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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Jaew bong


You'll need

10 large red shallots, coarsely chopped 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 20 gm (4cm piece) galangal, coarsely chopped 1 piece fermented salted mackerel (about 60gm), rinsed 8 dried long red chillies, soaked in warm water overnight, drained 3 long red chillies 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn 30 gm tamarind pulp, dissolved in 80ml hot water, strained (solids discarded) 2 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste 20 gm light palm sugar, crushed 1 tbsp vegetable oil To serve: snake beans, cabbage, boiled quail eggs, Thai basil, baby cucumbers and preserved banana blossoms

Method

  • 01
  • Roast shallot, garlic and galangal in a wok over medium-high heat until fragrant, tender and caramelised (10-15 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, cover fish with water in a saucepan and bring to the simmer over high heat, cook until fish begins to break apart (1 minute). Drain, discard bones and skin and transfer to a food processor.
  • 03
  • Add chillies, lime leaves and roasted ingredients and process to a paste. Add tamarind liquid, fish sauce and palm sugar and process to combine.
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, add paste and fry until fragrant (5-10 minutes). Cool, then serve with accompaniments.

This is a spicy and pungent chilli dip; it can be served with steamed fish or grilled meat, raw or cooked vegetables or even steamed sticky rice. Frying the dip isn't traditional, but it helps release the flavours. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Feb 2011

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