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So the saying goes, the best chefs enjoy nurturing people – offering care and sustenance to make the body strong and the heart warm. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, many Melbourne restaurants are this week offering non-contact home delivery services, supplying pasta sauces, take-home lasagne, slow cooked ribs, Humpty Doo barramundi, discounted wine and more. in case you may have forgotten, the world still is indeed your oyster – and we can buy electronically!…

In 2011 artisan baker Louise Ritchie began a heath-focused fascination with natural slow-ferment breads that can make gluten more digestible. Fast forward to 2020: while her artisan loaves are simply the best we’ve ever tasted, Lou’s sourdough crumpets are now the big-ticket winners. In 2011 her passion was driven by necessity – to improve the diet of her two sons. So began a self–education process with a simple sourdough starter made from just organic Australian…

The Queen Garnet plum is considered by many the crown jewel of Australian plums. Jam-packed with seven times more antioxidants than other plum varieties, the Queen Garnet is now in season and available from major and independent retailers across Australia. Growers including Rullo Farms in Shepparton, Victoria, this year have reported a record-breaking growing season with the crop producing biggest harvest since commercial production began in 2014. Queen Garnet plums hold their firm, robust shape…

Essentials’ Megan Chalmers unleashes a decadent dessert – Poached Fruit Crostata Tart with Lemon Ricotta Ice cream – the perfect accompaniment to the changing summer-to-autumn season. Poached Seasonal Fruit Choose your own fruit selection; we used 2 persimmons, 2 peaches, 2 nectarines and 2 pears 4 cups cold water 3 cups brown sugar 1 large knob of ginger, peeled and grated juice and zest of 1 lemon 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped Method 1. Place…

Canberra’s Capital Region Farmers Market has this week revealed many of its stallholders have been severely affected by the Australian bushfires across several regions, and vows to do whatever it takes to help and support the Farmers Market community. The market returns this weekend to support fire affected stallholders with Bushfire Appeal. ‘We are deeply saddened that a number of our stallholders have been affected across several regions including the NSW South Coast, Snowy Mountains,…

Having opened in 1929, Sydney’s northern beaches clifftop icon Jonah’s Whale Beach will this January celebrate a 91 year milestone with an invitation only exclusive event with invitees including some of Australia’s biggest names in business, philanthropy, politics, sport and media. Jonah’s is well regarded for its continued focus in delivering fine cuisine paired with a glorious expansive Pacific Ocean backdrop. However it’s the extensive wine list spanning over 80 pages of award-wining gems that…

Throughout the deeper reaches of the Swiss and Austrian alpine valleys, German forests and Russian villages, traditional winter foods, preserving techniques and family recipes are handed down from grandmother to granddaughter (ot babushki k vnuchke). In the spirit of giving, Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has reinvigorated one of the finest European treats to help celebrate the Christmas season. Mini Black Forest Cake with forest floor of chocolate soil, mascarpone white chocolate mousse, cherry kirsch jelly cubes,…

This Summer restaurateur/hotelier/developer Julian Gerner of Morgan’s Sorrento is making a fresh start at the bayside eatery with the help from long term chef collaborator Paul Wilson (Botanical, Albert Park Hotel Oyster Bar & Grill, Icebergs, Wilson & Market). Revered as one of the country’s great culinary talents, Paul has recently launched a new menu at Morgan’s that celebrates the great Aussie fish café; delivering sustainable, market fresh seafood daily. Focusing on sustainable fisheries, guided…

The kitchen at Donna Chang, Brisbane feels like a frontier. A place where two cultures slam into each other at a breathtaking pace. Bubbling furiously is a wok in a broth laden with deep red, crimson chilli peppers. A young chef from Hong Kong tosses some rice around in another wok, his arm working like a piston on a locomotive. The air is filled with the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise along with…

It’s deceptively simple in appearance yet there are delicately nuanced flavours that take me by surprise – it’s a rare delight. This is my first little tasting plate at Botanic Wine Garden, Port Macquarie; it will be one of a pleasurable many. The dish is presented in an elegant shallow bowl that’s painted with ingredients: sashimi kingfish, buttermilk, apple, basil oil, green chilli and fennel – it looks beautiful and the wine match is stellar.…

It’s been a long focus of Essentials to celebrate the many landmark icons of Melbourne, Australia – its sensational cafés, historic restaurants and art galleries; including its people: chefs, artists, designers and all the creative minds who have collectively shared in building the culturally rich tapestry that is the city we know and love today. British-born, Melbourne-based chef Ian Curley, like many before him, brings a wealth of knowledge and artisan colour to the region.…

Josh Niland’s collection of prized line-caught delights are a limited catch, delivered with an intensified flavour born of unique dry-ageing and curing techniques. You won’t find farmed or over-fished species at Sydney chef Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery. Rather, sustainable line-caught specialty gems hand-cut and presented in a central display cabinet that looks like it belongs in a museum: a collection of rare prized artefacts; its sliced and whole fish carefully arranged within their marble and…

Finely milled roasted wattleseed is a wonderful ingredient in ice cream. Flavour extraction is via hot, not boiling water, similar to a plunger coffee. The wattleseed presents an earthy, yet unique coffee/nut-like flavour. Outback Chef, Melbourne (Jude Mayall), is a leading supplier of premium roasted wattleseed. Method 1. After infusing, filter out the grains and use the liquid to flavour vanilla the ice cream anglaise base (see recipe below). As a rule, Jude suggests 3…

In terms of wineries with a view, premium soils and brilliant cellar doors, Tallis Wine in Dookie, Victoria is one of my personal all time favourites. The modernist corrugated iron-clad cellar door architecture features sweeping views from its interior floor-to-ceiling glass, with the simplicity of the layout and sleek furnishings only adding to the wonderful feeling of calm. Perched in the rolling hills of Dookie and with around 30km of cropping and grazing land between…

It’s garlic, but not as you know it. Rich, dark and delicious, Garlicious Grown black garlic is an ingredient for the everyday cook to make dishes more interesting, more fun and even tastier. Black garlic is garlic that has been naturally transformed to change not just its colour and texture but also its flavour. Gone is the pungent tang, replaced with a sweet mellow flavour that is reminiscent of molasses and caramel. The sharpness of…

I had this salad in a restaurant in Los Angeles, and it completely transformed the way I prepare brussels sprouts. Gone are the days of boiling these baby cabbages to death; now it’s all about roasting, grilling or even eating them raw, as in this recipe. The key here is to shred them as finely as you can, which gives the slaw a more refined flavour as the dressing is better able to coat the…

In 2009, Australian cook Justine Schofield was selected for the first series of MasterChef Australia. While she was eventually eliminated in fourth place, her individual skills and bubbly personality did not go unnoticed with Network Ten offering to produce a TV program of her own, Everyday Gourmet. Now, after more than 700 episodes, Essentials’ spoke with Justine about her rise to fame and contents of her fabulous new book The Weeknight Cookbook – one we…

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…

Richard Cornish forages for the fungal truth in Catalonia, as the locals make their annual pilgrimage to the hills in their quest to find elusive autumn mushrooms. It’s a weeknight in October and the normally riotous bar district of El Raval in the centre of Barcelona is surprisingly quiet. Some bartenders blame the rain, a slow but consistent drizzle rapidly returns La Rambla into the stream it once was. Others fall into line and say…

We don’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I have always loved the sentiment behind this special day. Having one day a year to sit back, relax and talk to your family about what is making you happy in life, what you appreciate and what your dreams are for the year ahead is something we don’t do nearly enough. This wonderful holiday is all about giving thanks, so, whether you do this on Thanksgiving…

It’s the quintessential aperitif and has in recent years become the summer go to party drink that Australians simply adore. We’re of course talking about the brightly orange luminescent coloured Aperol Spritz. Given its popularity we’re pleased to share the news of the 100 years of Aperol celebration coming to Melbourne this summer. One of Essentials very favourite inner city boutique hotels, the Adelphi on Flinders Lane has collaborated with the Campari Group to celebrate…

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…

Capturing Tropical and Fresh Fruit Flavours: Essentials in-house chef Megan Chalmers has collaborated with New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As and Whitsunday’s newest resort, Elysian Retreat to present a range of tropical inspired menu items, including this flame-grill assisted dessert. Brown Sugar Pudding with rum-glazed flame-grilled pineapple, Fresh As Freeze Dried Pineapple Chunks, double cream Brown Sugar Pudding Preheat oven to 180°C. 250g pitted dates, chopped 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1½ cups…

Briony Bradford, Head Chef at Rutherglen’s famed Jones Winery Restaurant has an artist’s eye. She paints impeccably presented plates that incorporate delicate flavour pairings and a range of intriguing textures. Given their beauty, it’s easy to think of the dishes as items that might have popped out of a renaissance painting. But her expressions of the seasons are not mere table arrangements of draped grape bunches and stacked stone fruits. There is another skill at…

Third-generation restaurateurs Nathalie, Edouard and Antoine Reymond (children of former three hat Melbourne chef Jacques Reymond) have opened the doors to Frédéric and Fred’s Bar, offering Melbourne inner-urban Cremorne locals, new all-day European dining with a sophisticated edge. The two spaces serve separate menus, yet both carry a style an elegance that seem to outweigh their humble ingredients. The plated style of dishes on offer, whether designed with simplicity in mind, or layered in additional…

This weekend, celebrate spring in Victoria’s High Country by joining the Festival of Short Walks. Showcasing their local charms, the villages of Beechworth, Chiltern, Yackandandah and Rutherglen have been stepping it up during the weeks of 14 – 20 October, 2019. An Australian first, the seven day short walks festival features over thirty guided walks and forty self-guided walks, each designed to give you an evocative experience, rich in nature, arts and culture, food and…

We couldn’t think of a better cause – a supportive celebration of our local seafood industry that’s guaranteed to taste great. Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial fishing industry, is calling on Australians to ‘ask for Aussie barra’ in celebration of National Barramundi Day today, October 18. ‘With its Aboriginal name and prominence on restaurant menus, Australians often assume the barramundi they are eating is Australian, but this is not always…

The roosters are still crowing as chef Nengah Suradnya rides through his village of Penestanan to the Ubud market. The Lombok-born, Australian-trained chef weaves in and around the already busy narrow streets and lanes, over clear flowing streams and past rice paddies at what seems breakneck speed.  ‘We have to get there early as the stallholders are gone by 8.30,’ he shouts above the scream of the engine. I hold on tight as we cross…

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…

Sharing the Love: We don’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I have always loved the sentiment behind this special day. Having one day a year to sit back, relax and talk to your family about what is making you happy in life, what you appreciate and what your dreams are for the year ahead is something we don’t do nearly enough. This wonderful holiday is all about giving thanks, so, whether you do…