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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Damien Pignolet's leeks vinaigrette


You'll need

12-18 thin leeks, trimmed of all but a trace of the green tops 3 eggs, at fridge temperature ½ iceberg lettuce, core removed, washed and spin-dried, finely shredded ½ cup finely chopped curly-leaf parsley   Vinaigrette 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 30-40 ml tarragon vinegar or white-wine vinegar, or to taste

Method

  • 01
  • Make a 2-3cm incision in the centre of the trimmed green tops of the leeks and place them, green-side down, in cold water. Leave for 10 minutes so that any dirt may be released. Trim off the roots, taking care not to disturb the hard bottoms that hold the leeks together.
  • 02
  • Select a wide shallow saucepan that will accommodate the leeks in one layer (or cook them in two batches). Place the leeks in the pan and cover with cold water, adding salt to taste. Be sure the leeks are completely submerged. Bring to the boil over high heat, then cover with a piece of baking paper and simmer gently until the leeks are tender but offer some resistance when pierced with a knife tip (10 minutes). Drain and refresh under cold running water, then stand them, green-side down, in a colander to drain.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, prick the eggs with a pin then lower into a saucepan of boiling water for 9 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water then shell the eggs and chop them coarsely.
  • 04
  • To make the vinaigrette, place the mustard, olive oil and 20ml of the vinegar in a screw-top jar with a good pinch of salt and some pepper, then shake well. Taste and adjust with extra vinegar, salt and pepper to achieve a slightly acid finish.
  • 05
  • Distribute the shaved iceberg between 6 entrée plates, placing the leeks on top. Moisten with the vinaigrette, then scatter with the egg and parsley and serve immediately.
Note Reproduced from Salades ($59.95, hbk) by Damien Pignolet, with photography by Anson Smart. Published by Lantern, an imprint of Penguin Books. Pignolet’s recipes have been reproduced with minor Gourmet Traveller style changes.

This recipe is from the September 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“My take on this classic dish is probably more of an hors d’oeuvre than a salad, since the classic recipe consists of poached leeks dressed with a French vinaigrette. I like this variation as it offers a little crunch against the soft texture of the leeks and is a really easy entrée to prepare. Leeks vinaigrette also makes a lovely accompaniment to poached salmon with anchovy butter. Put a bowl of steamed kipfler or chat potatoes on the table for guests to help themselves for a perfect simple meal.”

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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