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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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.


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. 

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

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.

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This versatile smallgood lends its big flavours to South American stews, soups, and salads, not to mention the ultimate hot dog. Let the sizzling begin.

Kylie Kwong on bush tucker

Every chef worth their saltbush is foraging these days, but Kylie Kwong knows her limits. "I couldn't go into the bush and forage because I'm not a trained botanist. I'd probably pick something and kill myself." She takes a box of warrigal greens from a high shelf in the cool-room of her Sydney restaurant, Billy Kwong.

"I can't do that. So I get in touch with people who are experts, and that's people like Mike and Gayle."

Mike and Gayle Quarmby run Outback Pride, near Kingston, South Australia, and Kwong's relationship with them has meant a whole new direction for her modern-Chinese diner. "Such beautiful produce," says Kwong. "The saltbush leaves Mike has developed, his amazing warrigal greens, the rosella flowers, the lemon aspens, the desert fruits, the finger limes. The flavours are unique. It really has made me re-assess the whole notion of what Australian-Chinese food is. I've found that many of these ingredients are naturally in harmony with the Chinese flavour profile."

In these recipes, then, you'll find pork belly simmered in the familiar soy, star anise and ginger of Chinese cooking, combined with native finger limes and lilly pillies. Or yabbies stir-fried with XO, sea parsley and samphire. "The flavours are amazing, the textures are incredible," says Kwong.

Her enthusiasm for bush tucker is shared by the likes of GT Chef of the Year Ben Shewry, Circa's Paul Wilson and Quay's Peter Gilmore, among others. "For Chinese new year, Neil Perry came in for dinner and I sent him my stir-fried saltbush with ginger and shiro shoyu. He got up out of his seat, he came into the kitchen and he said, 'Kwongy! Where did you get that saltbush? I love it!' So I threw a bunch of saltbush at him and I sent him Mike and Gayle's contact details the next day. He recognised the quality, the flavour. Mark [chef Mark Best of Marque and Pei Modern] did the same thing. And I'm always inspired by Ben [Shewry], who I adore and respect.

"It was the René Redzepi talk at the Sydney Opera House in October 2010 which first made so many of us chefs sit up and pay attention. I walked out of there and I thought, what are we doing? Why aren't more of us using our own native produce? Was it because we were so obsessed as a nation with all this stuff from overseas, all these exotic ingredients: the foie gras, the truffles?"

Saltbush and rosella flowers, though, are even more difficult to obtain than those imported ingredients, so what's a home cook to do? "There will be people who read this article and say, 'But I can't get that - what's the point?'," says Kwong. "Well, the point is opening people's eyes to the importance of using locally grown foods and native produce."

The Quarmbys established Outback Pride in part to provide employment and training opportunities in Aboriginal communities, and to benefit community health. "The Dalai Lama says one of the most important things in what people do is the motivation and the intention," says Kwong. "The very fact that more and more people are using this beautiful bush tucker is a very important statement in itself. We are saying, in my view, that we support and we respect the indigenous culture here. I mean, it's about time."

Billy Kwong, 355 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9332 3300,

Where to buy native ingredients

To find retailers of the native ingredients supplied by Outback Pride, visit, then click on "distributor". Contact your nearest distributor for details of retailers in your area who sell the particular ingredients you're looking for. Outback Pride doesn't sell fresh or frozen produce directly to the public from its website.

To order frozen native fruits online, visit Thaw the frozen ingredients before using them.

I Love Warrigal Greens sells warrigal greens to restaurants but doesn't sell via greengrocers or markets. The company is happy, however, to sell small quantities to customers who visit its premises in Liverpool, New South Wales. For details, phone (02) 9600 8673 or visit

Kylie Kwong also recommends inquiring at your local farmers' market or specialist greengrocer.


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