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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.

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.

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.

Chargrilled squid with fennel, lemon and feta salad and verjuice dressing


"My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at a wonderful retreat in the Margaret River, La Forêt Enchantée. As a surprise for my wife, I arranged the accommodation's chef, Andrea Ilott, to prepare a special four-course meal for our celebration. Andrea created the most superb squid salad. Would you persuade her to share the recipe?"
Roberto and Sofia Renaldi, Ardross, WA

Request a recipe
To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au. All requests should include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

You'll need

3 (about 350gm) squid tubes, cleaned 60 ml (¼ cup) light olive oil ½ tsp each of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, caster sugar and chilli flakes   Fennel, lemon and feta salad 1 small bulb of fennel, washed and thinly sliced using a mandolin ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced lengthways 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed and cut into julienne ¼ cup coarsely chopped mint ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 lemon, zested rind only 100 gm marinated soft feta, crumbled   Verjuice dressing 30 ml verjuice 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 1½ tsp Dijon mustard 1 clove of garlic, crushed

Method

  • 01
  • Cut squid tubes open, clean any innards and score the inside flesh with a cross-hatch pattern, making sure you don’t cut all the way through. Cut each squid into 3cm x 5cm pieces and place in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt, sugar and chilli, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • 02
  • For fennel, lemon and feta salad, combine fennel, onion, tomato, mint, parsley, lemon rind and half the feta in a bowl and toss lightly to combine.
  • 03
  • For verjuice dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Makes 100ml.
  • 04
  • Heat a chargrill or barbecue over high heat, cook squid for 1-2 minutes or until it curls, turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until cooked through.
  • 05
  • To serve, toss salad with three-quarters of the dressing, place into bowls and top with squid and scatter with remaining feta. Drizzle with remaining dressing, season to taste and serve immediately.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Dec 2006

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