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Jamie Durrant

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Confit Duck Leg with pommes de terre sarladaise (potatoes cooked in duck fat), butter lettuce with fresh herb vinaigrette Serves 4 Confit duck & roasted potatoes 4 fresh duck Marylands 2 cups rock salt 1 cup white sugar 4 cloves Australian garlic 4 sprigs thyme 1 sprig rosemary ½ tsp whole white peppercorns 1 cinnamon quill 1.5l duck fat 4 large desiree potatoes Butter lettuce, herb vinaigrette 2 heads garden-fresh butter lettuce 2 tsp Dijon…

The sky had a ‘threatening look’ about it when Georg von Neumayer and his party reached the summit of Mount Kosciuszko on the morning of 19 November 1862. Neumayer, a Bavarian scientist of exacting standards, was conducting a geomagnetic survey of Victoria, a colony which, under the influence of Governor Charles La Trobe, avidly supported the advancement of science and the arts. Travelling as a private guest of Neumayer was the Vienna-born painter of Romantic…

Essentials dropped in to Saké Melbourne to explore menu items and premium sake presented by Chef Shaun Presland. Saké is easy to find: just aim for the cool new open-plan ‘cut-out’ built right into the side and base of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. There’s plenty of space on two levels offering indoor and outdoor seating with Southbank riverside and city skyline views. We sampled Saké’s white-soy shiromi (white fish): in this case beautifully clean, fresh slices of…

With the release of her addictive, awesome new album – Ultraviolence – Lana Del Rey has no intention of glossing over her troubled psyche – rather, she hypes it up. With Lana, it is often hard to separate the real woman from her controversial David Lynch-ian ‘femme fatale’ public self – the stunningly beautiful singer with the pouty lips and storytelling gloomy outlook on life. Yet she has parlayed her angst and gloriously melancholy music…

Down on the Mornington Peninsula, in what was once the homestead to a cattle stud, husband and wife team Rowan and Janine Herrald have opened a dining room that is bringing people down from Melbourne. The Herralds worked together at The Royal Mail in Dunkeld under chef Dan Hunter where they met front of house manager Clinton Trevisi. The trio opened the restaurant late last year, renovating the 1930s building they share with Dromana Estate’s…

Chateau Marmont has a presence like a film canister harbouring a 35mm motion picture reel – it’s not just an object or a building, it contains a Hollywood story. If you are lucky enough to sink into a lounge here, Aperol Spritz in hand, The Birth of the Cool playing, you begin to star in your own melodrama or film noir. Next door to the hotel, at the Bar Marmont, patrons become bit players in…

Taking the headline Hot Plates quite literally we present these two dishes with kick from Melbourne CBD’s Indian hot spot, Tonka. This popular city restaurant serves classic Indian food with modern finesse in a fine dining atmosphere with white linen and proper glassware at the end of a grungy, slightly seedy back alley off Flinders Lane. Tonka manages to get away with seemingly incongruous themes and ideas: Indian and fine dining; chilli and fine wine;…

Salvaged from a near death-by-doily demise, Victorian-era B&B Finches of Beechworth has recently been given a new lease on life – re-imagined, redesigned and fully renovated. Over a period of six months, new owners Margo Maller and Peter Brygel have together transformed the B&B into an artfully-cool luxurious six-room contemporary boutique gem. Exploring the now decadent and somewhat eccentric spaces within Finches is a pleasing experience. The reinvigorated modern-meets-baroque interiors feature grand 1800s French gilt…

Serve 6 2kg brown onions, finely sliced 100g unsalted butter 1 head of roasted garlic 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped 3 tbsp chopped thyme 3l homemade veal or beef stock 150ml Jones Apero 100g Gruyere cheese, finely grated 100g Mozzarella cheese, finely grated Day-old rye bread for large croutons Method – Soup 1. Start the soup by slowly caramelising the sliced onions in butter, add the finely diced celery, roasted garlic, and chopped thyme.…

It was no surprise to the urban chic brigade when the latest SMH Good Food Guide awarded two hats and its coveted ‘Best New Restaurant’ gong to Ester in Chippendale, yesterday’s down-at-heel commercial slum, now the epicentre of cool. Tempering the self-congratulatory we-found-it-first-ing, the only sour note was the realisation that this brilliant mix of unpretentious functionality and sublime dining is about to become even harder to book for. There’s none of that ‘We’re too…

She’s played an alien (Under the Skin), a disembodied operating system (Her), and a porn addict’s girlfriend (Don Jon), but that’s nothing compared to the turbocharged amazon Scarlett Johansson gets to play in LUCY, an action thriller directed by Luc Besson. The film carries on the legacy of the French filmmaker’s previous depictions of strong female characters in ‘La Femme Nikita,’ ‘The Professional,’ and ‘The Fifth Element.’ This time out, Johansson becomes the ultimate object…

Spring has arrived at Tahbilk and the place is buzzing. At this winery on the banks of the Goulburn River near Nagambie, not only have the buds burst but the billabongs are booming with spotted march frogs, Murray River turtles and the river red gum forest is alive with echidnas trailing after one another on the forest floor as koalas graze quietly on leaves in the canopy. This soundnatural drama unfolds in front of your…

Christina Tantsis of Melbourne-based Sisko Chocolate is best known for her elaborate edible chocolate sculptures. We quizzed her on the origins of Sisko and her new retail range. Your larger chocolate centrepiece flower designs are reminiscent of Danish designer Poul Henningsen’s artichoke pendant lamp. Is there any connection? CT. We call it the Sisko Chocolate Flower, some people say it looks like an artichoke, others say it looks like a waratah, some people feel they…

Together they make perfect life, fitness and business partners: three-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Josiah Ng and award-winning Cirque du Soleil-styled uber-cool aerialist and pole dancer Kim Ong, of Melbourne’s Spectablend. Josiah, who represents Malaysia in track cycling, lives and trains in Melbourne with his internationally successful dancer wife Kim. Essentials recently met the pair in their Port Melbourne home/office studio, which incidentally was once Albert Tucker’s seaside painting studio. Here the pair…

If there’s one thing Australian winemakers have become great at, it’s experimenting with new wine varietals and clones, often grafting them onto well-established rootstock, then monitoring fruit production and best growing conditions to learn how to perfect fine berry development and well-matured seeds for better tannin profiles. There are myriad steps in this process, including careful site selection, the choice of vine trellising styles, nutrient toppings or  irrigation additives, irrigation methods and countless other issues.…

Rutherglen Estates 2010 Zinfandel ‘WOW!’ was, honestly, the first impression and spoken word that sprang from my mouth on sniffing the complex and very brooding scents of this wine. It’s punchy, herbaceous and spicy, all the while presenting a lovely underlying sweet fruit layer. There’s a hell of a lot going on and it’s great to explore its expansive fragrances. So let me take this a little further. Coriander and cloves, Chinese five spice and…

His culinary passions may not stray far from his Veneto routes, but chef Roi Rigoni of Kiewa Valley food institution Roi’s, with his partner in life (and crime) Sue White, have together shifted their well-known earthy and robust Northern Italian flavours towards a more modern, fragrant bent. Not just a marvel of good food and wine, this High Country destination restaurant is an absolute eye-popper. Warmly coloured interiors are decorated with decades of Sue’s love…

It’s a gleaming piece of high tech stainless steel that lies at the heart of some of the most modern kitchens in Spain and around the globe yet harnesses the Stone Age power of wood fire. From it comes some of the most talked about food in the restaurant business but its background is humble traditional home cooking. It’s the Josper, a beautiful and stylish wood-burning oven that reaches temperatures in excess of 500 degrees…

King Valley, Victoria – La Dolce Vita Wine and Food Festival, 15 & 16 NOVEMBER 2014 Festival Highlights Dal Zotto – Primavera del Prosecco Join the Dal Zotto Family as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of producing Australia’s first prosecco! There will be new-release prosecco, the Prosecco Cocktail Bar will be open again all day – and into the evening on Saturday. DJ Emlyn Andres will be spinning cool tunes to dance to until 8pm…

In a town that knows and loves food and wine, hospitality-operator virgins Michael and Heather Allan (ex Yeppoon, Queensland) certainly had their work cut out. But within weeks of purchasing Beechworth’s former Green Shed Bistro, they managed to relocate interstate, find all new staff, redecorate and smartly craft a mighty fine food and wine menu that managed to impress the locals – an outstanding effort to say the least. Now going by the apt title…

A historically significant and brilliantly emotive exhibition, Delinquent Angel: John Perceval’s Ceramic Angels, is now on show at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). Bringing together a remarkable collection of 38 of John Perceval’s ceramic angel sculptures for the first time since they were originally exhibited in 1958 and 1959, this landmark exhibition draws three works from SAM’s nationally significant ceramics collection. At the launch on August 30, Alice Perceval, one of John’s three daughters, reflected on…

It’s often been said: ‘To be successful in business you need to have skin in the game’ – something to lose. I’ve always believed that to make a good painting an artist must leave blood on the canvas – commit fully by exposing inner thought and feeling, risking the danger of misunderstanding and ridicule. Looking at the National Gallery of Australia’s latest Arthur Boyd exhibition, Agony and Ecstasy, there’s no doubt Arthur needed a complete…

Serves 10 to 12 Method Pineapple Fresh pineapple (1.2Kg) 1. Clean the pineapple, cut it in 1.5cm thick slices and remove the heart. 2. Grill the slices and rest them. Method Crema Catalana 1 litre full cream milk 7 egg yolks 225g sugar 60g corn flour A substantial sliver of lemon rind Cinnamon stick 1. Put the milk, the lemon peel and the cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let stand for…

International fashion model Daria Plyushko has walked the runways of Paris and London, been featured in a worldwide campaign for Swarovski, and appeared on countless magazine covers. She spoke to Essentials’ Jamie Durrant about her career, family values, love, life and her wildest dreams. Coined in the 1980s, the term ‘supermodel’ is perhaps synonymous with multimillion dollar contracts, campaigns and product endorsements, coupled with worldwide fame. Three decades on, is this kind of success still…

At the unassumingly named ‘Number 5’ guests don’t have to work at finding the perfect view. On the contrary, they are forced to stop, kick back and relax as they fully enjoy the 270-degree view of Mount Buffalo in front, the Buckland Valley stretching out below and the peaceful forest behind this airy contemporary chalet. One wall of the living room is entirely taken up with panoramic sliding patio doors that invite the imposing surroundings…

Essentials has affectionately dubbed her Australia’s Goddess of Pie.  With this decadent hitlist of new specialty pie and tart recipes designed for the home cook, Kirsty Heather of Yarrawonga’s Cooper’s Handmade Pies has again delivered a collection of gems. She runs a thriving business that has grown from a shopfront bakery-café in Yarrawonga, in Victoria’s North East, to a statewide farmer’s market success with a gourmet pie delivery service. Now Kirsty’s new retail website has…

Dal Zotto 2009 Nebbiolo (this vintage sold out) Deciding exactly which vintage of Dal Zotto Nebbiolo to sample and review for this article was a bit of a no-brainer, really, because I’d recently enjoyed a bottle with an authentic Italian gnocchi at Dal Zotto’s award-winning cellar door and trattoria. The 2009 Barolo styled wine carries with it all the hallmarks of a great Italian nebbiolo; shit, it drinks well!  Even the colour is that classic slightly…

We’re loving Watershed Union, the Melbourne based New-York-loft meets Hamptons-destination-store (think Something’s Gotta Give) that specialises in vintage industrial furniture, lighting and homewares. The store features one-off vintage industrial pieces set amid pared-back/classic interior settings and new furniture and homewares in settings made to look age-old. Storeowner Bruce Grant travels North America securing authentic industrial relics such as 1920s-1940s factory carts and furnishings, then restores and repurposes them as coffee and dining tables, sideboards and…

Christina Hendricks has shown that her aura carries just as far amongst the French as it does amongst fans of Mad Men elsewhere on the planet.  Joining Ryan Gosling on the fabled Croisette for the world premiere of LOST RIVER, his debut film as a director, the statuesque actress proved to be an enchanting presence at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Though the film earned mixed reviews, virtually all the critics were unanimous in their…

In the Footsteps of Tatiana Metanova After an early morning flight over Russia’s vast tundra, laid flat like moss-green jigsaw pieces interspersed with connecting waterways and small lakes, we were finally on descent into Leningrad, or Saint Petersburg, as it is once again known as today. From my window seat I had a perfect view of Lake Ladoga. Here in the winter of 1941 the 219-kilometre ‘Road of Life’, was built on the lake’s 90-150cm…