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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.

Roast duck with peaches


You'll need

½ cup (loosely packed) thyme sprigs 2 tbsp sea salt 12 juniper berries 1 large duck (about 2.2kg) 4 peaches, scored 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil, plus extra for drizzling For drizzling: balsamic vinegar   Farro salad 250 gm pumpkin, cut into 1cm dice 1 tbsp olive oil 70 gm (½ cup) hazelnuts 250 gm farro 1 cup (firmly packed) basil leaves, coarsely torn ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • Pound thyme, salt, juniper berries and coarsely ground black pepper to taste in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste, then rub over duck, coating inside and out. Place in a non-reactive container and refrigerate until lightly cured (24 hours).
  • 02
  • Brush salt mixture from duck, place duck in a steamer basket and steam over a saucepan of simmering water until cooked medium (1½-2 hours). Cool, then place duck on a board, breast-side up. Cut along each side of breastbone and cut breast and leg off each side of carcass, cutting through wing joint and keeping each half in one piece, so each is a joined breast and bone-in thigh. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, place on a tray, press flat with a light weight and refrigerate to compress (overnight).
  • 03
  • For farro salad, preheat oven to 175C. Combine pumpkin and olive oil in a roasting pan, season and roast until golden and tender (20 minutes). Spread hazelnuts in a baking dish and roast until golden (8-10 minutes). Rub in a tea towel to remove skins, then lightly crush with a mortar and pestle. Cook farro in boiling salted water until tender (15-20 minutes), drain and set aside in a bowl to cool. Add pumpkin, hazelnuts and remaining ingredients, toss to combine and season to taste.
  • 04
  • Roast peaches on an oven tray until tender (30 minutes), peel, halve, remove stones and keep warm.
  • 05
  • Increase oven to 220C. Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron pan over medium heat until smoking hot. Place duck skin-side down in pan and weight with another heavy cast-iron pan. Transfer to oven and roast duck until golden and crisp (10 minutes).
  • 06
  • Serve duck with roast peaches and farro salad, season to taste, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
This recipe is from the March 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“I love the combination of seasonal fruit and rich duck,” says Neil Perry. “There are many similar examples in Italian cooking.” At Rosetta the duck is cooked in a woodfired oven, but you can use a hot conventional oven. You’ll need to begin this recipe two days ahead to salt the duck.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

2008 Mauro Molino Barolo, Piedmont.

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