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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.

Pork and fennel sausages with apple relish


You'll need

  Sausages 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp cider vinegar 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp seeded mustard 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced using a mandolin, fronds reserved 1 red delicious apple, thinly sliced using a mandolin 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced using a mandolin 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 2 red witlof, cut into wedges 2 white witlof, cut into wedges 12 pork and fennel sausages   Apple relish 30 ml olive oil 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds 2 whole cloves 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into wedges 80 ml (1/3 cup) cider vinegar 60 ml (¼ cup) verjuice 30 gm caster sugar

Method

  • 01
  • For apple relish, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until shallot is soft, add spices and stir for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add apples, vinegar, verjuice and sugar, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine and cook for 7-8 minutes or until apples are tender and liquid is reduced. Set aside and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Combine extra-virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and garlic in a large bowl and whisk to combine, season to taste. Add fennel, apple and shallots to bowl and toss to combine. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add witlof and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until just wilted, then add to fennel mixture, toss to combine and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add sausages and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until brown and just cooked through. Serve sausages with witlof salad and apple relish.

Cooking apples

When it comes to cooking, all apples (and there are lots of 'em!) aren't created equal. The glossy green Granny smith is arguably the best apple for cooking, especially in purées and sauces. Its natural tartness makes it ideal for relishes. golden delicious apples have juicy, aromatic flesh and are perfect to use when you want apples to hold their shape after cooking (as in our cider-roasted spatchcock). They are also suited to apple tarts and could be used in place of Braeburns in the apple, ginger and almond cake. Crisp and juicy braeburns, with a pink-red blush against green skin, are great baking apples, although some would argue they are best enjoyed when eaten raw. Another blushing variety is the pink lady, a cross between golden delicious and Lady Williams. A very popular eating apple, its firm dense flesh also holds up well to caramelising, baking and for use in pies. Dark red and elongated, red delicious are the least suited to cooking. They're best put to use thinly sliced raw through salads, where their sweetness is beautifully offset with a piquant dressing. Other great cooking apples include cox's orange pippin, lady williams and, if you can get your hands on them, crabapples, which make the finest tarte Tatin you could hope to eat (look out for the John Downie variety).


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Aug 2007

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