass that rises to the occasion.
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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.
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.
"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."
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.
A relatively new addition to China's ancient culinary repertoire, XO sauce has a history shrouded in mystery. Tony Tan reveals its secrets.
Note This recipe makes about 500gm. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. To roast shrimp paste, wrap in aluminium foil and roast at 200C until fragrant (4-5 minutes). Dried shrimp roe is available from Asian grocers.
Some Chinese gourmands call it the emperor of sauces, others the king. Chefs and restaurateurs jealously guard its recipe, and top-drawer Chinese restaurants proudly offer this classy condiment to their valued clients. XO sauce, to the ever-food-conscious Chinese, raises much comment in any Chinese restaurant worth its salt. Considering it's consumed mostly as a condiment, dip or appetiser, and can cost some hundreds of dollars to prepare, this must be one of the most luxurious food indulgences in the world. It stands head and shoulders above the rest of Chinese sauces not only because of its expense but also because it represents the continued evolution of Chinese cuisine, based on a very sound knowledge of ingredients.
So what is XO sauce? Named after XO Cognac to symbolise wealth, status and exclusivity, this savoury, glossy relish is made essentially from fresh and dried chillies, shallots, garlic, top-quality dried scallops (conpoy), dried shrimps and Yunnan or Jinhua ham; these last three ingredients are especially appreciated for their intensity and complex flavour.
Dried scallops, depending on their quality, can cost up to $300 per kilogram. When buying, ask for the stash held behind the counter at Chinese grocers - that's where you'll find all the good stuff. Yunnan and Jinhua ham are also costly - they're akin to jamón and prosciutto, and these are good substitutes as Chinese ham is difficult to find in Australia.
These ingredients, along with shallots, ginger and garlic, are cooked over medium heat for up to an hour and a half, resulting in a multi-layered and robust paste with an intriguing nose. The diner first tastes the chilli, then the amalgam of seafood, before the ham takes over, releasing intense, complex and glorious flavours that burst in the mouth. It's extremely moreish, spicy, salty and sweet; if you're a chilli-lover, you'll find it near impossible to say no to XO sauce.
XO's culinary history, although relatively short, is shrouded in secrecy and mystery. The general consensus seems to be that it first appeared in the early '80s, somewhere in the top-end seafood restaurants of Hong Kong. Spring Moon, the Chinese restaurant at The Peninsula, is often credited with its invention, while others believe the seafood restaurants in Kowloon's Tsim Sha Tsui district are more likely to have been reponsible for its creation.
Irrespective of its birthplace, there's no denying this rich sauce's ability to add that extra something special to many a dish. It's delicious with prawn dumplings such as har gau, or a plate of stir-fried scallops, or braised Cantonese egg noodles (yi meen) with prawns, or as a topping on beancurd. It's also excellent tossed through steamed mussels as we have done here. Although it's possible to buy XO in a jar, it really doesn't compare. As labour-intensive - and expensive - as it is, you won't fail to be impressed by this king of sauces.
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