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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Vine-smoked flounder with refrito


You'll need

2 cups red gum or other dense woodchips 6 dry grapevine trimmings (optional) 2 flounder (about 800gm each), cleaned (see note)   Refrito 500 ml (2 cups) olive oil 100 ml cider vinegar 1 garlic clove

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat a coal-bedded barbecue to very high. Make a fire in the barbecue, using woodchips, about 45 minutes before cooking the fish (see note). Once flames have died down to embers and the grill is hot, cover embers with grapevines.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for refrito, process ingredients in a food processor until smooth, set aside.
  • 03
  • Remove fins from fish, if desired (they may burn if left on). Brush refrito over fish and barbecue, darker skin-side down, basting frequently with refrito, until cooked 80 per cent of the way through and skin caramelises (5-10 minutes). Turn and baste until just cooked through (1-2 minutes), season to taste with sea salt and serve with sautéed artichoke hearts.
Note If using a gas barbecue or chargrill plate, skip step 1 and do not use woodchips or grapevines in cooking. You can use four 400gm flounder if larger sizes are unavailable but you may need to adjust the cooking time.

It’s preferable to use a small wood or charcoal-fuelled barbecue for this recipe but you can use a gas barbecue or chargrill plate (see note). It’s important that, when you cook over wood, you do so with red embers. You may need to adjust the quantity of woodchips for larger barbecues. Grapevine is traditionally used in the Basque country because it creates sweeter smoke.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

A crisp, clean and delightful chardonnay, one that has little or no oak, such as the 2007 Henty Estate Chardonnay, Henty, Victoria.

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