Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spiced food and wine matching extravaganza at Just Add Spice book launch

Herbie and me with our publisher, Julie Gibbs from Penguin

My new book Just Add Spice (Penguin) co-written with Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill was launched last week at Essential Ingredient at Rozelle. I cooked and signed books at their new Rozelle store opening back in February. The new location is fantastic – rows and rows of cooking utensils, books, tableware and every type of food imaginable as well as a purpose built cooking demonstration area. I’ll be back!

The official part of the night began with a welcome by Penguin’s managing director, Julie Gibbs. Herbie and I loved working with Julie and the professional and innovative team at Penguin. Julie introduced Pete Evans of Hugo’s and My Kitchen Rules and my former co-presenter on Fresh on the Nine Network. Pete has known Herbie and I for over ten years and was a fitting choice to launch our book. We were incredibly touched by his kind words. Herbie and I followed Pete with a double-act – thanking everyone who played in a part in bringing the book to fruition and talking through the food and wine matching menu.

Pete Evans, Julie Gibbs and Deborah Thomas (The Australian Women's Weekly)

Food for event was from Just Add Spice and was expertly provided by Syd Pemberton from Pembertons Food Workshop. She is a long time friend and colleague from the Food Media Club, now the Association of Australian Culinary Professionals.

Each canapé was matched to a wine from the Fine Wine Partners stable. I have a very long professional and personal relationship with Rob Hirst, the Chairman, Fiona MacDonald and all the team there.

The food from the book, with wine matches were:

Herbed fromage blanc on french toast and Tomato soup shot
with St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling
The combination of chives, parsley, basil and lemon myrtle with creamy fromage blanc and the zing of ginger and smoked sweet paprika in the cool shot of tomato soup were perfectly matched with the citrus flavours and floral aroma of the St Hallet Riesling.

Prawn cakes with masala dip
with Macs Hop Rocker or Knappstein Three
A golden malty lager or a gewürztraminer, riesling and pinot gris blend offered an excellent complement to prawn cakes packed with fragrant curry leaves, fenugreek and brown mustard seeds.

Middle Eastern Fish Casserole
with Phillip Shaw Pink Billy rosé
This canapé was served in a small bowl with steamed rice and instead of white fish (as mentioned in the book) New Zealand King Salmon (link was used. The rich, succulent pink flesh was a perfect carrier for the middle eastern flavour notes – cardamom, cumin and turmeric. Fresh dill and coriander and a spritz of lime added aroma and freshness. The rose, full of flavour yet finishing clean was the idea partner.

Pork Meatloaf with fennel on sour dough
with Phillip Shaw Pink Billy rose
What’s not to love about meatloaf? This version combined pork and bacon with sage, fennel and black pepper. A winning combination matched with the rosé.

Duck breasts with pomegranate dip
with 2008 Wither Hills Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand
Heady with ground coriander seeds and Chinese five-spice, the roasted duck breasts were served with an orange, star anise and pomegranate molasses dipping sauce. Pinot Noir is perfect with duck – the rich and elegant plum and spice flavours created harmony with the rich duck breasts.

Dukkah and date sandwich with cheese
with 2008 Wither Hills Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand
Sweet dates crusted with hazelnut and pistachio dukkah served with creamy brie washed down with pinot noir – I can’t think of a better combination!

Simon Thomsen (Taste) with Herbie and I

Herbie and I have also hosted a few Just Add Spice literary lunches, including at Trio's at Noosa.  Here and here are blog posts from guests who attended.

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