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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.

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Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Farro recipes

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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.

Orient Express


You'll need

100 gm (½ cup) tapioca pearls, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained, rinsed under cold running water (see note) 185 gm dark palm sugar, finely chopped 50 ml strong-brewed jasmine tea 200 ml coconut cream To serve: toasted shredded coconut   Star anise ice-cream 450 ml pouring cream 375 ml (1½ cups) milk 5 star anise 6 egg yolks 150 gm caster sugar   Lychee and ginger sorbet 380 gm lychee flesh 200 ml sugar syrup 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger   Cucumber and coriander jelly 500 gm Lebanese cucumbers (about 4) ½ cup (firmly packed) coriander 2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes 1½ tbsp caster sugar

Method

  • 01
  • For star anise ice-cream, bring cream, milk and star anise to the boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Pour in cream mixture, whisk to combine, return mixture to pan and stir over low-medium heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon (5-6 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, refrigerate until chilled, then freeze in an ice-cream machine until required. Makes about 1 litre.
  • 02
  • For lychee and ginger sorbet, purée ingredients in a blender until smooth and freeze in an ice-cream machine until required. Makes about 750ml.
  • 03
  • For cucumber and coriander jelly, juice cucumber and coriander in an electric juicer to yield 850ml juice (see note), skim scum from surface and transfer 200ml (reserve remainder) to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Squeeze gelatine to remove excess water then add to pan with sugar, stir to dissolve, transfer to a container, add remaining juice, stir to combine and refrigerate until set (4-5 hours).
  • 04
  • Cook tapioca in a saucepan of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until translucent (10-15 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold running water, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Meanwhile, stir palm sugar and jasmine tea in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, simmer until slightly thickened (8-10 minutes), then set aside to cool to room temperature. Add tapioca, stir to combine and refrigerate until required.
  • 05
  • Divide tapioca mixture among chilled glasses, pour coconut cream over, top with cucumber and coriander jelly and scoops of lychee and ginger sorbet and star anise ice-cream, scatter with toasted shredded coconut and serve immediately.
Note Tapioca pearls are available from Asian grocers. If you don’t have a juicer, purée the cucumber and coriander in a blender then pass it through a fine sieve.

This recipe is from the February 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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