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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.

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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.

Prawn, cucumber and mint soup


You'll need

24 (about 500gm) medium green prawns 2 tbsp olive oil 4 golden shallots, coarsely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 mint stalks, coarsely chopped 2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled and coarsely grated 125 ml (½ cup) white wine ½ cup (loosely packed) mint leaves 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind To serve: mint leaf tips

Method

  • 01
  • Peel prawns and remove veins, leaving 12 prawns with tails intact, reserve shells. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan, add half the shallot and half the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved shells and mint stalks and cook for 5 minutes or until coloured. Add 2 cups of water and simmer for 10 minutes, strain and discard solids. Return stock to a clean saucepan, bring to the boil, add prawns and cook for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Remove prawns, cool and refrigerate until needed.
  • 02
  • Heat remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add remaining shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute or until softened. Add cucumber and sauté for 3 minutes, then add white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, remove from heat and cool. Process stock mixture, prawns without tails, mint leaves and lemon rind in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
  • 03
  • To serve, skewer remaining chilled prawns on toothpicks. Ladle chilled soup into small cups or glasses, scatter with mint tips and serve with a skewered prawn.

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Dec 2006

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