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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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.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

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.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

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.

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."

A preview of Samu: Matt Bax’s matcha bar

Tea Sensei Adam Wojcinski

Tea Sensei Adam Wojcinski

Matcha is certainly having a moment, but for Matt Bax it's no fad. The mercurial hospitality entrepreneur, who for years has led the Melbourne bar pack with the likes of Der Raum and Bar Americano, has been a matcha devotee for the for the past two decades after discovering it through his interest in Zen philosophy.

It's led to one of the more intriguing collaborations of recent times: Bax is bringing his interpretation of the Japanese tea ceremony to Andrew McConnell's Supernormal for the next two weeks.

"We prefer the term 'tea meditation'," says Bax. "We're not calling them tea ceremonies because that would be like comparing opera to a 30-second YouTube clip. It will be a contemporary distilled service of amazing tea."

See our video on how to make matcha here.

The finely ground green tea powder is a hot topic across Australia and internationally, beloved by the health fraternity for its antioxidants and by food lovers for its intriguing grassy, umami qualities. Bax's appreciation extends much further back in history to the ancient Japanese rituals surrounding its preparation. So is Samu the real deal?

"Depends on your definition of the real deal. If matcha lattes are your thing, then go for it. It's just not our bag. There is nothing I've experienced in the world, let alone Australia, that I can compare to what we hope to achieve with Samu. The experience of Samu is what interests us, not just the quality of the tea."

It's unsurprising for the man who brought us Bar Exuberante, compared by many to being thrown onto the set of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, that Samu should also be meticulously designed. Samu is named for the Zen-like practice of mindfulness in physical activity, but Bax points out it is also a play on "sa", meaning tea, and "mu" meaning - "well, nothing in the Zen sense. A very important element in zen teaching."

Central to the custom-built wood and canvas teahouse, which has been constructed not actually inside the bustling restaurant but rather looms like a glowing beacon inside a pitch black, silent carpark space out back, is a wooden bar seating only five people at a time, handcrafted by Ravi Avasti, the designer behind Bax's other venues. Bax has also worked closely with McConnell to create a unique selection of wagashi-style sweets to accompany the tea, which has been sourced from Tea Sensei Adam Wojcinski and Nippon Cha.

The preparation of matcha is an important feature of Japanese tea ceremonies but, typically, Bax doesn't want to divulge too much information aside from the fact his matcha is ceremonial grade (from a single crop in Kyoto) and the water is taken from a Victorian alpine spring. "So many experiences these days are ruined with too many details prior to arrival. Samu is a one-of-a-kind experience I'm looking forward to sharing with my guests."

Matt Bax at Samu, Supernormal.

Samu at Supernormal, 18 July to 1 August, 180 Flinders La, Melbourne; (03) 9650 8688, supernormal.net.au; 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm daily. Tea ceremonies run every 15 minutes.

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