The February issue

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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.

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.

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.

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."

Most popular recipes summer 2017

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

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.

Sleep in a Grampians olive grove this autumn

Under Sky are popping up with a luxe camping hotel experience at Mount Zero Olives this April.

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.

Taro's Ramen & Café, Brisbane

Taro Akimoto

Taro Akimoto

Saying Taro Akimoto's devotion to the art of ramen borders on obsessive is something of an understatement. Sure, he eschews MSG and other shortcuts, makes his noodles in-house and uses only premium Bangalow pork for his tonkotsu broths, but it's a rare chef who weighs and cooks each organic egg separately, using a chart of his own devising to ensure creamy yolked perfection every time.

After four years in a low-key, unlikely spot on Brisbane's Adelaide Street, Akimoto is bringing Taro's Ramen to the lucky people of Ascot with his second venture, on Racecourse Road.

The digs are neat and simple, tables are topped with handmade wood slabs crafted by the chef-owner, and it's counter service only.

"I like to keep pretty tight control, so I don't think you'll be seeing me expand worldwide," Akimoto laughs. "I like to keep a close eye and take control of things physically."

To be a little more eco-friendly, he recently swapped over from traditional cooking methods, and is now using a pressure cooker to make the tonkotsu, an approach he says is becoming popular with more progressive ramen shops. His broths now take five hours rather than 50 to prepare, and gas bills are down, but it hasn't turned out to be much of a time-saver in practice.

"There's a noticeable difference in results. I always aim for a particular density in the soup. With the traditional two-day cooking method you get about 10 per cent dissolved matter. With the pressure cooker - it's about 20 per cent and a more flavoursome soup."

The traditional method creates a broth that remains creamy for a long time, while the pressure cooker results tend to separate when held at 90C.

"It took a lot of work to get the results consistent."

With the new method, for service Akimoto brings each order to temperature, then uses a stick blender to emulsify the soup.

"There's more effort in the preparation… because while some use soy lecithin and gums to stabilise, I prefer to stay natural and premium."

Irrashaimase, indeed.

Taro's Ramen Ascot, 1/145 Racecourse Rd, Ascot, Qld, (07) 3868 2833, and 363 Adelaide St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3832 6358. 

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