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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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.
Goodgod returns to Vivid with another pop-up and an ambitious goal: to generate just one bag of rubbish in the process.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many blue cheeses are at their creamy peak right now, ripe
for picking over pudding, writes Will Studd.
Call me an old Scrooge, but my advice, if you're planning to make an inspired choice of cheese to celebrate the traditional holiday festivities, is keep your selection small and simple. When it comes to artisan cheese, less is often more, even at Christmas.
Your favourite cheesemonger is the obvious place to start. Encouraging a customer to taste the cheese and make an informed choice from an often confusing display of different shapes, sizes and textures is an important part of a cheesemonger's role. Resist temptation and avoid getting carried away. If the cheese you had set your heart on isn't up to scratch, don't compromise - substitute another or simply go without. A selection of just three or four cheeses is more than enough, while just one great-tasting cheese in optimum condition provides a wonderful opportunity to appreciate a cheese on its merits.
My pick this year will be blue cheese. There's plenty of choice: a variety of textures and flavours, ranging from mild to very strong, with many at their seasonal best at this time of year. Choosing by type has the added advantage of making it relatively simple to match a wine.
Stilton is the obvious first choice. Its reputation as the king of English cheese, and its traditional association with Christmas, make it a must-have on the list. The best Stilton is produced at the beginning of autumn from late-lactation milk and takes two to three months to mature - almost half of all sales are made in December. Not all Stiltons are the same, however, so it's important to be fussy about what you buy. The finest examples are creamy in texture, with a mellow, savoury flavour, and the blue mould should not be sharp or overpowering.
Some large producers freeze Stilton or preserve it under a vacuum so they have supply for supermarkets late in the year. This tastes quite different to cheese freshly cut from a crusty wheel. The pretty ceramic pots of Stilton that appear as great-looking gifts at this time of year, meanwhile, are generally made with cheese offcuts. Keep the pot but throw away the cheese is always my advice to friends.
Roquefort is the only soft blue cheese made from unpasteurised
milk currently allowed to be sold in Australia, so it's also a must
on my shopping list. This legendary blue is one of the oldest and
most popular of all French cheeses. The spores of Penicillium
roqueforti mould, found in the famous labyrinth of caves beneath
the Cambalou plateau, are now used in the production of just about
every blue cheese in the world. Roquefort is made for just six
months a year, from the end of December, and matured in the region
for at least 90 days, often just below freezing point.
The finest examples are those made at the end of the milking season in May and June, when ewes graze on fresh pasture, and it's these that are released just in time for Christmas. Soft, moist and fatty, the cheese's crumbly texture and lingering strong, salty blue flavours are not for the uninitiated, but when served with thinly sliced dark rye bread, cultured Beurre de Baratte and Sauternes, you simply can't go wrong.
Cheesemongers around the world look forward to the annual release of Rogue River Blue Special Reserve. This unique, award-winning American blue cheese is made in Oregon from whole cow's milk only in autumn. After gentle maceration in local pear brandy, it's wrapped in shiraz vine leaves, ceremonially picked on the equinox, before being matured for 15 months and released in limited quantities. The strong but not overpowering blue flavour has an extraordinary fruity aftertaste, which makes a wonderful substitute for Christmas pudding. This is a cheese with a wow-factor that will astonish your guests.
Finally, a Christmas blue selection wouldn't be complete without at least one local blue. My pick is the award-winning Tarwin Blue, made from the rich spring milk of a small mixed herd at Berrys Creek, in the prime dairy countryside of South Gippsland, Victoria. This signature farmhouse blue cheese has soft, creamy well-balanced savoury flavours that are guaranteed to please a festive crowd. After one taste, it's hard to stop wanting more, which is what any great cheese is all about. Enjoy.
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