These expert tips will help you achieve the perfect balance of flavours.
15 May 2013 - 10:10 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

De-bearding mussels

To de-beard a mussel grab the beard (the byssal threads that connect the mussel to the rocks in the sea) with your fingers, and pull them out, tugging toward the hinged point of the shell.

What to look for in fresh fish

Seek out fish that have firm flesh, clear bulging eyes and a slimy texture - a sign that the last time they had contact with the water was when they were swimming in it (by dry-filleting fish you avoid bloating and any taint from chemicals such as chlorine).

Cleaning a barbecue with lemon

Cut a lemon in half and spear it onto the end of your tongs. Use the exposed lemon to clean the grills of your barbecue as it is heating up. The acid in the lemon makes this a very simple yet effective cleaning tool.

Adding Vegemite to gravy

Adding a tablespoon of Vegemite while you are making gravy will impart the smoky, meaty flavour into the sauce.

Rosella champagne

A native rosella flower (now commonly sold in jars) can be slotted inside a champagne glass, and then the champagne is poured over the top. This uniquely Australian addition not only looks great, but the sweet syrup enhances the flavour of the beverage.

Splitting a Balmain bug

To remove meat from bugs, split the shell lengthwise. With a sharp knife or scissors, starting at the tail end, cut straight down to the middle of the head. Split open, remove vein and rinse lightly if necessary.

Tongs or fork

Avoid using a barbecue fork when turning steaks or meat on the barbecue (opt for tongs instead). The fork will pierce the meat encouraging the precious juices to flow out, rather than stay inside the meat and keep it tender.