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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.

Sugar-crusted vanilla pound cake


You'll need

250 gm softened butter 125 gm each caster sugar and panela sugar (see note) Finely grated rind of 1 mandarin and 1 lemon (juices reserved for sugar crust) Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean 4 eggs, at room temperature 250 gm (1 2/3 cup) plain flour, sieved 2 tsp baking powder   Sugar crust Juice of 1 mandarin and 1 lemon 60 gm panela sugar 40 gm caster sugar   Crushed strawberry cream 80 gm strawberries, coarsely chopped 2 tsp panela sugar 400 gm crème fraîche

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 170C. Beat butter, sugars, rinds and vanilla in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (5-6 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in flour and baking powder. Spoon into an 8.5cm x 22cm loaf tin buttered and lined with baking paper, smooth top. Bake until golden and cooked through (45 minutes-1 hour), cool in tin for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack.
  • 02
  • For sugar crust, combine juices and sugars in a bowl and stir until dissolved, then spoon over warm cake. Stand until cooled to room temperature.
  • 03
  • For crushed strawberry cream, combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl, coarsely crush strawberries and stand until juices leach from strawberries (4-5 minutes). Whisk crème fraîche in a separate bowl until thick and smooth, fold in strawberry mixture and serve with sugar-crusted vanilla pound cake.

Note Panela sugar is produced mainly in Colombia, where it's usually sold in block form; in Australia, it's more often seen as a granulated product.


Pound cake is so called because traditionally it was made with a pound of each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. This version uses panela sugar in place of some of the more traditional white sugar, adding a caramel flavour and a crunchy sugar crust. It's best eaten on the day it's made.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

A pot of good old English breakfast tea.

Featured in

Sep 2011

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