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The story of the gin-based Singapore Sling is well known: invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel around 1915, there are plenty of variants on the original recipe. The Fullerton Hotel Sydney brings an antipodean fling to the Sling, adding fresh ginger and hibiscus to temper its infamous sweetness. Using Australia’s own Four Pillars Gin from Victoria’s Yarra Valley and the addition of blood orange juice, it’s almost a…

Kefir is fermented milk and an amazing source of probiotics. Blue Bay Kefir, from Mornington, Victoria (in our opinion) is Australia’s best, as it’s made from premium organic milk, has no added thickeners or preservatives. Kefir contains probiotics capable of colonising the gut, where they improve cholesterol metabolism and promote a healthier immune system. They also help balance good and bad bacteria and are effective in managing gastroenteritis. There is evidence to show that kefir…

This decadent desert is perfect fireside. It offers the balance of warm fresh waffles with poached pears and a rich salted caramel. Chef Megan Charmers tops it off with a crystallised ginger ice-cream. Autumn/Winter Waffles with poached pears, pecan crumble, salted caramel sauce and ricotta and crystallised ginger ice-cream Serves 6 Waffle Batter 1 cup plain flour 4 tsp baking powder 2 tsp caster sugar 2 eggs, separated ½ cup melted butter 1 cup full-cream milk…

Australia’s dining scene may be in COVID-induced hibernation, but our fascination with food will be (virtually) well-fed this weekend in a one-off livestream feast starring the country’s best produce. Live from Aus is a round-up of the country’s best travel adventures by Tourism Australia: in between koala love-ins and taking a virtual dip in the waters of Moore Reef off the coast from Cairns, our most famous faces dish up a range of culinary explorations…

Rise and shine this Sunday morning with a lesson on how to do brunch, cooking alongside Masterchef host Andy Allen, the co-owner of the Three Blue Ducks restaurants in Sydney, Byron and Brisbane. Live from Aus is a round-up of the country’s best travel adventures presented by Tourism Australia. The Live From Aus weekend runs on the Tourism Australia Facebook page and YouTube channel from 7am (AEST) this Saturday 16-17 May, 2020. XO Butter Mushroom…

Join chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone this Saturday for a crafternoon making Neufchâtel cheese, LIVE from Oakridge Winery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Jo will teach you how to make this delicious soft cow’s cheese at home using just four ingredients. Jo and Matt will reveal their favourite ways to enjoy Neufchatel cheese with recommended wine pairings while sharing their wealth of knowledge on the best things to do in the Yarra Valley for a weekend away,…

Flowerdale Farm is an innovative Australian-owned family business based in Flowerdale, Victoria, around an hour North East of Melbourne. They’re growers and suppliers of an astonishing range of edible flowers and micro-greens. While many of us may have seen plates within Melbourne restaurants garnished with their products, there’s now a growing list of grocery stores and vegetable provedores that stock their products. Adding colour and life to a range of dishes, here’s our guide to…

While a half side of premium fish might sound a touch luxurious or expensive during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s surprising just how much volume cured fish is produced and how long it will last in your refrigerator, potentially making some decent cost savings. If you can’t access a while side of fish, slices of fresh salmon from your supermarket will also work nicely, as long as the pickled beetroot and seasoning well covers the fish…

It has to be said, if you’re buying store-bought pickles you’re simply missing out. Often commercially packaged pickled vegetables are made with minimum, simple ingredients – water, vinegar, salt, sugar – and given the lack of complexity, the contents inside the jar often taste bland; or worse, too vinegary or too sweet. Experimenting with your own pickling liquid and making your own range of pickled vegetables is highly rewarding, but what choices might one have…

Learning how to avoid the mistakes when pickling is a critical step. Some may have experienced ferments exploding or turning fizzy, or jarred pickles turning mouldy. There’s certainly an art to putting fruits and vegetables into jars and the key to success is hygiene. Unfortunately the one step that’s the most important is often overlooked – sterilisation. Here’s how it’s done: Jars and lids to be used firstly need to be checked for good condition.…

The Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) today has issued a plea for all Australians to support the industry through the coronavirus crisis. Simply put, they’re asking Aussies to buy and eat Australian seafood – certainly a fair and suitable request, given the fact we’re a nation of seafood lovers. While prime fish selections can be rather expensive choices, other more creative dishes can be created from lower cost fresh seafood. This crispy white bait recipe by…

These decadent looking chocolate tarts may look expensive, however they’re made with relatively low cost raw ingredients. While we’ve dressed up our tarts with small garnishes of edible gold leaf, this visual element can be exchanged for toppings of baby herb leaves, for example mint or basil. The muscat syrup can be made with some older wine stock, and keeps well in a refrigerator. It’s also makes for a great adults only ice cream topping.…

Crêpes are not as complex to make as one might think. These very thin and delicate French variations of the humble pancake can be  quickly and easily poured, flipped and served. This recipe using kefir (fermented milk, high in probiotics, now available in most supermarkets) makes preparing the crêpes batter a cinch. Gluten free flour as an alternative also works well with this recipe. Makes 16-20 crêpes 400ml Kefir (we preferKefir  from Blue Bay dairy)…

Over the coming weeks and months, Essentials aims to continue with clever food strategies, supportive ideas to share with your family. This Venison Goulash with Homemade Sour Cream recipe can also be made with beef or lamb, ideally saving money by use of cheap meat cuts or leftover meat that might be stored in the back of your freezer. Preparation is relatively simple yet the result is highly desirable with  fragrant aromas that fill the…

Kholodets is a jellied meat dish traditional in Russian cuisine. Its name is derived from the Russian word ‘kholod’, meaning ‘cold’ and is a popular dish of the winter new year’s festive season. It’s usually served with fresh Russian borodinsky bread, fresh horseradish, pickled vegetables, vodka and/or cognac. Kholodets is made from fresh butcher’s meat and makes wonderful use of the cheap cuts including: pork trotter and shins. When served, it resembles a rectangle of…

Beechworth Honey has long been at the forefront of championing Australian honey and 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. Australian varietal honeys are made by the bees collecting the nectar of native trees in flower – mainly eucalypts but also other species, such as banksia and macadamia. Beechworth Honey has more than 500 hives in bushland…

Scandinavian design has long held the world in thrall with its clean, considered simplicity. And the cookbook Nordic Light 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. This…

If you’re growing tomatoes at home, you’ll know it’s been an unusual season in Australia. A late summer to autumn harvest for many in the southern states is progressing; and for some green tomatoes sit on the vine without ripening as the weather cools. If you’re a little dissatisfied with your green crop then we highly suggest this sweet, sour and highly aromatic melon caprese salad recipe. It makes a wonderfully light and nutritious evening…

There can be no simpler meal – mushrooms on toast. For many, during autumn, you’ll know where to find some fresh pine or field mushrooms. But if you’re city bound, choosing a selection of flavoursome mushrooms at your local supermarket or farmer’s market can prove a cost effective way to score some premium ingredients to enable this delightful, super fast, yet underrated meal. The Spanish know of the joys of mushrooms and annually celebrate their…

It’s garlic, but not as you know it. Rich, dark and delicious, 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 raw garlic…

So what makes a batch of hot cross buns extra special and are they difficult to bake? The simple answer, we feel, is loads of added flavour and a little care. But no, not a lot of skill is required to bake a batch of these perfectly glazed gourmet Easter treats. As Essentials’ home base is situated close to the wine growing region of Rutherglen in North East Victoria, Australia, we’re particularly passionate about cooking with…

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…

Autumn has arrived and so too has the cooler weather. It’s early morning: Essentials chef Megan Chalmers begins exploring the pine forests of her native Beechworth region in High Country Victoria. After a few hours of foraging she brings home fungal gold: fresh saffron milk caps – perfect ingredients for crafting fabulous recipes and pickling. Pickled Wild Pine Mushrooms (saffron milk caps) 400g freshly picked forest pine mushrooms (or any mushrooms you desire) 100ml white…

This no-bake cheesecake is one of the most simple and delightful offerings we’ve presented. While it does include some sweetened baked strawberries, this will only take a few minutes in a preheated oven. The recipe is great for making with children and is also a fantastic way for beginners to surprise their loved ones. Sesame Ricotta Cheesecake Tart with baked strawberries and sweet balsamic dressing 1 x Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base (see recipe at essentialsmagazine.com.au)…

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! The key to a cheesecake is a simple biscuit crumb base, from here depending on your desired recipe, cream or ricotta cheese, (sometimes) more cream, sugar, eggs,  plus other flavourings are be combined to make cheesecake fillings. Below is our instant cheesecake biscuit crumb base recipe…

Master stocks are typically a mix of Asian ingredients beginning with water, soy sauce, rock sugar and Shaoxing or rice wine. Other commonly added spices and flavourings include: spring onion, star anise, dried citrus peel, cassia bark OR cinnamon, pepper, garlic, ginger and dried mushrooms. A master stock can be repeatedly reused to poach a wide range of braise meats including: whole duck and chicken (or segments), beef brisket, lamb neck or pork shoulder. We’ve…

Sweet and tangy classic lemon tarts with buttery sweet pastry are low cost, easy and delicious treats. Adding to  their presentation, we’ve added sweet lemon zest and the floral fragrant garnish of salade de fleurs – a beautiful mix of French marigolds, cornflower and rose petals; available from The Essential Ingredient in Australia and Mill and Mortar in the UK. Classic Lemon Tart with Sweet Lemon Zest 500g sweet pastry (see recipe below) Sweet lemon…

From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, Beef Stroganoff has become one of the most popular Russian dishes around the world. Our recipe has its origins in Siberia where the beef is cut ultra fine and the sauce’s flavour and thickness is extended by the use of Borodinsky (or dark rye) bread. For our money, it’s one of the best Stroganoffs going! Making use of less popular orecchiette pasta – recently seen in Australia as some…

If you’re lucky enough to be sipping some elegant white wines at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, then this simple recipe makes a good pairing. It can also extend your food dollar further while pleasing the whole family. Roquefort (Blue Cheese) and Leek Quiche shortcrust pastry (see recipe at essentialsmagazine.com.au) 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped 2 stick of celery, washed…

Shortcrust pastry is often used for the base of a tart, quiche or pie. It can be used to make both sweet and savoury pies such as apple pie, quiche, lemon meringue or chicken pie. Shortcrust Pastry Makes 500g 300g plain flour, sifted 1 tsp salt 150g cold butter, diced 1 egg yolk 60ml water Method 1. Using a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter and pulse to fine sandy consistency. 2. Add…