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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. 

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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.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

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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.

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.

Tuna dip with parmesan grissini and cured veal


Break off a piece of grissini, wrap it in a piece of veal and dip away. Capers quickly fried in a little olive oil add another burst of flavour, as does a good squeeze of lemon.

You'll need

30 gm sea salt 30 gm raw caster sugar ¼ cup each coarsely chopped oregano and thyme 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 veal fillet (about 600gm), trimmed 30 ml olive oil To serve: crisp capers, coarsely torn flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges   Parmesan grissini 10 gm dried yeast Pinch of caster sugar 250 gm plain flour 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing 40 gm (½ cup) finely grated parmesan   Tuna dip 200 gm piece of yellowfin tuna 100 ml dry white wine 3 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf 4 egg yolks 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil lemons, finely grated rind and juice only, or to taste

Method

  • 01
  • For parmesan grissini, combine yeast, sugar and 150ml lukewarm water in a large bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until foamy (12-15 minutes). Add flour, olive oil and ½ tsp salt, mix to combine, turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (3-5 minutes). Place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Roll walnut-sized balls of dough on a work surface with your hands to form long thin cylinders about the thickness of a pencil and place on lightly oiled oven trays, 1cm apart. Brush liberally with olive oil, scatter with parmesan, bake until golden (8-10 minutes). Cool to room temperature before serving. Makes about 30. Grissini will keep stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for tuna dip, combine tuna in a small saucepan with wine and herbs. Add enough water to just cover, bring to the simmer over low heat, remove from heat and cool to room temperature in poaching liquid. Drain, flake and transfer to a food processor. Add egg yolks and garlic, process until smooth, then, with motor running, add combined oils in a thin steady stream. Process until thick and smooth, add rind and juice, season to taste, process to combine. Makes about 500ml. Tuna dip will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • 03
  • Combine salt, sugar, herbs and garlic in a bowl. Place veal in a non-reactive container, coat with herb mixture and refrigerate for 40 minutes to cure. Wipe off excess cure, rinse quickly and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add veal, brown well on all sides (5-6 minutes), then cool and wrap tightly in plastic wrap to form a cylinder. Freeze until just firm (1½-2 hours), then thinly slice across the grain and serve scattered with crisp capers and parsley, with lemon wedges, grissini and tuna dip.

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Jan 2010

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