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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.

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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.

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.

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.

Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with baked ricotta and green olives


You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

You'll need

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 tbsp each coarsely chopped mint, thyme and oregano 2 tsp dried mint Finely grated rind of 3 lemons plus 1 tbsp lemon juice 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, bone in 250 ml dry white wine 2 baby fennel bulbs, halved, shaved on a mandolin and placed in iced acidulated water   Baked ricotta 400 gm wedge of firm ricotta 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil Finely grated rind of 1 lemon 1 tsp thyme sprigs ¼ tsp each dried chilli flakes and dried mint   Warm olive dressing 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste 1½ tbsp (firmly packed) oregano 100 gm large green olives, pitted

Method

  • 01
  • Pound garlic and 1 tsp sea salt in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Add herbs and two-thirds of the lemon rind, pound to a paste, stir in lemon juice and oil and season to taste. Place lamb in a non-reactive container, pour over marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Drain marinade from lamb (discard), place lamb in a roasting pan, add wine, cover with foil and roast, topping up occasionally with water if necessary, until lamb is very tender and falling from bone (6-7 hours). Remove from oven, keep warm.
  • 03
  • For baked ricotta, increase oven to 220C. Place ricotta on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with oil, scatter with remaining ingredients, season to taste and bake until firm and browned (15-20 minutes). Cool slightly, coarsely crumble and set aside.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for warm olive dressing, heat oil, garlic, lemon rind and oregano in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is just golden (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, add olives and lemon juice, season to taste and set aside.
  • 05
  • To serve, coarsely shred lamb (discard bone and sinew), arrange on a platter, scatter with baked ricotta. Drain fennel, scatter over lamb, spoon on warm olive dressing and serve warm.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Oct 2012

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