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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.

Chinese sticky rice prawn parcels


These prawn parcels, inspired by a Fuchsia Dunlop recipe, can be prepared up to step 6 ahead of your guests' arrival. Begin a day ahead to soak the rice.

You'll need

2 dried lotus leaves (see note) 200 gm uncooked prawns, cleaned, coarsely chopped ½ tsp finely grated ginger ¼ tsp potato starch 1½ tbsp Shaoxing wine 400 gm white glutinous rice, soaked overnight in cold water 2 tbsp peanut oil 50 gm dried pork belly (Chinese bacon; see note), diced 1 tbsp dried shrimp (see note), soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained 3 tsp light soy sauce Few drops of sesame oil 1 spring onion, thinly sliced, plus extra for scattering To serve: thinly sliced ginger   Dipping sauce ¼ cup Chinkiang vinegar (see note) ¼ cup soy sauce 4 spring onions, thinly sliced 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced, or to taste 20 gm (4cm piece) ginger, cut into julienne

Method

  • 01
  • Cut a small hole in the centre of each lotus leaf with scissors to remove hard-veined section. Place leaves in a large bowl or sink and cover with hot water, top with a plate so the leaves are gently submerged and soak until leaves are tender and malleable (1 hour). Drain, carefully tear into quarters and set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine prawns, ginger, potato starch and half the Shaoxing wine in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate to marinate while you prepare the rice.
  • 03
  • Place a quarter of a lotus leaf in a steamer and top with drained rice. Place steamer over a saucepan of boiling water and steam until rice is tender (30 minutes). Transfer rice to a bowl, add half the oil, season with sea salt flakes and keep warm.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for dipping sauce, stir ingredients in a bowl to combine and set aside until required.
  • 05
  • Heat remaining oil in a wok over high heat, add prawn mixture, pork belly and dried shrimp and stir-fry until prawns are almost cooked through (10-20 seconds). Add soy sauce and remaining Shaoxing wine, stir to combine, add sesame oil and ground white pepper to taste and stir in spring onions.
  • 06
  • Working with a piece of lotus leaf at a time, place leaf on a work surface, spoon an eighth of rice into the centre, flatten slightly, top with a quarter of the prawn mixture, then top with the same amount of rice again. Mould the rice into a trianglular shape, ensuring the prawn filling is completely enclosed, then wrap the leaf over to enclose and tie with kitchen string. Repeat with remaining rice and prawn mixture. You will have some lotus leaves left over; these can be used to cover any tears so the parcels are completely enclosed.
  • 07
  • Steam parcels in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water until rice is heated through and prawn mixture is cooked through (30 minutes). Open parcels, scatter with ginger and extra spring onion and serve warm with dipping sauce.

Note Dried lotus leaves, dried pork belly and dried shrimp are available from select Asian grocers. Chinkiang vinegar, a fragrant black vinegar, is available from Asian grocers - the Gold Plum brand is one of the best.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Bottle-aged sémillon.

Featured in

Dec 2013

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