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.
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  • 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.
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January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    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.
    Read more…

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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May, 2017

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

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    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

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    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

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    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.
    Read more…

  • 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.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

Christmas basics: the perfect gravy

By
Justine Costigan
Added
05 December, 2014

We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. And we all know that great gravy is the true heart and soul of a Christmas table.

Gravy isn’t a jus or a reduction. It doesn’t require hours of work or chef-level skills. It isn't usually elegant or refined, but it can be sublime.

Born out of practicality and thrift, gravy is the cook’s way of putting the delicious juices and fat from roasted meat to good use. Cooked with flour, a little fat and the roasting liquids, gravy makes a roast dinner.

While some dishes will always be in the domain of restaurant chefs, gravy belongs at home. “When it comes to real comfort food,” writes Adrian Richardson in Meat, “you can keep your fancy jus and your restaurant-inspired reductions: nothing beats Nanna’s gravy.” (Check out his Nanna's foolproof method below.)

Getting rid of gravy lumps

Gravy is deceptively simple to make but not always easy to master. If it was, there wouldn’t be so many tips and tricks for making gravy work. Lumpy gravy is easily fixed: pour it through a strainer or blend using a stick mixer – but its better to avoid lumps by slowly cooking the flour in the fat before adding any liquid. Raw flour will clump and make your gravy taste horrible. Continuous whisking will also give you a smooth result. Scrapings from the bottom of the tin might add lumps too, but keep these in if you don't mind a rustic look, they’re delicious.

Billy Law's Perfect Sunday roast with gravy and trimmings

Giving your gravy a little extra oomph

Well seasoned and well-cooked meat should result in a richly flavoured gravy but sometimes gravy needs a little helping hand. A rich stock or a little extra salt adds flavour but plenty of people swear by a dab of vegemite or a splash of soy sauce. In Have You Eaten, Billy Law adds thinly sliced preserved lemon to a gravy for a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with rosemary. Michele Curtis prefers tomato paste and wine in her best-ever gravy from What’s for dinner?. And if you look to popular culture for recipe inspiration, songwriter Paul Kelly suggests, “just add flour, salt, a little red wine and don't forget a dollop of tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang.”

Gravy should always be hot and there should be plenty of it. You need it for smushing up with roast potatoes and creating a puddle of juice around your meat. And if you ever have any left over and don't have a use for it, give it to your dog, it will be the best Christmas present ever.

Adrian Richardson's method for foolproof gravy (just like Nanna used to make)

Much of the flavour for Nanna’s gravy comes for free, from all the stuff that’s left in the bottom of the roasting tin. The body of the gravy comes from flour, or from squishing some of the vegies through a sieve – and damn it all, sometimes from both! The best thing about Nanna’s gravy is that you can knock it up pretty easily while your roast is resting in a warm place. Here’s how it’s done.

First, pour away most of the fat from your roasting tin, leaving just a little in the bottom of the tin with the roasting juices. If you’re going with a flour-thickened version, sprinkle in a generous teaspoon of flour, and stir over a medium heat to make a gunky brown paste. Alternatively, chuck in a cup of mixed diced vegies – carrot, celery, onion and garlic – and stir well.

Whichever method you’re using, at this point you need to put the roasting tin back into a very hot oven for about 10 minutes, until the paste darkens, or the vegies colour.

Next, return the tin to the stovetop and slosh in a cup of wine, stock or water. With a wooden spoon, stir everything about vigorously, reaching right into the corners and making sure you scrape up all the crisp bits of goodness that are stuck to the bottom of the tin. Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens.

Add more stock, or the cooking water from your vegies, until the gravy reaches a consistency you like. You do need to let it bubble away for a good 5 minutes or so – especially if you’re using flour. And don’t forget to taste the gravy to see whether it needs a bit more wine, a pinch of salt or pepper, or even a touch of mustard or a spoonful of redcurrant jelly (this is especially good with roast lamb).

When you’re happy with your gravy you can pour it through a fine sieve, using your wooden spoon to squish through as many of the vegetables as you can. Alternatively, for an authentic ‘nanna’ touch, don’t strain your gravy at all – a few chunky bits won’t worry anyone, and they’ll taste delicious.

Find Adrian Richardson's book Meat, as well as plenty of other great titles for Christmas roast inspiration, in our bookstore – all at 30% off for members.

Check out these great meaty titles in the bookstore

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