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Potter over a moreish seafood paella this Good Friday

As Easter Sunday approaches, carrying its delicious lures of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, we can also look forward to an all-out seafood feast on Good Friday. What better way to celebrate the tradition than by throwing a bunch of oceanic edibles into the pan and whipping up a seafood paella. We've included chicken in this recipe, but you can tweak the ingredients to suit your tastes. Cast a net into the ocean or grab a bounty of fresh calamari, prawns and mussels from local suppliers like Fresh N Wild Fish Portside, Samies Girl Fresh Seafood Market in Hamilton or The Fish Factory in Morningside. more

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Crack into hot spinach and cheese empanadas

As the temperature cools ever so slightly and we take the opportunity to turn our attention to comfort foods, a piping-hot parcel of pastry stuffed full of gooey cheese and spinach sounds like the perfect warming autumn snack. Fire up the oven, grab a mountain of absorbent napkins and crunch into the ultimate Argentinian street food. Chefs Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stovelmaher share their recipe for this vegetarian classic below, which seduces the crowds at their two restaurants and wandering street-food truck in Paris. more

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Spoon into strawberry, cream and oat crumble

Strawberry season is almost upon us so we embarked on a purely self-indulgent mission this week to hunt down the very best dessert recipe to indulge our palates. Enlisting the help of Belfast-born, Brisbane-based chef Alastair McLeod, the result is nothing short of divine. With a passion for showcasing fresh, seasonal produce, Alastair has managed to trump the standard strawberry-and-cream cup by adding slivers of oaty biscuits and a splash of Irish whisky. Between preparing for an appearance at the state’s largest food industry event, Fine Food Queensland, from April 13–15, the chef gathered his favourite organic ingredients and showed us how to craft one hell of a decadent dessert. more

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Wolf down a bowl of Middle Eastern mujaddara

A Middle Eastern dish popular in Israel and Lebanon, mujaddara finds slight variations and spellings to its name depending on the country in which you’re sampling the dish. A basic meal centering on rice, lentils and caramelised onions, mujaddara can be topped with fried onions, toasted pine nuts and spiced yoghurt for extra flavour. You can also stir through ground cumin and fresh coriander and mint, but we’ve simply incorporated these flavours into the yoghurt. more

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Make a smoothie bowl for your morning nourishment

In the spirit of açai and pink pitaya bowls, we’ve knocked up this liquid doozy of a breakfast. By making your smoothies thicker and serving them in a bowl – with the added texture of nuts and chunks of fresh fruit – this normally quickly devoured drink becomes a slowly enjoyed nourishing meal. We’ve chosen an assortment of nuts, strawberries and figs to sprinkle atop our bowl, but you can alter these ingredients to suit your tastes or simply adapt to what is currently in your pantry. more

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Sate your sweet tooth with peanut butter cookies

Packed full of healthy, wholesome ingredients, these peanut butter cookies will cure any afternoon sweet-tooth craving without overloading on refined sugary products and butter. Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter is made simply from peanuts and a sprinkling of salt to bring out the natural nutty flavour, so you know it’s the real deal and thoughtfully crafted. You can whip up a batch of these cookies in no time at all, pleasing surprise houseguests or gobbling them all yourself. more

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Indulge in crumbly raisin and almond halva

Afternoon sugar cravings can be risky business. They fling some of us straight to the nearest vending machine and others ferreting around in the freezer, but those who have equipped their lunchboxes with homemade goodness can enjoy an indulgence without the added preservatives. Halva is a sweet snack favoured in parts of the Middle East and across Africa and Asia, and sculpted from either tahini or semolina. The dessert’s sweet embellishments are open to personal taste, with ingredients like rosewater, orange oil, pistachios and coffee all weaselling their way in to the different variations. We’ve opted for almonds and raisins, with a sprinkling of cocoa on a tahini and honey base. more

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Hoe down a plate of duck fat potatoes

One joyous twist to the end of summer is the reintroduction of hearty, warming meals back into our diets. We’re starting the transition on an uncomplicated note with simple yet scrumptious duck fat potatoes. You can find a tub of duck fat to call your own at The Standard Market Co. at Gasworks, and use it to cook root vegetables and meats, when popping popcorn from dried kernels and making terrines. more

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Flip an okonomiyaki at any hour of the day

From the hushed shuffle of a geisha’s wooden clogs in the Kyoto dusk to the hypnotising swoosh of a bullet train as it speeds past the countryside, Japan is a destination that stirs the senses and compels visitors to keep eyes and ears open. Seasoned callers know to keep their mouths open too, as the assortment of delicacies on offer intrigue, bewilder and delight. Okonomiyaki, which translates to ‘how you like it’, is a savoury pancake that can host pretty much any ingredient that tickles your imagination. Shredded cabbage is the mainstay, while additions can range from pork belly and mushrooms to wasabi, katsuobushi (dried fish flakes) and benishouga (red pickled ginger). If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients listed below, simply substitute water for dashi sauce, sliced spring onions for aonori (dried seaweed), Worcestershire or barbecue sauce for okonomiyaki sauce… more

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Woo your beau with chocolate panna cotta this Valentine’s Day

A mighty slab of chocolate may be one way to your lover’s heart, but churning that chocolate into a homemade dessert is guaranteed to earn you a lifetime of love points. Prepare this dish the day before your date and leave to set in the fridge overnight. We’ve chosen to top our treats with flaked almonds, but stewed berries or whipped cream work just as well. more

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Bless your body with a vitamin-packed seaweed and sesame salad

Most Friday afternoons you can find us gazing wistfully at our oceanic screensavers, dreaming of another weekend frolicking by the seaside. While the deep blue is an infinite source of relaxation and recreation, it's also packed with edible delights. Sea vegetables may not usually rank high on your grocery-shopping list, but they’re a fantastic source of vitamins and also help to alkalise the body. Health coach, author and blogger Lee Holmes is in such awe of these squidgy little guys that she’s crafted a recipe for a delicious seaweed and sesame salad in her brand-new cookbook, Eat Yourself Beautiful: Supercharged Food. Pick up some seaweed from your local health food store or Asian grocer and serve chilled alongside a main of fish. more

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Potter over a pan of homemade strawberry jam

When it comes to matters of the stomach and the heart, we like to strive for authenticity. Side-step those supermarket imitations and opt for the real deal – handmade, homemade strawberry preserve, made with a few simple ingredients and a rather large amount of patience. Channel your inner nanna this weekend and spend a slow morning pottering over the stove, bubbling up a pan of fresh strawberry jam as a gift for your neighbour, your friend or yourself. Enjoy the simple luxury of spreading the homemade goodness over a piece of toast, relive your childhood with a batch of jam drops or go all out with a Devonshire tea feast of scones, jam and cream. more

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Bottle your salad to keep it fresh and crispy

If there was one taste that defined our childhood, it would probably be that old schoolyard foe: the soggy sanga. The sweaty cheese, the squelchy tomato, the wilted lettuce – it was enough to give some of us serious mental scars and instil fear every time we packed our lunches in later years. But as with most of life’s little challenges, it also gave us an opportunity to learn and we developed a swag of nifty tricks to avoid experiencing soggy-lunch syndrome in the future. While the current trend to consume everything from recycled mason jars may have you rolling your eyeballs, it’s an incredibly practical way to pack your workday salad. We’ve listed our favourite fillings below, but get as creative as you like, substituting the rice for tofu, beans or quinoa and adding your choice of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. more

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Get happy with a handful of bliss balls

Taming that need for an afternoon sugar hit can be difficult, especially when your colleagues are sharing a block of Alter Ego dark quinoa chocolate. Make a batch of bliss balls this weekend, so you’re all kitted up for sharing a sugar-free treat come Monday. Experiment with different nuts like cashews, almonds, pecans and walnuts, or a combination of all, tuning the recipe to your preferred tastes. You can also sub in carob powder instead of cacao, and go wild experimenting with different fruits, nuts and seeds to make your bliss balls satisfyingly chunky. These will keep well in the fridge throughout the week, or until all gobbled up. more

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Freshen up with watermelon and mint salad

Hands up who over-indulged in the holiday season? Judging by the discarded Christmas pudding boxes and drained wine bottles lining our recycling bin, we’re certainly guilty of eating and drinking our way to merriment in 2013. But it’s a brand-new year and we’re not ones to hold on to old regrets, so we’re leaving our follies in the past and looking ahead to a brighter, better 2014. Kick off the new year with a healthy-eating action plan full of fresh, summery flavours and nourishing ingredients, starting with this easy recipe for watermelon and mint salad. more

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Cool down with a zesty citrus iced tea

Now that the frenzied festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve have passed and we can finally catch our breaths, it’s time to make the most of our fleeting freedom and indulge in the art of doing, well, nothing at all. Whether your setting of choice is a riverside park, the beach or your lounge-room floor, we’re officially inviting all of you to kick back and relax. When the throat calls for liquid refreshment, stir up a pitcher of cooling citrus iced tea. Grab a couple of glasses and a tall straw, and get slurping. more

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Slice into salted chocolate caramel tart

Okay okay, so the Christmas feast was only a day ago and most of us are still nursing bulging bellies and hangovers, but we all know the entertaining season has only just begun. Be prepared for the casual holiday drop-ins and lingering visitors with this trusty tart. The assembling process is deceptively easy but the combination of flavours will have even the most difficult of house guests melting in happiness. more

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Get merry with cracking Christmas cocktails

‘Tis the season to be jolly and we can’t think of a better way to take advantage of those indulgent days off work than shaking up a bunch of cracking Christmas cocktails. Stock up the liquor cabinet, grab some seasonal offerings from your green grocer and invite your mates around for delicious experimenting. Now all you have to do is hit play on the Christmas carols and drink in that festive spirit. more

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Festive feasting on duck tacos with cherry salsa

Never mind the 12 days of Christmas, there are only 100 days of holy cherries. These edible little baubles are in season right now, so it's the perfect time to dash down to your local green grocer, fill a punnet and feast to your heart's content. Pop a cluster of washed cherries in a bowl on the Christmas table, throw some into your morning muesli or twist them into a seasonal dinner of duck tacos with cherry salsa. This recipe is easy to make and serves four hungry mouths. We recommend donating any leftover cherries to a sweet and simple dessert of vanilla bean ice-cream. more

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Ace the festive season with beetroot hummus

That endless stream of visitors. The unexpected drop-ins. The hangers-on who linger from dawn to dusk. Not only does the festive season demand an extraordinary supply of patience but also a rather hefty supply of nibbles. Spend a morning whipping up a batch of this beetroot hummus and pull it out of the fridge as needed. It makes a fantastic companion for crackers, flatbread and a cheeky glass of white. Hey, it’s Christmas. more