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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

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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.

Almond nougat


You'll need

300 gm almonds 380 gm caster sugar 230 gm mild honey 120 gm liquid glucose 2 eggwhites 4 sheets confectioner's rice paper (see note)

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 100C. Place almonds on a tray and keep warm in oven.
  • 02
  • Combine sugar, honey, glucose and 100ml water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar, then cook over medium-high heat until mixture reaches 120C on a sugar thermometer (5-10 minutes).Start whisking eggwhites in an electric mixer on medium speed. Continue cooking sugar mixture until it reaches 135C (5-10 minutes). Eggwhites should be firm by this stage; if not, increase speed. When firm peaks form, pour hot syrup down side of bowl and whisk until smooth and glossy (3 minutes). Stir in warm almonds, then transfer to a 23cm square cake tin lined with plastic wrap, with 2 sheets of rice paper on the base. Smooth with a wet palette knife, top with remaining rice paper and smooth as much as possible. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours). Turn out, cut into small squares with a serrated knife and serve. Nougat will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a week.
Note Confectioner's rice paper (not to be confused with Asian rice paper) is available from select delicatessens. It's intended to be eaten.

This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Nougat is quite easy to make; the trick is knowing how to make it as hard or soft as you prefer. This slightly soft version is adapted from a recipe by Greg Malouf. If you prefer a harder nougat, cook the sugar until it reaches 150C on a sugar thermometer. You can substitute any nuts, dried fruit or chocolate for the almonds.

At A Glance

  • Serves 25 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 25 people

Drink Suggestion

Italian-style "passito" golden dessert wine.

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