Healthy Eating

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How to barbecue like Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal at The Grounds of Alexandria

Heston Blumenthal at The Grounds of Alexandria

Heston Blumenthal's latest handiwork has less to do with disguising meat as fruit, as he's famous for at The Fat Duck, and more to do with the simple and perhaps most vital cooking technique known to man - cooking with fire.

Working with Australian manufacturers Everdure, Blumenthal touched down in Australia for a hot minute this week to launch his own range of sleek, modern barbecues, right in time for grilling season. The collection of six spans from charcoal-powered to gas, and come in sizes perfect for the deck at home or in a more portable size to transport to the park or beach.

"I've been doing a lot of work on the link between food and cooking and being human," says Heston at his launch at Sydney's The Grounds of Alexandria cafe. "We're the only creature that can make fire, and the only creature that cooks its food. The actual act of barbecuing is something that's in our blood." His range has made it easier than ever. The Fusion range of charcoal barbecues has eliminated the need for matches or lighter fluid with a one-touch ignition button. Press it to light the coals, and the temperature will rise to the optimal temperature for cooking within 10 minutes. A discreetly powered rotisserie attachment is one of the best add-ons available for the likes of porchetta, lamb shoulder or whole chicken, all infused with the flavour of charcoal smoke.

The gas range, available in graphite, mint, orange, red and stone enamel coatings, "are the most powerful gas barbecue on the planet," says Heston, who points out the extra roomy hood makes for perfect heat convection.

Next time you're picking up some prawns for an impromptu barbecue on the beach, take Heston's Cube along too. A portable and compact charcoal barbecue that's lightweight thanks to its aluminium construction,  it's easy to set up, store and clean. 

Heston's top barbecuing tips:

- Grilling can only add so much flavour. Buy only the best quality meat and you're already halfway to greatness.

- Throw some fresh herbs on the charcoal while cooking, spritzing with water every so often to add a fragrant smoke.

- Wait until a crust of ash forms on the charcoal before cooking, that'll ensure the coals will have cooled down enough to emit a steady heat.

- For fish and delicate seafood, cook off centre and away from the direct heat.

- Always bring meat to room temperature before cooking to ensure an even temperature in the centre.

- Flip your steaks! It keeps the juices and flavour from dripping away.

- After you've removed your meat from the heat, let it rest to seal in the juices.

- It may seem obvious but clean your barbecue regularly - sticky build ups lead to flare-ups.

everdurebyheston.com

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