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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.

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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.

Fragrant lemon barley couscous with mullet in vine leaves


Is it a grain or isn't it? Well, technically it isn't. Couscous is made from a grain, in this case from barley, which is milled to flour and shaped into grains.

You'll need

300 gm barley couscous (see note) 2½ tbsp olive oil 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only 1 spring onion bulb, thinly sliced ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 10 red mullet (about 170gm each) 100 gm golden raisins 100 gm pine nuts, roasted, coarsely chopped 10 vine leaves in brine, rinsed, dried To serve: lemon wedges and green salad

Method

  • 01
  • Combine couscous and 2 tsp oil in a heatproof bowl. Rub with fingertips to coat couscous evenly with oil. Pour over enough boiling water to cover by about 8mm. Stir with a fork, cover bowl with a tea towel and stand until water is absorbed (5-10 minutes). Fluff with a fork, add rind and juice, spring onion, parsley and 3 tsp oil. Season to taste, refrigerate until required.
  • 02
  • Preheat a char-grill over high heat. Using kitchen scissors, remove dorsal fin from mullet and discard. Fillet by removing bones from the belly cavity to the backbone and pulling out, keeping head and tail attached to fillets. Flatten out fillets, then pin-bone using tweezers. Scatter raisins and pine nuts over mullet, season to taste. Enclose mullet, wrap in vine leaves, drizzle with remaining oil and grill until golden and cooked through (2-3 minutes each side). Serve with couscous, lemon wedges and a green salad.

Note Barley couscous, available from Simon Johnson, is made from barley flour, but you can substitute any couscous.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

A bone-dry, chalky young Hunter semillon.

Featured in

Mar 2009

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