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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.

Martin Boetz: Red curry of beef with green peppercorns, wild ginger and holy basil


You'll need

150 gm coconut oil 1 kg boneless Angus beef short rib, cut into 4cm pieces 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock, brought to the simmer 300 ml coconut cream, brought to the simmer 50 ml fish sauce, or to taste 1 tbsp shaved light palm sugar, or to taste 1 tbsp wild ginger (see note) 3 kaffir lime leaves, torn 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced 1 stalk fresh green peppercorns ½ cup each (firmly packed) holy basil and Thai basil leaves To serve: steamed jasmine rice, and kaffir lime leaf and long red chilli, each cut into julienne   Red curry paste 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 4 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned 20 gm (4cm piece) galangal, thinly sliced 50 gm smoked trout, coarsely flaked 10 long dried red chillies, seeds removed, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, thinly sliced 1 tsp dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained 1 tbsp roasted shrimp paste 1 tbsp white peppercorns, coarsely ground   Cucumber relish 200 ml rice vinegar 150 gm caster sugar 2 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned 1 pickled garlic head (see note) 1 Lebanese cucumber, diced 23 gm (5cm) piece of ginger, cut into julienne 1 red shallot, thinly sliced ½ long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into julienne ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander leaves

Method

  • 01
  • For red curry paste, pound onion, garlic, coriander roots and galangal in a large mortar and pestle to a coarse paste, then transfer to a food processor. Pound remaining ingredients (except peppercorns) with 1 tbsp sea salt to a coarse paste, then add to processor and process to a smooth paste, stir through pepper. Makes 250ml.
  • 02
  • For cucumber relish, combine vinegar, sugar, coriander root and garlic in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, remove from heat, strain and cool to room temperature. Combine cucumber, ginger, shallot, chilli and coriander leaves in a bowl, add vinegar mixture and set aside. Makes about 300ml.
  • 03
  • Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat, add curry paste and 1 tsp sea salt, stir until fragrant and roasted (10-15 minutes). Add beef, cook until sealed (2-3 minutes). Add stock and coconut cream, cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Season to taste with fish sauce and palm sugar, cook over low heat until meat is tender (2½-3 hours), adding more stock if necessary. Add wild ginger, lime leaves, chilli and peppercorns and season to taste – it should be hot, salty and sweet. Add basil, simmer for 5 minutes, then serve scattered with kaffir lime and chilli, with steamed rice and cucumber relish to the side.
Note Wild ginger is known as krachai in Thai and is available in jars. Pickled garlic is also available in jars from Asian grocers.

This recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

2006 Curly Flat Pinot Noir from Victoria.

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