I stayed the first week with my boss, the Head Winemaker, Anthony in Canowindra New South Wales. If you throw a dart at the map of NSW, the bulls eye would be Canowindra.
Anthony is Italian descent, and has a passion for Southern Italian food, food from his parents' birthplace in the region around Naples. You could call it peasant food, as it certainly is not sophisticated, but it sure is tasty, economical and healthy. His partner Katie, together with their twin baby girls Sofia and Lola, and Pishta the jack russell make excellent company.
All vegetables and herbs are straight from Anthony's 1/2 acre garden which also includes an orchard of citrus, apples, figs and stone fruits. A couple of free range hens, a duck and 2 quails complete the lifestyle.
Monday night: Pre Dinner Drinks and Chicken Cacciatore
Tanquary Gin and Tonic over ice, cucumber assisting with the flavouring in this delighfully refreshing (sour) drink
The Chicken Cacciatore, or Hunter's chicken, is cooked for several hours in the oven until the meat falls apart. The large ceramic baking dish is simmering gently; at the table it is oily (not greasy), dotted with green and black olives, and the sauce is all tomatoes and fresh herbs, served with a simple penne pasta. An introduction to Italian cooking simplicity. Served al-fresco with oranges raining down from the over-loaded tree.
I feel like a well fed winemaker-hunter.
Tuesday night: Pork with Peas, Phillip Shaw no.11 Chardonnay
After a hard day in the heat, this dish of pork and peas was devoured with a good local chardonnay
Pasta with Peas and Pork ribs, again cooked for several hours on the stove top. Tomato based sauce with the garden peas adding freshness. Pork ribs flavour the sauce and are served as a second course. Fresh garden salad of rocket, raddichio, leaves with a red wine and olive oil dressing
The mid weight chardonnay goes down adequately, although a wine higher in apparent acid would probably work better though - like a lightly oaked chardonnay or semillon.
Wednesday night: Zucchini Slice, tomato and cucumber salad
Zucchini slice: garden fresh zucchini, 4 eggs, a cup of flour, grated cheese and baked in a moderate oven until browned. Served with tomato/cucumber salad. It's filling without fattening, the salad is light and refereshing counterpoint to the slightly denser baked dish.
No wine tonight, just water.
Thursday night, my turn in the Kitchen: Rissotto of leak and peas, served warm with sliced chicken breast
Leak rissotto with garden peas, olive oil and topped with pan fried chicken breast (caramelised in a hot fry pan with olive oil and sea salt, finished slowly in the oven) and fresh flat leaf parsley. Accompanied with a salad of basil, rocket, raddichio, lettuce. Anthony loved it and proceeded to add a fig and pecorino cheese. This salad became the second course, washed down with glasses of quality soft drink, thirst quenching from the heat.
Dessert was a couple of icecreams from the local service station!
Unfortunately no Friday night dinner as I headed home for the weekend, but leftovers were eaten for lunch!
Saturday night: Back at home in Griffith, Italian Style Sardines in oil with green beans. See recipe here'tis
|Sunrise Friday morning at Canowindra looking towards Cowra|