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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. 

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.

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2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

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.

Beef Wellington


You'll need

50 gm good-quality chicken liver pâté 2 tbsp olive oil 1.2 kg piece of trimmed beef fillet, at room temperature (see note) 2 sheets (750gm) puff pastry (see note) 1 egg, lightly beaten To serve: roast kipfler potatoes and seasonal baby vegetables   Duxelles 2 tbsp olive oil 200 gm mixed mushrooms, such as Swiss brown, chestnut and pine 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped 2 golden shallots, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tsp thyme, finely chopped 60 ml Madeira

Method

  • 01
  • For duxelles, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add mushrooms, cook until golden (3-4 minutes). Add butter, shallot, garlic and thyme, sauté until tender (2-3 minutes), add Madeira and cook until evaporated (1-2 minutes). Season to taste, transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside to cool, then drain to remove excess liquid.
  • 02
  • Stir pâté until smooth, then stir through duxelles and refrigerate until required.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat, season beef to taste, seal in pan until golden (1-2 minutes each side). Set aside to cool.
  • 04
  • Roll pastry sheets separately on a lightly floured surface to 4cm longer than beef fillet. Spread a quarter of the duxelles over one sheet of pastry, place fillet on top then spread remaining duxelles over beef. Brush edges with eggwash and cover with remaining pastry. Trim pastry edges, leaving a 3cm border, and press with a fork to seal. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate to chill (30 minutes).
  • 05
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Brush pastry with eggwash and bake until pastry is golden and puffed and beefed is cooked (25-30 minutes for medium-rare). Set aside to rest (10 minutes) then thickly slice and serve with potatoes and vegetables.

Note You may need to fold in the tail end of the beef fillet so the ends are even. We prefer to use Carême puff pastry, which comes in pre-rolled 375gm sheets. If unavailable, substitute another good-quality butter puff pastry.


Beef Wellington may have been the go-to dinner party dish of the 1960s, and it may (or may not) have been named after a 17th-century duke, but its origins date back even earlier, to Roman times.

There's little reliable evidence as to the origins of beef Wellington, a fillet of beef topped with pâté and mushrooms then baked in pastry, but the most popular theory is that it was named after the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, an Anglo-Irishman who fought Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Wellington is said to have enjoyed a dish prepared with beef, pâté, truffles, mushrooms and Madeira cooked in pastry. Of course the French dish filet de boeuf en croûte is similar, but without "Wellington" in the name.

Whatever the dish's origins, the technique of cooking meat in pastry dates back to Roman times, when a pastry made of flour, oil and water was used to cover meat and poultry during cooking, keeping it moist.

By the 15th century, according to Alan Davidson'sThe Oxford Companion to Food, a stiffer "huff paste" of flour, suet and water was used as a casing for meat. The pastry case kept it moist and flavoursome and protected it from contamination upon standing; however, the pastry was not eaten.

Today, buttery (and perfectly edible) puff pastry is most commonly used to wrap the beef, although some recipes employ brioche dough. Still other cooks wrap the mushroom-topped fillet in crêpes to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.

A fillet of beef is perfect for beef Wellington because of its shape and tenderness. Searing the beef browns the outside, which lends extra flavour; the meat is then cooled before it's spread with pâté, which in some recipes is made from foie gras, or enriched with truffles, or both. A layer of duxelles, a cooked mixture of mushrooms, onions and shallots, is pressed over the fillet, which is then wrapped in pastry.

Beef Wellington is perfect for a party because it can be prepared ahead of time, brushed with eggwash and set aside in the refrigerator. Then simply bake it in a hot oven until the pastry is puffed and golden and you have a real show-stopper on your hands.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Jun 2011

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