Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

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

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Beyond Kuala Lumpur's shopping malls, Lara Dunston finds a flourishing third-wave coffee scene, tailored food tours and charming neighbourhoods.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

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.

Crisp oolong-smoked quail with mandarin-ginger dipping sauce


Reserve the peel from the mandarins you use in the dipping sauce and add a little to the smoking mixture.

You'll need

1 tbsp Sichuan pepper 2 pieces dried mandarin peel (see note) 2 tbsp sea salt flakes 2 tsp finely grated ginger 8 jumbo quail, butterflied 180 gm long-grain rice 90 gm brown sugar 2 tbsp oolong tea leaves 2 each cinnamon quills and star anise 50 ml vegetable oil   Mandarin-ginger dipping sauce 3 mandarins, white membrane removed, flesh coarsely chopped Juice of 2 mandarins 30 gm caster sugar 2 tsp finely grated ginger 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tbsp each soy sauce and black Chinkiang vinegar (see note) 1 spring onion, thinly sliced

Method

  • 01
  • Pound Sichuan pepper and dried mandarin peel in a mortar and pestle until finely ground, then combine with salt and ginger in a small bowl. Rub well all over quail, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • 02
  • Scatter rice, brown sugar, tea and spices in a disposable foil roasting pan (see note) and place an oiled wire rack on top (elevate it by resting it on small metal dariole moulds). Brush excess curing mixture from quail, place quail in a single layer on a wire rack, top with another disposable foil roasting pan of the same size, then cover edges with foil and crimp to seal well. Place pan over medium-high heat and cook until smoke appears, reduce heat to low and smoke for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stand for 5 minutes before removing lid, then halve quail and set aside.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for mandarin-ginger dipping sauce, combine mandarin, juice, caster sugar, ginger and garlic in a small saucepan, bring to the simmer over medium heat and cook until thick (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Just before serving, stir in spring onion.
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add quail in batches, skin-side down, cook until browned (1 minute), turn and cook for another minute. Serve hot with mandarin-ginger dipping sauce.

Note Dried mandarin peel and Chinkiang vinegar are available from Chinese grocers. Disposable roasting pans are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Alternatively, use two flameproof roasting pans of the same size and line each with several layers of foil.


Smoking tips

When smoking inside, ensure your kitchen is well ventilated, with the extractor fan on high and any windows open, to avoid triggering smoke alarms.

A well-sealed vessel is essential for smoking. Use two baking trays of exactly the same size, and seal the join with long strips of foil, crimping the edges tightly.

If you are using regular baking trays to smoke, line the base and sides of each one with several layers of foil. This will make them easier to clean and minimise tainting.

Alternatively, disposable aluminium trays are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Opt for the sturdier ones for ease of handling.

Be precise with your timing, including the amount of time you stand the smoking vessel before you uncover it. Any greater length of time could result in an acrid, unpleasant flavour. We suggest taking the trays outside when uncovering them.

Make sure your woodchips are dry and dense to begin with. Each variety imparts a different flavour, so try experimenting with different ones to find your favourite.

The recipes we've produced here all use a hot-smoking method, where a direct heat source is used. The other method used by some manufacturers of smoked products is cold smoking, where the smoke is created in a chamber separate from the product to be smoked. In this case, the lower the temperature while smoking for a longer period of time, the more smoke flavour will be imparted.

Kettle-style barbecues (such as those made by Weber) are excellent for smoking as you can use them outside and they have a small compact chamber. If you're using any other type of barbecue, check the manufacturer's instructions before building a fire base.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Sep 2010

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