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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.

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.

Star anise-poached beef and Sichuan cucumber salad


You could reserve the flavoursome broth used to poach the beef and serve it on the side, or freeze it and use it as a base for Chinese-style soups.

You'll need

2 telegraph cucumbers, halved lengthways, seeds removed 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns 50 ml sesame oil 1 tbsp chilli oil 1 cup (loosely packed) coriander   Star anise-poached beef 30 ml peanut oil 430 gm piece of beef fillet 2 litres (8 cups) beef stock 60 ml (¼ cup) dark soy sauce 6 star anise 1 cassia quill

Method

  • 01
  • For star anise-poached beef, heat peanut oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add beef fillet and brown well all over (3-4 minutes), then transfer to a plate lined with absorbent paper, set aside. Meanwhile, combine stock, soy sauce and spices in a saucepan, season to taste and bring to the simmer over medium heat. Add beef, reduce heat to low, simmer until medium-rare (12-15 minutes), remove beef (broth can reserved for another use).
  • 02
  • Cut cucumber into 5cm-long batons, place in a bowl, combine with 2 tsp sea salt and mix well. Stand for 15 minutes, then rinse under cold running water and pat dry with absorbent paper, set aside. Meanwhile, dry-roast peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant (1 minute), then combine with cucumber, oils and coriander.
  • 03
  • Divide cucumber salad among plates, place thinly sliced beef on top, serve immediately.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

Featured in

Apr 2010

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