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.

O Tama Carey's fried eggs with seeni sambol, coconut and turmeric

"I first cooked a version of this dish - inspired by the excellent deep-fried egg dish at Billy Kwong - while working at a restaurant in Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "The lattice-like eggs are doused in a creamy turmeric curry sauce and topped with seeni sambol, a sweet-spiced caramelised onion relish. This dish is equally perfect for an indulgent breakfast as it is served as part of a larger meal." The recipe for the seeni sambol makes more than you need, but to get the right balance of spices you need to make at least this much. It keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks; use as an onion relish. The curry sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

The cheat: roast capsicum

Roast red capsicum and saffron soup

Roast red capsicum and saffron soup

Used in dips, soups, salads and pasta, sweet, char-grilled peppers bring richness and colour to many a midweek meal.

There's no doubt that the fiery-coloured red capsicum is at its best char-grilled or roasted. It develops a mellow sweetness and silky texture that's perfect for use in anything from salads to sauces, soups and pasta dishes. But let's face it: peeling and seeding a roast capsicum can be annoyingly fiddly. Buying char-grilled or roast capsicum, either from the deli counter or in jars, is an investment that doesn't compromise quality (the same can't be said for char-grilled eggplant; we've never found a store-bought version that can hold a candle to anything home-made).

Buying ready-made roast capsicum cuts a good hour off any recipe that calls for the ingredient. The examples on offer at the deli counter usually haven't been preserved in any way, so should be used within a few days of buying. Jarred roast or char-grilled capsicum, on the other hand, is shelf-stable until it's opened (and before the best-before date) and is a great pantry stand-by. Once open, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to a week or so.

Roast red capsicum and saffron soup (pictured)
Serves 4-6
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then sauté 1 thinly sliced Spanish onion and 1 finely chopped garlic clove until tender (4-5 minutes). Add 125ml dry white wine and ½ tsp saffron, and simmer until liquid reduces by half (2-3 minutes). Add 1 litre chicken stock, 400gm canned tomato, 400gm char-grilled capsicum, 3 thyme sprigs and season to taste. Simmer until well-flavoured (10-15 minutes), add 50gm coarsely torn crustless day-old sourdough and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, remove from heat, stand until bread softens, then purée with a hand-held blender. Serve hot, with a dollop of natural yoghurt, and scattered with coarsely torn roast capsicum and thyme.

Roast capsicum and baked ricotta on garlic crostini
Serves 4
Place a 200gm wedge of firm ricotta on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, scatter with a pinch of dried chilli flakes and a pinch of dried rigani and season to taste. Roast at 200C until firm and browned on the edges (8-10 minutes), cool, then coarsely crumble. Meanwhile, combine 200gm coarsely torn char-grilled capsicum, 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tsp Sherry vinegar or to taste in a bowl, season to taste and set aside to marinate. Drizzle 8 thick slices of sourdough with a little extra-virgin olive oil and char-grill until toasted (2-3 minutes), then rub with cut-side of a garlic clove. Pile marinated capsicum mixture on top, scatter with baked ricotta and serve.

Red capsicum hummus
Serves 4-6
Process 400gm canned drained chickpeas, 200gm char-grilled capsicum, 2 tbsp hulled tahini and 2 garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth. Add 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste, process to combine, then thin with a little warm water if necessary. Season to taste and serve with warm toasted pita bread.

Roast capsicum and sausage strozzapreti
Serves 4-6
Cook 400gm dried strozzapreti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (8-10 minutes). Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté 1 thinly sliced onion and 1 finely chopped garlic clove until tender (4-5 minutes). Add 2 pork and chilli sausages squeezed out of their skins and stir, breaking into coarse chunks with a wooden spoon, until browned (2-3 minutes). Add 100ml red wine, simmer until reduced by half, then add 200gm canned cherry tomatoes and simmer until thick (2-3 minutes). Add 250gm coarsely torn char-grilled capsicum and a handful each of chopped flat-leaf parsley and oregano. Toss sauce with drained pasta and serve hot.

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