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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.

Perfect match: torta Pasqualina and vermentino


You'll need

500 gm plain flour 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing 1 onion, finely chopped 1.2 kg greens such as silverbeet, cavolo nero and frisée, trimmed 500 gm firm ricotta, drained 100 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated 6 eggs

Method

  • 01
  • Combine flour and a large pinch of salt on a work surface, form a well in centre, add half the olive oil and 250ml lukewarm water, then knead until a smooth dough forms (8-10 minutes), adding a little more water if necessary. Divide dough into 10 balls, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rest (1 hour).
  • 02
  • Heat remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion, sauté until tender (6-8 minutes), season to taste, set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Cook greens in boiling salted water until tender (1-2 minutes), drain, refresh (see cook’s notes p218), drain well, coarsely chop and combine in a bowl with onion, cheeses and 2 eggs. Season to taste, stir to combine.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 190C. Oil and flour a 20cm-diameter cake tin. Roll out half the balls on a lightly floured surface to 1mm thick and line base and sides of tin, brushing with oil between each layer. Fill with greens mixture, make 4 indents in filling with the back of a spoon and crack remaining eggs into indents. Fold in pastry edges, roll remaining dough balls to 1mm thick and layer on top of pie, brushing between each with oil. Trim edges, brush top with oil and bake until golden and cooked though (40-45 minutes). Cool in tin until cool enough to touch, turn out, cool to room temperature and serve.

This traditional Easter dish comes from Liguria, on Italy's north-west coast. The dry white wines you'll find in Ligurian bars and restaurants are commonly made from the vermentino grape; in fact, you'll find vermentino across the Mediterranean from Provence (where it's known as rolle) down through the vineyards of the Tuscan coast to Sardinia, where it produces that island's best whites. As well as producing one of the best wine styles to drink with seafood (particularly charcoal-grilled oily fish such as sardines), vermentino's naturally tart, chalky acidity, lively lemony flavour and relatively neutral aromatic qualities make it a great match for savoury dishes featuring salty cheeses and slightly bitter greens. Vermentino's adaptability - it performs well in vineyards from the hills of Liguria to the baking plains of Sardinia - has stood it in good stead in the increasing number of Australian wine regions where it is now grown. The vine's heat- and drought-tolerance really impressed growers in the recent run of hot vintages endured in dry, warm climate regions such as those along the Murray River. But early reports indicate that vermentino vines have also fared well during the decidedly damp 2011 growing season.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Apr 2011

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