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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.

Duck with red wine, prunes and lentils


You'll need

200 ml hot strong black tea 150 gm pitted prunes 8 duck Marylands 1 each onion, carrot and celery stalk, diced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 500 ml full-bodied red wine 400 ml veal stock 3 thyme sprigs 2 fresh bay leaves 1 cinnamon quill 400 gm small green French-style lentils   Fines herbes vinaigrette 2 tsp each finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon and thyme 70 ml extra-virgin olive oil 30 ml aged red wine vinegar, or to taste

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Combine hot tea and prunes in a bowl and set aside.
  • 02
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add duck in batches, skin-side down, cook until skin browns and fat renders (5-6 minutes), remove from pan and place in a single layer in a roasting pan large enough to fit duck snugly.
  • 03
  • Pour excess duck fat from pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon in pan (reserve remaining fat for another use). Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and stir occasionally until very tender (6-8 minutes). Add half the wine, simmer until reduced by two-thirds (4-5 minutes), add remaining wine and repeat. Add stock and tea from prunes, bring to the simmer, then pour over duck in roasting pan. Add thyme, bay leaves and cinnamon, cover tightly with foil and roast until meat is almost falling from the bone (1½-2 hours). Remove duck from pan, cover with foil and keep warm.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, cook lentils in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender (15-20 minutes), drain and set aside.
  • 05
  • For fines herbes vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
  • 06
  • Transfer duck braising mixture to a saucepan, skim fat from surface, remove thyme, bay leaves and cinnamon and add prunes. Bring to the boil, cook until reduced by two-thirds (10-12 minutes), add lentils, season to taste and warm through. Serve hot with duck, drizzled with fines herbes vinaigrette.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Deep purple Madiran (a full-bodied red made from tannat grapes)

Featured in

Jul 2011

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