Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

Summer chicken cassoulet


"This is a summery, lighter version of cassoulet," says Sibley. "Usually a very rich dish made with confit duck or even goose, pork sausage and loads of breadcrumbs, it's a wonderful classic. But this version is for the warmer months, so I use chicken, ripe tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables, along with the traditional cannellini beans." Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the beans.

You'll need

6 baby carrots, halved lengthways 4 banana shallots, thickly sliced 200 ml extra-virgin olive oil, or enough to cover the pan well 2 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 3cm thick slice of kaiserfleisch or good smoked bacon 300 gm cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock 4-6 fragrant truss tomatoes, stalks left on 160 gm (2 cups) fresh white breadcrumbs 3 tarragon sprigs, leaves roughly chopped 100 gm butter, melted To serve: green salad   Boudin blanc 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 eggwhites 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream 20 gm tarragon, chopped Pinch of cayenne pepper   Confit chicken 4 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf 6 garlic cloves 200 gm rock salt 4 chicken Marylands 2 kg duck fat (see note)

Method

  • 01
  • For boudin blanc, refrigerate the bowl of a food processor for 10 minutes. Cut the chicken fillets into about 6-8 chunks and blend in the chilled food processor with 1 tsp salt until smooth and shiny. Add the eggwhites and continue to process until glossy. Transfer the chicken mixture from the food processor to a large bowl and stir in the cream. Add the tarragon and cayenne pepper and white pepper to taste. Check the seasoning by wrapping a teaspoonful of the mousse in plastic wrap, like a little sausage, then tying off the ends and poaching it in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Unwrap and taste the boudin, and then season if necessary. Put the chicken mixture into a piping bag with a wide nozzle. Place four 30cm sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Pipe a thick 15cm sausage down the centre of each piece of plastic wrap and roll up tightly. Make sure there are no air bubbles. Tie off each end. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer over medium heat. Poach or steam the boudin gently (simmer only, if poaching) for 5-6 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • 02
  • For confit chicken, using a mortar and pestle, pound the herbs, garlic and a little of the salt, then mix with the rest of the salt. Toss the chicken in the salt and leave to disgorge for 4 hours at room temperature (this will draw moisture from the flesh while also imparting the flavours from the salt). Preheat the oven to 130C. Rinse all the salt mixture off and pat dry. Melt the duck fat in a deep baking dish, add the chicken leg quarters and cover with a piece of baking paper pressed onto the surface. Cover with foil and cook for 3 hours. Allow to cool in the fat. When cool, gently remove the chicken and drain on paper towels. Cut the thighs from the legs and set aside until serving.
  • 03
  • Sweat the carrots and shallots in the extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat until they start to colour. Add the herbs, garlic, kaiserfleisch and beans, then pour the stock over. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, topping up with extra stock or water if necessary, until the beans are tender. Remove the kaiserfleisch and cut into 2cm pieces.
  • 04
  • Increase the oven temperature to 190C. Put the chicken legs and thighs on an oven tray lined with baking paper and put in the oven while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • 05
  • Slice the boudin diagonally and char-grill or pan-fry over medium-high heat on the cut surface until nicely coloured. Check the seasoning of the beans, remembering the confit chicken will be salty. Warm the beans with the kaiserfleisch, tomatoes and boudin pieces arranged nicely in a casserole dish or copper pan. Add the chicken legs and thighs.
  • 06
  • Mix the breadcrumbs with the tarragon and butter and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the cassoulet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and the crumbs are golden.
  • 07
  • Serve in the middle of the table along with a big green salad.

Note Duck fat is available at good butchers and food stores. This recipe is from New Classics ($49.95, hbk) by Philippa Sibley, published by Hardie Grant Books. It has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Featured in

Dec 2013

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