Why chefs are crushing on the cucamelon

Cucamelons are also known as Mexican sour gherkin and mouse melons.
Cucamelons are also known as Mexican sour gherkin and mouse melons. Photo: Supplied

We're planting… CUCAMELONS

What's the size of a grape, looks like a watermelon and tastes like a zesty cucumber? These cucamelons, also known as Mexican sour gherkin and mouse melons. Native to Mexico and Central America, they've been making the rounds on social media. Sow the seeds direct in spring or early summer in full sunlight. Enjoy as you would cherry tomatoes, stir-fried or pickled. Try Bunnings for seeds, or online at 4seasonsseeds.com.au or diggers.com.au.

We're eating… BREAKFAST TOWERS

Platform Eighty Two in Sydney's Concord West is redefining the term "big breakfast". Here you'll find four, mammoth tiered platters, including the original breakfast platter. It feeds up to six people and arrives stacked with eggs three ways, everything you could want on toast (or to cure a hangover) and a dessert plate peak – usually waffles, french toast, crumpets or hotcakes stabbed with a Cornetto.  

Julian Kingma's portrait of Aaron Turner, the award-winning chef behind Igni restaurant, is the winner of Shoot the Chef 2016 competition.

Julian Kingma's portrait of Aaron Turner, the award-winning chef behind Igni restaurant, is the winner of Shoot the Chef 2016 competition. Photo: Julian Kingma/Clique

We're shooting...THE CHEF 

The annual portraiture competition that combines Australia's passion for food and photography is back, with Julian Kingma's portrait of the Age Good Food Guide chef of the year Aaron Turner, of Restaurant IGNI, taking out the grand prize. 

​Clique, presented by Nikon, the SMH and the Age Good Food Months present Shoot the Chef Exhibition: 2016. See the ​winner​ and finalist​s​ at ​Tramsheds Harold Park, October 7-16, and at Crown Melbourne​,  November 11-20.

We're drinking…  COCKTAILS AT DINNER BY HESTON

No booking at Dinner by Heston in Melbourne? No problem. Pull up one of 35 seats at the bar from 10pm for one of Melbourne's most refined cocktail experiences, created as a collaboration between executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts and Tony Conigliaro of The Drink Factory in London – a boundary-pushing lab dedicated to liquids. The olive leaf martini, bloody mary and cider gimlet are musts. Leave the car at home.

We're buying… OXFAM COFFEE PODS

Aluminium coffee pods have copped a lot of slack due to their inability to be recycled, and while Australia Post gives people the opportunity to pay to have their Nespresso pods recycled via mail, Oxfam have come up with a Fairtrade certified, organic and biodegradable solution. Oxfam fair Coffee Capsules are compatible with Nespresso machines, sourced from cooperatives in Peru, PNG and Mexico and are locally roasted in Victoria. Available in Oxfam shops Australia-wide or online at shop.oxfam.org.au/food-drink/drink/coffee-capsules.

epgf03hotlist cucamelons - credit: leafrootfruit.com.au Oxfam Coffee Pods - credit: Rodney Dekker Oxfam Aus ice cream tacos - Tammi Kwok, Insatiable Munchies copper bamix dinner by heston cocktails short stack tipple

Dessert in taco form. Photo: Supplied

We're loving… ICE CREAM TACOS

We've already talked about the 2017 ice-cream cone trend (the crazier, the better), but we're predicting ice-cream tacos are going to be the new ice-cream sandwich. Already big in the States – and available at The Norfolk in Sydney as a deep fried banana taco with salted caramel ice cream, Ice Magic and peanuts in a fried corn taco – eating with your hands is encouraged.

We're obsessed with… TIPPLE

"The bottle shop in your pocket", Tipple is an app that delivers chilled booze in under an hour to thirsty Melburnians (and soon to Sydneysiders). The service is available daily from midday to 11pm, except for Christmas and Good Friday. Plus if you need to fill the fridge for a party or thirsty employees, your Tippler will also stock it and take away the cartons. Avoid the $7 delivery charge by ordering a day in advance. Bottoms up. 

We're reading… SHORT STACK 

Positioned somewhere between timeless, personal cookbooks and glossy magazines is Short Stack, a series of small-format cookbook inspired by a single ingredient and written by a single culinary expert. Hand-bound and designed as collectibles, so far there are 23 volumes from eggs to tahini. There's also an ingredient-focused cookbook launching mid-October, shortstackeditions.com.

We're cooking with... COPPER KITCHEN APPLIANCES 

Copper is in – or perhaps it never left. Bamix has just launched a new copper-toned stick blender, Electrolux has bronze blenders and food processors as part of its Masterpiece Collection, DeLonghi's Distinta range features copper kettles and toasters (pick up cheaper alternatives at Kmart), Hario's copper pour over equipment and copper cups are a coffee nerd's dream and there's always Ruffoni's classic copper pots and pans. All available online.