December, 2018

September, 2018

August, 2018

  • Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    28 August, 2018 Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    Sometimes fine-dining menus can seem like more of a maze than a relaxing pre-dining experience. Here, we breakdown some of the cheffy terms you’re likely to come across and include recipes so you can test them out at home.
    Read more…

  • Cooking the classics

    27 August, 2018 Cooking the classics

    We consider those classic recipes we go back to time and time again.
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  • IGNI: The first year

    06 August, 2018 IGNI: The first year

    VIDEO: Acclaimed chef Aaron Turner's stirring account of love, loss and starting again.
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May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
    Read more…

January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

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    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
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August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

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    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
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  • Bubbles or nothing

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    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
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  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
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October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

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    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
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  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
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  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
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  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
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  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
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  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
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January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

The secrets of making great curries in 6 simple stages

Anjum Anand
29 May, 2014

Anjum Anand wants you to be able to make the best curry you can. She shares her 6 secret steps to amazing curry every time.

I hope to give you a deeper understanding of how to cook a curry and maximise its flavours. So, when you get to the stove, remember these five distinct and vital building blocks ...

Stage 1: Whole spices

Always the first ingredient to go into the hot oil. They add a greater depth of flavour than ground spices. cumin seeds should be fried until they release a nutty aroma and have reddened a couple of shades. It should only take five seconds sizzling in hot oil.

  • Fenugreek seeds should darken to medium brown.
  • Mustard seeds start popping straight away in hot oil. As they pop, reduce the heat and, once the popping dies down, move on to the next stage.
  • Nigella and carom seeds need only about 10 seconds in hot oil to release their full aroma.
  • Other whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, black pepper etc) should be cooked in hot oil for 20–30 seconds, to release their aromatic oils.

Stage 2: Onions

The base of most curries, so getting them right is crucial. Always make sure they are cooked through until soft and turning golden at the edges. After that, the further you cook them the deeper the flavours of the curry. For a lamb or chicken curry, cook onions until the edges are well-browned. In curries containing more delicate ingredients - such as vegetables or some seafood – onions only need to be golden, or their resonant taste could overpower the rest of the dish.

Stage 3: Garlic and ginger

I often make a paste of ginger and garlic for a smoother sauce. For small amounts, I grate both on a Microplane. For larger quantities, chop them coarsely, use a small stick blender and add a little water to help break them down. Cooking garlic fully is essential. You can tell when it’s cooked by the fragrance, which changes from raw and strong to mellow. In a paste, garlic will start to look grainy and turn a pale gold colour.

Stage 4: Ground spices

  • Grinding: Whether you use a mortar and pestle, a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder, make sure spices are really well ground so they melt into the sauce. Any gritty spices added will remain so in the finished dish.
  • Cooking: These burn easily so keep the heat down and stir often. Many people add a little water with their spices to ensure they don’t scorch. They will cook in 40 seconds, or two minutes if you add water.

Stage 5: Tomatoes and/or yogurt

  • Tomatoes: Once these have been added, the ingredients in the pot are thought of as a ‘masala’, which simply means the mixed and spiced base of a sauce. The masala lets you know when it is cooked by releasing some oil back into the pan, so look for droplets of oil on the base as you stir. If you’re not sure if a masala is ready, try a little. It should taste smooth. If it’s still too strong, add some water and cook it for a little longer. 
  • Yogurt: This adds sourness and creaminess. You have to be careful, as it can split in the pan; this isn’t a disaster but will mean the dish isn’t as creamy as it could be. To avoid curdling, use full-fat yogurt at room temperature, as the fat stabilises the yogurt and a cold product added to a hot pan is more likely to split. Add yogurt in batches if it is a large quantity, stir constantly until it comes to a boil and continue to do so for a further few minutes. It should now be fine with only an occasional stir.

Stage 6: Balancing the final dish

A curry is a delicate balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty and you need to correct all these flavours before serving to achieve the most delicious dish. Here are your most important tools:

  • To add heat: Sprinkle in chilli flakes or halve a green chilli lengthways, add to the pot and simmer for few minutes.
  • Or tame the flame: Add a little cream, coconut cream or sugar, depending on the other ingredients in the curry.
  • To add sweetness: Use a little sugar, cream or coconut cream, depending on the dish. Restaurants add caramelised onion paste: to do the same, fry onions until golden or brown, depending on the dish (remembering delicate curries will be overwhelmed by over-brown onions), then blend with a little water until smooth.
  • For more acidity: Try lemon juice, tamarind paste, dried mango or pomegranate powder, even sour cream. Be guided by the other ingredients in the curry as to which souring agent is most suitable.
  • To perk things up: Add garam masala for warming spices, cumin powder for earthy depth and black pepper for aromatic heat.
  • Sleep on it: Many curries improve overnight, as the flavours mature and permeate the main ingredients. You can cook chicken, meat, potato and lentil curries a day earlier, they will taste even better tomorrow.

Now you know the secrets of great curry, it's time to go make one!


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