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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Homemade mascarpone, espresso granita and cherries


"This dish needs to be started 48 hours ahead, but it's worth it for the fine texture and the homemade mascarpone," says Cibej. "You can add a few dried sour cherries to the cherry mixture for extra flavour."

You'll need

100 gm caster sugar ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped 400 gm cherries, pitted (see note)   Mascarpone 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream 2 tsp lemon juice   Espresso granita 125 gm caster sugar Finely grated rind of ½ lemon 125 ml (½ cup) espresso-strength coffee 25 ml Nocello (see note)   Hazelnut praline 100 gm hazelnuts For greasing: vegetable oil 80 gm caster sugar

Method

  • 01
  • For mascarpone, bring cream to the boil in a saucepan. Add lemon juice, stir, remove from heat, then pour into a 2 litre non-reactive bowl and set aside to cool (20 minutes), then refrigerate until set (overnight). Pour into a muslin-lined fine sieve, cover, weight with a plate and refrigerate until well drained (overnight). Remove mascarpone from muslin and store in a non-reactive bowl until required. Mascarpone will keep refrigerated for 2-4 days.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for espresso granita, combine sugar and 125ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly syrupy (2 minutes). Remove from heat, add lemon rind, coffee, Nocello and 75ml water, transfer to a shallow tray and freeze, stirring with a fork every 30 minutes, until ice crystals form (approximately two hours).
  • 03
  • Combine sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and 200ml water in a saucepan, stir, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly syrupy (2 minutes). Add half the cherries (and dried cherries if using) and cook until beginning to soften (5-7 minutes). Add remaining cherries and simmer until just tender (2-3 minutes). Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled. The syrup should be sticky and thick at this point; if too runny, remove fruit, return syrup to heat and reduce to desired consistency.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for hazelnut praline, preheat oven to 180C. Roast hazelnuts on an oven tray until lightly coloured (12-15 minutes), rub in a tea towel to remove skins (discard), then spread on a greased oven tray lined with baking paper and set aside. Combine sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals forming (10 minutes). Bring to the boil, then cook until light golden (3-4 minutes). Pour over hazelnuts and set aside until cool. Break into medium pieces and pulse in a food processor to fine crumbs.
  • 05
  • Spoon mascarpone into six 250ml glasses, top with cherries, syrup and granita. Sprinkle over praline and serve.

Note If cherries are unavailable, substitute berries. Nocello is a walnut and hazelnut liqueur available from select delicatessens.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Moscato Passito di Pantelleria or Recioto della Valpolicella.

Featured in

Nov 2010

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