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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ma po doufu


You'll need

1 tbsp (about 15gm) finely chopped ginger 1 tbsp finely chopped red chilli (about 4 birdseye, or to taste) 1 tbsp chopped garlic (about 2½ cloves) 2 tbsp chilli bean paste 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp oyster sauce 2 tbsp caster sugar 300 gm minced pork, marinated in 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp caster sugar 1 tbsp vegetable oil 100 ml chicken stock 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine 1 tbsp chilli oil 1 tbsp coarsely ground Sichuan pepper 3 spring onions, finely sliced To serve: coriander leaves To serve: steamed rice   Soymilk custard 400 ml unsweetened soymilk eggs, whisked lightly and strained 80 ml white soy sauce (see note)

Method

  • 01
  • For soymilk custard, whisk soymilk, egg and soy sauce in a bowl to combine. Divide into 2 heatproof 18cm-diameter bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and steam in a bamboo steamer over a saucepan of boiling water until custard is set and firm but still a little soft to the touch (15-18 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 02
  • Combine ginger, chilli and garlic in a bowl. Combine chilli bean paste, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar in a separate bowl. Heat a wok over high heat until smoking hot, add oil, then pork and cook, stirring constantly and breaking up pork with spoon. When pork is cooked three-quarters of the way through (2-3 minutes), add ginger mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Add chilli bean paste mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and cook until sauce is reduced and meat is coated (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, add Shaoxing wine and chilli oil. Divide among cooked custards and top with Sichuan pepper, spring onion and coriander. Serve with steamed rice.
Note White soy sauce, also known as shiro shoyu, is available from Japanese grocers such as Tokyo Mart and Chef's Armoury.

This recipe was published in May 2013.

At A Glance

  • Serves 2 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 2 people

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