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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.

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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.

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Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Baklava fingers with honey syrup and halva ice-cream


Nothing says Greek sweets like nuts and filo; these pastries, called floyeres, are basically rolled baklava.

You'll need

200 gm walnuts 1 tbsp caster sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon 12 filo sheets 125 gm butter, melted   Halva ice-cream 1 litre good-quality vanilla bean ice-cream, softened 150 gm halva, diced, plus extra, shaved, to serve   Honey syrup 90 gm honey 55 gm caster sugar

Method

  • 01
  • For halva ice-cream, combine ice-cream and halva in a bowl, fold halva lightly through ice-cream and freeze until firm (2 hours). Makes 1 litre.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Process walnuts, sugar and cinnamon until coarsely ground. Layer four sheets of filo brushed with melted butter, spread over one-third of walnut mixture, cut pastry into four widthways, then roll each into a cigar shape. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with extra melted butter. Repeat with remaining pastry and nuts and bake until golden (15-25 minutes). Transfer to a heatproof shallow tray and set aside.
  • 03
  • For honey syrup, combine ingredients in a saucepan with 60ml water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over baklava fingers, stand for 5 minutes, and serve warm with halva ice-cream and shaved halva.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

Featured in

Mar 2010

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