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.

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.

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 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.

David Thompson's grilled sticky rice with banana paste


"I love the comfort of this dish," says Thompson. "It's gently grilled until golden and toasty. The rice can be cooked and steeped in the sweetened coconut cream the day before. In Bangkok, this dish is often made with the leftover grains from mango and sticky rice. Bananas seem to work best with this, both as a purée and sliced. Wrap in the banana leaves and grill. Be careful not to cook over too high a heat or for too long or the rice can become tough. Use overripe bananas for this recipe - their pronounced sugar produces a luscious paste." Start this recipe a day ahead to soak the rice.

You'll need

4 banana leaves, at room temperature 1 banana, sliced lengthways   Sticky rice 220 gm (1 cup) white sticky rice, washed to remove excess starch (be careful not to break the grains), soaked overnight in 500 ml water 4 pandan leaves (see note) 250 ml (1 cup) thick, high-fat coconut cream, preferably Kara brand 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar   Banana paste 80 ml (⅓ cup) coconut cream (preferably Kara brand) 60 gm light palm sugar, crushed 120 gm (½ cup) puréed banana (2 small very ripe bananas) Pinch of ground cloves 1½ tbsp young coconut water

Method

  • 01
  • For sticky rice, rinse and drain rice and place in a steamer lined with a damp tea towel over a saucepan of boiling water so rice is slightly piled in the centre. Add 2 pandan leaves to the water to perfume the steam, then steam rice, covered, topping up boiling water as necessary, until rice is just tender (20-25 minutes; test grains from the centre for doneness). Meanwhile, stir coconut cream with sugar, 2 tsp sea salt flakes and remaining pandan leaves in a bowl until sugar dissolves (2-3 minutes). When rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add rice to coconut cream mixture. Stir to combine, then return to steamer, cover and stand over hot water until rice absorbs liquid and nearly holds its own shape (2-3 hours).
  • 02
  • For banana paste, simmer coconut cream in a wok (ideally a brass one; see note) over medium heat until beginning to separate (2-3 minutes). Add palm sugar and a small pinch of salt, and stir to dissolve (30 seconds to 1 minute). Stir in banana purée and clove, then gradually add coconut water, and gently stir over low-medium heat until paste pulls away from sides of wok(12-15 minutes). Set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Heat a charcoal barbecue and burn down to embers, or heat a char-grill pan to low heat, then heat banana leaves over grill or flame until soft and glossy (10-20 seconds). Trim hard edges and discard yellowed parts, then cut 2 leaves into 6 pieces about 20cm x 25cm, and the remaining 2 into 6 pieces about 14cm x 20cm. Wipe pieces on both sides with a clean damp cloth, then place large pieces shiny sides down on a work surface. Place small pieces shiny sides up on top, then spoon 2 heaped tablespoonfuls of sticky rice onto small pieces of banana leaf. Spoon over 2 tsp banana paste, then top with a sliver or two of banana, then spoon another tablespoonful of sticky rice on top. Fold edges of banana leaves inwards to enclose and secure parcels with toothpicks. Grill, turning once, over low heat until fragrant and toasty with strong char-grill marks on the outside (15-20 minutes). Serve warm.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Additional Notes

Pandan leaves are available from Asian grocers. A non-stick or stainless-steel wok is also fine, but avoid using a pressed-steel wok – it will impart a metallic flavour.

Drink Suggestion

Moscato d’Asti

Featured in

Sep 2016

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