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Megan Chalmers

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It’s starting to look a lot like silly season; but we prefer to think about the arrival of stone fruit season. It’s a time for enjoying ripe juicy peaches, rich dark plums and sweet and fragrant nectarines. Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has put together a multi-textured recipe that uses stone fruits in the most celebratory and creative way. Spiced Poached Plum and Stone Fruit Trifle with Orange Blossom Marshmallow Serves 4 Spiced Poached Plums 1kg blood…

There comes a time when decadent desserts are the order of the day. Essentials’ Megan Chalmers knows how to unleash the most creative and sweet extravagant flavours, designed to warm your soul, like these Banoffee Buttermilk Pancakes. Banoffee Buttermilk Pancakes Serves 2, in large stacks 1½ cups self raising flour, sifted 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted ⅔ cup caster sugar ¼ tsp nutmeg 1½ cups buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 whole eggs Unsalted butter,…

Cucumber Avocado Gazpacho with Watermelon, Mint and Pepitas 4 cups quality vegetable stock 1 ripe avocado 2 continental cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped ¼ bunch fresh-picked mint leaves ¼ bunch chopped dill 1 cup plain natural yoghurt Salt and pepper to taste Method 1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. 2. Season to taste. 3. Refrigerate until chilled. To Serve Serve chilled, garnished with watermelon cubes and a scattering of…

Looking for a deluxe retro entertainer? This Vine Leaf Baked Camembert with Beechworth Honey’s Bee Quirky Honey & Nuts, pickled carrot, muscatels and crostini is a sure bet. Baked Camembert Cheese 1 small wheel of quality Camembert cheese 6-8 vine leaves, rinsed and patted dry 1 jar Beechworth Honey’s Bee Quirky Honey & Nuts Preheat oven to 180C Method 1. Wrap the cheese wheel with vine leaves, ensuring that the wheel is completely covered. 2.…

Beechworth Honey has long been at the forefront of championing Australian varietal honeys. The business was created 25 years ago by husband and wife team Steven and Jodie Goldsworthy in Beechworth in North East Victoria. This honey cake recipe with dried flower petals and raw Australian honeycomb is a great way to celebrate their single origin 100% pure/raw honeys. Honey Cake with dried flower petals, raw Australian honeycomb Cookie Layers 170g Beechworth Honey’s Bee Bold…

Presenting the best in Australian seafood, this deluxe spaghetti marinara recipe is the ultimate entertainer and is designed to pair with Buller Wines’ (Rutherglen, Victoria) fragrant King Valley Pinot Grigio. Serves 6 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced 2 garlic cloves (large), peeled and finely diced] 1 fennel bulb (small), diced (reserve green fronds for garnish) 1 cup Buller Wines King Valley Pinot Grigio 1 pinch saffron threads…

Individual panna cotta served with a tablespoon of orange blossom honey syrup and  segments of candied orange. 2 tsp powdered gelatine 3 tbsp chilled water 1¾ cup thickened cream 6 tbsp caster sugar 2 tsp orange blossom water 1¼ cups Meredith Dairy goat’s milk yogurt Method 1. In a small bowl add the chilled water and gently scatter the powdered gelatine into the water using a teaspoon. Allow to stand for five minutes until the…

Rosewater Meringue with poached strawberries and rhubarb, vanilla mascarpone cheese and dried rose petals. Serves 5 Rosewater Meringue Pre-heat oven to 90C 6 egg whites 375g caster sugar Pinch salt 1 tbsp white vinegar 1 tbsp rose water Method 1. Whisk egg whites while slowly adding caster sugar. Whisk for 10-12 minutes until stiff peaks form and all sugar has dissolved. When it’s right you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down. If you’re…

Freshly-picked blue swimmer crab meat is a luxurious ingredient. Its delicacy and texture makes it a great addition to fresh pasta. This Blue Swimmer Crab Poached Ravioli with Yarra Valley trout caviar recipe is one of our all time favourites. It can be finished with either a classic bisque sauce or simple white wine and butter sauce. Serves 4 Nage Stock – Makes 2 litres 3 brown onions roughly chopped 1 leek, washed and roughly…

Farmer’s breakfast cheesecake or zapekanka is a healthy breakfast that can be made the night before. Zapekanka was once served as a breakfast dish in schools and kindergartens all over the former Soviet Union. Makes 6 individual zapekanka 500g Blue Bay Quark 100g sugar 50g milk 50g butter, softened at room temperature 2 free range eggs 1 tsp of vanilla sugar 100g semolina Preheat Oven to 180C Method 1. In a large mixing bowl add…

This is the one recipe that’s a must to include in your French cooking arsenal and it’s the perfect use for those baby Aldi supermarket truffles. Makes 4 individual serves 8 slices of freshly brioche bread 4 tbsp unsalted butter 500ml truffled béchamel sauce (see recipe below) 8 slices of smoked leg ham 4 cups grated mix of emmental and gruyere cheese 4 tbsp Dijon mustard freshly sliced black truffle pickled cornichons Pre-heat oven to…

Complimenting Ros Richie’s aromatic High Country (Mansfield, Victoria), Pinot Gris, this fast, authentic French seaside classic is a recipe to indulge in. Pippies with Ros Ritchie Pinot Gris and butter sauce, frites and lemon aioli 1kg fresh pippies (vongole clams), soaked in cold water to remove grit White wine sauce (recipe below) Lemon wedge, frites, aioli, and freshly baked baguette to serve White Wine Butter Sauce 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 shallots, peeled…

With the changing season from Winter to Spring, this roasted vegetable recipe will bring out the best in your remaining winter root vegetables and early spring leafy veg. 1 bunch baby turnips 1 bunch baby beetroots (purple and golden) 1 bunch heirloom carrots (mix colours) 1 bunch baby leeks 1 garlic bulb, smashed and gloves separated, skin on ½ bunch thyme sprigs 4 fresh bay leaves Australian extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling Sea salt flakes…

These luxurious single serve no-bake black forest cakes are designed to be frozen prior to serving, creating a unique frozen dessert option, perfect for spring and summer entertaining. Base ¾ cup raw cashew nuts ¾ cut coconut flakes 2 tbsp cacao powder 10 medjool dates, pitted 1 tsp coconut oil ¼ tsp sea salt flakes Method 1. Add the raw cashews and coconut flakes to a food processor and pulse until a crumb consistency is…

In Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe and in Good Food Guide-hatted restaurants in Australia, detailed layering of delicate flavoursome elements combine to make exquisite desserts. While these perfected plates of beauty seem impossibly complex to craft, Essentials’ Megan Chalmers shares a few tricks of the trade, putting together a buttermilk rice pudding with baklava wafer, Turkish delight and sugared rose petals to ensure your evening’s dining table is an award-winner. Buttermilk Rice Pudding 2 cups coconut…

Few desserts entertain better than a decadent cheesecake bursting with colour and natural fragrances. They may look tricky but we’ll let you in on a secret… they’re a cinch! Sesame Ricotta Cheesecake Tart with baked strawberries and sweet balsamic dressing 1 x Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base (see recipe below) Note: For the Sesame Ricotta Cheesecake Tart, add 2 tbsp black sesame seeds to the biscuit crumb base while blitzing. 250g cream cheese, warmed to room…

Raclette is a semi-hard cheese made on both sides of the French and Swiss Alps. Raclette du Valais or Fromage à Raclette, as they are traditionally called, are made using the milk of cows grazing on the alpine meadows. The name comes from the French word ‘racler’, which means ‘to scrape’. The cheese has a thin, brownish-orange coloured rind and pale yellow flesh (the ‘pâte’ of the cheese) with a few scattered open holes. It…

There’s nothing more winter friendly than toasting marshmallows over an open fire. But have you ever considered how easy it is to make your own homemade marshmallow? Essentials’ Megan Chalmers shares this recipe for light and fluffy orange blossom marshmallow; one that’s a touch more adult indulgent and that also pairs well with winter poached fruits or chocolate desserts. Orange Blossom Marshmallow 500g caster sugar 1 tbsp liquid glucose 400ml water 2 tbsp gelatine powder…

Shchi Soup with saffron milk cap mushrooms, sauerkraut and smoked chicken Serves 8 8 cups chicken stock ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 onion, diced ¼ cup saffron milk cap mushrooms (or pine mushrooms), sliced (provedores) 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 cups sauerkraut, well strained 1 cup cabbage, thinly shredded 2 carrots, julienned 2 smoked chicken breasts, sliced Dill sprigs for garnish Method 1. In a large pot add the extra-virgin olive oil…

Complimenting the European wine varietals at High Country Victoria’s Ros Ritchie wines cellar door, Essentials Megan Chalmers has put together a collection of French recipes to indulge in this winter. Stay tuned to Essentials for more classic French recipes and an exclusive Q&A with award-winning winemaker Ros Ritchie. French Onion Soup Serves 6 Flavourings 2 bay leaves 12 black peppercorns 6 large sprigs of thyme Soup 4 tbsp unsalted butter 4 tbsp olive oil 8…