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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.

Bar H: Summer berries with mascarpone and shiso sorbet and five-spice shortbread


You'll need

500 gm strawberries (about 2 punnets) 250 gm raspberries (about 2 punnets) 250 gm blueberries (about 2 punnets) 80 ml Averna amaro (see note)   Mascarpone and shiso sorbet 300 gm caster sugar 500 gm mascarpone Juice of 2 lemons   Five-spice shortbread 150 gm butter, softened 35 gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting 2 egg yolks 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour 1 tbsp five-spice powder 150 gm almond meal

Method

  • 01
  • For mascarpone and shiso sorbet, bring sugar, shiso and 200ml water to the boil in a saucepan, stir to dissolve sugar, remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug (discard shiso). Whisk mascarpone in a bowl, then gradually add syrup, whisking continuously until smooth. Add lemon juice, stir to just combine, then freeze in an ice-cream machine, being careful not to over-churn as this will result in a grainy texture. Freeze until firm (2-3 hours or until required). Makes about 1 litre.
  • 02
  • For five-spice shortbread, preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, add yolks one at a time and beat until combined. Sift in flour and five-spice, add almond meal and mix with your hands until mixture comes together. Roll heaped tablespoons of dough into balls about 3cm in diameter, then shape into crescents. Place on oven trays lined with baking paper and bake, swapping trays halfway through cooking time, until golden(15-20 minutes). While warm, dust heavily with caster sugar and set aside to cool. Shortbread will keep in an airtight container for a week.
  • 03
  • To serve, halve strawberries and combine in a bowl with raspberries, blueberries and Averna amaro. Divide among serving dishes, top with mascarpone and shiso sorbet and serve with five-spice shortbread.
Note Averna amaro is a bitter Italian liqueur available from select liquor shops. If it’s unavailable, substitute another amaro.

This recipe is from the December 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“What better way on a hot summer’s day to finish a big Christmas lunch than with a huge bowl of summer berries and a lovely refreshing sorbet.” - Hamish Ingham, Bar H, Sydney

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

A medium-sweet dessert wine with a dry finish, such as 2006 Ökonomierat Rebholz Albersweiler Latt Gewürztraminer, Pfalz, Germany.

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