Healthy Eating

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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

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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.

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.


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.

March: Corn

You'll need

4 banana or jalapeño chillies 2 corn cobs, husk and silks removed For brushing: olive oil 400 gm canned black beans, drained and rinsed (see note) 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 1 tsp ground cumin 8 tortillas, warmed 1 baby butter lettuce, coarsely torn To serve: sour cream and coriander sprigs


  • 01
  • Heat a chargrill over high heat, brush chillies with oil, cook for 10 minutes or until blackened, transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside. Brush corn with oil and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook on chargrill, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until tender and lightly charred. Cut corn from cob and keep warm. Peel skin from chillies, remove stalk, cut lengthways, scrape out seeds and tear into lengths.
  • 02
  • Combine black beans, garlic and cumin, mash coarsely with a fork and season to taste.
  • 03
  • Place tortillas on a work surface, divide lettuce between tortillas, top with chilli, black beans, corn, sour cream and coriander sprigs, roll up and serve.
Note Black beans (frijoles negros) are available from The Essential Ingredient and speciality food stores. If unavailable, substitute with kidney beans.

Could this be the world’s most versatile crop? Corn, with its ability to grow in all climates, is cultivated from the Po Valley in Italy to stretches of Africa and south-eastern Brazil.

Its ubiquity makes corn number one in the grain production stakes, outstripping wheat and rice. So great is its supremacy, corn was originally a generic term used to describe the staple grain of any country, which explains why some ‘cornflours’ are made from wheat, whereas others are 100 per cent corn.

Corn or maize is a giant grass with an ear or cob, consisting of rows of 70-100 kernels, the fruit. It was domesticated in Mesoamerica; traces of corn have been found in Mexico dating from 5500BC. The crop gradually spread throughout the American continent, with Columbus taking it back to Europe.

The US produces almost half the world’s corn, mainly in its Corn Belt which stretches across the Midwest states. It’s such an American staple that “you cannot buy anything at all in a North American supermarket which has been untouched by corn,” according to Margaret Visser in Much Depends on Dinner (Grove), as almost all their products contain some form of corn: in packaging; added as corn syrup; as feed for livestock and poultry; corn oil in margarine, soap and insecticides; cornstarch is found in pharmaceuticals, baby food and jam; and the list goes on.

In other parts of the world, corn is used in its milled form in traditional dishes – in Mexico and Central America’s tortillas, Italy’s polenta, the American South’s hominy (coarsely ground corn) and porridge (mealie pap) in Africa.

Corn is surrounded by layers of tough outer leaves or husk and protruding from the top are fine pale yellow hairs called silks.There are five main varieties (and their hybrids) grown commercially.

Sweetcorn is the only variety that’s eaten fresh. It’s in season from September to March. Baby corn, the immature fruit of the sweetcorn plant harvested before pollination/fertilisation has occurred, is grown mainly in Thailand.

Another variety, dent, the most widely grown corn, has sweet and starchy dented kernels that are milled into corn flour, referred to as cornmeal in the US.

Flint has kernels that are white and yellow and have hard shells. It’s milled into medium and fine polenta; stone-ground is our preference.

Popcorn has hard-skinned kernels and is used, naturally, as popping corn. Native Americans have been popping corn for thousands of years, to use as ornaments and necklaces.

There is also a blue variety of corn which is ground to make tortillas and corn chips.

Corn is unfortunately one of the first crops to be genetically modified; these hybrid varieties make up a large percentage of corn harvested worldwide.

How to buy, store…
Corn is best bought when its husk is bright green with no signs of yellowing and it has a tail of silk intact. If possible, peel back husk to check whether kernels are plump; another good sign is the appearance of milk juice when a kernel is pierced; if the juice is clear the corn is immature. Store corn in the crisper of a refrigerator for up to two days.

And cook
Remove husk and silk just before steaming, boiling, chargrilling or barbecuing. To steam corn in its husk, peel back the husk, remove silk, brush with olive oil or butter and season with salt, pepper, spices or crushed garlic, re-wrap with husk and secure with twine and cook over a hot chargrill or barbecue, or in an oven. Use a sharp knife to remove corn kernels from cob.

*For a corn salsa, combine raw kernels cut from corn and place in a bowl. Add 1 diced tomato with seeds removed, finely chopped red chilli, thinly sliced basil, finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and olive oil. Toss to combine and serve with barbecued chicken or fish.

*For a corn and zucchini frittat

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Additional Notes


Fruit and nuts
Apple, banana, berries, breadfruit, feijoa, fig, grape, guava, kiwifruit, lemon, lime, mangosteen, melons (honeydew, rockmelon), nashi, nectarine, nuts (almond, chestnut, hazelnut, pistachio, walnut), orange, papaya, passionfruit, peach, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, rambutan, tamarillo.

Asian greens, avocado, beans, capsicum, daikon (white radish), eggplant, leek, lettuce, okra, onions, peas, potato, pumpkin, shallot, silverbeet, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini.

Atlantic salmon, leatherjacket, King George whiting, crabs (blue swimmer, mud), Sydney rock oyster, prawns (king, endeavour, tiger), rock lobster, squid.

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