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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. 

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

Coal-grilled octopus with smoked butter and almonds, chilli and green strawberries


"I adore Gerard's octopus dish. Would you please ask for the recipe?"
Dee Wright, Emerald, Qld

REQUEST A RECIPE
To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

You'll need

2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 1 tsp each coriander seeds and black peppercorns 2 fresh bay leaves 6 thyme sprigs 1 kg octopus tentacles 6 underripe strawberries, thinly sliced To serve: red shiso and thinly sliced red chilli   Spiced oil 4 cardamom pods, bruised 2 star anise 1 tsp coriander seeds 2 long red chillies, split 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable oil 1 head garlic, halved crossways 1 fresh bay leaf   Smoked butter and almonds 100 gm hickory chips, soaked in water for 10 minutes 250 gm butter, cut into 2cm cubes, frozen 100 gm blanched almonds   Chilli sauce 50 ml vegetable oil 2 golden shallots, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, crushed 30 gm harissa (see note) 50 gm tomato passata 50 ml white wine 100 ml fish stock 1 long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced 1 tsp ras el hanout (see note) Juice of 1 lime

Method

  • 01
  • Place celery, coriander seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and 4 litres of water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Dip octopus in and out of the boiling water 5 times, then reduce heat to low and submerge octopus and simmer, ensuring it’s totally submerged, until a knife can easily pierce through (1-1½ hours).
  • 02
  • For spiced oil, dry-roast spices and chilli until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Combine in a large saucepan with remaining ingredients and warm over medium heat to 50C.
  • 03
  • Carefully remove octopus from liquid, transfer to spiced oil, stand for 1 hour, then refrigerate in the oil until required. It will keep for 2 days in an airtight container.
  • 04
  • For smoked butter and almonds, preheat oven to 150C and heat a charcoal barbecue to medium heat. Place soaked hickory chips over hot coals, put butter in a small heatproof dish, place in a larger flameproof tray of ice and place on the barbecue. Spread almonds in a separate flameproof dish alongside. Close the lid and barbecue until lightly smoked (10-15 minutes), taking care not to let the butter melt, adding more ice if necessary. Transfer butter to an airtight container and refrigerate until chilled (2 hours). Meanwhile, place smoked almonds in the oven on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast until browned (8-10 minutes). Set aside.
  • 05
  • For chilli sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallots and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until translucent and tender (10-12 minutes). Add harissa, then passata and wine and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates (3-6 minutes). Add fish stock and cook until mixture is a thick sauce consistency (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, gradually whisk in smoked butter, add chilli, ras el hanout, lime juice and smoked almonds (reserve a few for garnish) and keep warm.
  • 06
  • Drain octopus tentacles and grill over coals until the skin is well browned and slightly crisp (6-8 minutes). Serve topped with sauce, strawberries, shiso leaves, chilli and almonds.

Note Harissa, a north African chilli paste, is available from select grocers and delicatessens. Ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice blend, is available at Herbie's Spices.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Jan 2015

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