Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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

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.

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.

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.

Making jam

Good fruit, acid, pectin, sugar, a wide saucepan and a whole lot of stirring: here's the science behind the homeliest of culinary arts.

You'll need

5 each firm, slightly under-ripe peaches and nectarines (about 1.5kg), scored 1 kg white sugar 2 oranges and 1 lemon, rind and flesh finely chopped in a food processor 1 tbsp orange blossom water, or to taste 50 ml peach or orange liqueur (optional)


  • 01
  • Blanch peaches until skins split (30-40 seconds), refresh. Peel.
  • 02
  • Combine sugar, oranges and lemon in a non-reactive bowl. Break peaches and nectarines into chunks over the bowl to catch juices, add to orange mixture. Stir, cover, refrigerate overnight.
  • 03
  • Transfer peach mixture to a wide saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and stir frequently until mixtures forms a gel on the back of a wooden spoon and fruit breaks down (40-50 minutes). While jam is cooking, place a few saucers in the freezer.
  • 04
  • To test setting point, remove jam from heat and spoon some onto a cold saucer. Return to freezer for 30 seconds, then push with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If not, cook another few minutes, test again. Add orange blossom water or liqueur if using and stir.
  • 05
  • Ladle hot jam into warm sterilised jars and wipe clean with a hot, damp cloth. Remove any air bubbles by running a hot metal skewer down sides of jars. Place a round of waxed paper on top of jam, seal, and cool completely. Jam will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

Note White and yellow peaches work equally well here. You'll need to begin this recipe one day ahead. This recipe makes about 1 litre.

The beauty of home-made jam lies in its purity. It should be the colour of the original fruit and, most importantly, should taste like a sweeter, more intense version of it. The primary flavour can be enhanced with a flourish of something extra (a splash of booze, a drop of fragrant flower water or a hint of spice), but this shouldn't overpower the main player.

Choose the best quality fruit you can, and wash it well. You want firm, slightly under-ripe, yet fragrant fruit. It's at this point the fruit's pectin level is at its peak. Pectin is key to producing a well-set jam: this component of the fruit's cell wall interacts with acid and sugar to cause jam to gel. Pectin levels vary among different types of fruit. Those naturally high in pectin include apples, oranges, plums, lemons and quinces. Others, such as pears, strawberries and cherries, have very low pectin levels and need additional pectin for the jam to set. Some recipes using these fruits call for a small amount of another high-pectin fruit to assist the set. If the recipe calls for lemon juice, you can increase the pectin content further by using the seeds as well. Tie them in a small piece of muslin, then add them to the pan when you add the sugar. Remove the seeds before bottling. Alternatively, you can add commercial pectin, available from the baking section of some supermarkets and health food stores.

Acid is required to act with the pectin - no acid, no set. Lemon juice is the most common additive. As well as reacting with the pectin, it counteracts the sweetness and preserves a bright colour. Some recipes use citric or tartaric acid, but lemon juice can be substituted.

Choose a wide, heavy-based saucepan. A wider surface area allows for rapid evaporation, resulting in a fresher-tasting jam. A copper jam pan is an investment piece if you plan on making a lot of jam.

In many jam recipes, the fruit is cooked before the sugar is added. This breaks down the cell walls and releases the fruit's acids, which also aids setting. Some recipes call for the sugar to be warmed so the temperature of the hot fruit mixture is maintained. Spread the sugar 3cm deep in a baking dish and warm at 120C for 10 minutes. Once you've added the sugar, stir well to ensure it's dissolved and avoid crystallisation.

To skim or not to skim? It's all down to the quality of the sugar and fruit. There's no need to skim any foam that forms; you really only need to skim scum and impurities.

Stir frequently during the early part of cooking, then vigilantly as the jam thickens. It's only a short step from almost-there to irretrievably scorched. What you're looking for is 'setting point'. As the jam cooks, it will reduce and start to coat the back of a spoon with a slick of gel. Remove the pan from the heat, spoon a little jam onto a well-chilled saucer and place it in the freezer for 20-30 seconds. Push the edge of the jam - if it wrinkles, it's ready. If not, return it to the heat for a few more minutes, then test again. You can also use a sugar thermometer to test for the setting point. When the jam reaches 103-105C, it's done.

Have your sterile jars ready. That way it'll be hot jam going into warm jars, the best way to ensure a sterile environment. Run jars and lids on a hot rinse cycle in a dishwasher or wash in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. To dry, place jars on a baking tray in a cold oven, turn on to 120C and leave for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a tea-towel until required.

Use a ladle or jug to fill jars to 5mm below rims, wipe jars clean of any spills and seal firmly while jam is hot. Let the jam cool, stash it in the fridge or a cool pantry, and when you want to remind yourself what summer tastes like, tuck in.

At A Glance

  • Serves 20 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 20 people

Featured in

Mar 2009

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