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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.

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.

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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.

Beef, beer and dumplings


This rich beef stew, based on a carbonade, becomes a meal-in-one with the addition of some dumplings.

You'll need

2 tbsp olive oil 1 kg piece boneless beef shin (see note) For dusting: seasoned plain flour 50 gm butter, coarsely chopped 3 onions, thinly sliced 80 gm flat mild pancetta, diced 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 litre (4 cups) veal stock 660 ml Belgian beer 4 thyme sprigs, plus extra finely chopped leaves to serve 2 tbsp brown sugar, or to taste 2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste   Herb dumplings 35 gm chilled butter, coarsely chopped 150 gm (1 cup) self-raising flour 1 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 tsp finely chopped thyme

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Heat half the oil over high heat in a saucepan that will fit the beef snugly. Dust beef in seasoned flour, add to pan and cook, turning once, until browned (5-7 minutes), remove from pan. Add butter, onion, pancetta, garlic and remaining oil to pan and stir occasionally until caramelised (15 minutes). Add veal stock, beer, thyme and beef, cover and roast until beef is tender (3-3½ hours). Remove beef and onions from sauce with a slotted spoon, cover with foil and keep warm, then cook sauce over high heat until reduced by half (20-30 minutes). Skim excess oil from surface and season to taste with brown sugar and mustard.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for herb dumplings, process butter and flour to combine, then add 50ml water or enough to make a scone-like dough. Transfer dough to a bowl, add herbs, season to taste and knead until combined. Roll into 18 evenly sized balls, then add to sauce and turn occasionally over low-medium heat until dumplings are puffed and cooked through (10-15 minutes). Carefully remove dumplings with a slotted spoon, then add beef to sauce. Place dumplings on top and roast in oven until beef is warmed through (15 minutes). Serve beef sliced or pulled into pieces with dumplings and sauce, scattered with extra thyme.

Note You may need to order the beef shin ahead from a butcher.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Strong Belgian ale.

Featured in

Aug 2009

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