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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. 

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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.

Berbere beef stew and spiced silverbeet


Store the extra berbere spice in an airtight container in the pantry and use it to make other Ethiopian specialties, such as doro wat, a spiced chicken dish.

You'll need

40 gm ghee 1 kg beef, such as brisket or chuck, cut into 4cm pieces 2 onions, thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1½ tbsp finely chopped ginger 400 gm canned crushed tomatoes 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock To serve: flatbread (see note)   Berbere spice 6 cardamom pods, bruised 4 cloves 1 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tsp each fenugreek seeds and black peppercorns ¼ tsp ground allspice 50 gm dried onion flakes 5 small dried red chillies, seeds removed, coarsely broken 50 gm sweet paprika ½ tsp each ground nutmeg, ground ginger and ground cinnamon   Spiced silverbeet 500 gm silverbeet leaves (about 1 bunch) 1½ tbsp ghee 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger 1½ tbsp nigella seeds 1 tsp fenugreek seeds Pinch of ground allspice

Method

  • 01
  • For berbere spice, dry-roast cardamom, cloves, coriander and fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns and allspice in a small frying pan over medium heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Cool, then finely grind in a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, with onion flakes and chilli. Stir through remaining spice and 1 tsp fine sea salt.
  • 02
  • Heat half the ghee in a large casserole or saucepan over medium heat. Add beef in batches, turn occasionally until browned (3-5 minutes), then remove from pan and set aside. Heat remaining ghee, add onion and stir occasionally until golden (8-10 minutes). Add garlic and ginger, and stir until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add 2½-3 tbsp berbere spice (remainder will keep for 3 months) and stir to combine. Add tomato and stock, and bring to a simmer, then return beef to the pan and reduce heat to very low, cover and stir occasionally until beef is quite tender (3-3½ hours). Remove lid and cook until beef is thoroughly giving (1 hour). Set aside to rest (15 minutes).
  • 03
  • For spiced silverbeet, blanch leaves until just tender (1 minute), drain and refresh, then squeeze to remove excess water. Heat ghee in a large frying pan over high heat. Add garlic, ginger and seeds, and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add silverbeet and stir occasionally until it starts to become golden (3-4 minutes). Add allspice, season to taste and serve hot with beef stew and flatbread.

Note Injera is Ethiopia's traditional flatbread, but Lebanese or Afghan breads also work well.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Bold red zinfandel.

Featured in

Aug 2013

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