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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Chickpea soup


"Chickpea soup has an earthy flavour and nourishes the soul," says Kathy Tsaples. "It's definitely a favourite with family. Crusty bread is a must with this soup, and feta and olives are good too." You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the chickpeas.

You'll need

150 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve 1 large onion, chopped 500 gm dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight 1-2 celery sticks, thinly sliced 1 fresh bay leaf Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley Sprinkling of dried oregano

Method

  • 01
  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and sauté until it starts to colour (8-10 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas, rinse them and drain them again. Shake the colander to dry the chickpeas as much as possible, then add them to the pan. Turn them with a spatula for a few minutes to coat them well with the oil.
  • 03
  • Add the celery and bay leaf, then pour in enough hot water to submerge the contents of the pot by about 4cm. Bring to the boil. Skim off any white froth that rises to the surface using a slotted spoon. Lower the heat, add freshly ground black pepper to taste, cover and cook until the chickpeas are tender (1¼-1½ hours).
  • 04
  • When the chickpeas are perfectly soft, add the lemon juice. Mix well, then season to taste. Cover the pan and cook gently for 5-10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  • 05
  • To thicken the soup slightly, take out about two cupfuls of the chickpeas and put them in a food processor. Make sure the chickpeas are broken up but remain slightly rough. Stir this into the soup in the pan and mix well.
  • 06
  • Add the parsley and oregano, then taste the soup. If it seems a little bland, add more lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls and offer extra olive oil at the table for drizzling on top of the soup.

Note I often cook this soup in a pressure cooker, which is particularly useful if I've forgotten to soak the chickpeas. If you have one, use it. This recipe is from Sweet Greek: Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts ($39.95), published by Melbourne Books, and has been edited.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Featured in

Jul 2013

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