Healthy Eating

After fresh ideas for meals that are healthy but still pack a flavour punch? We've got salads and vegetable-packed bowls to soups and light desserts.

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Tarta de Santiago

"Gordita makes a splendid version of the Galician almond cake Tarta de Santiago, with its dramatic design. Would you please publish the recipe?" Michael MacDermott, Taringa, Qld REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Pea and ham soup

Coffee culture: A history

Australia’s love affair with coffee is stronger than ever; it’s become a way of life. But exactly how did a beverage manage to shape our country’s culture?

Bread and butter pudding

Just what you need on a cold winter's night; a bowl of luscious pudding. Make sure to leave room for seconds.

Automata opening in Singapore

One of Sydney’s hottest restaurants is about to branch out in Asia.

Hot 100 2017: food trends

Life moves fast in the world of food and restaurants. How do you keep up? By reading our Hot 100 round-up of the latest and greatest in store for your tastebuds in 2017. It's time to eat!

Curry recipes

When you're in need of rejuvenation, there's nothing better than a warming bowl of curry, whether it's gently spiced potato and egg, a punchy Jamaican goat number or an elaborate Burmese fish curry. Here are our favourite recipes.

Feta and greens gozleme

A lot of rolling and folding go into making this Turkish flatbread, but when you bite into them all the hard work will be forgotten. The traditional filling is silverbeet, but we've added kale and fresh herbs for fragrance and flavour. A good sprinkle of salt at the end and a squeeze of lemon are non-negotiable. Start this recipe a day ahead to rest the dough.

Bar of the year 2010: Gerald's Bar, Melbourne

Gerald Diffey has worked at and with some of Victoria's great names - Karen Martini, Rita Macali, Tansy Good and Stefano de Pieri among them - and has spread his affable charm wherever he's appeared. But it's at his small bar in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, propped next door to the pizza cacophony that is La Porchetta, that he seems to have distilled all that experience into one idiosyncratic, unique and thoroughly enjoyable package.

Gerald's Bar is not about crack mixology or voluminous lists of benchmark labels. The half-net curtains in the front window immediately put paid to any notions of cutting-edge design. Instead there's a stylish hominess to the surrounds. A turntable and valve-amp sit behind the bar under shelves bearing curious objets trouvés and a compact, carefully curated collection of quality booze that make this everything a grown-up could want in a watering hole.

One of Diffey's more recent ports of call before opening the bar was as sommelier at Stefano's, and the swarms of off-duty sommeliers and wine writers here speak well of the sort of things you're likely to find on-pour on any given day. Chefs, too, have claimed it as their own, whether it's Bar Lourinhã's Matt McConnell propping up the bar or Heston Blumenthal dropping by for a cheeky glass of absinthe downed to the strains of The Specials.

The Melbourne Wine Room's Karen Martini first worked with Diffey as a young apprentice, and describes him as a most likeable character with a story for every occasion. "He has always been cool," she says. "Maybe it's the constant mischievous twinkle in his eye that makes him so very welcoming a barman." Stefano de Pieri, another regular, likes the way the place feels. "You're surrounded by the objects of Gerald's past," he says. "Whether it's a pack of cards or a leaflet from the labour movement, they're displayed without affectation because they're Gerald." 

Perhaps Gerald's Bar's true charm lies in its inclusive nature. Everything on the wine list - a meticulously selected mix of Old and New World labels that steers clear of the obvious and the overpriced - is potentially available by the glass (whatever is ordered first becomes the by-the-glass selection for that evening). The food, cooked by Gerald, is simple, comforting and inexpensive and the eclectic vinyl selection always seems to include at least one track that will have you counting the beat. Best of all, Gerald's is a place where you feel as comfortable (and as welcome) on your own as in a group. And that is the sign of a bar that understands the true nature of bar-dom.

Gerald's Bar, 386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North, Vic, (03) 9349 4748

WORDS MICHAEL HARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY TIM JAMES

This article is from the September 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

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