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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Strawberry layer cake


This decadent cake needs to be started a day ahead for the layers to set and the flavours to infuse. The citrus syrup may also be made ahead, however, the strawberries will need to be sliced on the day.

You'll need

3 punnets strawberries, hulled and sliced 2mm-thick lengthways To serve: snow sugar (see note)   Almond sponge 120 gm blanched almonds 3 eggs 100 gm pure icing sugar, sifted 3 eggwhites 1 pinch cream of tartar 20 gm caster sugar 30 gm plain flour, sifted 25 gm butter, melted   Citrus cream 100 gm thickened cream, at room temperature 250 gm cream cheese, at room temperature ½ tsp each of finely grated lemon and lime rind 120 gm caster sugar 50 ml each of lemon and lime juice 2 leaves gelatine (titanium strength), soaked in cold water   Strawberry salad Rind from ½ each of lemon and lime, cut into julienne 50 gm caster sugar 2 tsp each lemon and lime juice 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced 2mm-thick lengthways

Method

  • 01
  • For almond sponge, preheat oven to 250C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Using an electric mixer, whisk together whole eggs and icing sugar for 6 minutes or until pale and thick, add ground almond and stir to combine. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk eggwhites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then scatter over caster sugar and beat until smooth and glossy. Sift flour over whole-egg mixture and carefully fold through, then drizzle over melted butter and fold through. Add one-third of eggwhite mixture and carefully fold through to loosen (do not overwork), then fold through remaining eggwhite mixture. Using a spatula, spread batter over a 26cm x 38cm baking paper-lined oven tray and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Cool on tray on a wire rack, then invert onto a sheet of baking paper and, carefully peel baking paper from sponge. Cut sponge into four 23cm x 9cm rectangles and set aside.
  • 02
  • For citrus cream, whisk cream to soft peaks and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, rinds and 50gm caster sugar until smooth. Meanwhile, combine lemon and lime juice and remaining sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to syrup. Remove from heat, stir until gelatine dissolves and cool slightly. With motor running, pour syrup mixture into cream cheese mixture and beat for 1 minute or until smooth, then gently fold in whipped cream until just combined.
  • 03
  • To assemble cake, line a 10cm x 23cm loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place a sponge rectangle in base of cake pan, spread over one-third of citrus cream, top with one-third of strawberries in overlapping layers, then repeat process twice, finishing with a layer of sponge. Cover with plastic wrap, weight down with food cans and refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for strawberry salad, combine julienne citrus rind in a small heatproof bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover, then drain and repeat. Combine sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, add blanched rind and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool, then add juices and stir to combine. Combine strawberries and citrus syrup in a bowl and toss gently to mix.
  • 05
  • To serve, dip cake pan into hot water, run a small knife around edges to loosen, then invert onto a platter and remove plastic wrap. Dust cake heavily with snow sugar, arrange a little strawberry salad over top and serve with remaining strawberry salad passed separately.

Note Snow sugar is a confectioner's sugar with a vegetable fat added to prevent the sugar from absorbing moisture from the cake and dissolving. It's available from The Essential Ingredient and specialty food stores.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Nov 2007

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