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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.

Ham with cauliflower piccalilli and buttermilk biscuits


The traditional American biscuit is similar to our scone, but it's generally used in a savoury way and makes the perfect partner to ham and pickles. Start the piccalilli at least two days ahead.

You'll need

50 gm lard 200 gm thickly sliced leg ham To serve: mint   Buttermilk biscuits 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour 1½ tsp white sugar 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 55 gm (¼ cup) softened butter, plus extra melted, for brushing 50 gm (¼ cup) lard 185 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk, shaken well   Cauliflower piccalilli 1 kg cauliflower 50 gm fine sea salt 30 gm cornflour 10 gm each turmeric and mustard powder 15 gm brown mustard seeds 1 tsp each dried chilli flakes, cumin seeds and coriander seeds 600 ml cider vinegar 150 gm white sugar 50 gm honey

Method

  • 01
  • For cauliflower piccalilli, cut cauliflower into small florets and mix well with salt in a large bowl. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours to draw out moisture. Rinse under cold running water and drain. Mix cornflour and spices with 2 tbsp vinegar in a bowl to a smooth paste. Bring remaining vinegar, sugar and honey to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp hot vinegar mixture to the cornflour mixture and stir until smooth, then return to pan. Bring to the boil and stir continuously until thickened (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, add cauliflower, mix well, then spoon into a warm sterilised 1 litre jar and seal. Refrigerate for at least a day or up to a year.
  • 02
  • For buttermilk biscuits, preheat oven to 200C and line a baking oven tray with baking paper. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp sea salt in a food processor, add butter and lard, and pulse to fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl, add buttermilk and stir to combine, then turn out on a lightly floured surface and gently knead to bring dough together. Roll out to 3cm thick, then cut out eight 7cm rounds with a biscuit cutter and place on prepared tray. Brush tops with melted butter and bake until golden (8-10 minutes). Set aside to cool. Makes 8.
  • 03
  • Cook ham in lard in a large frying pan over high heat until caramelised (1-2 minutes each side). Serve scattered with cauliflower piccalilli and mint, with buttermilk biscuits, warm or at room temperature, for sandwiching.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Refreshing cold pilsner.

Featured in

Dec 2014

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