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.
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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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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.
    Read more…

  • 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.
    Read more…

  • 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

Baking secrets of a Parisian pastry chef

By
Fanny Zanotti
Added
24 April, 2014

Ever wondered how to make whipped cream as light as air, or how to fill a piping bag without spilling a drop? Master pastry chef Fanny Zanotti shares her secret tips and techniques.

Perfect whipped cream

1. Ten minutes before you start, place a bowl and the whisk in the freezer to chill. Cream definitely whips faster and in a more stable way if everything around it is super-cold.

2. If you’re whipping cream for a mousse, whip it until it just starts to get to the soft peak stage. It might look under-whipped to you but, trust me, the just-whipped texture makes for the softest fluffiest mousse. In fact, cream has the most air in when it forms soft peaks. Under-whipping it ever so slightly ensures that when you incorporate it, the cream won’t become overworked and lose too much air.

3. You can most definitely whip cream ahead of time – up to an hour before you plan to use it. Simply give it another one-minute whisking before you do so.

4. Chantilly is cream whipped with sugar and a little vanilla to stiff peaks. I usually use 10 g icing sugar per 100 g cream.

Folding

In cookery terms, this usually means to combine two mixtures without deflating the batter. This can be done with either a whisk or a rubber spatula. I find the whisk to be the quicker method, but can only advise you to master folding using a spatula before moving on to the whisk. The correct movement is to start in the centre of the bowl – this is something I insist on a lot, ask any of my commis – then go up the side of the bowl and turn it counter-clockwise as you do so. Stop folding as soon as the streaks/traces disappear as you do not want to overmix and lose air.

Proving yeasted doughs

The best environment to prove a dough is around 25°C and with moist air. A friend, who used to make all the doughs at Pierre Hermé in Paris once told me he would prove his brioche at home in the bathroom after all of his family would have taken their shower. I, on the other hand, like to bring a cup of water to the boil in the microwave, then quickly stick my soon-to-be brioche in. In fact, it may well be the only time I ever use the microwave in our kitchen.

Getting a neat crack on a loaf cake

This is perhaps my favourite tip: to get a beautifully cracked loaf, the easiest way is to pipe a thin line – around 4 mm – of softened butter across the unbaked loaf. When the batter starts to rise, the butter will sink in, creating a neat crack in the crust of the cake. Voila!

Making ganache

Ganache is a fancy name for a mixture of chocolate and some kind of liquid, which can either be cream, milk or even water. To make the most perfect ganache, here is one trick that never fails. First, always melt the chocolate. Then bring your liquid to the boil and pour it over the melted chocolate, one-third at a time, stirring well with a rubber spatula after each addition. Once the ganache is ready, allow it to set at room temperature before transferring to the fridge. And make sure you cover the surface with clingfilm to avoid a skin forming.

Filling a piping bag

Piping bags are a must in the kitchen. Without them, I’m nothing. I like to use disposable bags as it just makes everything so much easier. Perhaps not the filling part though, if you’re not used to it. Simply follow these steps and pipe away:

1. Never cut the tip off a piping bag before filling it (if you are refilling, just twist the tip and snuggle it into your nozzle for a leak-free process)

2. Hold the bag in your left hand and fold the top over your hand.

3. Scrape the batter/mix into the bag, but make sure not to overfill, usually two-thirds full is enough.

4. Twist the top-end to make sure no batter can escape and swirl it around your right-hand thumb.

5. Use your left hand as a guide only, and apply the pressure with your right hand.

Find more of Fanny Zanotti's baking secrets, as well as her extraordinary recipes, in her book Paris Pastry Club.


FANNY ZANOTTI'S PARISIAN PASTRIES

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