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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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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Pea and ham soup

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. 

London gin revival

East London Liquor Company

East London Liquor Company

Once run out of the capital, gin is coming home.

London was awash with gin in the mid-17th century, with hundreds of backyard distilleries quenching the city's thirst. But by the 1990s, the only gin distiller left in London was Beefeater, operating since the 1860s. Then, in 2009, Sipsmith Independent Distillers opened the city's first new gin distilling operation in almost 200 years, and attracted a raft of competitors: City of London Dry Gin; Dodd's Gin at Battersea; Portobello Road Gin; and the tiny vacuum distillery Sacred Gin at Highgate. Specialist gin bars, clubs and pop-up venues followed, such as Searcys' Gin Joint at the Barbican, which treats its post-theatre crowd to more than 30 gins, including chilled Broker's on tap.

In May the East London Liquor Company opened a bar and distillery in an old glue factory in the East End, producing three variants of the spirit as well as a whisky and vodka. Before opening there the company's master distiller, Jamie Baxter, kicked off operations at City of London Distillery, a bar in London's City district, which claims to have the world's largest collection of gins at its bar.

The city's gin revival has been boosted by changing palates and fashions, and also takes inspiration from the American explosion in micro-distilling. Even so, launching Sipsmith Independent Distillers in London wasn't straightforward. "Part of the reason that Sipsmith took so long to get off the ground," says distiller Chris Garden, "is that even the government didn't know how to license a gin distillery any more." The fledgling operation had to navigate a raft of arcane laws and regulations, dating from a time when authorities were trying to drive "mother's ruin" from the capital.

The bigger names in gin are starting to respond to renewed grassroots interest, too. In May Beefeater opened a distillery visitors' centre in Kennington, complete with museum, tours and tastings. And this month Bombay Sapphire opens a distillery and visitors' centre at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire. Sited in an old paper mill partly powered by the flow of the River Test, it looks onto two glasshouses full of the 10 plants that give the spirit its distinctive flavour.

East London Liquor Company opens daily noon-11.30pm, Unit GF1, 221 Grove Rd, Bow Wharf E3 5SN.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery.

Sipsmith Distillery, 27 Nasmyth St, London W6 OHA.

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