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.

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.

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.

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.

How to grow zucchini

The French say courgettes, we say zucchini - whatever you call the versatile squash, now is its time to shine in the sun, writes Mat Pember.

October marks the start of spring proper, as we gardeners say, when plants really start to flourish and all vegetable growers greet it like the return of the messiah. Possibly the hardest thing about this time of year is not going overboard in terms of what to grow. While there's a smorgasbord of varieties to choose from, space limitations can narrow the options, but zucchini is one variety that passes muster for us. While they're somewhat space-greedy, one healthy bush will satisfy the demands of the most voracious zucchini-eater.

To grow zucchini, position them in an A-grade space that receives full sun and offers protection from the wind. As a large plant, it catches even moderate gusts, which can cause damage at the root zone.

In the absence of protection it requires staking. Prepare the soil with plenty of compost and chook manure before planting and ensure it's free draining.

When planting, space each plant 40 to 50 centimetres apart, then, if the zucchini take, thin them out to 80 to 100 centimetres. One healthy plant will produce more and better fruit than two in competition, so less really is more.

We like to pop our seedlings in small heaped piles of compost - around 20 centimetres in diameter and five centimetres high; the elevation allows good drainage while the compost provides the young plant with an extra boost of nitrogen that helps promote early plant growth.

Water them daily in the morning for the first few weeks and then three to four times a week as the plant begins to mature. If you give the plants an extra water on very hot, sunny days, avoid wetting the foliage as it can easily burn. If you're growing zucchini in pots, pay attention to what your plants are saying. If they're looking lifeless, you can be sure they're thirsty.

After four to six weeks, you'll notice flowers developing, signalling the start of the business end. This time of year is also usually when bees get busy, hopefully in a frenzy pollinating your flowers, but that's not always the case. Sometimes zucchini begin to form, but then shrivel up - a sign of poor pollination - so good old-fashioned hand pollination may be required. Hold no reservations about this task; it may be the only way to ensure zucchini develop as nature intended.

Once the fruit begins to form properly, zucchini can swell at a seemingly uncontrollable rate. In our experience, it's not uncommon to part with a normal-sized fruit on a Friday and come Sunday discover it has turned into a monster marrow.

The general rule of thumb is to pick early to ensure they're tender and juicy, rather than dry and hollow. When harvesting, use a small sharp knife or secateurs, and be careful when handling the plant; the bush has moderately annoying spikes all over, which become less moderate and more annoying around the neck - where you need to pick the fruit. When harvesting zucchini flowers for cooking, pick only male flowers, leaving one male per female flower to ensure pollination (see below for how to identify male and female flowers).

Picking zucchini regularly encourages the rest to develop, so avoid any long absences or laziness while the plant is producing. Each plant will offer up a glut of zucchini - for around two to three months - so gather some recipes and put them to good use.

As the weather cools down again, the annual bush will look like death. At this point let the last zucchini contribute to the new season's first ratatouille, then thank the plant for all its hard work before removing it and bidding it farewell.

One-minute skills: hand pollination
This tip is an opportunity to explain the birds and the bees. But some vegetables - pumpkin, zucchini and squash in particular - leave the birds and bees suitably unimpressed and have trouble attracting the right kind of attention, so they sometimes need a helping hand. Without pollination, there will be no fruit, and that's where the gardener comes in.

1 First you need to identify the male and female flowers on the plant. The male is connected to the plant by a long, thin stem, whereas the female has a miniature fruit growing in between the flower and the plant.

2 There are always plenty of male flowers to choose from and they're always up for hand-pollinating. The female, however, presents only windows of opportunity and are far fewer in numbers. But when her flower is opening, it's all on.

3 To hand-pollinate, simply break off a male flower, peel back the petals to reveal the stamen and rub it over the stigma of the female flower. Remember, you can't hand-pollinate a flower too much, so don't hold back.

What to plant
Cool/mountainous
Artichoke seedling
Asparagus seedling
Basil propagate
Beans seed
Beetroot seed
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Capsicum propagate
Carrot seed
Celery seedling
Chilli propagate
Coriander seedling
Cucumber seedling
Eggplant propagate
Fennel seedling
Herbs (all except basil) seedling
Kale seedling
Lettuce seedling
Peas seedling
Pumpkin seedling
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Squash seedling
Sweet corn seedling
Tomato seedling
Strawberry seedling
Zucchini seedling

Sub tropical
Artichoke seedling
Asparagus seedling
Basil seedling
Beans seed
Beetroot seed
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Capsicum seedling
Carrot seed
Celery seedling
Chilli seedling
Coriander seedling
Cucumber seedling
Eggplant seedling
Herbs (all except basil) seedling
Kale seedling
Lettuce seedling
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Peas seedling
Pumpkin seedling
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Strawberry seedling
Squash seedling
Sweet corn seedling
Tomato seedling
Zucchini seedling

Tropical
Basil seedling
Beans seedling
Beetroot seed
Bok Choi/Pak Choi seedling
Carrot seed
Capsicum seedling
Celery seedling
Chilli seedling
Cucumber seedling
Eggplant seedling
Herbs (all) seedling
Lettuce seedling
Pumpkin seedling
Rocket seedling
Radish seed
Silverbeet seedling
Spinach seedling
Spring onion seedling
Squash seedling
Strawberry seedling
Sweet Corn seedling
Tomato seedling
Zucchini seedling

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