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.

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.

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.

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.

Quick meals with green lentils

Beetroot and soft-egg salad

Beetroot and soft-egg salad

When you're talking the tiny refined French variety of lentil, you've got a legume ready for prompt deployment.

Most dried legumes need to be soaked overnight, which rules them out for last-minute meals. Not so French-style green lentils, known as vertes du Puy in France after the region where they're grown (they're now also grown in Italy, North America and Australia).

These small, beautiful lentils have a slightly nutty flavour, don't need soaking and are quick to cook, so you can have them on the table in next to no time. They have a great texture, too; unlike red or brown lentils, they hold their shape and are less inclined to turn to mush.

Lentils take up flavours easily and benefit from simmering in a flavoursome stock. Green lentils are happy dressed in a vinaigrette and served warm or at room temperature, here with roast beetroot and soft egg. They also make excellent bedfellows for smoky bacon, confit duck or pork - and they're great for soaking up the juices of roast meats.

Beetroot and soft-egg salad with warm lentil vinaigrette
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 200C. Trim 2 bunches of baby beetroot, wrap each beetroot in foil and roast until tender (45-50 minutes). When cooled, peel and halve. Boil 6 room-temperature eggs until cooked to your liking (7 minutes for soft yolk), then refresh and peel. Boil 150gm small green lentils until just tender (20-25 minutes), drain and place in a bowl. Sauté 1 thinly sliced golden shallot and 1 finely chopped garlic clove in 90ml olive oil over medium-high heat until tender (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar and finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, season to taste and stir in lentils. Break eggs in half and serve with beetroot and warm lentil vinaigrette, flat-leaf parsley and chopped chives.

Roast chicken with green lentils and lemon
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 200C. Scatter 200gm small green lentils, 1 each finely chopped golden shallot, carrot and garlic clove in a roasting pan, top with 1 butterflied chicken, skin side up, and squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon. Add 250ml chicken stock, drizzle chicken with olive oil and season the skin to taste. Tuck a few sprigs of thyme and tarragon under the chicken, cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove foil and roast until chicken is golden brown and lentils are tender (25-30 minutes), then serve with extra thyme and tarragon scattered over.

Lentil and garlic soup
Serves 4-6
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 each finely chopped leek, carrot and celery stalk and 3 finely chopped garlic cloves and sauté until tender (8-10 minutes). Deglaze pan with 150ml dry white wine and simmer until almost evaporated, then add 1 litre chicken stock, 300gm small green lentils, 200 gm canned chopped tomatoes, 3 thyme sprigs and 1 fresh bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender (25-30 minutes). Discard herbs, add 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or to taste), then pulse with a hand-held blender to a coarse purée. Adjust thickness with water or extra stock, season to taste and keep warm. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add 120gm bacon lardons and fry until crisp (2-3 minutes). Stir in 1 finely chopped garlic clove and 2 tsp thyme. Top with lardons and some of the cooking oil and serve hot.

Braised lentils and sausages
Serves 4
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 4 thick pork and red wine sausages and brown all over (3-4 minutes), then remove from pan. Add 2 finely chopped bacon rashers, 1 each finely chopped onion, carrot and celery stalk and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and sauté until tender and translucent (6-7 minutes). Add 500ml chicken stock, 250gm small green lentils and 500ml water, bring to a simmer and cook until lentils are just tender (20-25 minutes), returning sausages to pan for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Stir in ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tbsp chopped sage, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, season to taste and serve.

Hot tip
+ Adding salt to the cooking water can lengthen the cooking time of lentils and other legumes. It's best to season the dish once the lentils are cooked to your liking.

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