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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.

Poêlée of fruits, Port and saffron cream


You'll need

750 ml tawny Port 1 litre red wine 400 gm caster sugar 3 pieces each of orange and lemon rind, removed with a peeler 3 star anise 2 cinnamon quills 6 beurre bosc pears 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped 100 gm small red grapes, trimmed into bunches of 3 2 mandarins, segmented and pith removed   Saffron cream 300 ml pouring cream Pinch saffron, soaked in 2 tsp warm water

Method

  • 01
  • Simmer Port in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced by two-thirds (25-30 minutes), set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine wine, half the sugar, citrus rinds and spices in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, add pears, cover with baking paper and weight with a plate. Simmer until tender (20-25 minutes), remove from heat and cool in syrup. Drain pears from syrup before using.
  • 03
  • For saffron cream, whisk ingredients until soft peaks form and set aside in refrigerator until required.
  • 04
  • Heat remaining sugar in a large heavy-based pan over high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelised (1-2 minutes). Add half the butter, stir to combine, then add half the poached pears and cook, turning to coat in caramel (1-2 minutes). Add half the grapes and mandarin segments, turn to coat, then add half the Port reduction and simmer, stirring to combine. Divide among serving plates, repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately with saffron cream.

I originally discovered (and I believe I drooled a little on) Alain Ducasse's dessert book, given to me to make Neil Ferguson's wedding cake while I was working for Angela Hartnett at The Connaught in London. Neil moved on to New York and, after a less-than-amicable separation, he moved on to Monteverde, and then Allen & Delancey where he put this on the menu. I had the chance, after leaving Gordon in New York, to play with this dish at Allen & Delancey, and I think it's über chic. - Alistair Wise

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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