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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

Lemon dream

"This cake is the new religion at Flour and Stone, and never fails to send those worshipping it into a dream of billowy clouds," says Ingram. "It has come to many parties, including one where its name was changed to reflect the euphoric place it transports you to."

Raw milk cheese in Australia

Raw milk cheese

Raw milk cheese

New regulations will bring greater choice to the cheeseboards of Australians, writes Will Studd.

It's no coincidence that the world's most respected benchmark cheeses are made from raw milk. The reason is simple: flavour. They owe their unique authentic qualities to origin, or terroir: a combination of soil, climate, season, pasture, tradition, culture, and the skills and craft of the cheesemaker. Many of these cheeses have been prohibited in Australia, but in December last year Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approved changes to regulations to allow the local production and sale of raw-milk cheese.

The right to produce cheese from raw milk is a controversial issue for cheesemakers. On one side of the debate are industrial producers, who make cheese from pasteurised milk and claim that the use of raw milk is a potential health risk. On the other side, artisan cheesemakers question why they should abandon traditional, scientifically recognised control methods.

The changes to the code are long overdue and mark a critical moment for the future of local artisan cheesemaking in Australia. In most European countries, cheese can be made from raw milk under strict regulations that ensure a similar level of public safety to that provided by cheese made from pasteurised milk. However, the opportunity to produce or sell raw-milk cheese in Australia is a highly contentious subject.

When Australian national food standards sought to prohibit all raw-milk cheese in 1998, I was horrified by the implications and organised a group of friends working with specialist cheese to lobby for change. European producers were worried the proposal would establish an international trade precedent. In the subsequent barrage of diplomatic protest, a special exemption was granted for Gruyère, Emmenthal and Sbrinz. Anticipating further challenges from the Italians, FSANZ made modifications to allow the sale of "imported" hard cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano, but our requests to review Australian regulations banning the local production of raw-milk cheese were rejected.

Ironically, the major catalyst for change was the seizure of a shipment of Roquefort that I imported in 2002. Roquefort is the oldest and most popular raw-milk cheese in France and, at the time, was sold all over the world without restrictions - except in Australia and New Zealand where it was banned. It falls into a category of cheese that carries a greater food safety risk than hard-cooked grating cheese because of its high moisture content. When FSANZ refused to allow this benchmark to be tested for equivalent safety standards, it became a personal unofficial test case of the Australian ban on raw-milk cheese. After two years of legal discussion, a court of appeal ruled that Roquefort violated the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code. The original order for its re-export or destruction by deep burial was upheld. So I arranged a faux funeral and the cheese was ceremoniously carried to the tip in the back of a hearse draped with the French flag and buried to the sounds of "Le Marseilles".

I was branded a "food terrorist" by one Australian industry magazine and the French weren't happy with the stunt either; Australia's embarrassing prohibition had established a dangerous trade precedent that could be repeated in larger markets, such as the US. After an 18-month review, in 2005 FSANZ finally published a lengthy report repealing the ban against Roquefort.

It meant that another special exemption was made to the code, and it became clear that any policy banning raw-milk cheese in Australia was open to challenge.

In 2004 I lodged an application with FSANZ to review the standards for the production and sale of raw-milk cheese. Since officially accepting the application, FSANZ announced only minor changes allowing the domestic production of hard-cooked curd cheese under strict production and ageing conditions. This outcome enabled visionary cheesemaker Nick Haddow to create Bruny Island C2, and the principles were subsequently adopted by Hindmarsh Valley Dairy (Emme), Udder Delights (King Saul blue) and Woodside Cheese Wrights (Greedy Goat).

The latest changes are far more significant and will mean many more new types of raw-milk cheese on the local market. The guidelines require stringent testing and control at every stage of the cheesemaking process, and an approved food safety plan to result in a cheese safe to eat. Ironically, these are all parameters FSANZ used to justify the sale of Roquefort a decade ago.

It has been a long wait, but the new standards will be a game-changer for cheese choice in Australia.

There's so much you can do with dairy. Check out our dairy recipes slideshow for 20 things to make with cream, cheese and milk.

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