The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Mango recipes

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.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic 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.

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"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."

Gifts under $100 at our pop-up Christmas Boutique

Whether it's a hand-thrown pasta bowl, a bottle of vodka made from sheep's whey or a completely stylish denim apron, our pop-up Christmas Boutique in collaboration with gift shop Sorry Thanks I Love You has got you covered in the $100 and under budget this Christmas.

Summer feta recipes

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.

Where to eat in Melbourne right now

Ides

Ides

The question: where should I be eating in Melbourne right now? First reaction: a blank, paralysed by choice, stare. The eventual answer: here are five we love; some brand new, others more familiar but all absolutely kicking it. The proviso: ask us again in a week.

Ôter
The blow from the demise of much-loved Japanese basement joint Yu-u has been softened with the arrival of its successor, Ôter. Former Pei Modern head chef Florent Gerardin is in the open kitchen pumping out an exhilarating blend of regional French dishes with a modern twist. Some, like superb fish broth served with little toasts topped with rouille and grated Gruyère or the wonderful selection of sweet tarts displayed on a large breadboard on the bar top, play a traditional bat. Others, like cobia wing sitting under sculptural sheets of kohlrabi, or crabmeat mixed with apple and a super-rich macadamia cream, less so. A smart French-leaning wine list with plenty of good stuff by the glass helps bring flexibility to Ôter so it's as easy to come in for a drink and a snack as it is to hunker down to the full hog.
137 Flinders La, Melbourne, (03) 9639 7073, oter.com.au

Ides
Peter Gunn used to be Ben Shewry's sous-chef at Attica and appears to have been fond of Attica's former Tuesday nights when customers would be used as willing guinea pigs for new dishes. The menu at Ides never stays the same - Gunn takes a freewheeling approach based on what's in the market from day to day. A salty carrot broth might contain octopus and chickpeas one day, pork belly and radishes the next. There could be a ridiculous (and ridiculously good) toasted Gruyère sandwich or a beautifully cooked lamb rump served with a Brussels sprout slaw. Not every dish on the six-course menu flies, but the strike rate's good and it's exhilarating to witness a talented young chef in his first standalone venture pushing boundaries. A good one for those after a food adventure.
92 Smith St, Collingwood, (03) 9939 9542, idesmelbourne.com.au

Vaporetto
Crabapple Kitchen has already made Greg Feck one of the most popular chefs in Hawthorn. Now with Vaporetto, a bustling double-storied bar-restaurant love letter to Venice, his stocks will soar even higher. There's plenty of attractive Venetian bling on show (including Murano glass chandeliers and an entire tobacconist's shopfront shipped in from Italy), backed up by a solid menu of well-cooked, crowd-pleasing, regionally correct favourites, such as a version of risotto Buranello using rockling and star anise, and a clever take on vitello tonnato using porchetta and clam mayonnaise. The bar has a range of cocktails that include a Bellini and a version of the Aperol Spritz, plus a cicchetti menu that might include a Harry's Bar-inspired toasted cheese sandwich or spanner crab arancini. It's an ideal hangout after a movie at next-door's (aptly named) Lido cinema.
Rear 681 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn (enter via Grace St), (03) 9078 5492, vaporetto.com.au

Embla
The roast chicken is worth the trip alone: a boned (aside from the leg), meticulously sourced half-bird popped into the wood-fired oven with rosemary and cloves of garlic, then served with sauce made from the chicken bones and a lively gremolata. It's a reminder of how very, very good a respected chook can be. Most of the rest of the cooking is done with wood, too, though there's a lot of great pickling action in the mix as well (if the pickled mussels with the rouille are on, order them). It's food tailored to a wine list that's all about minimal-intervention wines from the Old and New Worlds alike, a list carefully constructed and charmingly explained so that even the most adamant natural-wine sceptics might be soothed, if not converted.
122 Russell St, Melbourne, (03) 9654 5923, embla.com.au

Anchovy
Thi Le's unassuming Richmond shopfront is home to some of the most interesting and vibrant flavours in town right now. Skilfully blending traditional Vietnamese and South East Asian cuisine with modern-classic technique, Le weaves great texture and powerful (but never overwhelming) flavour into every dish. Her blood pudding flavoured with star anise and Shaoxing wine and served in a crunchy lettuce leaf has become an instant classic but there's plenty more joy on the menu, from her take on a banh mi that includes stracciatella, plums and white anchovies to juicy jungle-spiced spatchcock served with sticky rice.
338 Bridge Rd, Richmond, (03) 9428 3526 anchovy.net.au

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