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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.

Fig jam and ricotta torta


A fresh fig jam tastes so much better than the jar varieties and is dead easy to make. This torta is perfect with ice-cream as a dessert or with an amaro or espresso in the afternoon.

You'll need

330 gm (2 cups) plain flour 150 gm (1¼ cups) almond meal 150 gm caster sugar 1½ tsp baking powder 210 gm butter, softened 3 eggs 300 gm firm ricotta, drained, beaten until smooth For dusting: pure icing sugar   Fig conserva 500 gm figs (about 8 figs), peeled, coarsely chopped 80 gm caster sugar Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon Scraped seeds from ½ vanilla bean

Method

  • 01
  • For fig conserva, stir figs, sugar, lemon juice and rind and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium heat until thick (about 20 minutes). Set aside to cool completely (about 1 hour).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 180C and butter and line a 26cm-diameter springform cake tin with baking paper. Pulse flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add butter and process to combine, then add eggs and process until dough comes together. Press half the dough into the base of the tin and slightly up the sides (using damp fingers will help). Top with ricotta, then fig jam, then crumble remaining dough over, pressing with damp hands to join the cracks. Bake until torta is deep golden on top (1¼-1½ hours). Set aside in tin to cool slightly (5 minutes), then release sides and cool torta completely on a wire rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people

Featured in

Mar 2015

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