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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.

Porchetta


You'll need

1 suckling pig (about 9kg), boned and left in one piece (see note) 1½ tbsp olive oil   Fennel and herb stuffing 200 gm coarse breadcrumbs from day-old bread (about ½ loaf) 60 gm (¾ cup) finely grated parmesan 125 ml (½ cup) milk, warmed 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary 2 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, finely chopped   Iceberg and fennel salad 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced ½ iceberg lettuce, torn 1 radicchio, thinly sliced 150 gm ricotta salata (see note) Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • For fennel and herb stuffing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Set aside.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 200C fan-forced (see note). Lay pork skin-side down on a large chopping board with shoulder and leg ends either side of you and belly directly in front. Trim 5cm off belly sides and discard. Remove legs and forequarters, trim skin from legs and forequarters and discard. Cut leg and forequarter meat into large flat pieces and place over butterflied pork to cover middle section with an even layer of meat. Season to taste, spoon stuffing lengthways along centre. Tuck longest sides in towards stuffing and roll away from you into a log, so that cut side is underneath. Tie at even intervals securely with kitchen string and place on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Season skin liberally with sea salt, rub with oil and roast until skin starts to crackle (25-30 minutes). Reduce oven to 180C fan-forced and cook until porchetta is just cooked through and internal temperature reaches 76C on a meat thermometer (2¼-2½ hours). Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for iceberg and fennel salad, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Serve with thickly sliced porchetta.
Note Suckling pig will need to be ordered in advance. If you’re boning it yourself, factor in at least 30 minutes more prep time, otherwise ask your butcher to do it for you, leaving it in one whole piece. Ricotta salata is a firm cheese made from salted ricotta, available from Italian and select delicatessens. If your oven is not fan-forced, increase temperature according to manufacturer’s instructions.

To make this lavish dish, you’ll need to find a butcher who sells suckling pig and is also willing to bone it for you. But the wonderful thing about roasting what becomes a very large fragrant roll of sweet, delicate-flavoured pork is there is hardly any fat and the skin becomes paper-thin crackling. It’s also easy to carve and can be eaten hot, warm, cold or over the next few days in sandwiches. Having said that, this recipe can also be applied to a loin of mature pork – I recommend the shoulder and always buy from very good, preferably Italian butchers who understand that pork must be female for the best flavour.

At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people

Drink Suggestion

Nebbiolo or pinot noir such as Kiltynane Estate Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley.

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