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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.

Crisp ham and cheese balls with mustard crème fraîche


"These look simple, but the result is luxurious and satisfying," says Fassnidge. "You can prepare these ahead and fry them when you're ready." This recipe makes 40.

You'll need

1 onion, thickly sliced 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped 1 tbsp thyme leaves 2 rosemary sprigs 2 tbsp olive oil 500 ml (2 cups) milk 160 gm butter, coarsely chopped 560 gm plain flour 110 gm aged English Cheddar, coarsely grated 3 tsp seeded mustard 3 tsp hot English mustard 5 eggs, whisked, for eggwash 280 gm (4 cups) soft fine white breadcrumbs   Poached ham hocks 2 ham hocks (650gm each) 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 1 carrot, coarsely copped 1 onion, coarsely copped 2 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf ½ tsp black peppercorns   Mustard crème fraîche 250 gm crème fraîche 30 gm wholegrain mustard 20 gm Dijon mustard 10 gm hot English mustard Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method

  • 01
  • For poached ham hocks, combine hocks in a large saucepan with vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, and cover with 3 litres of water (hock should be completely submerged). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until bones easily pull out and meat falls off (2½ hours). Cool hocks in stock, then remove meat, coarsely chop and reserve (you should have 375gm meat). Reserve 500ml ham stock (strained).
  • 02
  • Combine onion, garlic and herbs in a saucepan with olive oil and stir occasionally over medium heat until tender (5-6 minutes). Add reserved stock and milk, and bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for flavours to infuse (2 minutes), strain into a bowl (discard solids) and cool (10 minutes).
  • 03
  • Melt butter in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, then add 160gm flour and stir continuously until sand-coloured (blond roux) with a sandy texture (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat. Gradually add reserved milk mixture, whisking continuously until smooth and incorporated. Return to medium heat and stir continuously until mixture bubbles (3-4 minutes). Add hock meat and grated Cheddar, and cook until cheese melts (3 minutes). Stir in mustards and season to taste, then pour into a 3-litre plastic container and refrigerate until set and firm enough to cut (2-3 hours). Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until required.
  • 04
  • Place remaining flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Working with a cheese ball at a time, first dust with flour and tap off excess. Dip floured ball into egg and then breadcrumbs, then repeat egg and crumb stage so the balls have 2 coatings and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until required.
  • 05
  • For mustard crème fraîche, combine ingredients (see note), then transfer to a serving bowl.
  • 06
  • Preheat a deep-fryer to 160C and deep-fry cheese balls in batches, turning, until golden brown and hot on the inside (2-3 minutes; take care, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and serve immediately with mustard crème fraîche.
Note Crème fraîche varies in consistency. If necessary, whisk until thick enough to spoon.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 - 14 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 - 14 people

Drink Suggestion

2012 Channing Daughters Rosato di Sculpture Garden.

Featured in

Nov 2013

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