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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.

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. 

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.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

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.

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This versatile smallgood lends its big flavours to South American stews, soups, and salads, not to mention the ultimate hot dog. Let the sizzling begin.

Thomas Keller: BLT


You'll need

100 gm fine sea salt 60 gm caster sugar 500 gm boneless pork belly (see note) 250 ml dry white wine 1 onion, coarsely chopped 1 carrot, coarsely chopped 1 leek, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 2 thyme sprigs 8 brioche slices, 5mm thick, to serve 1 black truffle (optional), thinly sliced, to serve 2 tbsp clarified butter   Rocket purée 400 gm wild rocket, picked 45 ml extra-virgin olive oil   Tomato soup 2 tbsp olive oil ½ carrot, finely chopped ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 golden shallot, finely chopped Pinch of chilli flakes 800 gm canned San Marzano tomatoes (see note) 1 bouquet garni (see note) 2 tbsp crème fraîche

Method

  • 01
  • Combine salt, sugar and 1½ litres water in a large non-reactive container. Submerge pork with weights in brine, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 175C. Remove pork from brine, rinse and pat dry with kitchen towel, place in a casserole with wine, onion, carrot, leek, garlic, thyme and 750ml water. Cover and cook in oven until tender (1½-2 hours). Drain pork (discard liquid), press between two trays covered with baking paper, weight with food cans and refrigerate until completely cold.
  • 03
  • For tomato soup, heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add carrot, onion, garlic and shallot, stirring occasionally until soft (7-10 minutes). Add chilli flakes, tomato and bouquet garni. Simmer, stirring occasionally until infused and warmed through (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, discard bouquet garni, process in a blender until smooth. Stir through crème fraîche, add water to adjust to soup consistency, if necessary. Pass through a fine sieve, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for rocket purée, blanch rocket (5-10 seconds), then refresh. Drain well, squeeze out excess moisture, and process in a small food processor until finely chopped (1 minute). With motor running, add oil and process until a fine paste forms, season to taste, refrigerate until required.
  • 05
  • Cut pork into 5mm slices. Spread half the brioche slices with rocket purée, layer with pork and truffle, season to taste, top with remaining bread slices. Brush outsides with clarified butter and toast, one at a time, in a large frying pan over medium heat, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes, each side). Cut into fingers, serve warm with tomato soup.
Note Use female pork belly where available.San Marzano tomatoes are a type of plum tomato. Substitute a canned Roma-style tomato. For the bouquet garni, Thomas Keller uses 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig, 1 tarragon sprig and 2 black peppercorns.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

A fruity rosé.

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