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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.

Fonduta Valdostana with crisp rosemary polenta and Savoy cabbage


You'll need

½ Savoy cabbage (about 750gm), cut into wedges For deep-frying: vegetable oil For dusting: plain flour, seasoned To serve: crusty Italian bread, diced   Crisp rosemary polenta 650 ml chicken stock 150 ml milk 200 gm fine yellow polenta 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary, plus extra sprigs to serve   Fonduta 500 gm coarsely grated Fontina 250 ml (1 cup) milk 100 ml pouring cream 50 gm butter 4 egg yolks

Method

  • 01
  • For crisp rosemary polenta, bring stock, milk and 300ml water to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add polenta in a steady stream, whisking continuously, bring to the simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and stir occasionally until thick (20-25 minutes). Add parmesan and rosemary, season to taste and pour into a 3cm-deep, 12cm x 8cm tray lined with plastic wrap. Smooth top with a wet palette knife, refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours). Turn onto a board, cut into cubes and refrigerate until required.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for fonduta, combine Fontina, milk and cream in a bowl and stand for 1 hour. Heat butter in a double boiler over medium-high heat, gradually add Fontina mixture a little at a time, whisking until melted and smooth (do not boil), then add egg yolks and whisk until thick (3-4 minutes). Season to taste and keep warm.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, steam cabbage wedges until tender (5-10 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 180C. Dust polenta with flour, then deep-fry until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper and scatter with sea salt flakes. Deep-fry rosemary sprigs until crisp (1-2 seconds) and drain on absorbent paper.
  • 05
  • Arrange Savoy cabbage wedges on a platter with crisp rosemary polenta and bread, scatter with crisp rosemary sprigs and serve with warm fonduta for dipping.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Fonduta is popular in Italy's alpine regions. After all, what's not to love about creamy melted Fontina? You could make it extra-luxe by scattering a shaved truffle over the top.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Fragrant, crisp white savagnin.

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