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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

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.

Rough olive tapenade with caramelised fennel schiacciata


This piquant tapenade is great piled up on simple crostini, but the flavour of the carmelised fennel schiacciata takes it to a whole other level. You can make the schiacciata a day or two ahead, and serve it toasted.

You'll need

300 gm pitted black olives, such as Kalamata (about 350 gm unpitted) 1 cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp coarsely chopped rosemary leaves 60 gm drained capers in vinegar 6 anchovy fillets 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 lemons, finely grated rind and juice only, or to taste 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil   Caramelised fennel schiacciata 2 tsp caster sugar 1 tsp dried yeast 350 gm (2 1/3 cups) plain flour 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthways 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced lengthways

Method

  • 01
  • For caramelised fennel schiacciata, combine sugar, yeast, 25gm flour and 60ml water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix until smooth and stand in a warm place until foamy (10-15 minutes). Add remaining flour, half the olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt and 180ml water and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms (1-2 minutes). Increase speed to medium, mix until smooth and elastic (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (45 minutes-1 hour). Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook fennel slices in batches, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side), season to taste, then cool. Preheat oven to 200C. Divide dough in half, then roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a rough 12cm x 25cm rectangle. Place each on an oven tray lined with baking paper, make shallow indentations in dough at regular intervals with your fingertips, then scatter over caramelised fennel. Scatter over garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil and season to taste. Bake, swapping trays halfway through cooking, until golden (12-15 minutes), cool on a wire rack.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, pulse olives, herbs, capers, anchovy, garlic and lemon rind in a food processor until coarsely chopped, stir in olive oil and lemon juice, season to taste. Serve with thin slices of caramelised fennel schiacciata. Makes about 500ml. Tapenade will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Jan 2010

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