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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An ambitious, brand new regional hotel has been awarded not one but three top accolades this year.
Andrew McConnell’s yakitori, buns, dumplings and lobster rolls head south of the river.
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There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet.
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Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.
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Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.
Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.
Note You'll need to begin this recipe at least two days ahead. Red fermented bean curd is available from Asian grocers.
Keep napkins close at hand: Lisa Featherby's recipe for Cantonese barbecue pork is finger-licking good.
Char siu, the smoky red-glazed pork dripping with sticky
caramelised juices that's commonly seen hanging in the windows of
Chinese barbecue shops, is one of the most popular Cantonese
dishes. Its Cantonese name - "char" meaning to fork or spike and
"siu" meaning to roast or grill - is widely used to describe the
pork dish, but in fact it can be applied to any meat. Its English
name, barbecue pork, is somewhat misleading, because the product is
in fact most commonly prepared by roasting.
The Chinese restaurant kitchen is divided into various areas of specialty, each with its own master chef, and all char siu dishes come under the domain of the siu mei, or Chinese roast master. (The siu mei works alongside the wok master, the yum cha master and the noodle specialists, says GT's Chinese cooking expert, Tony Tan.) But you don't need to be a siu mei to make your own char siu at home.
To start, you need a good cut of pork. The well-muscled and flavoursome neck or shoulder cuts work best here, because these pieces are neither too fatty nor too lean. That is, they have enough fat to prevent them from drying out, yet they're less fatty than pork belly, which can be too rich in this dish.
The ingredients of the char siu marinade differ "from chef to chef, or cook to cook, and are guarded like crown jewels," says Tan, but elements common to most recipes are soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and hoisin sauce. While some chefs use maltose to get the signature glazed look, we've used honey; it does the trick just as well and its thinner consistency makes it easier to handle.
The pork's distinctive colour comes from the addition of red fermented bean curd, mashed to a paste, although most recipes also include some red food colouring or vegetable dye to enhance the hue. If you'd prefer to leave out the food colouring, go ahead - it won't affect the flavour.
For marinating the pork, it's a good idea to use a sealable plastic bag because it will allow you to expel all the air around the meat so it's completely enveloped in the marinade. The result is better flavouring per quantity of marinade.
When it comes to cooking, the more traditional method of hanging the pork over a charcoal burner or barbecue gives it a greater depth of smoky flavour - not to mention those "delectable just-burnt bits", says Tan. Chinese street vendors grill char siu over low embers to maximise the smoked effect.
Roasting in the oven (preferably a woodfired oven), however, can give excellent results too, and we've covered both cooking methods here.
The best way to cook your pork on the barbecue is, as Tan suggests, to hang it on hooks over a low-burning fire. On the other hand, you can simply place it on the grill plate of your kettle barbecue instead; a generous scattering of woodchips will give you an extra smoky flavour. In both cases a watchful eye is required and it's important to cook your meat at a low temperature, turning the pork frequently and basting it continuously, to prevent the sugar in the marinade from burning.
If you choose to oven-roast your char siu, you can afford to be slightly less vigilant: just turn and baste the pork regularly to build up the glaze as it cooks.
Once cooked, char siu is best eaten warm straight from the barbecue while it's still sticky and tender. Serve it over steamed rice or with a simple Asian-style salad. For a firmer product better suited to stir-frying, hang the pork in the refrigerator after cooking for up to two days to dry it out - if you can resist its sticky, smoky goodness for long enough, that is.
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