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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.

Christmas ham


You'll need

8 kg leg ham (see note) To stud: whole cloves ½ cup Dijon mustard 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 220 gm (1 cup) brown sugar 2 tsp ground ginger

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Using your hands, gently peel back the skin from the leg to the shank being careful not to tear the fat. Using a sharp knife score the skin around the shank, remove the skin in a single piece and reserve.
  • 02
  • Using a sharp knife score the fat in lines running diagonal to the leg about 4cm apart. Repeat scoring in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern.
  • 03
  • Place a clove in the centre of each diamond. Place ham on a wire rack inside a baking dish and pour 2cm of water into baking dish.
  • 04
  • In a bowl combine remaining ingredients and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brush half the glaze over the ham and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour, brushing frequently with remaining glaze, until deep golden in colour. Serve sliced glazed ham with pickled onion wedges.
Note The ham leg we have chosen for this recipe is from a Kurobuta pig. It has a thick layer of fat and even marbling which prevents it drying out during baking.

The ham

It isn’t Christmas without a ham, but for baking, not just any old ham will do. Hams differ greatly in quality; you want something that’s naturally smoked, and with a thick layer of insulating fat to protect the meat during cooking. It’s the glaze, too, that makes it really special.

Typically a mixture of sugar, mustard and lime or lemon juice, a glaze is a simple and really delicious complement to the salt and smoke of a good ham. Bear in mind a few key points and you’ll soon be glazing with the best of them. Removing the skin in a single piece is important as it can be used later in the storage of the ham. Glazing is a technique that requires some attention: its success depends on building the layers of the glaze during the cooking process, like lacquering a fine piece of furniture. The sugar in the glaze will caramelise to a deep mahogany – you should aim to get the colouring as even as possible. A little water in the base of the roasting pan will prevent any excess glaze burning as it runs off the ham while baking.

To store your ham, buy a ham bag or use a clean old pillowcase. The ham bag or pillowcase should be rinsed in cold water and a little vinegar and wrung out every few days to prevent bacteria forming.

At A Glance

  • Serves 20 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 20 people

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