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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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. 

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.

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Discovering Macedonia

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.

New-fashioned kitchen gadgetry

OVENS
On trend: Bright colours may be making a splash in small appliances, but black has become popular and stylish in cookers. And two is always better then one: ovens now allow users to choose the type of heat they cook with – electric or gas.

Barazza, one of the newest kitchen suppliers in Australia, specialises in built-in appliances with Italian styling. The Barazza Wolo oven ($1870) is instantly recognisable with its circular black mirror façade and stainless steel trim. Or there is Barazza’s Velvet touch-screen range ($2970) available in mirror, black, white and stainless steel finishes. As the name suggests, there are no knobs on the Velvet: the 36 functions are selected by touch screen.

Having defined modern oven chic with its colourful Marc Newson range, Smeg is now taking on the 1920s with its new freestanding Victoria cooker ($7990). This model includes two ovens, a grill and a teppanyaki plate on the hob, plus a storage drawer for pots and pans.

For all the major functions of a traditional oven plus the bonus of steam, Neff’s VarioSteam oven ($3799) delivers. And it includes Neff’s exclusive sliding door feature: simply open the oven door and it will automatically slide underneath the oven, allowing you to get closer to the cavity than on any other oven.

Because gas ovens produce better results with meat, fish and vegetables and the drier heat of electric ovens makes better cakes and pastries, Glem has pioneered Bi-Energy Select, a range of ovens that allow cooks to select which heat source they use. Glem’s latest model with this feature is the 100cm Monolith Series 3 double oven ($4499).

For a seamless and complete cooking solution look to Fisher & Paykel’s Companion series, which includes an oven, a steam oven, a microwave and a coffee machine, all in black glass and stainless steel. The four units ($9400) can be arranged in a row or as a square block.

COOKTOPS
On trend: A customised integrated modular hob is the superior choice for home cooks. Deep-fryer? Induction? Gas? Teppanyaki plate? All are available, among other options, to make the most of your bench space. Flexible induction hobs that allow pots and pans to be placed anywhere on the surface provide the ultimate in speed and safety.

Gaggenau’s Vario 400 series is a collection of individual brushed stainless steel hobs that include options such as a deep-fryer, a gas wok or a multifunction steam cooker. You can pick and choose to design your ultimate cooktop. Individual hobs cost between $3999 and $7999.

Modern cooktop technology has been perfected by Siemens FlexInduction EH975SZ11E model. This 90cm hob has five zones with PowerBoost technology for faster heat-up, and automatic pan recognition – a function that identifies exactly which part of the hob needs to be heating.

Even though induction is slowly winning over home cooks and chefs, gas cooktops are still a focus for designers. Ilve’s Flushline hob comes with four gas burners and a fish burner for $3249, and for just $550 more, it’ll also come with a teppanyaki cooking plate. There’s a similar cooktop with fish burner in the De’Longhi range ($1299), while Smeg’s futurist 74cm Linear cooktop comes with
a large wok burner ($2990).

Smeg’s new Marc Newson hobs (from $1890) come in a range of materials, including yellow enamel with silver knobs and white tempered glass with brass knobs.

RANGEHOODS
On trend: No longer an obtrusive necessity, the rangehood has become the design focus of many kitchens. Technology and design are now being concentrated on canopy and over-island models, which can be a stylish focal point of any kitchen.

Italian brand De’Longhi is a leader in canopy rangehoods. There are flat and crescent-moon designs available in stainless steel, glass and beautiful black glass (from $949). The halogen lights provide natural brightness while the touch controls are simple to use.

If you prefer your rangehood to be hidden when it’s not in use, the Ilve retractable range ($529 to $2279) is ideal. The models are stylish when operating, but blend seamlessly with kitchen cupboards when tucked away. Bosch and Blanco’s retractable rangehoods may not be as good-looking as Ilve’s, but they have similar functionality and their most expensive models retail for about $1000 less than Ilve’s top-of-the-line model.

Rangehoods look their best when set over kitchen islands. Swiss brand V-Zug’s DI-Bora14 model ($5890) is handmade with intensive filtering and quiet operation, while Miele’s award-winning DA7000D recirculating rangehood ($5999) is suspended from the ceiling without a flue, so it appears to be floating.

If you really want to make a statement in the kitchen, check out the incredible rangehood designs by Faber: their Cylindra and Matrix collections will appeal to those looking for an elegant, futuristic rangehood.

DISHWASHERS
On trend: Cycle speeds and water efficiency are shaping dishwashing design as suppliers compete to have the fastest cycle using the least amount of water. Smaller machines and micro-units that sit on the benchtop are popular for small kitchens.

Swedish brand Asko melds design and functionality into its fully integrated Style series (from $2599). The façade of this dishwasher can be matched to your kitchen’s colour scheme and the control panel is discreetly hidden above the door. A stainless steel handle can be added as an optional extra.

For a machine with superb water efficiency and a range of programs including quick washing, energy saving and cookware washing, the Miele range stands out. The freestanding G5141BRW is available for $1499 while the fully integrated G5985SCVIXXL with stainless steel trim is $3399.

Fisher & Paykel offers the ultimate in style and convenience with its integrated DishDrawer Wide model ($1380). Installed under the counter or island bench, the body of this 90cm dishwasher slides in and out for effortless loading and unloading.

For smaller kitchens, German technology pioneer Siemens has compact built-in 45cm ($1099) and 60cm ($1349) dishwashers. While these dishwashers don’t compromise on performance or style, they use more water relative to full-size dishwashers.

REFRIGERATORS
On trend: French-door fridges are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their elegant styling and superior capacities compared with side-by-side models. Smart fridges are here, and by the end of the year we’re expecting to see numerous models on the market with touch screens on their façade to access the internet.

LG’s French-door fridge ($4599) has an extra compartment within one of the doors that can be opened to gain easy access to drinks, snacks and other small items without opening the main body of the fridge and affecting the overall temperature of the refrigerator.

Samsung’s 801-litre French-door model ($4999) comes with a 20cm LCD touch screen with eight built-in apps, Samsung’s Space technology (increasing the internal capacity of the fridge) and a drawer with precise temperature control.

However svelte and attractive the French-door models are, integrated refrigerators remain the most aesthetically pleasing option for a kitchen. German brand Liebherr has a new integrated Bottom-Mount refrigerator ($9999) that comes with two freezer drawers plus LED lighting to illuminate interiors.

Those looking for the extra capacity of a standalone, built-in refrigerator should consider the Gaggenau Vario Cooling model ($12,999), which has stainless steel interiors and super-quiet operation.

For flexibility and convenience, Whirlpool’s Butler refrigerators (from $1289) are ideal. They include a dedicated zone for thawing, an area for delicate frozen items and a removable drinks station complete with a bottle opener.

White and stainless steel dominate the fridge market, but with Smeg’s FAB range of customisable retro refrigerators (from $3990), you can be as creative and colourful as you like. There’s a complete range of 1950s tones, national flags, candy stripes and denim façades available.

This article is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

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