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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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.

Grilled chicken with pickled watermelon salad


This dish has all the elements of a perfect summer Christmas dish: vibrant, crisp watermelon, fresh herbs and sweet and sour pickled rind. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

You'll need

2 chickens (about 1.8kg each), butterflied, backbone removed 250 ml (1 cup) fish sauce 250 ml (1 cup) lime juice 160 gm light palm sugar, crushed 150 gm (1 cup) spelt (see note) 600 gm watermelon, thickly sliced (reserve rind for pickle) 2 cups (loosely packed) mint 1 cup each (loosely packed) coriander, Thai basil and Vietnamese mint   Pickled watermelon rind 100 gm watermelon rind, thinly sliced on a mandolin 250 ml (1 cup) rice wine vinegar 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar 1 long red chilli, split 5 gm (1cm piece) ginger, thinly sliced   Crisp shallots and garlic For deep-frying: vegetable oil 10 golden shallots, thinly sliced on a mandolin 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin

Method

  • 01
  • For pickled watermelon rind, place rind in a non-reactive container and set aside. Stir rice wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, set aside to cool, then add remaining ingredients and pour over watermelon rind. Cover and refrigerate overnight to pickle.
  • 02
  • Place chickens in a non-reactive dish and set aside. Pound fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar in a large mortar and pestle to combine, pour half over chicken and refrigerate to marinate (1 hour). Refrigerate remaining dressing until required.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, cook spelt in boiling salted water until tender (30-40 minutes). Drain well, spread on a tray and set aside to cool.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for crisp shallots and garlic, heat oil in a deep saucepan to 160C, add shallots and deep-fry in batches, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Deep-fry garlic, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), remove and drain on absorbent paper. Store in an airtight container until required.
  • 05
  • Heat a char-grill pan (or barbecue) over medium-high heat. Drain chicken from marinade, char-grill skin-side down until crisp (10-15 minutes), turn, char-grill until cooked through (10-15 minutes). Set aside to rest.
  • 06
  • Combine watermelon wedges, spelt, herbs and pickled watermelon rind in a bowl, drizzle with reserved dressing and toss to combine. Scatter chicken with crisp shallots and garlic and serve with pickled watermelon salad.

Note Spelt is a grain, similar to barley, available from health-food shops and select delicatessens. If it's unavailable, substitute freekah or farro perlato (you may need to adjust cooking times and quantities).


At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Dec 2011

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