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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Papoutsakia


These stuffed eggplant halves, whose name translates literally as "little shoes", epitomise the big-flavoured melting goodness that is Greek home cooking.

You'll need

3 eggplant, halved 150 ml olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 50 gm mild flat pancetta 500 gm minced veal 400 gm canned tomato polpa (see note) ½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley,finely chopped 1 tsp thyme 350 gm Greek-style yoghurt 200 gm kefalotiri, finely grated   Greek chopped salad 1 baby gem lettuce, coarsely chopped 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandolin ½ cup (loosely packed) each dill, flat-leaf parsley and mint Juice of ½ lemon 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • Score cut-side of eggplant in a crosshatch pattern, leaving a 1cm border, then remove flesh with a spoon and set aside.
  • 02
  • Heat half the oil in a deep-sided frying pan over high heat, add eggplant flesh, stir occasionally until tender (5-10 minutes), season to taste, transfer to a colander to drain excess oil and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat half remaining oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic and pancetta and stir occasionally until tender and golden (5-10 minutes). Add veal, stir until browned (5-10 minutes), add polpa, stir occasionally until thick (10-15 minutes), then stir through parsley, thyme and eggplant flesh, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over high heat, add eggplant halves and turn occasionally until golden and slightly tender (3-5 minutes). Transfer to a baking dish to fit snugly cut-side up, then spoon meat mixture into eggplant halves, press to fill well and form into mounds. Spoon over yoghurt, scatter over cheese, then bake until topping is golden and eggplant are tender (30 minutes).
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, for Greek chopped salad, toss ingredients in a bowl to combine and season to taste. Serve with hot papoutsakia.

Note Tomato polpa, coarsely puréed canned tomato, is available from select supermarkets and delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute canned crushed tomatoes.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Oct 2011

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