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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

Perfect match: panforte with Rutherglen tokay


You'll need

2 sheets of confectioner’s rice paper (see note) 85 gm plain flour 1 tbsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground ginger 190 gm (1 cup) whole dried wild baby figs, stalks removed (see note) 110 gm (¾ cup) roasted hazelnuts, skins removed (see note) 120 gm (¾ cup) roasted almonds 100 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped 1 orange, coarsely chopped zested rind only 150 gm caster sugar 150 gm honey To dust: icing sugar

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Lightly greasea 20cm-diameter cake pan and line the base with overlapping sheets of rice paper, trimming to fit. Sift flour and spices into a bowl, add figs, nuts, chocolate and orange rind and toss to combine well.
  • 02
  • Heat sugar, honey and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Do not stir again as it may crystallise. Bring to the boil and cook until mixture reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer. Using a lightly oiled spoon and working quickly, pour caramel over nut mixture and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared cake pan and smooth top with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, cool and dust liberally with icing sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.

Note Confectioner's rice paper (not to be confused with Asian rice paper) is available from speciality food stores. Dried figs are available from health food and specialty food stores. To remove hazelnut skins, bake at 180C for 10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool, then rub off skins between folds of a tea towel. Roasted and blanched hazelnuts are available from supermarkets.


Here's a match made in heaven. Just look at the ingredients of this dense, chewy panforte: figs, nuts, honey, spices, ginger… you could well be describing the complex flavours of a Rutherglen tokay. The Rutherglen producers have developed a four-tier classification of style and quality for their fortified wines - basic Rutherglen, Classic, Grand and the impossibly rich Rare. All Saints Estate not only cover the entire range, but go one better with their Museum wine (the perfect present for someone you really, really love). It's like having a volume knob that goes to eleven. - Max Allen

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Dec 2006

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