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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.

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.

Honey and cardamom pudding with spiced pears and crème fraîche ice-cream


You'll need

170 gm crème fraîche 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar 80 gm honey 2 eggs ½ lemon, finely grated rind only 4 cardamom pods, crushed seeds only 200 gm butter, softened 190 gm self-raising flour 70 gm plain flour   Crème fraîche ice-cream 400 ml milk 100 ml pouring cream 1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only 8 egg yolks 160 gm caster sugar 480 gm crème fraîche   Spiced pears 750 ml (3 cups) red wine, such as merlot 250 gm caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 4 cardamom pods, bruised 2 Packham pears, peeled, cut into wedges

Method

  • 01
  • For crème fraîche ice-cream, combine milk and cream with vanilla seeds in a large saucepan. In a bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar and whisk until pale. Place crème fraîche in a large bowl, placed over another bowl filled with ice, and set aside. Bring milk mixture to the boil, then pour over egg yolk mixture, whisking to combine. Return to saucepan and cook, stirring continuously, over low heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes). Pour over crème fraîche and stir to combine. Refrigerate until well chilled (about 1 hour), then freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until required. Makes about 1¼ litres.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Combine crème fraîche, sugar, honey, eggs, lemon rind and cardamom in a bowl. Add butter, stirring to combine, then sift over combined flours and a pinch of salt and fold to combine. Pour into a greased and floured 20cm-diameter cake pan (see note) and bake until an inserted skewer withdraws clean (about 1 hour 10 minutes). Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a plate.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for pears, combine wine, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and cardamom in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low-medium, add pear wedges and simmer until just soft (about 15 minutes). Remove pears from liquid, increase heat to high and cook until liquid becomes syrupy (about 10 minutes). Serve cake with pears and syrup, and crème fraîche ice-cream to the side.
Note We've used a 20cm metal jelly mould, but any 20cm stainless steel cake pan is fine.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Late-harvest riesling.

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