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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.

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Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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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: Young coconut jelly and burnt mango cream with pandanus macaroons


You'll need

1 young green coconut 50 ml coconut cream 50 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar ½ tsp vanilla essence gelatine leaves (titanium strength), softened in cold water 1 large mango, cheeks thinly sliced   Burnt mango cream 500 gm mango flesh (2 large mangoes) 2 tbsp white sugar 250 ml (1 cup) milk 250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream 5 egg yolks 110 gm (½ cup) white sugar 1 tsp vanilla essence gelatine leaves (titanium strength), softened in cold water   Palm sugar caramel 25 gm yellow rock candy, crushed 45 gm light palm sugar, shaved 20 gm (¼ cup) black palm sugar, shaved 15 gm (1cm piece) turmeric, sliced ¼ pandanus leaf   Pandanus macaroons 3 eggs 225 gm (1 cup) caster sugar 80 gm (¾ cup) glutinous rice flour 50 gm (1/3 cup) tapioca flour 1 tsp vanilla essence 300 gm dry coconut flesh, shaved into long lengths with a citrus zester 60 ml (¼ cup) pandanus essence (see note) For brushing: coconut oil

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Remove juice from coconut and pour 250ml into a saucepan. Add coconut cream, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Cook over low heat until warm (60C on a thermometer; 5-6 minutes), remove from heat, strain. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to liquid, stir to dissolve. Pour into six 250ml-capacity chilled glasses, refrigerate until firm (1 hour). Layer mango slices over, refrigerate until required.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for burnt mango cream, place mango flesh on a baking tray, sprinkle over white sugar. Roast until caramelised (30 minutes). Cool slightly, then pass mangoes through a fine sieve. You’ll need 250gm of caramelised mango pulp. Meanwhile, bring milk and coconut cream to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl to combine, add vanilla and 1 tsp salt and whisk until pale and creamy. Pour over hot milk mixture, stir to combine well. Return mixture to saucepan, stir continuously over very low heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (8-10 minutes). Squeeze excess water from gelatine, stir through mixture until dissolved, then pour through a fine sieve into a bowl placed over ice. Stir through caramelised mango and combine well. Stir continuously until mixture thickens and starts to set, then spoon mixture over prepared coconut jellies and refrigerate until set (2 hours). You may have a little remaining.
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 160C. For palm sugar caramel, combine candy, sugars and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, stir until dissolved and cook for 5 minutes, add turmeric and pandanus, cook until infused (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, cool and strain. Makes 250ml.
  • 04
  • For pandanus macaroons, whisk eggs and sugar until dissolved. Sieve over both flours, fold to combine. Add vanilla essence and 1 tsp salt, fold through shaved coconut and pandanus essence. Brush a 14-hole, 20ml-capacity round Thai cookie-mould tin (see note) with coconut oil. Heat in oven for 5 minutes, spoon coconut mixture into each hole until full, then twist the coconut with your hands so it stands up in the mould. Reduce oven temperature to 150C and bake on a baking tray until golden and cooked through (35 minutes). Cool slightly, carefully remove macaroons and set aside to cool to room temperature (20-30 minutes). Drizzle palm sugar caramel to taste over young coconut and burnt mango jellies and serve with macaroons to the side.
Note For pandanus essence, blend three shredded pandanus leaves with 60ml water in a blender until finely puréed, then pass through a fine sieve. Round Thai cookie-mould tins are available from select Thai grocers. If unavailable, substitute a 12-hole mini muffin tray.

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

2008 Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling.

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