Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Where to stay, eat and drink in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Beyond Kuala Lumpur's shopping malls, Lara Dunston finds a flourishing third-wave coffee scene, tailored food tours and charming neighbourhoods.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

The party planner

1 Get the idea right from the beginning
Envisage the kind of party you want to throw, and be true to the dream. A party should be an expression of you and your true style.
 
2 Plan
Establish realistic timelines and deadlines, and stick to them. This is vital for remaining organised and keeping stress to a minimum. Creativity paired with administrative efficiency and financial understanding is a party match made in heaven.

3 Set a budget

This will allow you to engage the best and most appropriate suppliers for your needs.

4 Know your audience
Understand your invitees' likes and dislikes. If you're having a dinner party, seat guests appropriately because, at the end of the day, this is what makes the party work. I never seat couples or best friends together and I even like the idea of switching seats after each course (when there are, of course, not too many guests) - it gets people talking.

5 Create a point of difference
Not just for the sake of difference but to ensure you give guests a heightened experience. Read magazines and books, travel, dine out and listen to other people's experiences - you will gain plenty of ideas from this kind of activity.

6 Stay true to the original concept
Write down ideas, create a concept (where required) and stick with it - deviation will only cause disintegration.

7 Appeal to the eyes as well as the tastebuds

Food stations or buffet installations are great at cocktail parties because they allow those with a large appetite to graze throughout the entire evening while providing the host with a catering expression of generosity. Food needs to not only be delicious according to your tastes, but visually exciting, too. Simplicity is de rigueur - there's nothing like a perfectly ripe peach or a big bowl of beluga.

8 Set your stage for the right occasion
Lighting and candles, music, table settings, flowers and place cards all create ambience. The lighting is key to making everyone look sexy - votive candles are best as they are inexpensive, easy and you can spread them everywhere.

9 Don't say no to help
One man or woman can do nothing - a team of creative people collaborating is what makes a party. Find people you work well with; mutual respect is paramount.

10 Make sure your chosen environment can handle what you are trying to create
If there is not a lot of room in the kitchen for extra ovens, pots and pans, be clever with the menu. Devise it so that all the courses don't need cooking or heating - a fresh lobster tail with crunchy iceberg, avocado, citrus mayo and a wedge of lime is simple yet so luxurious.

11 Chic invitations
Invitations set the scene for your party and build anticipation for your guests, so take the time to get them right. Make sure all details are correct and instructions are easy to understand - a map reference, information on where to park, dress codes, clear RSVP details and so on. The new luxury is writing invitations on the thickest paper stock available.

12 Enjoy the process
Enjoying yourself is both the hardest and most important thing a party planner must do. The event itself is actually the least amount of the overall time you spend on creating the experience - ensure you have fun in the lead-up and after the event. If your guests see you enjoying yourself, they will too.

13 Embrace excess
Lots of food, lots of drinks, lots of ice. It's a bore to run out of anything and more means more fun. If your budget doesn't allow for an entire range of things, then have just one thing really well done - and lots of it.

Bruce Keebaugh is the CEO of The Big Group.

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