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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. 

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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.

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.

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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.

Onion soup gratinée


You'll need

30 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 6 large white onions, thinly sliced 50 ml Sherry vinegar 50 ml Madeira 450 ml chicken stock 450 ml veal or beef stock 4 thick slices baguette 50 gm each coarsely grated Fontina and Gruyère To serve: finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  • 01
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and season to taste with sea salt. Cook slowly, stirring often, until onion begins to wilt and release liquid (20-25 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high, stir occasionally until liquid reduces completely, then stir often to ensure it colours evenly and slowly to fully develop the flavour, until deeply caramelised (25-30 minutes). Add Sherry vinegar and Madeira and reduce until almost evaporated (1-2 minutes). Add stocks, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until well-flavoured (1-1½ hours). Season to taste, adding a few more drops of vinegar if necessary.
  • 02
  • Preheat grill to high heat. Place baguette slices on an oven tray and toast, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side).
  • 03
  • Divide onion soup among four deep ovenproof serving bowls and top each with a toasted croûton. Combine cheeses in a separate bowl, scatter evenly over soup and place bowls on an oven tray. Grill (see note) until golden and bubbling and serve hot, scattered with parsley.
Note If you can't fit soup bowls under your grill, preheat oven to 220C and bake soup until golden and bubbling (4-5 minutes).

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

"The secret is to take your time - a good onion soup is never rushed. It's essential to use the right cheese as well - Fontina and Gruyère are non-negotiable."

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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