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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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This versatile smallgood lends its big flavours to South American stews, soups, and salads, not to mention the ultimate hot dog. Let the sizzling begin.

Perfect match: nectarine and spiced-ricotta tart


You'll need

3 nectarines, halved, stones discarded 1 tbsp brown sugar 20 ml brandy   Shortcrust pastry 115 gm butter, softened 75 gm (1/3 cup) caster sugar 1 egg yolk ¼ tsp vanilla extract 185 gm plain flour, sifted (see note)   Spiced ricotta 450 gm ricotta ½ tsp ground cinnamon and ground ginger ¼ tsp ground cardamom 1 egg 40 gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

Method

  • 01
  • For shortcrust pastry, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add yolk, vanilla and ¼ tsp salt, mix until just combined. Add flour, mix until just combined, wrap in plastic wrap, pat into a flat, round disc and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick. Remove top layer of baking paper, invert into a 24cm-diameter tart tin. Remove remaining baking paper, trim edges to fit, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C, blind bake until pale golden. Remove paper and weights, bake until crisp (4-5 minutes). Cool on a wire rack.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine nectarines, sugar and brandy in a bowl, toss to coat. Place nectarines, cut-side up, on a baking paper-lined tray and roast until soft and golden (10-12 minutes). When cool enough to handle, cut into wedges and set aside.
  • 03
  • For spiced ricotta, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth (1-2 minutes), spoon into tart case. Arrange nectarines on top, scatter with extra sugar and bake until just golden and firm to touch (15-20 minutes). Cool to room temperature before serving.

Note If available, use unbleached flour.


The golden rule for matching wine with desserts is that the wine needs to be sweeter than what's on the plate, or the higher sugar level of the food will drown out the sweetness in the drink and make it taste dry and watery. The beautiful thing about this tart is that the richness and sweetness of the caramelised fruit and sugary pastry is wonderfully offset by the creaminess and fluffy texture of the ricotta and the woody aromatic character of the spices, creating an overall impression of a not-too-sweet tart. As a result, you don't need to match it with too luscious a wine: a brachetto would be perfect. Brachetto is a little-known grape grown in Piedmont, north-west Italy, where it produces naturally low-alcohol, gently fizzy sweet wine with aromas of wild strawberry and herbs. In many ways, brachetto resembles pink moscato, but it has a bit more depth and vinosity than the other, much more well-known Piedmontese sweet sparkler.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Mar 2009

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