Healthy Eating

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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 summer peas, mint and lardo


"By grilling them whole, the peas are protected by their shells, which are imbued with the smoky embers," says Hastie. "Although you don't get a lot of juice from the pods, the flavour is sweet and intense."

You'll need

For barbecuing: seasoned hardwood, preferably apple 1.2 kg fresh peas in the pod (see note) 1/3 cup (loosely packed) mint leaves 100 gm lardo (or pancetta), thinly sliced 1 cup (loosely packed) young pea shoots, to serve

Method

  • 01
  • Burn wood slowly down to smouldering embers and medium-high heat (see below).
  • 02
  • Grill whole peas in the pod in batches, turning once, until charred (1-2 minutes). When cool enough to handle, pod peas, then process pea pods in a juicer (see note) and pass juice through a fine sieve. Combine juice with peas and mint in a saucepan and season to taste. Keep warm.
  • 03
  • Grill lardo until it just becomes translucent (1-5 seconds, depending on the heat).
  • 04
  • To serve, divide peas and lardo among warm serving bowls, scatter with pea shoots and serve.

Note For the best flavour, use small peas that are young, sweet and tender. Use a slow-extraction juicer to get enough juice from the pods, or add a large handful of fresh peas when juicing.

How to prepare wood
* It almost goes without saying, but check the fire restrictions for the day in your area.
* Because they offer better control over airflow, wood-fired ovens are the perfect thing for burning the wood to coals; take care when you're transferring them to your grill or barbecue.
* If you're using a pit, enclose the fire with fire-rated bricks to help retain the heat and to slow the rate of burning.
* If you're using a barbecue, light the fire, close the lid and adjust the vents so the wood doesn't burn too fast. If you happen to have two barbecues, use one for burning the wood and one for grilling.
* Light the fire early - at least 1½ hours before starting cooking. Avoid using fire lighters or treated wood where there can be a residual chemical component. Wood embers burn hotter than the fire itself, so allow the wood to break down to glowing coals with a light-grey coating of ash. Too high a temperature and the subtle elements of the wood become tasteless. Optimal conditions are a slow, smouldering fire.
* Ideally you should use seasoned hardwood (at least 12 months old). Green or unseasoned wood with a high moisture content is harder to light and burns erratically, emitting smoke instead of heat, so it's worth sourcing premium hardwoods from recognised suppliers, such as Blackheath Firewood Company. If you have fruit trees, keep your prunings to use the next year.
* Woods vary in the amount of heat and flavour they produce.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

The classic Australian aged sémillon will handle both the chlorophyll and the delicious lardo here – 2005 Tyrell’s Belford Sémillon, NSW.

Featured in

Jan 2015

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