Monday, November 28, 2011

Aussie Bucco

it's not quite a classic Osso Bucco, it doesn't even contain veal.  It is 100% homegrown.  But it works.

3 large pieces of Beef shin, you know the osso bucco cut that has the big round bone
1/2 litre chicken stock
fresh tomato, sliced thickly (used homegrown grosse lisse)
salt, pepper, flour
1 small onion, diced finely
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp grape seed oil, extra
lemon juice, chopped parsley

lightly dust the beef in seasoned flour by dipping in flour, shake the excess flour off.
In a heavy fry pan over high heat, seal the beef on both sides in the oil. Remove and set aside.
In the extra grape seed oil, cook the finely diced onion over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, and reduce over high heat for 5 minutes.
In a good baking dish, place the beef and cover with the sauce.  add sliced tomato and bake for 2 hours at 150deg C.
Serve with mashed potato, chopped parsley and lemon juice.
Drink with a Hunter Shiraz (if you can afford it).
It's italian inspired, but aussie made

Friday, November 25, 2011

Westend Estate Cellar Door

This is Griffith's answer to a Tuscan villa: stucco, grapevines, large doors and oakbarrels.
I had to pinch myself I wasn't in Italy, all I needed was a decent view and it would have been complete.  That said, it is only 5 minutes from home..

The cellar door is a warm environment for tasting, well lit, the displays are clean and tidy; it's a place for browsing and taking in the history of the winery and the Italian-Australians in the Riverina, since 1945. On the menu are the almost complete range of current releases wines, from the cool climate series, Riverina, reds, whites, sparkling, moscatos, stickies and fortifieds.  Most of the wines are well priced too: owners the Calabria family certainly do value for money.  Wines such as the Richland Range, well made quaffers which are widely available, some will improve in the cellar for up to 5 years: $9.95 a bottle.  No need to buy a dozen to get a good price.  A step up the rung is the 3-bridges range, for less then $20 you can get a pretty good red such as the bold but eminently drinkable Durif or a classic warm climate Oz Shiraz destined for the back of the cellar, only to be pulled out at 10pm when you've polished off the fancier plonk and discarded the bow tie.

There are wines for every body and every occasion, and a couple of oddities: Aglianco (a mouthfull of medium bodied red wine wrapped around leathery tannin) and the interestingly perfumed and smokey tasting St Macaire (another red which would come into its own with antipasto one would assume).

I will definitely be taking the family there after Christmas.  Wine Cellars don't have to be showy to be good: just offer friendly service, affordable wine, a smile and no pretentions.  Throw in a sense of place, and you have a destination worth visiting.

(Whilst I was there, Win TV were doing a piece to Camera on the 3 bridges 'Golden Mist' Botrytis Semillon. Apparently it is being served on V-Australia.  There you go, good promotion for the business and the Riverina.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Horse Racing’s $150Million dollar windfall.

Sydney’s Randwick racecourse is receiving $150 Million in government money for the upgrade of grandstands, a fancy new horse parade ring and turning the racecourse into yet another facility for corporate functions, public and private entertainment.
Is this a good idea?
Should the public purse be used for what is essentially a gambling institution?
The NSW Racing industry is a billion dollar industry. Whilst there is no doubt it contributes to the economy, and stimulates growth, provides jobs etc, does it have to be subsidised by the taxpayer? I am not sure.
Anyway, I thought I would have a look at a few facts and figures on Racing in NSW:
Returns to owners, including prize money and starting bonuses of $141 Million in 2009-10
The State’s richest race, the Golden Slipper for 2 y.o.s is worth $3.5 Million in prizemoney
Upgrade of Randwick Racecourse… $150 Million
Amount received by Racing NSW from Tab Corp each year, for the licence to run NSW betting…$150 Million. A common theme?
Amount received by Racing NSW from other sources of gambling outside the state: $54Million per year
Amount wagered on racing in NSW each year…$4 Billion
Additional NSW Government subsidy for regional NSW Racing over the next 2 years…$5 Million
Amount in NSW State Budget 2011/12 to reduce problem gambling in NSW… $14.5 Million
Budget of the State of NSW $60 Billion
$150 Million divided by the number of households in NSW (2.5Million) and it equates to roughly $60 per household. That is $60 that could be used to help pay the electricity bill.
View from the corporate box overlooking the winning post at Royal Randwick…priceless
Are we getting value for our money?

You be the judge…

Mr Ed: Laughing all the way to the bank..