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Have you ever considered the volume of food ingredient-to-price ratio when buying vegetables? Often pumpkins come out on top and more importantly, they’re loaded with a variety of nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In terms of extending your dollar further we think they’re a ingredient that should be high on your grocery list. Pumpkins are great for roasting or adding to soups, curries and braises. Another fab money saving idea is to make…

There’s nothing as good as the flavour of freshly BBQ corn on the cob, but did you know the same result can be achieved on regular gas stove top? Paired with the sweet mellow flavour of black garlic, this easy recipe is a guaranteed way to turn a few fresh simple ingredients into a family favourite. Stove Top Charred Corn Cobs 1. Shuck the corn (peel back the husks) and remove the silks. 2. Light…

These simple and delicious soups offer an energy and emotional lift. Incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables with garden pickled herbs and the added protein of seeds, they’re a great way to balance your diet. Creative and simple to put together, why not make them for a loved on, this weekend! 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…

Borodinsky Bread is one of the most favourite varieties of bread in Russia. This traditional dark-brown sourdough loaf is made of rye and wheat flour, with a pinch of sweet molasses or honey and spicy coriander. For Aussies, you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s great with butter and Vegemite; however to truly appreciate the Russian style, we suggest you pair this some pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, tomatoes (fresh or pickled) and slices of sausage and…

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of harvesting ripe and fragrant red or black currants, then you’ll know of the rich and spicy-sweet floral aromatics that cover your hands when picking and elevate from your picking bucket when full. This Red Currant and Onion Relish is a simple recipe that’s designed to pair with Essentials’ Panko-crumbed Mackerel Fishcakes . It is a versatile recipe that can is well suited to fish and lighter meal dishes.…

Over the coming weeks and months, Essentials will to continue to support its readers during the COVID-19 crisis with clever food strategies, supportive ideas to share. We’ve now opened up our website and iOS app Essentials Magazine Australia allowing FREE subscription. To install the iOS app, visit the App Store today! Panko-crumbed Mackerel Fishcakes with Sweet and Sour Cucumbers, Red Currant and Onion Relish Serves 4 Mackerel Fish Cakes 700g potatoes, peeled and cut into…

Broth, brodo, bouillon – call it what you will; if you think it’s simply for peasants, then I’m here to inform you that you’re wrong, and are missing out on one of life’s great treasures. Made simply by simmering bones, meat and vegetables; or simply vegetables alone in water, it forms a base to a many great recipes – soups, gravies, and sauces. When made with care, it alone can make a thoroughly enjoyable and…

Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s rapidly becoming very apparent that money saving recipes – soups, braises, sauces, tarts, preserves, foraged foods and more is going to help us all over the coming months. In the last few days we’ve put together a collection of recipes at essentialsmagazine.com.au to help many get a head start on feeding families extremely well, for less money. Over the coming weeks and months, Essentials aims to continue with clever…

In terms of cash saving Soviet era recipes, this Belyashi (Russian pan-fried pies) with lecho (pepper ragu) pair is one of the most satisfying and flavoursome we’ve tasted. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and make a large batch of lecho and preserve in jars; as later combining lecho with something as simple as mashed potato can make a fast and flavour-packed evening meal to please the entire family when the pies have run…

Kefir is fermented milk and an amazing source of probiotics. It offers a pleasing tang and the softness on the tummy comes from the slow fermentation of quality milk. Considered by Eastern Europeans as an original super food, this versatile ingredient is popping up at supermarkets nation wide. Essentials’ chef Megan Chalmers has created a simple and flavoursome breakfast recipes to showcases the diversity of this unique super food dairy ingredient. Kefir Coconut Lime Chia…

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! Here’s how to whip your own delectable dream  individual Brûlée Cheesecakes with Red Wine Pears and Vanilla Cream. Makes 12 Individual Brûlée Cheesecakes (baked in muffin tins) Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base (see recipe below) 500g cream cheese, warmed to room temperature 1 cup caster sugar 1…

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…

Braising is a cooking method that can turn tough meats into tender and succulent offerings. In this case, chicken thighs on the bone coupled with verjuice and stock allows the meat to remain tender, while enhancing its natural flavours. The key to many braises is cooking low and slow, depending on the size and thickness of the meat cut used; however this recipe calls for a relatively fast preparation and cooking method. It promises to…

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,…

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…

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…

Andrew Sutherland Smith, owner/winemaker of Rutherglen’s iconic Warrabilla Wines could be labelled one of Australia’s most passionate. A true unsung winemaking hero, and an altogether top bloke, Andrew is proud of his product and firmly states that ‘typically’ his product is ‘like no other’. ‘It’s not necessarily a regional or Rutherglen styled product – it’s a “Wobbly Villa” product!’ he laughs. Annually, wine club members, friends and fans of the winery get together for a…

It’s never too early to practice and perfect your Christmas offerings, and we feel this traditional Christmas eggnog recipe, served chilled OR warm, by Hilton Brisbane’s Executive Chef, Matthew Wood is one to get down pat. ‘Eggnog is the quintessential Christmas drink. A rich, frothy, and stiff alcoholic punch of sorts that always reminds me of sitting near a warm fire while the weather outside turns sour. However serving it as as cold drink makes…

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,…

Essentials’ Richard Cornish recently caught up with artisan cheesemaker Andre Kogurt of Mornington, Victoria’s Blue Bay Cheese company; an interview that was long overdue. But learning to be patient in all things dairy it seems, is par for the course. Cheesemaker Andre Kogut is a patient man. He spends a lot of time waiting. He waits hours for his milk to turn to curds. He waits weeks as the curds set in their hoops. He…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Featuring a unique, easy-to-digest unleavened kefir pizza dough, this rich in umami French-style pizza will have you coming back for more. Caramelised onions 10 brown onions, peeled, thinly sliced 100g unsalted butter Salt flakes to taste 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar Method 1. In a large saucepan over a medium heat, add butter and melt, then add sliced onions and stir well. 2. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook slowly until onions become softened…