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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An ambitious, brand new regional hotel has been awarded not one but three top accolades this year.
Andrew McConnell’s yakitori, buns, dumplings and lobster rolls head south of the river.
Sydney’s favourite whisky bar makes a rare overground appearance at a pop-up on Pitt Street Mall.
Our guide to the best of the region.
The Byron at Byron devises new ways to relax and revive.
Industrial designer David Caon shares his secrets on how to travel like a pro.
Is this the best-looking cafe in Sydney?
Load up your three-tiered tray with raspberry tarts, super scones and chicken curry puffs and get ready for a higher high tea with chef Bethany Finn from the Mayflower.
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.
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.
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.
No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.
Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.
Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.
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.
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.
You've heard it a million times: the kitchen is the beating heart of your home. It's the place you spend the most time, it's where you nourish yourself and your family, it's where the kids do their homework and most of us pay our bills. We get it. It's important. But what if it's also really ugly? What if your kitchen is begging to be ripped out, but open-heart surgery is just not an option right now? How do you renovate without actually renovating?
We posed this dilemma to two architects - Rory Toomey, senior project architect at Sydney's Environa Studio and director of Rory The Architect, and Stuart Vokes, a founding partner of Brisbane firm Owen and Vokes and Peters - whose residential projects have run from tiny tweaks to major rebuilds. The answer? There's a lot you can do with a small budget and a good measure of ingenuity.
Toomey suggests you get rid of ugly light fittings - even if you're just replacing them with cheap rice-paper shades, the impact will be huge. Minor electrical work isn't expensive, so you could also install dimmers on existing fixtures. When Vokes worked on his own kitchen, he replaced the ceiling-mounted fluoro light with a second-hand '30s glass pendant lamp recycled from his grandmother's house. This kind of statement piece adds personality and brings a sense of fun to the kitchen.
Re-facing or re-finishing cabinet fronts is more economical and environmentally friendly than replacing them, says Toomey. Or you could just get rid of the cabinet doors altogether. Vokes believes the most comfortable and welcoming homes are those generous in revealing their contents; those that offer a peek into the values and interests of the owner. When renovating his own kitchen, he says, he "removed a couple of cupboard doors so that people could see some of our mixed crockery".
Consider a skylight. They aren't expensive to install and in most areas you don't need planning approval to put one in. Adding natural light can completely change the feel of a dark, poky kitchen, not to mention the savings it'll bring to your electricity bills.
Retiling is expensive, but old tiles can be given a fresh lease on life with a coat of specially designed paint, available at hardware shops.
Out with the old
A few small changes can make a world of difference to the feel of the kitchen, says Vokes. "We replaced the kitchen sink mixer, some of the cupboard handles, and covered the existing salmon-coloured laminate benchtop with a skin of black laminate on 5mm plywood."
Plants are often overlooked, but they're a cheap accessory and their inclusion can really change the feel of a room. "Adding some plants to a space can make it feel fresher instantly," says Toomey. "Make a note of orientation and amount of available light and air, then get advice from your garden shop as to what species will thrive in the conditions."
Bring in the new
Knock out cabinetry that doesn't work for you and replace it with a piece of freestanding furniture. "We demolished a portion of the existing cabinetry that we didn't need," says Vokes. "This allowed us to replace it with a piece of freestanding antique furniture that acts as our food pantry. It offers a personal and humble element to the composition of the kitchen."
A lick of paint
If everything else seems too much, a new coat of paint will lift tired old spaces, and bring great satisfaction without too much outlay in cost or time. Vokes adds that he painted his own country-style kitchen-cabinet doors and drawers completely white, so he could "quieten the overall composition, but still enjoy the decorative quality of the panelled fronts".
Take a leap
Don't be afraid to take on some minor building works, even if you're still stopping short of the full makeover. By way of example, Toomey says. "Turning that single door and adjacent window into one large pair of glass doors will make a world of difference."
ILLUSTRATION ANTONIA PESENTI
This article is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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