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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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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.

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.

Buffalo mozzarella, raw artichoke and salsa verde


You'll need

6 globe artichokes 2 lemons, halved 1 tbsp olive oil 4 buffalo mozzarella (about 200gm each) 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling   Salsa verde 50 gm day-old crustless sourdough bread, coarsely torn into 2cm pieces 15 ml white wine vinegar 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tbsp capers in vinegar, drained 2 anchovy fillets ½ cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped ¼ cup (firmly packed) mint, finely chopped 15 gm wild rocket, finely chopped 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • For salsa verde, place bread in a bowl with vinegar and 50ml warm water and stand until liquid is absorbed (10 minutes). Process garlic, capers and anchovies in a small food processor until finely chopped, add soaked bread, herbs and rocket and blend until finely chopped, then pulse in oil to bind and season to taste. Makes about 150ml. Salsa verde will keep refrigerated, covered with oil, for a week.
  • 02
  • Trim artichoke stalks to 2cm, snap off tough outer leaves until you reach the pale, tender inner leaves. Trim bases by cutting down the length of the stem with a small sharp knife to remove the outside of the stalk. Trim 2cm from the top of each artichoke, then immediately rub cut surfaces with lemon. Scoop out the hairy, fibrous chokes with a teaspoon (discard), rub with lemon and place in a bowl of acidulated water.
  • 03
  • Thinly slice artichokes (about 3mm), drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and scatter on a large plate. Coarsely tear mozzarella, season to taste and scatter over artichokes. Drizzle salsa verde and extra-virgin olive oil over and serve immediately.
This recipe is from the November 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Full-bodied Italian white varietal such as a Fiano di Avellino.

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