Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bundaberg Reserve Rum

I was on the search for a new rum for my Christmas pudding (see below for the recipe), and came across this, Bundaberg Reserve Rum.  The last of the previous pudding rum had run out, a vanillary, sugary sweet rum from Nepal, courtesy of a family trip there last year.  Apparently it is the drink of choice in those parts.  It had worked very well in the puddings made so far.

But this rum is a little more serious, having less of the vanillary nose, and more of the charry oak in character, underneath though is a smoky note.  Smooth on the palate, the sugar that hides the rough edges of the Nepalese rum isn't needed in this case.  More fiery spirit too in the Bundy, even though it is lower in alcohol (40% cf 43%) then Nepal.

Not sure that it will be as good in the pudding as the himalyan number, but will give it a go.  On second thoughts I might go and get a little bottle of vanilla essence, just to give a bit of the ol' bean flavour to the dish, as I liked the end result of the nepal vanillary rum laced fruit pud.  It had worked well with the dried raisins, currants and sultanas, and combined beautifully with the CSR Dark Brown sugar with the molasses character missing from regular lighter brown sweetner.

Fans of the regular Bundy Rum (which I'm not really) might like to check this one out.  Alternatives to the Bundy Reserve may be an Inner Circle Red.

Anyway, it's $40 on special at Woolworths Liquor at the momento.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Real Milk, Organic Bread, Fresh Vegetables

I first came across Maureen Billing when I came to Griffith about 7 weeks ago.  She is a lovely lady that brings bread, eggs and all sorts of goodies to the local markets here every Sunday.

Anyway, today I went and visited Maureen and her husband Richard, on their 10,000 acre property Wia-Wera 30 kilometres out of Griffith. I went out there to have a look at their stone mill used to make wholewheat flour, and have a general poke about.

Here's a couple of pics from the farm
Header for the harvest

Richard and the stone mill

Organic chooks, about to be let loose

Now that is what I call a pint of milk. Checkout the cream!

Karen Martini's Blood Orange and Lemon Cake

I made this the other day for the hell of it, and left it on the table at the markets yesterday. It sold. 

This kind of food really smacks you in the face,  the citrus zings across the palate, followed closely by the sugar hit.   It's definitely not diabetic friendly :)  You could also serve this with double cream as a dessert. Call the ambulance!

3 blood oranges, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
300ml milk
200g yoghurt
150ml extra virgin olive oil,  or grape seed oil for a lighter taste
4 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
250g raw sugar
300g self raising flour, sifted (I used Anchor brand soft cake plain flour, with 2 tsp baking powder added)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 egg whites, beaten into a soft peak
200g white sugar
3 blood oranges, juice and zest cut into thick strips

If the blood oranges are out of season you can use navels or valencias instead.  If your oranges are huge, like mine, adjust the recipe to use 2 instead of 3.  It seemed to work just fine.
Preheat oven to 170C fan forced (190C conventional).  Line a 26cm springform tin with baking paper and grease lightly
Combine citrus juices, milk, yoghurt, oil and set aside
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat yolks, sugars, and zests until thick and creamy. (If you are finding it difficult to cream the raw sugar, add 1 tbsp yoghurt mixture)
Add yoghurt mixture to yolk mixture.
Fold in dry ingredients, then gently fold in egg whites.
Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool slightly and remove from tin.
Syrup: place sugar and orange juice and zest in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5minutes.  Allow to cool and pour over warm cake

McWilliams Mt Pleasant 'Jack' Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

This is a new wine in the McWilliams/ Mt Pleasant lineup, a little brother to Phil, Lizzie and Flo.  Named after Lawrence John (Jack) McWilliam, part of the famous wine family.

Brooding deep youthful purple, subdued nose, perhaps due to its young age; palate - chocolate, blackcurrant, French oak, not 1 facet dominating. Cabernet leafiness evident on the nose and the palate in a tomato bush ->mint spectrum. Dry firm tannins as expected in a young cab. Improved with airing and time in the glass. Medium bodied, palate will flesh out a little. Not showy but I suspect this wine will do well in the medium term. Definitely worth trying. 13.5% alc. 88+ $19 cellar door

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Feel free to browse, add comments, or add a post.  I've got lots of recipe ideas, most of them are pretty easy, and have some stories to tell about food and people from around.  I am hoping to get a story published soon in the local paper about a friend of mine from the local markets that is an organic farmer, you should see it on here first!
Best wishes


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankyou Dinner for Saskia and Ann in Belgium

Location: City of Sint- Niklaas
Province of East Flanders (Oost Vlanderen)
Belgium (Belgie)
26th August, 2010
What a great evening this turned out to be - the idea came about because I wanted to thank Saskia and Ann for looking after me in Belgium. I didn’t have a lot of spare cash, so decided to cook dinner, rather then go out to a restaurant. Ann’s son Brecht (13) came with me to go shopping at the supermarket. He was a great help, diving in amongst the aisles of (to me) unknown grocery items, and deciphering dutch language ingredients.

Lasagne made with Veal and Pork
Provencale Vegetables
Green Salad with Balsamic Vinegarette
Caramelised Nectarines with Creamy Sabayon
Sparkling Spanish Wine

We finally emerged with a basket load of ingredients, and gathered our bikes, and rode home to Ann’s house as the Belgians do.

Firstly I made the Lasagne sauce using pork and veal mince, tomatoes, Italian herbs and salt pepper. It was cooked for 1.5 hours on the stove, simmering away gently with smells of herbs wafting through the house.
Then came the béchamel sauce of flour, butter and milk seasoned with nutmeg and little salt and pepper.

The Lasagne was finally prepared with alternate layers of pasta sheets, meat sauce, slices of tomato, and béchamel, finishing topped with grated parmesan.

Once assembled, the Lasagne went in to the oven to bake and I got on with preparing the Provencale vegetable dish - this was easy, tear the bread into pieces, roughly chop the onions, peppers and squish the delicious cherry sized tomatoes, orange in colour, from the neighbours garden. This was placed into a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and it too went into the oven.
A quick green salad of lettuce and cucumber was prepared and a balsamic dressing made.
Once dinner was over, the ladies asked for dessert. I hadn’t planned anything as I was busy with the main course, but luckily I remembered the nectarines from France that were sitting in the fruit bowl. So I decided that I could cook the nectarines, but what about an accompaniment the ladies asked. There was no cream or ice cream in the fridge, so we were left wondering for a couple of minutes. Hang on a minute, What about Sabayon, Saskia asked. What is sabayon I replied? I had heard of it, but didn’t know what it was. It’s made with eggs and sugar she said. That sounded interesting, I knew there were eggs in the fridge. As the ladies went in search of a recipe book, I went and got the eggs and sugar.

You need 4 egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine, marsala or white port I was told. I had never made it before, but apparently you whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. So before you know it, the 3 of us were taking turns to whisk the sabayon like crazy.

Meanwhile, I halved the nectarines, removed the seeds and skin, dusted them with vanilla sugar, and placed them cut side down on a hot grill pan. Once nicely caramelised, they went into the oven, not before showing off with a flambé of liquer!

After 15 or 20 minutes of whisking, the sabayon was ready. It had turned out perfectly! A creamy, sweet wine flavoured sauce that was quite light and airy.

The caramelised nectarines with sabayon were served at the coffee table to complete a lovely evening of friendship across 2 countries and 10,000 miles.

Saskia and Ann with Crutches and Ann's delightful kinders Brecht(13) Jolien(15)
As a postscript, Saskia and Ann are planning to visit Australia in 2012.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ramsay's Stuffed Chicken Roll Wrapped with Bacon with a Sherry Marsala Sauce on a Pea and Broad Bean Risotto!

That's a mouthful of a name, the result is a mouthful too. Delicious. Serve at a dinner party, or for somebody special.

Makes 2 Chicken Rolls, enough for 4 people

I went to my mate's butcher shop for the chicken and pork, definitely get good meat for this.

4 boned and skinned chicken thighs
approx 300g pork mince (I pinched 2 of their softest pork medallions and minced in the food processor at home)
6 good rashers of bacon (good quality again from the butcher)
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
handful of parsley, chopped
sea salt, ground black pepper
cracked black pepper
olive oil

1. Combine the pork mince, pistachios, herbs and a little salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Add a dash of olive oil if the pork mince is lean (which it was). Check seasoning.
2. Lay 2 of the chicken thighs on a board so they interlock when joined together. Place the chicken filling inside and rollup.
3. Lay 3 of the bacon rashers on the board, and place the roll on top. Rollup tightly with the bacon, and trim excess.
4. Tie with string, wrap tightly with glad wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set.
5. Repeat with the remaining chicken, bacon and filling
6. Drizzle with olive oil, and crack some black pepper over the roll for seasoning. No salt needed, its in the bacon.
7. Bake in a moderate oven, 170 degrees C for 30minutes
8. Allow to rest on a warm plate while you make the sauce

The Sauce
1.5 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you have it)
2 Tbsp Marsala wine (sweet marsala not dry, the boronia marsala is fine)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp sugar or to taste

1. Deglaze the baking pan with the vinegar
2. Add the marsala wine and the stock and reduce until a thick sauce
3. Taste and add a little sugar

Serve the chicken sliced up on a base of pea and broad bean risotto*, glass of chardonnay and good crusty bread. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken.

* ask me for the recipe!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Andy’s Savoury Mince

A Wednesday Night Special J
U need
500g minced beef
¼ cabbage, sliced
Small can of corn kernels, drained
1 tomato, chopped
1 small brown onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic minced or crushed, doesn’t matter
½ cup of freshly grated carrot
½ cup of frozen green peas (the minted peas would work as well)
Little bit of salt
Little bit of pepper
A bit of my ‘old mate
2-3 tbsp morrocan, or African seasoning (I used a Herbies chermoula mix, but master foods make ok seasonings, u want a fair bit of it, so don‘t be shy!)
½ cup water
About 0.5 of an hour to prepare!
Fry onion in old mate (olive oil) until clear
Add mince, and brown
Add garlic
Add seasonings
Add cabbage, corn kernels, and tomato with the water
Cover and Cook ½ an hour until cabbage soft, then stir thru peas and carrot. Keep warm (off the heat) while u prepare the accompaniments: rice, or mashed sweet potato* would be best, and a side salad of sliced cucumber and sliced tomato
Eaten with a 2003 Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, meaty, complex, little bit of white pepper and other spices, lashings of oak and blueberry fruit intertwined
* add a little bit of ground cumin to the sweet potato when u mash it

Tomato Gazpacho (Chilled Spanish Soup)

1 kg Ripe Tomatoes, skin removed (place in hot water for 30secs and peel)
Handful of ice cubes
2 Tbps sugar, or to taste
Good pinch sea salt, or to taste
Handful of continental parsley, chopped
½ clove garlic, sliced
Good slug of olive oil

In a blender, blend together tomatoes, ice cubes, sugar, salt garlic and parsley well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with drizzle of olive oil and chopped parsley.
Delicious & refreshing

Chocolate and Hazelnut Self-saucing Puddings

1 cup plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder
100g caster sugar (I used raw caster sugar)
½ roasted hazelnuts, skins removed, chopped
250 ml milk
90g unsalted butter
2 eggs
Sauce1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
120ml boiling water
Preheat oven to 180Deg
Lightly grease oven proof dish (I used a square corning ware dish 20cmx 20cm)
Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a mixing bowl
Add sugar and nuts
Stir to combine
Add milk, butter and eggs and whisk until you have a smooth batter
Pour batter into dish and cover with sauce
SauceCombine brown sugar and cocoa powder and sprinkle over pudding
Pour boiling water over the pudding and bake for 20-25 minutes
Serve with thick cream or ice cream.

Andrew’s Yummy Beef Stew with Baked Cheesy Dumplings

Ok the dumplings are basically a savoury scone, but they are quite light and nice with a little butter and dipped in the gravy. They make a nice alternative to pastry

This is a french style dish using the classic 3 veges as a flavour base
750g Oyster Blade steak, cut into 2cm cubes
1 medium carrot, cut into a small dice
1 medium onion, cut into a small dice
1 medium stick of celery
1/2L or so of beef stock
1-2tbsp seasoned flour
Olive oil
In a good heavy fry pan, cook vegetables in oil for 5 minutes until soft
Take the veg out of pan
Chuck steak into a plastic bag, with the flour
Add a little more olive oil, brown meat in batches
Add veg
Add stock
Cover tightly and simmer gently for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally.
You might need to add a little more stock or water if the meat sticks

Baked Dumplings
2 cups Self Raising Flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter
Small pinch salt
¼ cup milk
Pinch pepper
Pinch mixed herbs
½ cup grated tasty cheese
Rub butter into flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs
Add other ingredients
Mix together
Turn out onto floured bench and cut into 4 cm rounds, about 2cm high
Bake for 15minutes at 225Deg C

Serve with the stew, and a knob of butter in the middle, a glass or 2 of red

Nugan Estate Embassy Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Bought a 12 pack yesterday for $40, thats $3.33 a bottle at the winery warehouse clearance sale, straight off the pallet.  Will taste it tonight and post the review.

For the wine people, Nugan Estate is the winery behind Cookoothooma label with 510ha of vines mostly at Darlington Point (30kms south of Griffith), and some in the King Valley (Vic.) and McLaren Vale (S.A).  Their McLaren Vale Shiraz recently won a gold at the Decanter Wine Awards in the UK.
Am not expecting much from this wine, as I bought it on spec, but it is labelled for the American Market, complete with Pregnacy warnings.  According to the label, its based around wine that was tasted at the Australian Embassy in Washington.  If it's good enough for Mr Beazley, it's good enough for me...

I'm expecting a warm climate, ripe fruity cabernet with hopefully some tannin to hold it together.

Okay, here is the review

Oak driven nose, with a faint hint of mint. On the palate, its dark fruited with dark plum/blackberry/blackcurrant fruit.  Finishes firm with typical Cabernet tannins taking over.  Oak rounds out the palate with notes of caramel and vanilla.  It's a credible example of warm climate cabernet, not overblown by any stretch, albeit its definitely in a ripe, concentrated style.  Needs a big fat texas grain induced t-bone with caramelised onions.  Will hold for a couple of years. 14.5% Alc. Excellent value at $3.33 per bottle! points? 85-87

Pre-Christmas Pudding

Pre-Christmas Pudding

Okay, it is still November, I couldn’t wait..
This is a steamed fruit pudding recipe, that turned out rather well J
700g mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, sultanas, peel)
1 cup dark rum
2 cups plain flour
1 cup dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has a better taste for this recipe
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp mixed spice
125g melted butter
½ cup flaked almonds
1.5 cups hot water
Mix together fruit, rum in a large bowl and let sit for a while - overnight is best. But it doesn’t matter if u don’t have the time.
Add flour, sugar, almonds and mixed spice
Melt butter in the hot water on stove, dissolve bicarb soda in, it’ll fiz up
Add liquid to dry ingredients, mix thru
The pudding should be like a cake batter consistency (its basically a cake mixture without the eggs). If it looks too runny, add a touch more flour, or water if a bit dry.
Pour the pudding batter into a greased pudding basin or pudding steamer (bought at homeware shops). If you are using a basin, top with baking paper and foil and tie up with string around the lip of the basin. Tie a little handle so u can pull it out.
Place in a large pudding basin/steamer in a large pot, sit it on a small upside down plate and fill with water until it just touches the bottom of the basin. Place lid on the pot so it can steam.
Steam for 4 hours. Check and adjust the water level with boiling water halfway thru.
If you are making this for Christmas Day, leave for 2-3 weeks in the fridge and then steam for 2 hours on the day.
Serves 4-6
Serve with Brandy Custard

Delicious Easy Rice Dish

it's full of goodness too..

Andy’s Kedgeree
This is a rice dish, lightly flavoured with curry powder and smoked fish, liked by the English in India for breakfast! Apparently they couldn‘t find kippers..

1 medium onion, chopped finely
½ tsp mild curry powder (we are not after heaps of flavour here, less is more)
2 Tbps vegie oil (Grape Seed is the Best!)
1 tbps butter
About 1 litre of vegie stock
2 handfuls of long grain rice
100g of smoked salmon, sliced finely
½ cup green peas
2 soft boiled eggs
Pinch white pepper
2 or 3 curry leaves as a garnish (don’t worry if u don’t have them, u can use coriander)
Okay, here it is, make it like a rissotto
Gently fry onion in the oil and butter for 5 minutes, add a pinch of salt
Fry until clear
Add rice, cook a couple of minutes
Add stock, 1 ladle at a time stirring continuosly
When stock is reduced, add another ladle until all stock is gone(it takes about 20 minutes).
Add peas, salmon and curry leaves and leave to rest.
Serve on a platter with the soft boiled eggs halved, and toasted pita bread (it’s a breakfast dish, so have something crunchy)