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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.

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.

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.

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.

Vanilla custard with ginger granita and Granny Smith apple


You'll need

2-3 Granny Smith apples   Ginger granita 125 gm caster sugar 80 gm (16cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped 1 tbsp lemon juice   Baked vanilla cream 675 ml pouring cream ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 105 gm caster sugar 6 egg yolks

Method

  • 01
  • For ginger granita, combine sugar, ginger and 600ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar, then increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, cover and stand to infuse (20 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve, pressing on ginger to remove as much liquid as possible (discard ginger), then add lemon juice, pour into a shallow tray, transfer to freezer and stir occasionally with a fork until frozen and ice crystals form (3-6 hours). Makes about 600ml.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for baked vanilla cream, preheat oven to 160C. Combine cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until hot (5 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and stand to infuse (1 hour). Whisk sugar and yolks in a bowl until pale and creamy (3-4 minutes). Reheat cream over medium heat until hot, then gradually pour onto yolk mixture, gently stirring to combine. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug, pressing to remove as many seeds as possible from the vanilla bean (discard vanilla bean). Stand for 5 minutes, then skim foam from surface. Divide evenly among six 250ml ovenproof glasses. Place glasses on a folded tea towel placed in a deep roasting pan, ensuring they are sitting level. Fill pan with enough hot water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of glasses and cover with foil. Pierce a few holes in foil with a skewer to release steam, then bake until set, but with a slight wobble (30-35 minutes). Remove from oven, remove foil and stand in water until cool (30-40 minutes). Remove from water, dry glasses and refrigerate until chilled and firm (2 hours).
  • 03
  • Cut apples into 1cm dice, divide among custards, top with granita and serve immediately.
This recipe is from the September 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“Baking a simple custard in an individual dish, whether it’s a glass or a ramekin or an old tea cup, presents endless options for serving. A sprinkle of sugar, caramelised; some poached fruit or jam; fresh berries and a splash of honey or balsamic vinegar; caramelised oranges; tea-poached prunes – it really can be whatever takes your fancy.”

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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