Tuesday, 28 February 2012

M's Wine Review - Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz 2008

This particular wine is made from grapes sourced from the Clare Valley which is a little further north of the famous Barossa Valley in South Australia. The Clare Valley is famous for its shiraz, cabernet and riesling. However, the 2008 year and vintage was a challenging one due to the lack of regular rain and an unseasonal heat wave in March.
Regardless of these challenges this shiraz is very well made; surprisingly smooth, full of fruit and extremely easy drinking. I can’t say it's huge but it has enough length to leave a pleasant long lasting taste in your mouth.
I've had this wine a few times now and consistently it has exceeded my expectations of a solid South Australian shiraz and, to be perfectly honest, it's a safe and easy option for any dinner party!
RRP $18-$24


Friday, 24 February 2012

A Mexican fiesta!

Melbourne seems to be going crazy for Mexican lately! I tried Mamasita when it first opened, and Fonda Mexican is down the road from my work so I’ve been there a couple of times too. There’s still so many other places I want to try I can’t keep up. However I still love making Mexican at home. It might not be quite as authentic – in fact probably more ‘Old El Paso’ than anything , but I love it anyway!

Mexican take 1

The other week I tried a new recipe I found via All Things Delicious for Mexican soup. The idea of Mexican soup intrigued me – essentially you take all the ingredients of a good burrito but make it a soup instead. It even includes tortillas!

While we enjoyed the soup (it kind of tasted like Mexican minestrone) I’m not sure we’ll repeat this recipe. M summarized it well when he declared ‘it was good – but it would have been better wrapped in a tortilla!’

Mexican take 2

We visited our friends at their beach house in Rye recently and they cooked up a scrumptious Mexican feast for us! We’ve had Nat and James’ burritos before and I swear I could eat them every day! What makes them so good is that there is so much delicious filling in them. A hot and spicy mix of chicken cooked up with capsicum, refried beans, onion and lots of chilli, Mexican rice, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cheese – yum!

Paired with some good wine, fun company and fantastic dessert (more to come on that later) there’s nothing better than a Mexican night with friends!

Nat and James’ chicken burrito filling

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tspn garlic powder
  • 1 tbs conflour
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast cut into pieces
  • 1 green capsicum, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs fresh lime juice
  1. Put all ingredients into a plastic zip lock bag and toss to mix.
  2. Allow to marinate in fridge for around 30 mins.
  3. Heat 1 tbspn oil in pan and cook mixture on high heat, stirring occasionally until chicken, capsicum and onion are tender and cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. 
Serve with a choice of other burrito fillings and build your own burrito!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Monday, 20 February 2012

M’s snapper and beans from the garden

Tonight for dinner I cooked up some simple snapper fillets left over in the freezer from a record fishing haul M and his friend caught over summer. There’s something so lovely about a fillet simply cooked in butter and garlic served with salad.

The beans in our veggie patch are coming along quite well (considering how late I planted them) and when watering the other day I noticed there’s a few ready to eat! So I cooked them up to have in our salad with a squeeze of lime over the top and homegrown spring onions! Yum!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Thursday, 16 February 2012

M's wine review - Aerin's Vineyard shiraz 2009

In need of a mid week glass of red? Nothing too fancy, just a quick, cheap but tasty glass - this might just be it!
The Aerin's Vineyard is a Heathcote
shiraz, and those who enjoy Heathcote wines know that most drops coming out of this region are pretty good. It's a smaller, cooler climate wine growing region with a good mix of small and medium sized producers. The winery is owned by Seppelt - they have a large number of other more premium wines that they sell under the Seppelt label.
I bought this
over a year ago, a few bottles have been sitting in the wine rack for a while. I think what initially attracted me was its fruitiness, and maybe the 6 other tastings I had before it helped!
A year on, I think it's good - the perfect mid week wine. It’s easy drinking, nothing too outstanding, but smooth, fruity and easy enough for a glass or two.
RRP $14.99

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Out for brekkie - Creatures of Habit, Ivanhoe

The other weekend we thought we'd try out the new cafe down the road in Ivanhoe - Creatures of Habit. It opened before Christmas and I've been driving past on the way to work thinking it looks worth a visit.

We popped in on the Saturday for a drink and toasted sandwich and thought the menu looked good, and prices very reasonable, so we went back again on Sunday for brekkie.

I'm a sucker for good hollandaise so always have to try eggs benedict or florentine when I'm out. But a bad hollandaise can ruin good eggs so the first time I order at a new place I always ask for it on the side, just in case.

But no worries at Creature of Habit - the eggs were beautifully poached,the hollandaise tangy and light, the spinach buttery and the bacon crispy.

M's eggs royale was great too, the salmon good quality and the eggs and hollandaise just as good as mine!

I'm not a coffee drinker but M said it was good but required a second visit to re-taste.

I'd say Creatures of Habit is our new fave local!
Creatures of Habit, Ivanhoe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Eggs on homemade toast

Nothing beats a simple, wholesome brekkie of poached eggs on nice toast!

We bought a bread maker recently and I’ve been trying for a few weeks to perfect a wholesome, heavier wholemeal. We generally eat good quality Phillipa’s or Zeally bay sourdough. Since having the bread maker I’ve been trying to replicate these types of grainy loaves and move away from the fluffy white loaves the bread maker turns out to perfection.

My most recent attempt was the Russian Black Bread recipe from the instruction book. It containing molasses, coffee, fennel seeds and rye flour and was the closest I’ve come to something a bit more wholesome - although it was still a tad doughy in the middle. A bit more work to go with the bread maker I think!

And what better way to trial a new bread than toasted, buttered with poached eggs and chives! Great start to the weekend!

If you’ve got any wholesome bread maker recipes I’d love to hear them!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Cozy berry crumble cake

A friend of mine, Laura, made this great cake out of Delicious magazine and I loved it so much I ran home to flick through all my copies of the mag for the recipe. I made this for friends who were over a couple of weeks ago and M and I devoured the left-overs pretty quickly after!

Essentially you make quite a heavy cake batter, mix through berries, pat a crumble mixture into the top and dot it with even more berries and bake. It delicious served warm with cream or icecream, and the spices in it give it a beautiful aroma. You can’t help but feel cozy eating crumble!

I love how this recipe is a modern take on the old fashioned crumble… just as good as dessert or with a cuppa!

Berry crumble cake

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300g fresh or frozen blueberries (I used mixed berries)
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • Icing sugar and cream to serve

Crumble topping
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 firmly packed cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnmon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (I used walnuts)
  • 30g chilled unsalted butter, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180C, grease and line 24cm springform cake pan.
  2. For the topping, place flour, sugar and spices into food processor and whiz to combine, add nuts and butter and pulse until butter is just incorporated. Tip into a bowl and chill.
  3. Place dry ingredients in processor and whiz for 20 secs, transfer to bowl.
  4. Place 1 heaped tbs mixture in seperate bowl and toss with 200g of the berries, set aside.
  5. Whiz oil, milk, egg, vanilla and zest in processor until well combined.
  6. Make well in centre of flour mixture and add milk mixture. Stir until combined.
  7. Gently fold in berry mixture.
  8. Spread evenly in cake pan, sprinkle crumble on top and press remaining 100g berries into crumble.
  9. Bake 50-55 mins or until a skewer comes out clean (**NB: I ended up baking this for more like 1 hour 15 mins as the cake was most definately NOT set at 55 mins... just make sure you keep an eye on it).
  10. Cool in pan, dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The first ripe tomato

I was inspecting our garden tonight when I noticed our first RIPE tomato of the summer!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

M's wine review - Alan McCorkindale sauvignon blanc 2011

It’s M here - I got a second gig!

What better white wine than a nice crisp sauvignon blanc? Especially on a hot day (like today)!

The majority of sauvignon blanc wines are easily accessible, no need to worry too much about the vintage and there's plenty of choice out there, both local and NZ varieties as well as some Argentinean, Chilean and French for the more adventurous.

Sauvignon blanc wines go down easily - in most cases!  This is due to the fact that the process in making this wine is quicker compared to other varieties. The other reason is that sauvignon blanc doesn't gain much from aging so most vintages are current and you don't need to wait for this wine to improve - it wont!

What I liked about this particular wine was its depth and complexity. You don't get that often in a sauvignon blanc. It’s got heaps of flavour, nice pale colour but rich almost heavy texture and dominating acidity. I thought the acidity was close to overpowering the nice flavour of the wine so it’s probably not for everyone - especially if you're not too keen on tart wines. Having said that, the wine had good length and went extremely well with grilled chicken and salad!

That takes the sauvignon blanc wine collection to zero. Will have to find something new for the cellar soon!

Friday, 3 February 2012

A classic cocktail

We've been stocking up on spirits and experimenting with our cocktail shaker over summer. But my favourite is still a classic margarita shaken up by M.

A great way to end the week!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

M’s thai prawns

Coming home from work with no energy to cook at all (unusual for me) I said ‘honey, let’s get take out’. But ever trusty M whipped up the best simple weeknight meal EVER!

M’s thai prawns

2 cloves garlic
3-4cm grated ginger
1 green capsicum
1 big red chilli
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsps fish sauce
3 tspns brown sugar
Good handful raw prawns
Handful basil leaves

Fry the garlic, ginger, capsicum and chilli in some oil.
Add coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar, bring to boil.
Add prawns and basil – simmer till cooked.
Serve over noodles and enjoy!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Andrew McConnell's tuna tartare

I love Andrew McConnell's Melbourne restaurants Cumulus Inc. and Cutler & Co (still haven't been to Golden Fields) so when I saw his recipe for Tuna Tartare published on the SMH site I had to give it a go. For some reason the page where I first found the recipe is broken, but luckily I'd copied it into my recipe folder so I've detailed it below.

I know my version doesn't look quite as suave as the professional one - but let me tell you it tasted DAMN delicious! I used fresh mint and spring onion pulled straight from the garden too!

Andrew McConnell's tuna tartare with crushed pea salad

250g sashimi grade tuna
1/2 clove garlic
1 anchovy (I didn't use this as I'd run out)
1T light soy sauce
Pinch castor sugar
2T olive oil
1t balsamic vinegar
zest of 1/4 lemon
130g peas
3T olive oil
1T lemon juice
1 spring onion - finely chopped
20 mint leaves - shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
3T goats curd

Step 1 - marinade
Slice tuna into 1.5cm cubes.
Mix garlic, anchovy, soy, castor sugar, olive oil, balsamic and zest together then add the tuna.
Leave in fridge to marinade while making the salad.

Step 2 - crushed pea salad
Cook peas 2 mins.
Refresh in iced water.
Crush with the back of a spoon
Mix with olive oil, lemon juice, spring onion, mint and salt and pepper.

Step 3 - serve
Use the back of a spoon to spread goats curd onto a plate.
Spoon pea salad on top.
Season tuna with a little salt, remove from marinade with a slotted spoon and arrange on top.

Eat and enjoy!

NB: The first time I made this I used goats curd, but M isn't a huge fan so last time I used really soft mild fetta and it worked too.

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