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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.

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.

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.

Party pies


You'll need

2 tbsp olive oil 600 gm chuck steak, cut into 2cm pieces For dusting: seasoned plain flour 4 golden shallots, coarsely chopped 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 200 ml dry red wine 200 ml good-quality beef stock ¼ cup (firmly packed) thyme leaves 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 butter-puff pastry sheet (375gm)(see note) To serve: homemade or good quality homemade-style tomato sauce   Shortcrust pastry 240 gm plain flour, sieved 180 gm cold unsalted butter, coarsely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Dust steak in flour, shake off excess, and cook in batches until golden, stirring occasionally (3-5 minutes), remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add shallots and garlic to pan, sauté until golden (3-5 minutes). Add red wine, reduce by half (3-4 minutes), then add stock and thyme. Reduce heat to low, add steak, cover and simmer until tender (2-2½ hours). Uncover and cook until sauce is thick (30-40 minutes). Season to taste, set aside to cool, then refrigerate until cooled completely.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for shortcrust pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp salt in a food processor until just combined. Add 80ml iced water, a little at a time, and pulse until a dough forms. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Roll shortcrust pastry to 5mm thick and cut twelve 9cm-diameter rounds. Line a 12 x 60ml-capacity muffin tray with pastry and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Meanwhile, cut twelve 7cm-diameter rounds of puff pastry and refrigerate until required.
  • 04
  • Divide pie mixture among pastry cases, fold in pastry edges, then brush with eggwash and top with puff pastry circles. Press edges together and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes), brush with eggwash and cook until golden and cooked through (15-20 minutes). Serve with tomato sauce.
Note We prefer to use Carême butter-puff pastry. For this recipe, we’ve used shortcrust pastry on the base and puff pastry on top to add a buttery, flaky finish. You can use all shortcrust pastry, if preferred.

This recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

If the pie is an Aussie icon, the party pie is true-blue fair dinkum to the next power. Other countries have pies at parties, of course, but it says a lot about Australia that we are the standard-bearers for the party pie, a version of the workaday coffin slimmed down, bite-sized and ready to entertain the after-five crowd as readily as the under-fives.

Speaking of coffins, here’s a little-known fact: the use of the word “coffin” to describe a pie is not, as is commonly assumed, a play on words regarding the pie’s contents. The pie usage came first, and the funereal sense has only been with us in English since the 16th century.

Could it be that the party pie is an under-recognised Australian culinary innovation? We know we can’t claim the full-sized version as our own, much as we’d like to, so here perhaps is a new rallying point for culinary patriotism.

They’ve got knishes, calzones, curry puffs, pasties, samosas and pirozhki and we’ve got party pies. Say it loud, say it proud. Or at least until it turns out they were invented by New Zealanders. Enjoy them while you can.


At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

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