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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.

Mackerel escabeche


You'll need

125 gm (½ cup) fine sea salt 2 kg mackerel fillets (about 8 fillets) 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 2 small dried red chillies 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 fresh bay leaf 1 small onion, thinly sliced 310 ml (1¼ cups) white wine vinegar 2 tbsp marjoram 1 tsp whole black peppercorns ½ tsp cumin seeds

Method

  • 01
  • Bring salt and 450ml water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve salt, then cool to room temperature. Place mackerel in a non-reactive container, pour brine over, cover and refrigerate until chilled (30 minutes).
  • 02
  • Drain mackerel (discard brine) and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add chilli, garlic and bay leaf, then cook mackerel in batches, turning once, until browned (2-3 minutes each side). Transfer to a non-reactive container and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Add onion to pan, stir occasionally until tender (7-8 minutes), add vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in marjoram, peppercorns and cumin seeds.
  • 04
  • Pour vinegar mixture over mackerel, cover and refrigerate to pickle (2 days). Mackerel escabeche will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Mackerel's oily flesh shines when it's pickled ñ the flesh remains moist and the flavour of the fish balances the vinegar. You can serve the flaked fish in a soft brioche roll with watercress, shredded apple and witlof and mustard mayonnaise. It also makes a great side dish: stir the fish through a creamy layered goat's cheese and potato bake or combine it with mint and flat-leaf parsley to make a salad. You'll need to begin this recipe two days ahead.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Grapy, off-dry riesling.

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