Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

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.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

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.

Baguettes and épis de blé


Baguettes and épis de blé are both made from a simple dough, but épis de blé are shaped to resemble sheaves of wheat. A great baguette relies on good baker's flour (not to be confused with baker's mix or Italian bread flour, which is finer), while a long fermentation of the dough imparts flavour. Baking at a high temperature renders a nice crust, but it's essential to place ice cubes in the oven so the steam slows the process. Place the bread higher in the oven and keep the door closed while baking for the best result.

You'll need

1½ tsp dried yeast 450 gm (3 cups) baker’s flour (see note) 1 tsp fine salt

Method

  • 01
  • Whisk yeast and 200ml lukewarm water in a jug to dissolve yeast, then set aside until it starts to foam (5-10 minutes).
  • 02
  • Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, add yeast mixture and another 130ml water, and mix with a fork until dough just comes together, ensuring all the flour is incorporated (you may need to use your fingertips). It should still be quite sticky. Cover and set aside in a warm place until dough increass 2½ times in volume (1½-2 hours). Knock back dough and prove again (1 hour).
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 240C. Turn dough onto a lightly floured bench and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 30cm-long log shape, rolling from the centre outwards and tapering the ends. Transfer to a heavy baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and rest in a warm place until doubled in size.
  • 04
  • Dust loaves with flour then, using a razor blade or scalpel, slash diagonally at regular intervals along the length of the loaf for baguettes. For épis de blé, use scissors to make 3-4 angular cuts three-quarters of the way into the centre along each side at alternate intervals, then, while the dough is still on the scissors, pull each cut section to the side at opposite angles to create “ears”. Place tray on top shelf of oven, place a tray containing a few ice cubes at the base of the oven and bake until a golden crust forms (12-18 minutes). Remove from oven, cool and serve the same day.

Note This recipe makes 3 x 30cm loaves. Look for a strong wheat baker's flour, sold in 5kg bags at select supermarkets. It's not to be confused with bread mix, which contains additives.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Featured in

Oct 2013

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