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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.

Grilled cuttlefish, roast zucchini, pickled celery and olives


You'll need

8 cuttlefish, cleaned, tentacles and wings reserved 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing and drizzling Juice of 1 lemon 1 garlic clove, finely chopped long red chillies, seeds removed, thinly sliced 3 green zucchini, cut diagonally into wedges ¼ bunch thyme, leaves picked 100 gm black olives, such as Taggiasche, squashed, pitted 1 cup (loosely packed) each flat-leaf parsley and mint ½ preserved lemon, flesh only, thinly sliced   Pickled celery 125 ml (½ cup) white wine vinegar 2 tsp caster sugar 2-3 inner white celery stalks, thinly sliced, leaves reserved

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat a char-grill pan over high heat. Open cuttlefish bodies, score inside in a cross-hatch pattern, cut into thirds, brush with a little olive oil, season to taste and grill until just opaque (30 seconds each side). Cool slightly, then combine in a non-reactive bowl with 100ml olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and one-third of the chilli. Refrigerate to marinate (4 hours-overnight).
  • 02
  • For pickled celery, combine vinegar, sugar and 125ml water in a saucepan, bring to the simmer, transfer to a non-reactive bowl and cool to room temperature. Add celery and set aside to pickle (15 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Season zucchini to taste and toss in remaining olive oil. Place in a roasting pan, scatter with thyme and roast until golden and tender (20-25 minutes).
  • 04
  • Drain cuttlefish and celery (discard liquid), place on a large plate with olives, herbs, preserved lemon and zucchini. Sprinkle with celery leaves and remaining chilli, drizzle with a little olive oil, season to taste and serve.
This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“I love the fact that you can cook cuttlefish on a smoking grill but the flesh remains soft and yielding. I also love the simplicity of this dish and the contrasting textures, colours and flavours.” You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. Andrew Cibej, Vini, Surry Hills, NSW

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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