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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Naxi pork ribs with chillies and cumin (Naxi pai gu)


"This is inspired by the delectable spare ribs I had at the In and Out Yunnan Restaurant in Beijing's Chaoyang District a year ago," says Tony Tan. "The ribs are marinated in a fragrant rub of Yunnanese herbs and spices, including a kind of citrusy leaf, cooked in a master stock till tender, chilled, then deep-fried or grilled. They're topped with chillies and a host of fragrant spices which results in an unbelievably delicious dish. The following recipe is my take on this memorable dish."

You'll need

1 kg meaty pork spare ribs 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine 1 tsp ground fennel 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper 1 tsp caster sugar For deep-frying: vegetable oil   Master stock 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns 1 tbsp fennel seeds 1 tsp cloves 60 ml Shaoxing wine 5 spring onions, coarsely chopped 2-3 cassia or cinnamon quills 2 star anise 4 black cardamom pods, crushed (see note) 2 tbsp light soy sauce 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional) 5 pieces dried sand ginger (optional; see note)   Spiced vinegar sauce 1 tbsp vegetable oil 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 tbsp finely shredded ginger 1 tbsp green Sichuan peppercorns 10 pickled green birdseye chillies, or to taste, chopped (see note) 5-8 dried long red chillies, finely chopped 1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed 1 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely crushed 1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar

Method

  • 01
  • Combine ribs, Shaoxing, spices and sugar in a bowl, rub to coat well, cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • 02
  • For master stock, tie Sichuan peppercorns, fennel seeds and cloves in a piece of muslin, then combine with remaining ingredients in a stock pot. Add ribs and enough water to just cover, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until ribs are very tender (1½-2 hours). Remove ribs, drain well, cool master stock and ribs separately, then refrigerate ribs until chilled and reserve master stock separately.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a wok to 180C and deep-fry ribs in batches until golden (2-4 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, transfer to a platter and keep warm.
  • 04
  • For spiced vinegar sauce, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add garlic and fry until just golden (20-30 seconds). Add remaining ingredients and 125ml master stock (reserve remainder for another use; see note) and stir-fry over medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour spiced vinegar sauce over spare ribs and serve hot.

Note Black cardamom (sometimes labelled fructus tsaoko), dried sand ginger (also known as zedoary) and pickled green birdseye chillies are all available from Asian grocers. Master stock is traditionally used and reused many times for poaching meats. It will keep refrigerated for three days or frozen for a month, and can then be boiled and stored again.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Spicy, strong ale.

Featured in

Oct 2012

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