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Aløft

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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.

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Orange-glazed ham with potato and parsley salad


You'll need

Thinly peeled rind and juice of 3 oranges and 1 lemon 120 gm light muscovado sugar 40 ml dry apera (see note) 3 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed 1 free-range ham (about 5kg), skin removed, fat scored   Potato and parsley salad 1.8 kg kipfler potatoes, scrubbed 90 ml extra-virgin olive oil 30 ml aged white wine vinegar 4 golden shallots, thinly shaved on a mandolin Juice of 1 lemon 1 cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Stir citrus rind and juice, sugar, apera and coriander in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, then set aside to cool.
  • 02
  • Place ham in a large roasting pan, brush generously with glaze, pour over remaining glaze and roast on lowest shelf of oven, basting often with pan juices, until glaze is lightly caramelised (1½ hours).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for potato and parsley salad, combine potato and enough cold salted water to cover generously in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, cook until tender (12-15 minutes). Drain, cool slightly, peel and thickly slice. Add oil, vinegar and shallot, season generously and toss to combine. Cool to room temperature, add lemon juice and parsley, toss to combine and serve with warm orange-glazed ham.

Note Sherry-style fortified wine made in Australia is now known as apera.


"I buy my ham each year from Leo Donati in Melbourne. It's such a fine smoked ham that it almost doesn't need a glaze, but this one adds just a little bit of sweetness and spice." Brigitte Hafner


At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Drink Suggestion

Pale, cloudy wheat beer.

Featured in

Dec 2011

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