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.

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.

The six golden rules of an all-you-can-eat buffet

Dress for action. Assess the target. Launch a measured attack. Seasoned trencherperson Kelly Eng serves up the buffet's rules of engagement.

The most attractive aspect of a buffet - that of indulging unparalleled greed - often blinds people to the numerous threats. Heartburn, humiliation and injury are just the tip of the iceberg. Yet, with some simple preparation, it's possible to emerge from a buffet suave and sated. Here's my game plan, wrought from many a year in the all-you-can-eat trencherman trenches.

Dress to ingest. No corsets, shapewear, pencil skirts, belts or any garment that restricts expansion or movement. A tight, structured shirt will prevent nimble and rapid canapé retrieval, while a pencil skirt or, for the gents, a kilt will impede long strides to and around the buffet table.

Follow the smorga sutra. Pace is everything. It's not a sprint, it's an ultra-marathon. Whatever you may tell yourself, there's a finite amount of gastrointestinal tract and, in order to digest enough sashimi to feed a small village, you will need to drip-feed it over the course of up to several hours. To avoid system overload, try the art of tantric gluttony whereby a single olive can be the object of 30 minutes' contemplative reverie instead of a one-second feeding frenzy: admire the glint of its lustrous skin, its yum-yum curves and almond-stuffed orifice.

Reconnaissance is vital. Adopt a demure expression and casually survey the offerings. Betray no emotion while you identify the buffet's high-value targets (typically proteins including ocean molluscs and large crustaceans). A dozen oysters cost $12, a dozen bread rolls $2. It doesn't take Stephen Hawking to work out which to prey upon. Take your priority targets and conduct a rigorous SWOT analysis on the merits of, say, grilled scampi versus sachertorte or lamb rack versus Peking duck. Calculate the net worth (weight of food x quantity of food ÷ actual capacity) and draw your conclusions: sachertorte and lamb rack not feasible. Dang. Grieve. Move on.

Exhibit dominant body language. The buffet line is fraught with potential conflict - people pushing dinner plates into your back and queue jumpers wielding steak knives - the threat of carnage ever close. Exhibiting subtle yet dominant body language will help convey the "don't mess with me" message. Stand erect with your hands on your hips, legs akimbo and keep your eyes on the pies. Occupy space both horizontally and vertically - consider a top hat, foot stool or shoulder pads for added height and width.

Take a pit stop. Five plates in and you're flagging. A well-timed trip to the bathroom to refocus (perhaps through a micro-sleep or five minutes' meditation atop the cistern) may just prompt the internal reshuffle needed for one last selection of your greatest hits.

Takeaway. You've come this far - to the victor the spoils. It is your buffet-given right to smuggle out food that you neither need nor want. Study magicians' misdirection techniques: pulling a white dove from a waiter's ear can distract them while a whole wheel of brie goes in your pocket.

On Sunday morning you jolt into consciousness. "Please, god, let it have been just a dream."

Dear god, no it wasn't. You really did do all that, and at your in-laws' wedding anniversary bash, too. Oh, the shame. If only you'd followed these six guiding principles. Unfortunately, you had to learn the hard way.

While "Flight of the Bumblebee" blared frenziedly in your head, you kneed your mother-in-law for the last prawn vol-au-vent, brandished a breadstick threateningly at a child and toppled backwards into the chocolate fountain. As security escorted you out, you declared, "Je ne regrette rien!" and shook your chocolate-covered fist at a roomful of traumatised diners. The restaurant issued you with a restraining order. They didn't appreciate you running back inside to sweep a Cupid statuette into the maw of your sports bag.

If it's any comfort, you're far from the first person whose Mr or Mrs Hyde has been unleashed by unlimited self-service.

It is better to have nibbled than to have gnashed. But now you know better: it's not the last supper.

The impulsive maggot of gluttony has metamorphosed into a buffet-fly.

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