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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Neil Perry: Salt-and-pepper squid with tomato nahm jim


You'll need

For deep-frying: vegetable oil 2 tsp fish sauce 1 tbsp cornflour, to bind 500 gm (about 6) baby or bottle squid tubes, scored in a 5cm-crisscross pattern To serve: fried golden shallots and garlic (see note), and a lime cheek   Tomato nahm jim 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped 2 coriander roots, washed and coarsely chopped 1 each of long red and green chillies, seeds removed, coarsely chopped 6 ripe cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped 1-2 small green chillies, thinly sliced 2 small red shallots, thinly sliced 2 tbsp light palm sugar, finely crushed 2 tbsp fish sauce 60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice, or to taste   Sichuan flour mix 10 gm (1 tbsp) Sichuan peppercorns 100 gm (2/3 cup) cornflour

Method

  • 01
  • For tomato nahm jim, combine garlic and coriander root in a mortar and, using a pestle, pound to a coarse paste. Add long chillies and pound to a fine paste. Add tomatoes and pound until just pulped, then add green chilli, shallot, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and stir to dissolve. Check hot, salty, sour and sweet flavours are balanced, adjust as necessary. Makes about 1/3 cup.
  • 02
  • For Sichuan flour mix, toast peppercorns in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic, then finely grind using a mortar and pestle. Sift through a fine sieve, discarding husks. Combine pepper, cornflour and 3 tsp fine sea salt in a bowl. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large wok to 180C. Whisk fish sauce, cornflour and 1/3 cup cold water in a bowl to combine, add squid and mix to coat thoroughly, then drain well. Set aside 2 tbsp flour mix and toss squid lightly in remaining flour, shaking off excess, then deep-fry, in batches, for 2 minutes or until golden.
  • 04
  • To serve, dust squid with reserved flour mix and arrange on a plate. Serve, scattered with fried shallot and garlic with tomato nahm jim and lime cheeks to the side.
Note Fried golden shallots and garlic are available from Asian grocers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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