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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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. 

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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.

Marmalade


You'll need

1.2 kg oranges (about 5) 800 gm ruby grapefruit (about 3) 4 large lemons 2 kg white sugar Scraped seeds of 2 vanilla beans

Method

  • 01
  • Remove peel from fruit with a vegetable peeler, slice peel thinly and place in a saucepan with 2 litres water.
  • 02
  • Squeeze juices into pan, reserving seeds.
  • 03
  • Coarsely chop half the juiced fruit (discard remainder), tie up with seeds in a piece of muslin and add to pan. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, half-cover with a lid and simmer until liquid reduces by half (45 minutes-1 hour), then refrigerate overnight.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Spread sugar in an even layer in a roasting pan and warm in oven.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, squeeze liquid from muslin bag into pan and discard bag.
  • 06
  • Bring fruit mixture to the boil over medium-high heat, add sugar and vanilla seeds, stir to dissolve sugar.
  • 07
  • Return to the boil, cook without stirring until mixture reaches setting point (10-15 minutes).
  • 08
  • Stand until slightly thickened (20-30 minutes), stir to distribute peel evenly through mixture, ladle into sterilised jars and seal.

Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead; it makes about 1.8 litres.


Some recipes call for the whole fruit to be thinly sliced and soaked, others require the whole fruit to be simmered for hours until tender, then chopped. In any case, the fruit is used in its entirety - peel, pith, seeds, juice and pulp.

You can use any type of citrus fruit. Should you be lucky enough to come across Seville oranges - they're slightly flatter than other oranges, with a sour, intensely orange flavour - nab them, because they're the ultimate marmalade-making fruit.

You'll need at least one lemon in the mix too: lemons are high in pectin and acid, both necessary for a well-set jam or marmalade. The acid activates the pectin which then sets the marmalade. Choose slightly under-ripe fruit for their higher pectin content, and avoid those with blemished skins. Soaking the fruit overnight helps release the pectin, while simmering the seeds and pith (tied up in a piece of muslin) in the mixture also aids the setting.

Recipes such as the one here require the peel to be removed from the fruit and sliced before cooking. Regardless of how the fruit is prepared, it's always simmered until tender before the sugar is added. Warming the sugar in the oven helps it to dissolve quickly when it's added to the marmalade.

When you're making jam or marmalade, it's essential to sterilise the vessels you intend to store it in. Glass jars are ideal, and there's no need to go out and buy them if you plan ahead a little and save empty jars and lids from your pantry. Soak them, scrub off the labels and put them aside for a rainy day's preserving. When that rainy day arrives, you'll need to sterilise the jars and lids, either by running them through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher, or by hand-washing them, placing them upright on an oven tray in a cold oven and turning the oven to 120C. Leave them in the oven for half an hour and you're good to go.

Selecting the right pan for the job is equally important. A heavy-based large, wide pan is preferable, giving the mixture ample room to reach a rolling boil and reach setting point quickly, thus preserving the fresh flavour of the citrus. Setting point is when the mixture reaches a firm set but doesn't veer into toffee territory. The time this takes will differ from batch to batch because of varying levels of pectin in the fruit. As the mixture bubbles and boils, it'll turn from a liquid into a syrup, and will darken in colour. The best way to test for setting point is on a chilled saucer (pop a couple into the freezer before you start cooking). Remove the pan from the heat, spoon a little mixture onto the chilled saucer and return it to the freezer for 30 seconds or so, then draw your finger through the mixture - it should leave a trail, indicating that the mixture has reached setting point. If not, return the pan to the heat and cook for another few minutes before testing again. If you prefer, use a sugar thermometer to measure when the mixture reaches 105C; once it does, you can begin testing for setting point.

Once setting point is reached, remove the marmalade from the heat and let it stand for 30 minutes, allowing it to thicken. Stir the marmalade to disperse the peel evenly, then ladle it into your sterilised jars. A jam funnel (a metal funnel with a wide neck) comes in handy at this stage, helping to avoid nasty burns. Seal, wipe away any spills with a hot wet cloth, cool to room temperature and label. Store the marmalade in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 12 months (once opened, store it in the refrigerator); try it in our marmalade and almond tart recipe.


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Featured in

Apr 2011

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