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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…

There comes a time when a decadent dessert is the order of the day and this sweet extravagant bread and butter brioche pudding is designed to warm hearts and minds. Makes 4 individual puddings 4 eggs ¼ cup caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp cinnamon 2 cups full cream milk 300ml thickened cream 4 small brioche buns 50g softened unsalted butter 1 small punnet of raspberries 1 small punnet of blackberries ½ cup…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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. Thanks to Essentials’ in-house chef Megan Chalmers, and an Essentials collaboration, several Fresh As products have recently…

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…

In late 2018 Mansfield winemaker Ros Ritchie opened a new cellar door within the historic Magnolia House – a late 1800s American Victorian-era kit home that was shipped to Melbourne as ballast, and on to the High Country via steam train by then owner Harry Amor of the Mansfield Courier. Constructed in 1908, the venue today is a fascinating place for sampling Ros’ premium cool climate wines. Complimenting these European varietals Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has put together…

The Whitsundays’ newest resort Elysian Retreat, Long Island recently opened for business. Adding a little tropical warmth to your week, we celebrate by sharing one of their in-house specialties: Fresh As Tropical Muesli with mascarpone, fresh tropical fruits, macadamia nut, Fresh As freeze-dried rhubarb batons and banana powder. Ingredients Toasted granola Fresh As Freeze-dried rhubarb batons, freeze-dried banana powder The Wild (lime & coconut muesli) used as a granola topping Your choice of quality Australian-made…

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…

That’s Amore’s stracciatella cheese (made in Melbourne) is a luxuriously textured, fresh delight. This recipe pairing it with Garlicious Grown’s umami rich caramelised black garlic cloves makes a light and delightful flavoursome dip to share with friends. It’s fast and fab. 500g That’s Amore Cheese stracciatella, or try our ‘cheats stracciatella’ recipe (below) using bocconcini and double cream 5-6 Garlicious Grown caramelised black garlic cloves, peeled 2 brioche burger buns, dried in 120C oven for…

Kompot is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage of Slavic origin, that may be served hot or cold, depending on tradition and season. 4 whole Davidson plums 150g red currants 200g sliced poached seasonal fruit (see recipe below) 2 tbsp sugar 8 -10 cups water 4 fresh lemon slices, and 30ml juice (optional) Method Over a low heat, warm fruit and liquid to a simmer, allowing sugar to dissolve and fruit to cook and collapse; cook for…

Garlicious Grown black garlic starts life as quality hard-necked garlic grown in Braidwood in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands about an hour from Canberra. It’s grown by farming friends and business partners Jenny Daniher and Cathy Owen. The process of producing black garlic involves taking only the best quality garlic and placing it in a special chamber at high humidity but low temperature for 30 days. During this period oxidation takes place and the…

This Salted Chocolate Tart with Burnt Honey and Black Tea Syrup is a treasure to seriously indulge in this autumn. Essentials’ in-house chef Megan Chalmers pairs it with a clever toasted fennel seed ice cream and candied citrus, creating that classic ‘jaffas’  flavour pairing. Salted Chocolate Tart with Burnt Honey and Black Tea Syrup, Toasted Fennel Seed Ice-Cream and Candied Clementines 500g shortcrust pastry (see recipe below) 300ml thickened cream 2 tsp caster sugar 1…

This perfect autumn season dish is a wonderful way to wow guests with all the colour and fragrance of quinces. Chestnut Puff Pastry – Makes 1.2kg puff pastry (enough for 8-10 Tartes Tatin) 300g plain flour 200g chestnut flour 500g firm butter Pinch salt 250ml iced water Method 1. Remove butter from refrigerator and cut into small cubes 1 hour before using. 2. Sift flours into a mixing bowl and make a well in the…

Scandinavian design has long held the world in thrall with its clean, considered simplicity. And the cookbook, Nordic Light written by Australian-born, Stockholm-based chef, food stylist and photographer Simon Bajada reflects this to luminous effect. ‘A great way to introduce more grain into your diet is through porridges. Porridges are to Scandinavians what fry-ups are to Englishmen. There are an endless number of toppings and flavour combinations that can be used to vary your porridge.…

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 cheesecake into shape. New York Cheesecake with vanilla-poached rhubarb and lavender honey syrup 1 x Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base (see recipe below) Note: For the New York Cheesecake, add one small knob of grated ginger to the biscuit…

As the Whitsundays’ newest resort Elysian Retreat Long Island opens for business this week, we celebrate by sharing one of their in-house specialties: a Plated Prawn Cocktail with roasted tomato Marie Rose sauce and avocado cream. The key to this plated prawn cocktail is the ultra fresh Whitsundays grilled King prawns combined with chilled, whole half baby cos lettuce sitting atop a roasted tomato Marie Rose sauce, dusted with quality smoked paprika. A side of…

Designed to win over even the fussiest of gourmet guests, this Chocolate Fondant with cacao jelly and chocolate crumble is  a winning and decadent dessert . Chocolate Fondant Makes 6 fondant ramekins Melted butter for greasing ramekins Cacao powder for dusting 100g butter 200g dark chocolate 4 whole eggs 4 egg yolks 100g caster sugar 150g plain flour, sifted 100g cacao powder Chocolate shavings and freshly-picked rosemary flowers to garnish Method Pre-heat oven to 180C 1.…