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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.

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.

Peas and pink grapefruit with white almonds


You'll need

350 gm fresh garden peas, shelled 1 pink grapefruit 16 blanched almonds, left whole or cut in halves or quarters lengthways 40 gm lightly salted butter 2 tbsp virgin olive oil Flowers from 2 small thyme sprigs To season: fleur de sel or salt of your choice

Method

  • 01
  • Peel the grapefruit, removing as much of the pith and core as possible. With a small sharp knife, free the grapefruit segments by cutting along the sections of membrane and letting the segments and juices fall away on to a plate. Cut the segments into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.
  • 02
  • In a sauté pan with sloping sides, or in a saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil over low heat. Stir in the thyme flowers and peas. Cover with water to a depth of about 4cm. Simmer the peas, stirring frequently, until the water evaporates and the peas are cooked to an al dente stage (about 11 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, have ready 4 warm soup bowls and the almonds: you can leave the almonds whole or, if you prefer, cut them lengthways into halves or quarters. Season the cooked peas with salt and discard the thyme flowers. Divide the peas between the soup bowls. Arrange the grapefruit segments on top, distribute the almonds and serve straightaway.
Note Here, we are in a situation approaching fantasy. Certainly, when we bring together garden peas and pink grapefruit, we verge on culinary improbability. Yet, in agreeing to a rendezvous, the two accomplices lead us to an unexpected pleasure garden, heavy with the scent of fresh thyme. The addition of almonds offsets the slightly astringent note of this partnership, and offers some deliciously playful bite.

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

The Art of Cooking with Vegetables by Alain Passard is published by Frances Lincoln and distributed by Thames and Hudson (hbk, $39.95). The recipes here have been reproduced with minor GT style changes.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

A Sancerre or a sauvignon blanc from the Loire.

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