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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.

Squid, golden pickle, olives, preserved lemon


You'll need

8 Hawkesbury River squid or southern calamari (180gm each), cleaned (see note) 16 Gordal olives (about 200gm; see note) or other large green olives, cheeks removed To serve: coriander cress and thinly shaved radish   Golden pickle 1 tbsp coriander seeds 5 black peppercorns 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 10 gm (2cm piece) ginger 5 gm (2cm piece) fresh turmeric 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil 100 ml white wine vinegar 50 gm caster sugar 12 baby heirloom carrots in various colours, thinly sliced on a mandolin 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced into rings, rinsed 4 baby preserved lemons, pith and flesh removed, rind thinly sliced (see note), plus extra cut into wedges to serve

Method

  • 01
  • For golden pickle, pound coriander and pepper in a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground, add garlic, ginger and turmeric and pound to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add spice mixture and stir until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Add vinegar, sugar, 80ml water and 1½ tsp sea salt flakes, bring to the boil, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Combine carrot, shallot and preserved lemon in a bowl, add pickling liquid, toss to combine and set aside.
  • 02
  • Preheat a charcoal barbecue (or char-grill pan) to high heat. Char-grill squid, turning occasionally, until golden and just cooked (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a large serving platter, top with golden pickle, olives, coriander cress, radish and preserved lemon wedges and serve.

Note If using Hawkesbury River squid, leave skin and wings intact. For southern calamari, remove skin and wings. Gordal olives and baby preserved lemons are available from Simon Johnson and select delicatessens.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Nov 2012

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