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Melbourne’s most exclusive Japanese restaurant is genuinely hard to find. It’s down a laneway off Bourke Street that seems to become invisible when you start looking for it – however Essentials has the secret instructional discovery details listed here. And for good reason, because on Monday, 23 September 2019, Ishizuka will present a special eight-course kaiseki dinner celebrating the world’s most sought after beef, showcasing both locally sourced David Blackmore 9+ score and imported Japanese…

We had to do a double take when we first saw this product and we think it has to be Australia’s best. This non-dairy brie cheese is a first for world production, non-dairy perfection – the colour, texture and taste are a serious win for vegans and those on selected diets. The plant-based ashed cashew brie is handcrafted in a completely traditional manner; inoculated and aged to produce the distinctive aroma and flavour of artisan…

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…

There is energy at Africola. It blasts from the charcoal grill at the heart of the kitchen. It radiates from the brightly coloured modern art hanging on the walls. It is irresistibly passed on by the bar staff who work cheek by jowl with the kitchen crew. You can taste it in the modern South African émigré food of chef Duncan Welgemoed that hits you like a wall of flavour while wrapping comfortably around you…

Covered in a rind with an apricot blush these soft, often creamy, washed rind cheeses, first made in European monasteries in the Middle Ages, develop an aroma that can vary from attractively meaty to deliciously stinky. Those meaty overtones made the cheeses a popular source of protein for the monks, who were forbidden from eating meat during the frequent – and lengthy – Catholic fasts. The great washed rind cheeses of Europe include Taleggio, Pont…

The secret to a good Café de Paris Butter, lies in a balance of fragrant herbs, curry powder, anchovies and of course a quality cultured French butter. The following recipe is inspired by one of Australia’s best, Neil Perry of Rockpool Bar and Grill; and is icon of his Rockpool’s culinary history. Café de Paris Butter 150g unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature 2 anchovies, finely chopped 2 tbsp finely chopped chives 2 tbsp finely…

Fish Ceviche is one of the most simple dishes to prepare, yet remains one of the most rewording. It’s great during the longer and lazier spring and summer days and is designed to delight the fussiest of foodies. Fish Ceviche 200g semi-firm, white-fleshed ocean fish, cleaned, sliced into small fillets (we used small spangled emperor fillets, skin on) Juice of 4 large limes 1 tsp commercial pickling mix spice 1 tsp freshly chopped dill ¼…

Nine craft breweries now officially make up the High Country Brewery Trail with two newcomers joining the ever-expanding fold – Mitta Mitta Brewing Co. with its new range including a cracker Belgian-styled farmhouse ale and Billson’s Brewery Beechworth, a brand that’s relaunched a series of historic beers using original recipes taken from a recently discovered secret brewer’s diary. Earlier this week all member brewers travelled to trail’s most north-easterly point Mitta Mitta, for the annual…

The Buds have burst in the high altitude wine region of Orange, NSW and to celebrate the region’s winemakers and foodies have launched the 2019 Orange Wine Festival program; and it looks to be packed with adventure. Running from Friday, October 18 through to Sunday, October 27, events include behind-the-scenes access to wineries, meet-the-maker opportunities, a range of quality culinary experiences paired with the region’s award-winning wines and wine education sessions across a 10-day a…

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…

From Mansfield to Beechworth these are some of the best places to eat and drink  in Victoria’s High Country. Eldorado Road Cellar Door, Beechworth, Victoria Visiting Eldorado Road’s newly expanded Beechworth cellar door and cantina is a destination to underline on your High Country itinerary’s list. A tasting of their ultra premium wines, local and imported artisan cheeses and charcuterie presents a gourmand’s dream, all delivered effortlessly in a relaxed and somewhat micro storefront tastings…

Finally this week, some good news from Hong Kong! Billed as the highest rooftop bar in the world, Ozone has just launched an epic new cocktail menu that draws inspiration from the five elements of nature — metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Promising a tasting experience that’s worth the journey to the top of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre building in Tsim Sha Tsui, these drinks coupled with sweeping views of…

Seared Duck Salad with cress, quinoa, pecans, goat’s curd and blackberry balsamic dressing Serves 4 4 duck breasts, skin on 1 cup cooked quinoa 1 bunch, picked water cress 4 tbsp goat’s curd 4 small radishes, thinly sliced ½ cup toasted pecans Blackberry balsamic dressing 1 cup of fresh blackberries to serve Blackberry Balsamic Dressing 1 cup fresh blackberries ½ cup Australian extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup balsamic vinegar 2 tsp brown sugar Juice of…

The Aløft dining room fills with a thousand dancing points of light as the sun glances off the Derwent River near Sullivans Cove in the heart of Hobart. Two floors up on a floating pier this modern restaurant has one of the best waterside views in the nation. The philosophy and aesthetics reflect the modern Scandi trend of eating locally using only seasonal local and, sometimes, foraged food. This is blended with a cuisine that…

Artisan dairy producer Andre Kogut, for the past 12 years, has been making premium organic cheeses at his Blue Bay dairy in Mornington, south of Melbourne. Products include the delicious and versatile European cottage style cheese Quark. Vareniki are classic Slavic dumplings, usually filled with quark or fresh curd cheese, berries, mashed potatoes or other meatless ingredients. They are half moon in shape and are typically made using a yeast-free dough. The following recipe is…

Chef Roi Rigoni talks about his carbonara ‘epiphany’ and the culinary gifts of his mother Bruna, while partner Sue White enthuses over her new Raffaello ice-cream. Since 1996, partners in art and life Roi Rigoni and Sue White have been sharing their version of modern Italian hospitality with Kiewa Valley locals and visitors at their whimsical restaurant, Roi’s Diner, which reflects the personalities of this culinary duo. Roi’s food, based on the traditional flavours of…

The mid-winter sun exudes relaxation, with the outside temperature reaching at a pleasant 17 degrees. A crowd is gathering inside the private dining room – an extended group of family friends, many familiar faces, some new. I’ve arrived at Chrismont’s Cellar Door, Restaurant and Larder to celebrate a birthday, and while I’ve visited many times in the past, my eyes are still drawn outside to admire the children’s storybook forested hill that meets the valley…

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…

In Australia, tuna, salmon and kingfish are commonly used for sashimi in Japanese restaurants however in tropical North Queensland, coral trout, Spanish mackerel, tropical crayfish and scallops can be used. While you’ll need to ask your fishmonger for sashimi grade, ultra clean and fresh fish, preparing sashimi is not overly complex – just a freshly sharpened knife and a careful hand should assist in some well presented cuts. A few secret ingredients like Fresh As (brand) freeze dried…

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…

New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As are culinary leaders in capturing the intense flavours of fresh fruits, herbs and many other food delicacies – literally frozen in time. Their products including freeze dried food segments and powders, give chefs a new set of creative powers – enhancing dishes with both flavour punch and great textural accompaniment. This recipe presents a little taste of its freeze dried magic. Plum and Pistachio Semifreddo with Fresh…

I can honestly say that if I had to choose one dish that has travelled all over the world with me and one that I have put together on all of my menus, that one dish would be a Niçoise salad. I still put it on my menus today at French Saloon as I think it’s a perfect salad for Australian palates: essentially it’s a salad that lends itself to sunshine, and like the area…

Mat Picone, proprietor of Mansfield Coffee Merchant, has a solid hospitality background matched with a sense of creative business flair. He’s done his time working in both Melbourne cafés and coffee roasters like North Melbourne’s DiBella Coffee, plus has worked a string of winter seasons (2004-2009) at Mount Buller’s illustrious Chalet restaurant in Victoria’s high country, which is known for its contemporary dining and extensive list of 250 wines. It was through the eyes of…

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.…

Richard Cornish samples three of the best Australian oysters from the NSW South Coast, Tasmania and Coffin Bay, South Australia. Wapengo Rocks Sydney Rock Oysters On a crystal clear lagoon, surrounded by the forest between Tathra and Bermagui on the New South Wales South Coast a grow rows and rows of oysters. These are Australian native Sydney rock oysters and are indigenous to the coastal waters from Brisbane to the Victorian border. At Wapengo Lake…

The pre-winter ice cold air is already blasting Ballarat, Victoria however the only things cool climate inside the opulent and very warm Craig’s Royal Hotel this Friday were the French and Australian wines. A packed house filled The Gallery Restaurant for Ian Curley’s French Saloon takeover; a staged dinner and wine challenge event – as a part of Plate-up Ballarat – where some of Victoria’s best wines were compared against premium drops from Champagne, Loire…

Renowned King Valley baker Thomas Moritz and partner Gabbi have just opened The Oven at Cheshunt in Victoria’s King Valley, and to celebrate, and as a part of the region’s Feast High Country Festival, they have teamed up with the valley’s best food producers to present Bona Fide Valley Brunch: a twin session Austrian and Italian-inspired dining extravaganza, and plus on site fresh food farmer’s market, all happening next Sunday, May 5. Victoria’s King Valley…