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. 

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Give A Fork!

Buy organic, eat seasonal, think local - easily said, but often price, convenience and, sadly, the feeling that we're powerless to make any real difference can get in the way of our good intentions. But Victoria-based, not-for-profit organisation Sustainable Table is tackling these excuses head-on. This month, it launches the second year of Give A Fork!, a national campaign encouraging Australians to think hard about responsible food consumption.

"I always thought I needed to ride my bike everywhere and make sure my lights were turned off at home, but I'd never really thought about the environmental impact of my food choices," says Sustainable Table co-founder and general manager, Cassie Duncan.

"When I read that 60 per cent of our eco-footprint is embodied in the food we buy, it was really empowering to understand that, actually, we can make a difference."

Held across Australia throughout October, Give a Fork! is designed to encourage people to host low-waste meals at home to start conversations among friends about sustainability. After a successful 2013 campaign focused on sustainable seafood, this year the dinner-table discussion turns to food waste, with our single-use culture and over-consumption habits at the top of the agenda.

"Until you're asked to stop and look at the waste you've generated from hosting a dinner party, you don't even think about it. One in five shopping bags is food that gets wasted, and above and beyond that, up to 40 per cent of what we throw out every week is food waste," says Duncan.

Hosts, however, won't be alone in driving the dinner table discussion. Give A Fork! has designed a free e-book to kick things off, featuring advice on how to get the conversation moving in a more constructive direction, as well as tips on how to use the foods you might usually throw out. "Fish bones and meat offcuts can be frozen and turned into next week's stock, carrot greens and beet leaves are great sautéed or tossed through salads, and pumpkin and potato skins make for delicious, spicy paprika chips."

Guests attending Give A Fork! events will be asked to buy tickets from their hosts, the funds raised going directly towards future campaigns and more accessible resources. "That cultural element of coming together and sharing a meal, we do it less and less," says Duncan. "Why not stay up chatting to your friends until one [in the morning] with a glass of wine in hand, and make it a thoughtful, useful conversation, as well as an enjoyable one?" Restaurants such as Sydney's Vini and Sagra and Melbourne's Union Dining are doing their bit too, and offering minimal waste or 100 per cent locally sourced menu items during the month of October.

"The take-home message here is to become more mindful about our consumption habits - what we're buying, the embedded effort of the farmers who grew that food, and exactly what happens once we've disposed of it."

To register your Give A Fork! event visit the Give a Fork! website.

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