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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.

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.

Shannon Bennett: Pear tarte Tatin


You'll need

180 gm caster sugar 180 gm butter, cut into 8 pieces 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthways 4 ripe firm pears such as Packham, Williams or small beurre Bosc, halved, cored and each studded with a clove 2 sheets butter puff pastry (375gm each) To serve: pouring cream and pure icing sugar   Eight-spice powder 2½ tsp juniper berries 5 star anise 2 tsp cloves 1 tsp white peppercorns ½ tsp cardamom seeds 1 large cinnamon quill 1 small pinch saffron 2 tsp Murray River salt flakes

Method

  • 01
  • For eight-spice powder, dry-roast ingredients (except salt) until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind with salt until finely ground, set aside.
  • 02
  • Divide sugar between two 18cm-diameter cast-iron frying pans, divide butter cubes between pans, sprinkle each pan with 1 tsp eight-spice powder (reserve remainder for another use), then place halved vanilla bean in the centre in a cross. Place pear halves in pans cut-side up, cover with puff pastry, trim into a circle and firmly tuck in edges, then refrigerate to rest (15 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190C. Score pastry in the centre and between each pear half, then cook over low-medium heat until sugar begins to caramelise (12-18 minutes). Carefully baste pastry with caramel, then transfer to oven and bake until pastry is golden and puffed, basting pastry halfway through cooking (15-20 minutes). Remove from oven, loosen edges with a knife, then carefully turn out onto a chopping board, cut into pieces, dust with icing sugar and serve hot with cream.
This recipe is from the April 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

A Canadian ice wine or a passito-style dessert wine

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