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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese-marshmallow frosting


These red velvet cupcakes are inspired by a recipe by Nigel Slater. A cream cheese-marshmallow frosting and a few sparklers add fun to the mix.

You'll need

1 large beetroot (about 300 gm) 120 gm dark chocolate (66% cocoa solids) 200 gm butter, at room temperature 190 gm caster sugar 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature 15 drops red food colouring 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour 25 gm (¼ cup) Dutch-process cocoa 2 tsp baking powder To serve: silver cachous   Cream cheese-marshmallow frosting 250 gm cream cheese, softened 1 tbsp liquid glucose or corn syrup 150 gm caster sugar 1 eggwhite 2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Cook beetroot in a saucepan of boiling water until tender (40 minutes to 1 hour), then set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, then transfer 200gm to a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth purée.
  • 02
  • Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, then set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy, then add yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate, beetroot purée and food colouring, sieve flour, cocoa and baking powder over and fold to combine. Whisk eggwhites in a separate bowl to soft peaks, then fold into chocolate mixture. Spoon into a 12-cup muffin tray lined with paper cases and bake until an inserted skewer withdraws clean (20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • For cream cheese-marshmallow frosting, beat cream cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon until very soft (2-3 minutes) and set aside. Stir glucose, 100gm sugar and 40ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and cook until syrup reaches 118C on a sugar thermometer (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add remaining sugar and whisk until glossy. When syrup reaches 127C (3-4 minutes), remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to syrup and stir to dissolve. Whisking on low-medium speed, gradually add syrup to meringue, then whisk on high speed until thick and cooled to room temperature (10-15 minutes). Beat in cream cheese and vanilla seeds and refrigerate, beating occasionally, until firm (15-20 minutes). Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted tube, then pipe generous peaks on top of red velvet cupcakes. Scatter with silver cachous, stand to set (30 minutes), then serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

Featured in

Nov 2013

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