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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Pea and ham soup

Pork and eggplant salad with salted chilli


The combination of steamed and raw eggplant gives this Thai-style dish great textural interest, while a tangy salted-chilli condiment served alongside lets you control the amount of heat. It's great to serve with all manner of Asian dishes and keeps well in the fridge for a couple of months.

You'll need

4 small Japanese eggplant, thickly sliced 8 apple eggplant, trimmed (see note) 2 tbsp vegetable or grapeseed oil 300 gm minced pork 2 red or golden shallots, thinly sliced 2 red birdseye chillies, thinly sliced, or to taste 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tbsp crushed palm sugar 2 tbsp lime juice 2 tbsp fish sauce ½ cup each (loosely packed) coriander, Thai basil and mint To serve: pork crackling (optional; see note)   Salted chilli 6 red birdseye chillies, coarsely chopped 2 tbsp sea salt 1 tbsp each fish sauce and rice vinegar

Method

  • 01
  • For salted chilli, process ingredients in a small food processor until finely chopped and set aside until required. Refrigerate in a sterile container for up to 2 months.
  • 02
  • Steam Japanese eggplant until tender (4-5 minutes), then set aside. Meanwhile, thinly slice apple eggplant on a mandolin and stand in iced water to crisp (4-5 minutes).
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan over high heat, add pork and stir-fry until browned all over (4-5 minutes), then combine in a bowl with shallots, chilli and garlic. Set aside.
  • 04
  • Pound palm sugar with a mortar and pestle, then stir in lime juice and fish sauce.
  • 05
  • Drain apple eggplant, add to pork mixture, drizzle with lime juice mixture, toss to combine and serve on a platter over steamed eggplant and scattered with herbs and pork crackling.

Note Apple eggplant and pork crackling are available from Asian grocers.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Feb 2015

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