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."

Prepared chestnuts

A fresh chestnut is a hard nut to crack, so we're lucky, then, that we can buy them ready to go, making it that much easier to add some northern magic to our Christmas.

Seasonality alert! Much as we normally like to cleave to what's in season at our local fruiterer, at Christmas the usual rules don't have to apply. How else to explain roast turkey in Cairns and all those Thermoses of eggnog on Bondi Beach?

Chestnuts are a Christmas staple in the northern hemisphere, and though you won't see them imported "fresh" Down Under at this time of year, it just so happens that they freeze and vacuum-pack pretty darn well.

And the best news? They're frozen after some other poor soul has done the hard work of shelling and cooking them for you. Most good delis and fancy food stores stock them, especially at this time of year (Cheznuts, The Essential Ingredient and GJ Food are our go-to suppliers).

Prepared chestnuts can be used straight from the vac-pack, for roasting or simmering in milk for a dessert, as we've done here.

Roasted chestnut and cabbage salad
Serves 4-6 as a side
Preheat oven to 250C. Soak cup golden raisins in a bowl with 60ml sweet Sherry until plump (30 minutes), then drain (discard Sherry). Scatter 250gm halved prepared chestnuts in a roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, season generously with sea salt flakes and roast until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly. Combine 2 golden shallots, finely chopped, ¼ cabbage, finely shredded, ¼ cup finely grated parmesan and ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley in a bowl. Add chestnuts, 1 tbsp Sherry vinegar and 60ml extra-virgin olive oil, toss to combine and serve.

Chestnut, sage and sausage stuffing
Serves 6-8 (pictured)
Preheat oven to 220C. Combine 350gm crumbled pork sausage meat, 200gm prepared chestnuts, 160gm crusty bread, torn into bite-sized pieces, 1/3 cup firmly packed sage leaves, 4 golden shallots, cut into wedges, 60gm softened butter, a few strips of lemon rind and 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl and season generously to taste. Transfer to a roasting pan, cover with foil and bake until bread has soaked up most of the butter and sausages are cooked (20 minutes). Remove foil and roast until golden (15-25 minutes). Season well to taste and serve with your Christmas turkey.

Baked plums with roast chestnut and rosemary ice-cream
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 200C. Roast 200gm prepared chestnuts in an oven dish until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool, then finely chop and combine with 600gm vanilla bean ice-cream and 3 tsp finely chopped rosemary in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until just combined. Transfer to a container and freeze until required. Meanwhile, halve 4 plums and place cut-side up on an oven tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with 2 tbsp brown sugar and bake until plums are soft and caramelised (10-15 minutes). Transfer to bowls, add scoops of ice-cream and serve.

Fried chestnuts with Gorgonzola and bitter leaves
Serves 4-6 as a side
Heat 60ml olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add 250gm prepared chestnuts and fry, stirring occasionally until golden and crisp (10-15 minutes). Drain excess oil, season generously and set aside to cool on absorbent paper. Combine in a bowl with 100gm mixed bitter leaves, such as frisée and radicchio, 60gm Gorgonzola, crumbled, 50ml extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp aged red wine vinegar, toss to coat and serve.

Mont Blanc
Serves 4
Combine 500gm prepared chestnuts, 500ml milk, 75gm caster sugar and the scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean in a saucepan and cook over low heat until chestnuts are very soft (20-30 minutes). Set aside to cool, then process in a food processor to a purée. Pass through a potato ricer into 4 bowls to create mountains of puréed-chestnut noodles. Top with a large dollop of gently whipped cream and a generous grating of dark chocolate and serve.

Hot tips
+ Both frozen uncooked chestnuts and packaged blanched chestnuts have great flavour; choose frozen chestnuts if the colour is important.
+ Be careful when separating the packaged blanched chestnuts - they tend to clump together and break.

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