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Noma Australia: the first review

Curious about the hype surrounding Noma Australia? Pat Nourse heads to lunch and delivers the first verdict...

Fast Chinese Recipes

If you’re looking for quick and spicy dishes to celebrate Chinese New Year, we have the likes of kung pao chicken, ma po beancurd, XO pipis with Chinese broccoli and plenty more fire and crunch here.

Prego rolls

"This is a Mozambican specialty and one of the foods that changed my life in terms of African cuisine," says Duncan Welgemoed. "The best spot to get a prego roll in South Africa is the Radium Beerhall. It's run by my godfather, Manny, and is the oldest pub in Jo'burg. The meats are grilled out the back by Mozambican staff and are still done the same way today as they were 30 years ago." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the beef.

Lebanese-style snapper

"This dish is Lebanese-peasant done fancy with all the peasant-style flavours you'll find in Lebanese cooking, but with a beautiful piece of fish added," says Bacash. "The trick to not overcooking fish is to be aware that it cooks from the outside inwards and the centre should only cook until it's warm, not hot. If it gets hot in the middle, it will become overcooked from the residual heat. It takes a little practise getting to know this - be conscious of the inside of the fish and not the outside. Until you get it right, you can always get a little paring knife and peek inside the flesh when you think it's ready; it won't damage it too much."

Coleslaw

"Store-bought and pre-cut coleslaws, and bottled dressings have given the humble slaw a lacklustre rep over the years," says Stone. "Taking a little time (just 10 minutes!) to whip one up yourself reminds us why this salad became popular in the first place. This creamy, crunchy coleslaw comes together in a pinch and can be piled atop a thick piece of brisket or served as a side."

Green salad with vinaigrette

"Our seven-year-old, Arwen, has been making this vinaigrette since she was five - she tastes it as she goes," says Levy Redzepi. "It's fresh and acidic and as good as the leaves. Frillice lettuce is crunchy but it's thin so it's like a perfect mix of cos and iceberg."

MONA expansion plans

Hobart’s MONA-fication continues apace...

Clementine, Yass

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now.

The best of times

I was having a potentially reflective time last week, doing a short stint in hospital having my battery changed. Hospital is naturally a place for reflection of happier times past.

My best times have been spent on a Hebridean island off the coast of Scotland. Confusingly, these are meant to be summer holidays, but the wind blows and it can rain for a month at a stretch. But when the sun appears, it is heaven. I've got a Cat in the Hat Dictionary with an inscription by my mum saying "Happy 4th birthday" and the name of the island, so we must have been going for 44 years. But don't think this gives me any kudos there. Shona at the co-op barely betrays a glimmer of recognition that we danced passionately at the céilidh some years ago. Nan the butcher no longer starts talking Gaelic when you walk into his shop.

It's not a big island - about 800 people, swelling to twice that number in summer. The island's size means that everything is possible, in good time. The islanders are crofters who farm small holdings, most of which have lobster pots. A huge truck full of saltwater tanks arrives to take the lobsters to Spain, and if you ask a crofter what they think of lobster, they'll reply, "Aye, too expensive. Rum old do!" On top of this, everyone wears several hats: you might see the phone mechanic in that guise in the morning, but by lunch he'll be picking up his lobster pots, and the same night he'll be pulling pints at the Lodge Hotel. It's a very rounded life.

I always have my birthday on the island. Let me give you a small taste of my heaven. Breakfast is devilled kidneys on toast. The lamb, having eaten wild thyme and been blown about by the salty wind, is self-seasoned. The kidneys, shining like jewels, are delicious. We toss them in a spot of flour seasoned with English mustard powder and cayenne pepper, pop them in a pan with a knob of butter, cook them for a few moments on each side, add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and chicken stock, and let the pan contents get to know each other. Removing the kidneys onto buttered toasts, we add a little more butter to the pan, shoggle until emulsified, then pour it over the kidneys. One or two Black Velvets - half Champagne, half Guinness - and you're ready to face whatever the day might bring.

A fortifying and uplifting breakfast.

Then it's on to the issue of which beach to go to for lunch. "Not that one. Last time we went there were two other people on it." Apart from the requirement that no one else be there, driftwood is a deciding factor in choosing your beach. Since fish boxes are no longer made of wood, driftwood gets more and more scarce. It's dismal to pack your picnic then discover you've got no fuel to cook it over. It's almost as bad as forgetting the corkscrew.

Most of our picnic equipment is old plastic that has been misshapen in a Gaudì-like fashion by straying too close to driftwood fires. A bap is the standard delivery vehicle for lunch. Ox tongue, mackerel, leg of lamb, fillet of beef, lobster, sausages - all need lubrication, so a battery of condiments is essential. The oatcake-and-cheese moment is about as good as it gets, revitalising your thirst for red wine.

The sea is a bit like a perfect gin martini: painfully cold. But this is ideal for the lobsters and crabs, and the freshly caught mackerel grilled on the barbecue. The island itself is covered in machair, a splendid mixture of wild thyme, orchids and grass growing in a thin green layer on sand. The rocks and houses pop out of the machair like mushrooms. It's satisfactorily bouncy and therefore makes for a very soft landing after too many drams. I fear I am talking from experience.

Malt whisky of the peaty Islay nature complements the salty wind, and when it's taken with shortbread, you commence upon an almost unbreakable cycle: a little steadying shortbread, as we all know, puts great demand on your spittle levels; one takes another wee dram, followed by another little bite of steadying shortbread, and on and on and on. There goes the afternoon.

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Rene Redzepi announces MAD Symposium at Sydney Opera House
05.02.2016
Lawyers, Guns and Money: a preview
05.02.2016
Noma Australia in the glass
03.02.2016
Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in Sydney and Melbourne
02.02.2016
Best Chinese dining in Sydney and Melbourne
02.02.2016
Clementine, Yass
29.01.2016
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