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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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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. 

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.

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.

Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay

More than a decade after Sydney's Ritz-Carlton closed its doors, the landmark harbour property has reopened as the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay. Plenty of surprises await behind the revamped mock-Regency façade, including a bar dedicated to gin (be still our beating hearts), a courtyard club lounge and - the ultimate Sydney accessory - a rooftop pool and bar complete with billowing-curtained cabanas and millionaire views across the harbour.

The 140 rooms feature smart touches such as curtains that open automatically when guests enter, bijou balconies overlooking village or water, and fragrant lemon verbena bathroom amenities by Agraria of San Francisco. The Royal Suite, which hosted Bill Clinton, Madonna and Princess Diana in a former life, is now a staid, serene space with dining for eight, parquetry floors and a walk-in robe with shelving for 80 shoes.

Opened as the Ritz-Carlton in 1991, the hotel never quite recovered after INXS singer Michael Hutchence's death here in 1997. It closed in 2009 (it was rebranded as Stamford in 2001) and languished unloved until Intercontinental engaged Bates Smart to bring it back to life 12 months ago.

As well as a gym, bakery and health food store, the hotel houses a branch of Sean Presland's Japanese diner Saké, and the elegant first-floor Stockroom restaurant overseen by executive chef Julien Pouteau. His all-day dining menu will be a "testament to Australian produce, using what's in season and best in class", with plenty of on-trend pickling and fermenting. Pouteau also has a Japanese robata grill to play with - "Lots of charcoal and smokiness," he grins.

The seven-metre marble bar of the Stillery stocks a collection of rare and vintage gins and offers a daily High Martini session - a sort of high tea for the drinking classes. "We are aiming to have the biggest gin collection in Australia," says bar manager Aaron Gaulke. We'll drink to that.

Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay, 33 Cross St, Double Bay, NSW, (02) 8388 8388 or 138 388; rooms from $390 a night.

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