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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.

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. 

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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.

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.

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Chocolate croquembouche


Okay, this one is not for the faint-hearted. You can use pre-bought choux puffs if desired.

You'll need

To decorate: crystallised violets, fresh violets or other edible flowers To serve: crème fraîche or double cream   Chocolate pastry cream 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream 500 ml (2 cups) milk 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar 10 egg yolks 75 gm (½ cup) cornflour 2 tsp vanilla extract 180 gm dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids), melted 125 gm unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing   Chocolate choux pastry 675 gm (4½ cups) plain flour 50 gm (½ cup) Dutch-process cocoa powder 380 gm unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar 20 eggs   Caramel 660 gm (3 cups) white sugar 60 ml (¼ cup) light corn syrup

Method

  • 01
  • For chocolate pastry cream, combine cream, milk, half the sugar and ½ tsp salt in a saucepan and bring to the simmer over medium heat. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl with remaining sugar until sugar dissolves. Whisk in cornflour. Gradually pour cream mixture over egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Return mixture to a clean pan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and butter one piece at a time, then whisk in melted chocolate until combined. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until mixture is chilled and firm.
  • 02
  • For chocolate choux pastry, preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease four 45cm x 28cm baking trays and set aside. Sift flour and cocoa together into a bowl. Combine 1 litre water, butter and 3 tsp salt in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, add flour mixture and cook stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and pulls away from sides of pan and dough forms a ball. Return pan to stove and cook stirring over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through. Remove from heat, cool slightly and then transfer dough to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat in sugar and 6 eggs. Add 12 more eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Spoon batter into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm nozzle. Cover remaining batter with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Pipe batter into 2.5cm-wide and 2cm-high mounds onto prepared baking trays, spaced about 4cm apart. Beat remaining eggs together and use to lightly brush mounds. Bake for 20-35 minutes in batches or until firm and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer choux puffs to wire racks, and cool completely. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make a small hole in the bottom of each puff.
  • 03
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk pastry cream until smooth. Spoon pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm nozzle. Insert nozzle into hole of each choux puff and pipe in enough cream to fill. Set aside.
  • 04
  • For caramel, combine 1½ cups water, sugar and corn syrup in a large heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat without stirring. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until mixture reaches 155C (hard-crack stage) on a sugar thermometer. Remove immediately from heat.
  • 05
  • Lightly grease a 25cm serving platter. Place a 26cm x 46cm croquembouche mould (see note) in middle of serving platter. Use tongs or insert a sharp knife into top of each choux puff and dip bottom half of each puff into caramel. Arrange a ring of choux puffs around the bottom of croquembouche mould. Using caramel to attach, layer with remaining choux puffs until mould is completely covered. If caramel gets too thick, return pan to a low heat to thin the caramel. Dip a fork into remaining caramel and swirl around croquembouche for a spun sugar effect. Carefully unmould croquembouche and return in upright position to the platter. Decorate with crystallised and fresh violets. Serve with crème fraîche or double cream.

Note Croquembouche moulds, crystallised violets and edible flowers are available from speciality cake suppliers.


At A Glance

  • Serves 20 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 20 people

Featured in

Nov 2007

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