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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…

This cheeky little bourbon cocktail is an easy to create American spring-inspired gem, taken from Chyka Keebaugh’s new book Chyka Celebrate. Maple Bourbon Cocktail 1 untreated orange 60ml bourbon 30ml freshly squeezed orange juice 15ml pure maple syrup 1–2 dashes angostura bitters ice cubes, for shaking and serving mint sprig, to garnish Serves 1 Using a small knife, cut a thin, long strip of orange peel and twist it. Add the ingredients, except the garnishes,…

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…

Freshly-picked blue swimmer crab meat is a luxurious ingredient. Its delicacy and texture makes it a great addition to fresh pasta. This Blue Swimmer Crab Poached Ravioli with Yarra Valley trout caviar recipe is one of our all time favourites. It can be finished with either a classic bisque sauce or simple white wine and butter sauce. Serves 4 Nage Stock – Makes 2 litres 3 brown onions roughly chopped 1 leek, washed and roughly…

Syrniki are Russian fried quark (cheese) pancakes that are traditionally garnished with light sour cream, varenye (jam), honey or apple sauce. The cheese mixture may contain raisins for extra flavour. Melbourne’s Blue Bay Dairy quark cheese is the perfect ingredient for making these quick-as-a-flash breakfast recipe gems. They’re simply delicious! Syrniki (seer-nee-kee) Russian Sweet Cheese Fritters Makes 12-14 medium size pieces 250g Blue Bay Quark Cheese, or drained cottage cheese 2 eggs pinch of salt…

Have you tried grilling fruit? The intense heat of the grill adds a caramelised texture to most fruits, also adding sweetness and a more pronounced flavour profile. Just about any fruits can go on the grill as long as they are fairly firm and not overripe. The perfect pairing, we feel, is a quality homemade granita. These are a synch to make, and can be prepared quickly. Here our a few of our favourite grilled…

It’s one of the best best BBQ recipes we know and is incredibly simple to put together. Its winning secret ingredient: the added premium smoked paprika. Get this one together for family and friends this silly season down under and you’re sure to be awarded King of the BBQ. Coriander and Lime Mayonnaise 3 egg yolks 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 tsp white wine vinegar 200ml olive oil or sunflower oil ½ bunch coriander, well…

It’s the perfect luxe Aussie BBQ recipe – perfectly designed for spring and summer season celebrations: Crayfish Tail Brioche Sliders. Simply grab some crayfish tails from your fish monger, some fresh brioche buns from your local baker or even Aldi (shhh! we didn’t say that), and get the BBQ firing – assuming it’s a non total fire ban day of course! Crayfish Tail Brioche Sliders Freshly BBQ’d crayfish tails, sliced into medallions Fresh brioche buns…

Bowel Cancer Australia has announced the return of Meat Free Week, September 23-29, challenging Australians to try a plant based foods menu for seven days and raise funds for a great cause. The campaign aims to get people thinking and talking about how much meat they’re eating, and the impact consumption has on health and the environment.  Now in its seventh year, support for Meat Free Week continues to grow with international celebrity campaigners and…

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…