Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Other Tasmanian delights

Meadowbank Vineyard

A couple of weeks ago I went to Tasmania for Savour Tasmania and have already blogged about that. On arrival in Hobart, a friend collected me and took me to the Meadowbank vineyard for lunch. Here I was surprised and delighted to find Wayne Smith and his wife Emmanuelle. I had long been a fan of Wayne’s cooking when they had La Goulue in Crows Nest, now sadly closed down. We shared rillettes and terrine with a glass of excellent pinot noir and then had a second entrĂ©e of whiting with a remarkably mild and delicate citrus sauce matched with pinot gris. There is also a shop attached which is full of interesting products and a good range of food and wine books, including Balance Matching Food and Wine. What Works and Why co-authored with Colin Corney (Hachette $35).

Rabbit rillette, crostini & cornichons

Friday, June 18, 2010

The King of Salmon

On a recent trip to New Zealand I tasted New Zealand King Salmon and to my delight have discovered that not only is King Salmon (also known as Regal Salmon) the salmon of choice for many top restaurants but it has recently hit the Sydney Fish Market’s auction floor and is available at de Costi, Aldi, IGA stores in NSW, Victoria and Queensland as well as specialist food shops and fishmongers.

Comparable in price to local salmon, it is higher in healthy Omega-3 fat which makes it difficult to overcook and has vitamins and minerals that promote good health. Fantastic as sashimi, it is available year round as whole and portioned fish, cold smoked, wood roasted and as dips and caviar. It has clean, green credentials being grown in the remote pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island of New Zealand without any chemicals or medicines.

Back to my trip … we were taken on a fascinating tour of the farm and my overriding thoughts were pristine and pure. The farm is compliant to robust environmental regulatory framework and is the only salmon producing region with no antibiotics. Further, pesticides or sea lice treatments are not used and there is a pressurised water system to clean the nets rather than anti-foulant paint.

When I looked at the whole fish the fins and tails were not clubbed, this is a sign of low intensity production – these fish are free to swim around with no overcrowding. Predators, principally seals, are not treated lethally but kept out with caging and the like rather than shooting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June = Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month

Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month – a celebration of local wine and food – is on again!

Presented by the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association this month long event includes a series of ‘how to’ classes, winemaker dinners and unique food and wine matching experiences including my Spicy Experience at McWilliams Mount Pleasant Wine & Food Estate at Pokolbin this Saturday, 19 June from 11am. Click here for more details.

The class includes lunch based on recipes from Just Add Spice matched with wines by McWilliams Mount Pleasant. There are still a couple of spaces left. Bookings are essential, telephone 02 4998 7505 or email mtpleasant@mcwilliams.wines.com.au. I hope to see you there!

As I am the ambassador this year I developed this recipe, based on fabulous local Hunter Valley ingredients including Nulkaba Farm spatchcock, Morpeth sourdough, Hunter Valley Cheese Company Branxton Brie, Pukara Estate olive oil and olives and River Flats Estate Pear and Fennel Chutney, and cooked it on Mornings with Kerri-Anne last week.

Here is a link to the recipe on my main site.

Click here for more details of the other events on during Hunter Valley Food & Wine Month.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Duo of Greek dips

I’m reliving my recent trip to Greece through cooking.

I fell in love with Fava – a bright yellow split pea puree that is usually served as part of mezethes (or mezze). On the menu they were listed as chick peas but on further research I found that fava in fact are split yellow peas. It is delicious scooped up on fresh bread. Look for the split peas at a Greek grocer, Indian market (called yellow dal moong) or your local grocery store. Sprinkle the top with some finely sliced onion (though in Greece they would serve quarters) and some good olives. I am still not sure why in Greece they were bright yellow – perhaps some saffron was added to the cooking water? Does anyone know?

My trip to Greece also reminded me how good home made Tzatziki is, rather than shop bought, especially when made with sheep’s milk yoghurt. For best results you need to strain the yoghurt – I spoon it into a fine strainer (or piece of muslin) placed over a larger bowl and refrigerate overnight to drain. The secret to this dip is an ample slug of your best olive oil.

Here is a link to the recipes on my main site.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Regional food stars at Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show

For the third year I'll be hosting the Lyndey Milan Regional Producers' Market the Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show - which runs from Friday 4 June until Sunday 6 June. 
2009 Sydney Good Food & Wine Show

Here is a list of the fabulous artisan and boutique producers exhibiting in Melbourne:

Salute Oliva is a family business run by Marlies and Peter Eicher, specialising in producing extra virgin olive oil and table olives from organically grown olives. The family complete the entire process from growing and tending to the trees to irrigation management, harvesting and pressing or pickling the fruit. The bottling is also done in-house and making small batches ensures maximum freshness.

Glenora Grove Olives & Olive Oil is run by Wayne and Caitlin Kay from Bonegilla in north-east Victorian. They are a first time exhibitor and normally sell their products at local farmers’ markets.

Otway Estate Winery & Brewery, two hours south-west of Melbourne produces wine, beer, cider and cordials from natural local products – grapes, local fruit and berries and pure Otway rainwater. Winemaker Matthew DiScascio has receiving accolades for his range of sparkling wines as has head brewer, Luke Scott – his Prickly Moses beers, ales and stouts are testament to his skill. The organic cider is made from locally grown Gellibrand apples and each yearly release is quickly snapped up.

Seasonal delights at McGuigan Barossa Valley

I’m thrilled to be co-hosting the inaugural McGuigan Seasonal Market at McGuigan Wines in the Barossa Valley on Sunday 13 June with Senior Winemaker James Evers.

The farmers’ market style event will feature local produce (fruit and vegetables, quality meats, artisan cheeses, beautiful cakes, olive oils, native foods, fresh flowers and herbs), alongside wine tasting, live music, helicopter rides and childrens’ games including face painting.

I first went to the Barossa Valley for a Gourmet weekend in the late 1980s and what a time I had. I immediately felt at home and now I am able to call so many in the Valley my friends. I am well known for saying that Barossa Valley shiraz flows in my veins! I return as often as I can and have been to the weekly farmers markets many times, filmed there with Fresh and even cooked there when The Australian Women’s Weekly road train was in town. So I am well familiar with the history and traditions of the Barossa and how this plays out in modern day produce and wines.

Speaking of wines, there will be a selection of award winning McGuigan Wines, winner of International Winemaker of the Year in 2009 at the International Wine and Sprit Competition, London, on offer.

The day promises to be a great day out for everyone who loves food and wine.

I’ll be chatting to James Evers and the local producers as well as doing a cooking demonstration.

I hope to see you there.

Here are the details:
McGuigan Seasonal Market
Hermann Thumm Drive, Lyndoch SA 5351
09:30am – 4:00pm on Sunday 13 June
Click here for more information
McGuigan Barossa Valley is located 2km from the town center of Lyndoch at the start of the Barossa Valley. It is an easy one hour drive from Adelaide via the town of Gawler.