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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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Hunter Valley NSW travel guide

Our guide to the best of the region.

Luke Burgess pops up in Hobart to test the waters

Casquinha di siri at Dier Marisqueria

Casquinha di siri at Dier Marisqueria

The return of Luke Burgess to Hobart has a distinct touch of the prodigal son. Now appearing at a two-month pop-up at Dier Makr, its first night was dominated by die-hard fans of his trailblazing restaurant that put Tasmania on the map well before any of that Franklin and MONA business.

"Well, yes, some people were a little effusive and emotional… it's nice to know people still remember us fondly," says Burgess.

A collaboration between Burgess, his chef partner Deborah Blank and Angus Burton from aromatic spirits specialist Spirit People, Dier Marisqueria has a short, sharp menu of seafood and vegetable dishes matched with natural wines and original cocktails.

Burgess says Dier Marisqueria (a marisqueria is a Spanish seafood restaurant) heeds some of the determinedly locavore lessons of Garagistes. "It's not just going to be Tassie-focused," he says. "It's really not as easy to procure good seafood here as people think, and we're using the best seafood we can find from Tasmania - abalone, sea urchin, oysters - but this time I'm not going to be scared to use some great bonito or King George whiting from Victoria. Let's call it Greater Tasmania. We're connected by power, so there's already a tethering there."

Vegetables are also a headliner - Burgess has, say, Taiwanese eggplant when in season and Japanese turnips sourced from local organic farmer Tony Shearer, as well as locally grown rockmelon, on the tight eight-dish menu.

Taking over natural wine flag-flyer Dier Makr every Sunday and Monday, a time when eating and drinking options in Hobart are notoriously thin on the ground, the pop-up will run until June 19. The trio intend it to be casual and fun, with all three running the food and Burton in charge of drinks that range from natural wines to "playful modern bartenders' takes on old-school daggy drinks that you'd find in French bistros that work really well with food" (case in point, the pét-it-punch, with lime, coconut nectar, rhum agricole and bonal aperitif topped up with a dash of pét-nat).

Dier Marisqueria also marks something of a culinary lane change for Burgess, whose chef partner Blank hails from Brazil. "She's imparting her style on things," says Burgess. "There are a lot more South American things involved, and a lot of influences from around the world and our visit to 22 countries over the past year."

Looking further ahead, Burgess acolytes will be thrilled to hear he's looking to settle down again, and Dier Marisqueria is doubling as a scouting exercise ahead of their slated return to the island state.

"We're definitely in the process of opening something and thinking about where we'll be," Burgess says. "You could say we're testing the waters. It'll definitely be country, and if you're going to do that kind of thing, Tasmania is a pretty good place to pick. Hobart is only 25 minutes' drive from the country, so we're pretty sure it's going to be Tasmania. We know enough people now we can work with; it all makes sense. Maybe we'll wind up with a 20-seater on a farm with a shop … It's all chatter at the moment."

Dier Marisqueria runs from May 7 - June 19, 123 Collins Street, Hobart, open Sunday from 12.30pm - late; Monday 6pm - late. diermarisqueria.com

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