The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

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

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

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.

The best of times

I was having a potentially reflective time last week, doing a short stint in hospital having my battery changed. Hospital is naturally a place for reflection of happier times past.

My best times have been spent on a Hebridean island off the coast of Scotland. Confusingly, these are meant to be summer holidays, but the wind blows and it can rain for a month at a stretch. But when the sun appears, it is heaven. I've got a Cat in the Hat Dictionary with an inscription by my mum saying "Happy 4th birthday" and the name of the island, so we must have been going for 44 years. But don't think this gives me any kudos there. Shona at the co-op barely betrays a glimmer of recognition that we danced passionately at the céilidh some years ago. Nan the butcher no longer starts talking Gaelic when you walk into his shop.

It's not a big island - about 800 people, swelling to twice that number in summer. The island's size means that everything is possible, in good time. The islanders are crofters who farm small holdings, most of which have lobster pots. A huge truck full of saltwater tanks arrives to take the lobsters to Spain, and if you ask a crofter what they think of lobster, they'll reply, "Aye, too expensive. Rum old do!" On top of this, everyone wears several hats: you might see the phone mechanic in that guise in the morning, but by lunch he'll be picking up his lobster pots, and the same night he'll be pulling pints at the Lodge Hotel. It's a very rounded life.

I always have my birthday on the island. Let me give you a small taste of my heaven. Breakfast is devilled kidneys on toast. The lamb, having eaten wild thyme and been blown about by the salty wind, is self-seasoned. The kidneys, shining like jewels, are delicious. We toss them in a spot of flour seasoned with English mustard powder and cayenne pepper, pop them in a pan with a knob of butter, cook them for a few moments on each side, add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and chicken stock, and let the pan contents get to know each other. Removing the kidneys onto buttered toasts, we add a little more butter to the pan, shoggle until emulsified, then pour it over the kidneys. One or two Black Velvets - half Champagne, half Guinness - and you're ready to face whatever the day might bring.

A fortifying and uplifting breakfast.

Then it's on to the issue of which beach to go to for lunch. "Not that one. Last time we went there were two other people on it." Apart from the requirement that no one else be there, driftwood is a deciding factor in choosing your beach. Since fish boxes are no longer made of wood, driftwood gets more and more scarce. It's dismal to pack your picnic then discover you've got no fuel to cook it over. It's almost as bad as forgetting the corkscrew.

Most of our picnic equipment is old plastic that has been misshapen in a Gaudì-like fashion by straying too close to driftwood fires. A bap is the standard delivery vehicle for lunch. Ox tongue, mackerel, leg of lamb, fillet of beef, lobster, sausages - all need lubrication, so a battery of condiments is essential. The oatcake-and-cheese moment is about as good as it gets, revitalising your thirst for red wine.

The sea is a bit like a perfect gin martini: painfully cold. But this is ideal for the lobsters and crabs, and the freshly caught mackerel grilled on the barbecue. The island itself is covered in machair, a splendid mixture of wild thyme, orchids and grass growing in a thin green layer on sand. The rocks and houses pop out of the machair like mushrooms. It's satisfactorily bouncy and therefore makes for a very soft landing after too many drams. I fear I am talking from experience.

Malt whisky of the peaty Islay nature complements the salty wind, and when it's taken with shortbread, you commence upon an almost unbreakable cycle: a little steadying shortbread, as we all know, puts great demand on your spittle levels; one takes another wee dram, followed by another little bite of steadying shortbread, and on and on and on. There goes the afternoon.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Perfect match: Pasi Petanen and Giorgio De Maria pop-up this March
24.02.2017
Mexican ramen at Rising Sun Workshop
23.02.2017
Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017
What’s happening in South Yarra?
15.02.2017
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s chef collaborations
14.02.2017
Hot Plates: Long Chim, Melbourne
14.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Aravina Estate

The family-friendly nature of Aravina explains the terracot...

Assaggio

Assaggio's very red, very mod fit-out has undeniable flair,...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Aquitaine Brasserie

The name is a nod to France's south-west gastronomic heartl...

Bacchus - Brisbane

Rydges doesn't exactly leap to mind when you think "complex...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Balthazar

The mixing of business and pleasure comes second nature to ...

Boucher

Escargots, foie gras, bouillabaisse - the expected French s...

Carlton Wine Room

The relaxed ambience and witty, irreverent service may say ...

Celsius

A land of smoke and mirrors, Celsius is an urbane, nightclu...

Citron

Mark Newman's cassia beef cheek is the type of dish that ce...

Divido

To those who dream of the old country, Divido is the modern...

David’s

David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×