Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ma po beancurd


This is one of the most famous dishes from Sichuan. Mrs Chen of the Qing Dynasty, who apparently was scarred with pock marks on her face, was said to be the wife of a chef but it's her beancurd dish, with its lingering spicy and slightly numbing aftertaste that has earned her a solid celebrity status. Made with soft textured beancurd that is difficult to find outside Asia, the intensity of the flavours is usually enhanced by tiny leeks. It is a rich and warming dish on chilly winter evenings.

You'll need

  Beancurd 50 gm minced pork or beef ¼ cup oil 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped 30 gm Sichuan preserved vegetable, rinsed, drained and finely chopped (see note) 1-2 tbsp chilli bean paste, or to taste 2 tsp salted black beans (see note) 2 tsp light soy sauce 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp chilli oil 1 cup chicken stock 500 gm soft beancurd, cut into 2cm pieces 2 baby leeks or green onions, thinly sliced 1 tbsp potato flour or cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water ½ tsp roasted ground Sichuan pepper   Marinade ½ tsp light soy sauce ½ tsp Shaoxing rice wine ½ tsp salt ½ tsp sugar ½ tsp sesame oil

Method

  • 01
  • Combine pork and marinade in a bowl and stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok, add garlic, stirring continuously over high heat until fragrant, then add pork and stir-fry for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and add preserved vegetable, chilli bean paste, black beans, light soy, sugar and chilli oil, and stir for another 20 seconds. Add stock, then carefully add bean curd and bring to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes or until the beancurd has absorbed the flavours.
  • 02
  • Gently stir in leeks and cook for another minute or until leeks are tender, then gently stir in potato flour mixture until sauce is slightly thickened. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with roasted Sichuan pepper and serve immediately.

Note Salted black beans (dou chi) are made from fermented, salted soy beans. Also called black fermented beans or preserved beans, they are savoury with a wonderful aroma reminiscent of a good soy sauce.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

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