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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.

Ricotta, almond and chocolate tarts with poached pears


You'll need

1.5 kg firm ricotta 300 gm raw caster sugar 2 eggs, beaten 200 gm almond meal Finely grated rind of 1 lemon For dusting: pure icing sugar   Pastry 555 gm plain flour 170 gm caster sugar 380 gm cold butter, diced 3 egg yolks   White wine-poached pears 8 honey or corella pears, peeled, halved 750 ml pinot grigio, or other Italian white wine 500 gm caster sugar 2 cinnamon quills 4 thyme sprigs Juice and thinly peeled rind of 1 lemon   Bitter chocolate sauce 200 gm bitter chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped 200 ml pouring cream 200 gm softened butter

Method

  • 01
  • For pastry, pulse flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until fine crumbs form, then add yolks, 1 tbsp chilled water and a pinch of salt and process until mixture just comes together. Turn onto a work surface and knead until smooth, then roll three-quarters of pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 28cm x 30cm rectangle. Transfer to a 30cm x 32cm x 1cm baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate to rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, roll remaining pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 3mm-thick rectangle. Remove top layer of paper and refrigerate until pastry is firm (10-15 minutes).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 190C. Whisk ricotta, sugar and eggs in a large bowl until smooth, then fold in almond meal and lemon rind. Spoon ricotta mixture into pastry base and smooth top. Cut chilled pastry into long 5mm-wide strips and arrange in a lattice pattern on top of ricotta mixture. Bake until base is cooked, tart is golden and filling is set (40-50 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for white wine-poached pears, combine ingredients in a wide shallow saucepan, bring to the simmer over medium heat, cover closely with a piece of baking paper and a lid, reduce heat to low and cook until pears are tender (10-20 minutes). Set aside to cool in poaching liquid.
  • 04
  • For bitter chocolate sauce, combine chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and glossy (3-5 minutes), then gradually add 150ml boiling water, stirring until smooth and glossy.
  • 05
  • Dust tart with icing sugar, cut into squares, drizzle with warm bitter chocolate sauce and serve with white wine-poached pears.

Tarts equal stress-free entertaining, especially if you have a crowd; they can be made well in advance and are easy to serve. If berries are in season, you can use them as an alternative to the pears: simply toss them in a little lemon juice and icing sugar.


At A Glance

  • Serves 18 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 18 people

Drink Suggestion

Italian-style passito (dried grape) sweetie.

Featured in

Nov 2011

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