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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

Duck breast with vinegar caramel dressing


You'll need

  Duck breast 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves 30 gm (¼ cup) sea salt 4 (about 250gm each) duck breasts   Roast carrots 2 tbsp duck fat 1.2 kg (about 8) carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways To serve: chervil sprigs   Vinegar caramel dressing 2 tbsp caster sugar 60 ml red wine vinegar 40 ml walnut oil 50 gm walnut halves, coarsely chopped and roasted

Method

  • 01
  • Pulse parsley and sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Lightly score skin of duck breast in a diamond pattern and rub with salt mixture. Place in a non-reactive container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • 02
  • For roast carrot, preheat oven to 190C, melt duck fat in roasting pan, then add carrots and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, for 45-50 minutes, or until golden and tender.
  • 03
  • For vinegar caramel dressing, combine sugar and 1 tbsp water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, then increase heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes or until golden caramel in colour, remove from heat, add vinegar and stir to combine. Stir through walnut oil and walnuts and season to taste.
  • 04
  • Rinse duck breast under cold running water and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat a frying pan over low-medium heat, add duck breasts, skin-side down and cook for 5-6 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to liking, then remove to a warm plate, cover loosely and stand for 5 minutes.
  • 05
  • Scatter chervil over carrots and toss to combine and serve with duck breast drizzled with caramel dressing.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Deep red Amarone.

Featured in

Aug 2007

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