Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 25th June, 2017 and receive a Laguiole cheese knife set!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

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.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Four ways with soba

Served hot or cold, these buckwheat noodles are a smart standby for making fast and tasty one-bowl meals.

Among our favourite Japanese larder standbys, we count a good light shoyu, furikake (the confetti-like seasoning that makes plain rice sing), and soba noodles.

Soba noodles are typiclly made with buckwheat flour, with a portion of wheat flour added for stability. We like to use Japanese soba noodles made from 100 per cent organic buckwheat flour. Not only are they gluten-free, we prefer the flavour and texture; Japanese grocers and Asian supermarkets stock a wide selection of styles, green tea among them.

The soba noodles from Australian brands Hakubaku and Spiral Foods, available at supermarkets, are also good choices. The first is a blend of wheat and buckwheat flours; the latter is organic and all buckwheat. It's worth noting that 100 per cent buckwheat soba noodles break easily during cooking, so be gentle. Carefully slide them from the packet into a large saucepan of boiling water, separating them as they go in, and give them only a gentle stir as they come up to the boil.

It's traditional to halt the cooking of the noodles by adding cold water to the pot. As Jane Lawson, author of Zenbu Zen and operator of Japanese Zenbu Tours, notes, "Japanese chefs arrest the boiling water once or twice with half a cup of cold water, then bring up to the boil again, which helps cook them more slowly and maintain a good texture."

Whether you're eating them hot or cold, refresh soba in a large bowl of cold water after cooking - the starch sticks easily once the liquid is drained away. Serve them in soups in winter, and chilled with a dipping sauce in summer, or toss them in a salad. A little grated daikon or ginger complements the earthy buckwheat flavour nicely.

Soba salad with red cabbage, coriander and cucumber
Serves 4 as a light meal

Bring 60ml (¼ cup) brown rice vinegar, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Transfer to a large bowl and cool, then whisk in 2 tbsp olive oil and 1½ tbsp unhulled tahini. Add ¼ small thinly sliced red cabbage, toss to combine and set aside. Cook 270gm dried soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice (see left), until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then add noodles to cabbage along with ½ cup coarsely chopped coriander, ½ diced telegraph cucumber, 1 thinly sliced spring onion and a large handful baby spinach leaves, toss to combine, season to taste and serve.

Chicken with green-tea soba
Serves 4

Fry 2 chicken breasts (250gm each) in a frying pan in 2 tsp grapeseed oil over medium heat turning once, until cooked through (10-12 minutes). Thickly slice, return to pan with 100gm wood-ear mushrooms and stir to warm through. Cook 250gm dried green-tea soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice (see left) until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then transfer to a large bowl. Add 60ml (¼ cup) grapeseed oil, 2 finely chopped spring onions, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, juice of ½ lemon, 20gm finely grated ginger and the chicken and mushrooms, toss to combine and serve.

Soba with tempura prawns
Serves 4 as a light meal

Bring 50gm katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and 900ml water to a simmer in a saucepan, then remove from heat and leave to steep, stirring occasionally (5-6 minutes). Strain, pressing on solids, season with 2 tbsp light soy sauce and 1 tsp roasted sesame oil, and keep warm. Cook 270gm dried soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice, until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then transfer to a bowl and drizzle with 2 tsp grapeseed oil. Heat 5cm grapeseed oil in a saucepan until hot. Whisk 50gm tempura flour with 150ml iced water in a bowl. Coat 8 shiso leaves and 4 peeled uncooked prawns in batter, fry until crisp (2-3 minutes), then drain on paper towels. Divide soba and warm stock among bowls, top with tempura and toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Zaru soba with dipping sauce, grated radish and kingfish
Serves 4 as a starter

Bring 25gm katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and 300ml water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add 1 tsp caster sugar and stand for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Strain, pressing on solids, add 2 tbsp light soy sauce or to taste, 2 tsp finely grated ginger and 1 tsp each mirin and rice vinegar, then refrigerate to chill. Meanwhile, cook 270gm dried soba in a saucepan of boiling water, arresting water twice until tender (3-4 minutes). Drain, refresh in cold water, then divide among bowls and drizzle with ½ tsp grapeseed oil. Top with finely grated radish and thin slices of sashimi kingfish, scatter with toasted sesame seeds and serve with dipping sauce.

Hot tips

In Japan, cold soba served simply on a bamboo mat with a dipping sauce is called mori soba. They can be served the same way with a variety of toppings on the side, such as shredded nori, grated daikon, shoyu, roasted sesame oil, gomasio (sesame salt), shichimi togarashi (chilli seasoning), yuzu juice, chopped spring onions and wasabi.

GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

What is Bull-Dog sauce?

Tonkatsu sauce is Japan’s answer to barbecue sauce, and Bull...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×