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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.

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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 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.

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.

Avani's lamb curry


Begin this recipe a day ahead to marinate the lamb.

You'll need

14 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 3 tsp finely grated ginger 2 kg boneless lamb neck forequarter, cut into 3cm cubes 2 tbsp plain yoghurt 140 ml vegetable oil 4 Spanish onions, thinly sliced 2 tbsp white poppy seeds (see note) 1½ tbsp each white sesame seeds and black cumin seeds (see note) 1 tbsp each cumin seeds and coriander seeds 4 cloves Seeds from 2 black cardamom pods 6 star anise 5 fresh bay leaves 100 gm (1 cup) coarsely grated fresh coconut, plus extra to serve 1 piece of cassia bark 1 tbsp each chilli powder and sweet paprika 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock To serve: coriander leaves and steamed basmati rice   Pomegranate raita 500 ml (2 cups) plain yoghurt Seeds of 1 pomegranate 2 spring onions, thinly sliced 1½ tsp finely chopped ginger 3 long green chillies, finely chopped 1 tsp ground cumin 2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander To taste: lemon juice

Method

  • 01
  • Pound 4 garlic cloves and ginger with a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste (adding a little water to loosen if necessary), then combine with lamb and yoghurt in a non-reactive container, season to taste and mix well. Cover and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
  • 02
  • Heat 80ml oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and sauté until caramelised (10-12 minutes). Set aside.
  • 03
  • Dry-roast the seeds, cloves, cardamom, 4 star anise and 3 bay leaves until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Transfer to a blender, add reserved onion, coconut and remaining garlic and process to a smooth paste, then set aside.
  • 04
  • Heat remaining oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add lamb in batches and brown all over (3-5 minutes), then set aside. Add cassia bark, remaining star anise and remaining bay leaves to pan and stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds), then add the spice paste and stir-fry until oil splits (3-5 minutes). Mix in chilli powder and paprika, then add lamb and stock, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is very tender and sauce is thick (2-2¼ hours).
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, for pomegranate raita, combine ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until required.
  • 06
  • Season the curry to taste with sea salt, scatter with coconut and coriander, then serve hot with steamed basmati rice and pomegranate raita

Note White poppy seeds and black cumin seeds (or nigella seeds) are available from Indian grocers and Herbies Spices.

Watch Adam D'Sylva from Melbourne's Tonka restaurant make the lamb curry recipe live from the Harvey Norman Gourmet Institute Event on July 15 at Harvey Norman Chadstone in an exclusive video on the Harvey Norman website


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

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