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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.

Plum torta with cardamom sugar


This simple cake can be whipped up very quickly, particularly if the plums are already poached. It's ideal for afternoon tea, and the touch of cardamom is the perfect accent to plums. Blood plums work the best because of their colour but any plums are fine.

You'll need

125 ml (½ cup) milk 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 egg 130 gm caster sugar 225 gm (1½ cups) self-raising flour 60 gm unsalted butter, melted Finely grated rind of 1 lemon 2 tbsp melted butter   Poached plums 110 gm (½ cup) sugar 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways 5 plums, halved and stones removed   Cardamom sugar topping 1 tbsp sugar 1 tsp ground cardamom

Method

  • 01
  • For poached plums, stir sugar, vanilla bean and 200ml water in a large saucepan over high heat to dissolve sugar, then bring to the simmer. Reduce heat to low, add plums and poach until tender (10-12 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 170C. Combine milk and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg and sugar in a separate bowl to combine, then add milk mixture, flour, melted butter and lemon rind, whisk until smooth, then pour into a 20cm square cake tin buttered and base lined with baking paper. Drain plums (reserve poaching liquid for another use), press gently into cake batter and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean (25-30 minutes). Stand cake in tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Turn right way up again (carefully), then brush with melted butter.
  • 03
  • For cardamom sugar, combine sugar and cardamom, scatter on top of warm cake and serve warm or at room temperature. The torta is best eaten on the day it’s made.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Espresso.

Featured in

Mar 2014

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