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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. 

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.

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Pea and ham soup

Gâteau Basque


You'll need

1 egg 1 tbsp pouring cream For dusting: icing sugar To serve: preserved sour cherries   Almond pastry 300 gm caster sugar 275 gm softened butter Finely grated rind of 1 orange Finely grated rind of 1 lemon Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean 1 tsp orange-blossom water 2 eggs 1 egg yolk 350 gm plain flour 100 gm almond meal 1½ tsp baking powder   Armagnac cream 300 ml milk Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean 2 pieces each lemon and orange rind, removed with a peeler 3 egg yolks 100 gm caster sugar 30 gm plain flour 1 tbsp Armagnac 1 tsp dark rum 1 tsp orange-blossom water

Method

  • 01
  • For almond pastry, beat sugar, butter, orange and lemon rind, vanilla and orange-blossom water in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes). Beat in eggs and yolk, add remaining ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a well-floured surface, form one-third into a disc, then form remaining pastry into a disc. Wrap both pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (overnight).
  • 02
  • For Armagnac cream, bring milk, vanilla seeds, lemon rind and orange rind to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar and flour in a separate bowl to combine. Whisking continuously, pour milk mixture over yolk mixture, whisk to combine, then return to pan and whisk continuously over medium heat until thick and smooth (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, whisk in Armagnac, rum and orange-blossom water, cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (3-4 hours).
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Roll out larger almond pastry disc on a well-floured surface to 5mm thick and line base and sides of a 22cm-diameter, 3cm-deep fluted tart tin. Spread Armagnac cream over, filling to 1cm below rim (there may be a little mixture left over). Roll out smaller almond pastry disc on a well-floured piece of baking paper to 5mm thick, invert on top of Armagnac cream, peel off baking paper, press edges to seal then trim excess pastry. Lightly beat egg and cream in a small bowl and brush over pastry. Prick pastry top with a fork, cut three slashes in top for steam to escape and bake until dark golden (45-50 minutes). Cool to room temperature, dust with icing sugar, cut into thick wedges and serve with preserved sour cherries.
This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

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