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Noma Australia: the first review

Curious about the hype surrounding Noma Australia? Pat Nourse heads to lunch and delivers the first verdict...

Fast Chinese Recipes

If you’re looking for quick and spicy dishes to celebrate Chinese New Year, we have the likes of kung pao chicken, ma po beancurd, XO pipis with Chinese broccoli and plenty more fire and crunch here.

Prego rolls

"This is a Mozambican specialty and one of the foods that changed my life in terms of African cuisine," says Duncan Welgemoed. "The best spot to get a prego roll in South Africa is the Radium Beerhall. It's run by my godfather, Manny, and is the oldest pub in Jo'burg. The meats are grilled out the back by Mozambican staff and are still done the same way today as they were 30 years ago." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the beef.

Lebanese-style snapper

"This dish is Lebanese-peasant done fancy with all the peasant-style flavours you'll find in Lebanese cooking, but with a beautiful piece of fish added," says Bacash. "The trick to not overcooking fish is to be aware that it cooks from the outside inwards and the centre should only cook until it's warm, not hot. If it gets hot in the middle, it will become overcooked from the residual heat. It takes a little practise getting to know this - be conscious of the inside of the fish and not the outside. Until you get it right, you can always get a little paring knife and peek inside the flesh when you think it's ready; it won't damage it too much."

Green salad with vinaigrette

"Our seven-year-old, Arwen, has been making this vinaigrette since she was five - she tastes it as she goes," says Levy Redzepi. "It's fresh and acidic and as good as the leaves. Frillice lettuce is crunchy but it's thin so it's like a perfect mix of cos and iceberg."

Fast and fresh summer recipes

Fish in a flash, speedy stir-fries, ripe and ready fruit – magic dishes in moments. Here's a preview of the recipes in our February 2016 issue.

Oyster dipping sauce

"To me, eating raw things is integral to any good meal, especially during a barbecue in summer," says Rene Redzepi. "You can do it with oysters on the half-shell with a bit of lemon juice, or something like this sauce. It's a perfect start - rich, fresh, creamy, with the crunch from the raw vegetables and a lot of acidity from the parsley, vinegar, and all these things that give brightness."

Homemade white bread

"Not multigrain, not gluten-free, nor rye or whole wheat - classic white bread is the only acceptable canvas for your delicious passion project, the brisket," says Curtis Stone. "Texas barbecue sides are supposed to be minimalist, but minimalist done right. Baking soft, fluffy bread from scratch is doing it just right (and then some). Plus, stuffing brisket into a slice of bread means you can eat with your hands, the way it ought to be." Makes 2 loaves.

A Greek tragedy

Fergus Henderson condemns anglicised Greek food, and saves his applause for the feta and raki of Athens.

Just north of London's Oxford St there used to be the Greek strip, famously frequented by the Bloomsbury group, where tavernas rubbed shoulders. But everything runs its course and this street no longer runs with retsina, one's Geiger counter no longer goes off the scale when waved over bright-pink taramasalata, and no longer can the sound of merry revellers breaking plates be heard late into the night.

If I've started this thought with a far from upbeat tone, more of a Greek tragedy than a legend, the memory of a visit to Athens quite a few years ago adds to my gloomy outlook. Every time I got into a taxi, I would tell the driver where to go and he would turn around and say, "No good. That part of Athens is shut," and so lively discussions would ensue: not the best apéritif.

But please don't cry into your pita bread just yet. If it seems I'm somewhat down on Greek food, then I have misled you; when treated properly, Greek food is truly Olympian.

Let's take a Herculean leap to a more recent trip to Athens and a whole new culinary myth and epic of deliciousness. The artist Angus Fairhurst was having a show and Sarah Lucas was placing a mechanical masturbating arm on a rooftop. Things were looking chirpy already.

Lunch was in a vault under the central market. All through lunch I observed legs arriving into this vault down the stairs from the street - a strange thing when we're used to meeting people face- rather than feet-first. The vault housed a restaurant feeding about 100 diners and was staffed by an old man and a very young boy. Not speaking Greek myself, I was a little thrown when our young host said something to the old man with a force that sounded like "Go and suck crap in hell." Well, a fantastic platter of grilled sardines appeared. Then another exchange of a similar nature took place: this time it sounded like "I pissed in your coffee this morning." And the most sublime bowl of chickpeas arrived, cooked in stock, olive oil, and my Greek was not up to finding out what else, but chickpeas have never tasted so good. A final conversation between our host and the old chef - which sounded, incidentally, as though they were threatening to disembowel each other and use their giblets to beat each other around the head - actually meant "If you go up to the market and pick up some halva, you can have that with your coffee."

My next lunch was again simple but perfect: a platter of small red mullet salted and deep-fried, eaten with fingers, and washed down with something you should not try at home, as it will never work outside Greece: retsina, served not very cold in a coloured aluminium jug. You couldn't help but think that there was a certain musk of Alzheimer's about it.

The night fell and I drove out of Athens to a little taverna between a concrete factory and a truck garage. It looked very promising. But that may have been because of the baby lamb cooking on a spit over a fire just outside the front door. My Alzheimer's was fuelled by the homemade raki with which we washed down our splendid dinner, but I can still recall something with Greek feta sprinkled with fresh chillies, the grilled offal of the lamb and the beast itself, served with potatoes that were boiled and then grilled thoroughly with butter and lemon squidged (a technical term) on them.

The strange anglicised Greek food has had its day; once again you've got to go there to see the real deal.

I just wish I could remember where "there" was.


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Signature Collection

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

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