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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Ma Harvey’s Christmas cake


You'll need

500 gm (3 cups) sultanas 500 gm (3 1/3 cups) raisins 250 gm currants 250 gm finely chopped candied orange 180 ml (¾ cup) brandy or rum 200 gm (1¼ cups) blanched almonds 450 gm butter 450 gm brown sugar 9 eggs, lightly beaten 450 gm (3 cups) plain flour ½ tsp baking powder

Method

  • 01
  • Combine dried fruit, candied orange and brandy or rum in a large bowl, cover and macerate overnight or longer if desired.
  • 02
  • Finely chop 150gm almonds, reserving remaining almonds to decorate. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add eggs a little at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in fruit and chopped almonds, then add flour and baking powder and stir until well combined.
  • 03
  • Line the base of a 23cm square cake pan with a double layer of brown paper and sides with 4 layers of brown paper, grease top layer of paper. Cut another piece for the top, lightly grease, snip a few holes in it and set aside.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 130C. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth top and decorate with reserved almonds.
  • 05
  • Cover with prepared brown paper and bake on lowest oven shelf for 5 hours. Turn heat off and cool cake overnight in oven.

The Christmas cake
Having eaten more than our fair share of Christmas cake in the Gourmet Traveller office, we’ve made a little adjustment to the traditional recipe, substituting candied orange for the usual mixed peel. You should be able to pick some up at a good delicatessen, or you could just as readily use freshly grated orange rind. The use of fruit cake for celebrations such as weddings, Christmas and christenings dates back to the early 18th century when dried fruit was highly prized. A rich cake containing lots of fruit was a sign of the household’s wealth. You have to appreciate, too, that in times past, making a fruit cake was no easy undertaking. The fruit needed to be washed, dried and stoned, the sugar cut from loaves, pounded and sieved. The eggs beaten for around half an hour by hand and the butter washed in water and rinsed in rosewater. The cakes were often covered in marzipan and elaborately decorated. Perhaps this is why they were reserved for special occasions. It can be made up to six months ahead.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

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