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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.

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.

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.

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.

Coeur à la crème


You'll need

700 gm mixed berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and youngberries 20 ml Cointreau or other orange liqueur   Coeurs à la crème 250 gm each of cream cheese and ricotta 110 gm (½ cup) pure icing sugar 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (pod reserved for another use, if desired) 200 ml double cream (48% milk fat)   Raspberry sauce 300 gm (2 punnets) raspberries 75 gm (1/3 cup) pure icing sugar 60 ml (¼ cup) Cointreau

Method

  • 01
  • For coeurs à la crème, pulse combined cream cheese and ricotta, icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides. Add cream and pulse until just combined. Cut six 20cm squares of muslin, rinse well and wring out. Place on a work surface and divide cream mixture (about ½ cup each) between muslin squares. Bring corners of muslin together, twist tightly and tie securely with kitchen twine. Hang cheeses in refrigerator by tying on a rack and place a tray underneath to catch whey. Stand overnight.
  • 02
  • For raspberry sauce, process raspberries, icing sugar and Cointreau in a food processor until smooth, then push through a fine sieve, discarding seeds. Makes about 300ml.
  • 03
  • Combine berries and Cointreau in a bowl and stand for 5 minutes to macerate. Divide berries between bowls and drizzle with raspberry sauce. Using scissors cut tops of coeurs à la crème, invert onto berries, carefully peel away muslin and serve.

At the time of year when thoughts turn to romance (albeit prompted by the marketing exercise that is Valentine's Day) it seems timely to roll out the French classic coeur à la crème. If ever there was a dessert designed to win the heart of one's valentine, this would have to be it. Long a part of the classical French repertoire, it debunks the myth that French desserts are, without exception, complex and difficult. Far from haute cuisine, this dish is perfectly simple. It's traditionally made from unsweetened soft white cheese curds set into porcelain heart-shaped moulds with perforated bases for the whey to drain overnight. They are then unmoulded and served with cream poured over, covered with sugar. The traditional porcelain coeur moulds are available from specialty kitchenware stores, but don't be put off making this uncomplicated dessert if you can't get hold of them (or if you don't want yet more paraphernalia cluttering your kitchen cupboards). Do as we have and simply wrap the cheese in muslin, making them a more free-form affair (and, if the truth be known, more closely resembling a real heart than the moulded variety).

Recipes vary greatly, using cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, mascarpone, crème fraîche and/or yoghurt, in myriad combinations. We've used cream cheese and ricotta for a creamy, smooth result and, although it's not strictly traditional, we've added a touch of sugar.

The further beauty of this French classic is that it's the perfect foil to almost any seasonal fruit. InFrench Provincial Cooking, Elizabeth David describes a stay in farmhouse accommodation in Bourg-en-Bresse and being served "a wonderfully fresh and innocent looking cream cheese dish… served covered in rich cream" accompanied by a beautiful bowl of fresh wild strawberries. A menu dating from Berowra Waters' original incarnation (11 October 1981, to be precise) lists the dish accompanied by rhubarb compote, and Sydney's Sean Moran likes to serve his with spiced cherries. Make the most of summer's berry bounty and try a combination of them served with raspberry sauce.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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