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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Party paella


"To me, paella is great for feeding a lot of people easily. It's the best one-pot dish in the world, and you can feed up to 500 people if your pan is big enough," says Frank Camorra. "Twelve people is not that difficult, and six is a cinch. This is a paella that's quite simple to make, but it's a crowd-pleaser, especially over Christmas. You can buy specially made large gas-ring burners in Spanish delicatessens for the big paella pans, but a barbecue flat grill is the next best thing, so buy a pan that fits it snugly. Or you can put it on top of your stove over all your burners. The problem with this method is that you've got to move it around a little bit and the edges cook more than the middle. It works, but it takes a bit more care and you've got to watch it. Or if you're a total expert, you can of course do it over a fire - different woods, and some vines at the start to get it nice and hot."

You'll need

1 chicken (about 1.2kg) 5 ripe vine-ripened tomatoes 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil 450 gm cleaned calamari, cut into 3cm pieces 3 large onions, coarsely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped Good pinch of saffron threads 4 fresh bay leaves 500 gm each red and green capsicum, diced 135 ml fino Sherry 450 gm bomba rice (see note) 750 gm mussels, scrubbed, beards removed 800 gm vongole, soaked in cold salted water for 2 hours to remove grit, drained To serve: lemon wedges

Method

  • 01
  • Place chicken breast-side up on a board, slice down each side of the breasts, remove breasts and wings, then legs. Separate breasts from wings, cut breasts into three pieces, trim excess skin (discard) and set aside. Cut wing tips from wings (wing tips and carcass can be reserved to make stock), halve at the joint and set aside. Cut through leg joints to separate thighs from legs, trim bony ends from drumsticks, cut each drumstick in half through the bone and set aside. Cut thighs through the bone into thirds and set aside.
  • 02
  • Blanch tomatoes until skins split (30 seconds-1 minute), refresh and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, remove seeds (discard), finely chop and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat 60ml oil in a 48cm-diameter paella pan over high heat, add calamari, season to taste and stir continuously until firm and caramelised (1½-2 minutes), transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, cover and set aside. Add chicken to pan, season to taste and stir continuously until lightly browned (3-4 minutes). Push the chicken to one side, reduce heat to low-medium, add onion, garlic, saffron, bay leaves and remaining oil, season with a little salt and stir continuously until onion is golden (4-5 minutes). Add capsicum and cook until soft and jammy (8-10 minutes), then mix chicken in.
  • 04
  • Drain all liquid from tomato and add to pan with fino, increase heat to medium-high, season to taste and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping base of pan, until any liquid is reduced and mixture looks like thick and chunky jam (15-20 minutes). Add 1.6 litres tap-hot water, stir to combine and bring to the simmer. Return calamari to pan and cook for 10 minutes, sprinkle in rice and stir through evenly. Continue cooking until rice starts to show, adding mussels and vongole after 12 minutes (15-20 minutes; do not stir again). Remove from heat, cover with 2 tea towels and set aside to steam (15 minutes). Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Note Bomba is a short-grain rice from the Calasparra region of Spain. It's available from select delicatessens; if it's unavailable, substitute another short-grain rice.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Dec 2012

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