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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.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

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.

Chestnut cakes with raisins, pine nuts and honey


This recipe is inspired by the flavours of the famous castagnaccio alla Toscana; a dense cake made from chestnut flour, flavoured with rosemary and topped with pine nuts and sultanas. This version has a lighter texture and is served with rosemary honey.

You'll need

50 gm sultanas 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar 150 gm softened butter, plus 20gm melted butter, for drizzling 1½ tbsp finely chopped rosemary 3 eggs 200 gm plain flour 100 gm chestnut flour (see note) 1½ tsp baking powder 150 ml milk 30 gm pine nuts   Rosemary honey 170 gm chestnut honey 1 rosemary sprig Juice of ½ lemon

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Combine sultanas and enough hot water to cover in a bowl and set aside.
  • 02
  • Beat sugar and butter and 1 tbsp rosemary in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Sift in flours and baking powder, stir to combine, stir in milk, then spoon into eight buttered and floured 200ml-capacity round cake tins.
  • 03
  • Drain sultanas, pat dry on absorbent paper and combine in a bowl with pine nuts and remaining rosemary. Scatter over cakes, drizzle with melted butter and bake until golden and centres spring back when lightly pressed (25-30 minutes). Cool cakes in tins for 5 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for rosemary honey, combine ingredients and 30ml water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until flavours infuse (3-4 minutes), cool to room temperature. To serve, discard rosemary sprig and spoon rosemary honey over cakes.

Note Chestnut flour is available from select Italian delicatessens, but be sure to check the packing date because it must be very fresh.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

May 2010

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