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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Margot Henderson's tips for entertaining

Get your entertaining principles right and it could lead to dancing, writes party maven Margot Henderson.

Last issue Fergus outlined his best party practices, but given that Margot Henderson, his wife, is a party professional, having catered London's most sparkling art- and fashion-world events with her company, Arnold & Henderson, we thought it would be remiss not to ask for her side of the story. Over to you, Margot.

I've been organising parties all my life, right back to when I was about 12, and I started organising my little brothers' birthdays in Wellington, back home in New Zealand. My mother was a health nut and I just felt my brothers couldn't go through the same embarrassment I had with the bran biscuits and carrot cake. So out went the brown flour and in came the white flour and sugar, just for the day.

But why have a party? All that work, all that stress? It's for all that fun. It's an awakening of the senses.

A good party has it all - it's a sensory explosion.

To feast our eyes, ears, taste and touch by entertaining, drinking and eating.

It's a wonderful moment when all your friends first come in the door; people are introduced, coats are taken. The clink of ice in the glass as gin and tonic is poured. I like a cocktail to get the party going. There's always a different drink for a different time of day.

A Black Velvet for a Sunday lunch, a G&T or Negroni for an evening soirée. And, of course, you can't go wrong with a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne.

A big bucket piled with ice and lots of bottles helps the scene go with a bit of swing.

It's always best to sit down to eat, at long tables, not too wide. The tablecloth shouldn't be too long, and the flowers shouldn't be too high. Everyone should see each other, hear each other. At a big dinner I catered for in Vienna, the tables were so wide and round, and the music so loud that guests had to resort to speaking to each other on their mobile phones. Mental. Keep things snug, instead; keep it intimate. You want everyone to be able to have a little flirt.

Music is tricky. Before, yes; after, yes. But please, not while you're eating. It doesn't aid digestion.

What to cook? It should be something special, but not too crazy - nothing that kills you in the making. You also should be able to sit down and enjoy yourself. Your friends have come to see you, not listen to you frantically cooking away, looking stressed.

It's nice to have some things on the table that everyone can pick at in a relaxed way. Rillettes and terrines work well here. Bowls of warm brandade and baskets of fresh toasted bread, followed by whole artichokes with vinaigrette are a beautiful beginning to any feast. Artichokes running down the whole length of the table with everyone happily sucking away, expressing their personalities with the way they place their leaves, is a beautiful sight to behold. I love all the action and movement and excitement and mess.

Some dishes certainly work better for parties than others. It's all about the shopping. Try to buy really good seasonal produce - fresh and happy. If you don't like the way it looks, don't buy it. One-pot dishes are good for stand-up parties. Risotto is tasty, and everyone loves it - all that butter and parmesan. We often serve it in paper cups. Less washing. Less hiring.

For stand-up drinks parties, I tend to serve a few simple canapés like really good crisps, a large bowl of olives and some radishes with their leaves left on. It used to seem so naughty to serve them that way, but everyone looks so glamorous munching on a radish, and women love them.

Cheese is important. Not too much choice, though - maybe just one whole cheese served with a green salad. And more wine.

Ahh, everyone is relaxed now and it's time for pudding: fruit tart with crème fraîche, crumble or a simple chocolate nemesis. Break up some glamour-chocolate roughly, then let them pick away at it with their coffee and digestif. Another winning combination is whisky - a malt such as Lagavulin - with shortbread.

Then, afterwards. A really good dinner party will end with dancing. That's my firm opinion. If the bride is seen dancing on the table at a wedding, it's a sure sign that marriage is going to last.

Feast, dancing, action!

Illustration Lara Porter

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