Sunday, 29 July 2012

M's wine review - Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot 2010

Certainly a rare find in mainstream bottle shops, this wine is produced by a smaller boutique producer from Margaret River. The winery produces a variety of different wines with a focus on higher end wines for restaurants and gourmet or boutique wine retailers.

I like a cabernet merlot. These wines are easy to drink as a result of merlot having a slightly higher sugar content and lower acidity than shiraz or cabernet grapes; with the cabernet adding more dominant tannins and fruit flavour. Both combined make a fantastic wine, usually resulting in a smooth easy to drink drop! I recently reviewed the Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot 2008 which was fantastic!

I picked the Amelia Park wine simply because it had an interesting looking label, a good review and what seemed a fair price. What did I find? A fantastic high quality example of what a delicious cabernet merlot should taste like!

If opening now, give it a good 15-30min to oxidise and warm up, it needs it. I tried a little straight up but it was a little harsh, needing just that little bit of time. However, after a few minutes, wow! What a delicious wine, fruit, fruit and more fruit, some oak, velvety smooth flavour and it just makes you come back for more. The palette is certainly elegant, rich with some hints of pepper (Kate's opinion - I didn't think it was too spicy/peppery).

There are some great reviews out there of this wine, it's also one for the cellar, the winery recommends cellaring anywhere up to 10 years (it certainly has enough structure and guts to get it there). I have one more left and I'm looking forward to it in the next couple of years!

Price range $24-30

Sunday, 22 July 2012

‘Surprise chef’ spinach and cheese pie

After a morning pottering around the garden while M was working on rebuilding our veggie patch (more on that in another post) I decided we needed a hearty lunch.

On opening the fridge I realised there wasn’t much there – we had some left over potato salad from our dinner last night and that was about it, but it wasn’t enough for two hungry people.

I quite enjoy a challenge like this and always feel a bit like I’m on that TV show ‘Surprise Chef’ where they make a meal out of what’s in people’s pantries. So I opened the freezer looking for inspiration and spotted some frozen spinach and puff pastry – perfect for some spinach and cheese pies. I pulled out a red onion, cream cheese and the last of some grated cheese and whipped up this little beauty. Along with my current fave side dish of crushed pea salad and the leftover potato salad this made a beautiful lunch!

My ‘Surprise Chef’ spinach and cheese pie

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • ½ packet of Coles smart buy spinach (I really like this one as it’s less packed together and wet than the standard frozen spinach)
  • ¼ red onion finely chopped
  • A couple of handfuls of grated cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 200C
  2. Mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper
  3. Spread down the middle of a puff pastry sheet
  4. Cut sides of sheet into strips going outwards from filling to edge
  5. Fold strips in, alternating sides, so you get a nifty little plaited look
  6. Bake in oven for 30 mins or until golden brown
Crushed pea salad
  • 1 cups of peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 spring onions, finely chopped (if I’m feeling really lazy I leave this out or substitute with red onion instead)
  • 4 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook peas in boiling water 2-3 mins
  2. Rinse under cold running water to cool down and retain colour
  3. Transfer to bowl and crush with the back of a spoon
  4. Add mint, spring onion, oil, lemon and season well with salt and pepper
  5. Mix, taste and adjust flavours

Kate eat-drink-dream


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

M's wine review - Quattro Mano Novillo Tempranillo 2011

Quattro Mano Novillo Tempranillo .... It's a mouth full! I have previously reviewed the Sangiuen Estate Tempranillo 2009 vintage and absolutely loved it, so I've continued to explore this variety.

This variety comes in various styles, some being more full bodied and others that are lighter. This one, in my opinion probably sits right in the middle. It's interesting because the last 4-5 tempranillo wines have all been so different in their weight and structure. I like that - it keeps things interesting and fresh as you don't know what you're going to get!

The wine is from what seems to be a smaller, but contemporary, wine producer in the Barossa Valley. The actual label on the bottle is interesting, very modern! Not sure if I like it, but the wine is nice.

Being a tempranillo it is very easy drinking on its own or with a variety of different food. I've tried this wine twice now and both times i've been impressed. It is smooth, medium bodied, plenty of black currant and berry flavour, hints on liquorice and just general goodness.
I wouldn't say it's the most exciting tempranillo I've had but it most definitely is the perfect drop for a relaxed night at home or dinner with friends.

Price range $16-$20

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Avocado on toast - simple classic!

If you haven't already gathered from the number of brekkie reviews on here, M and I are pretty keen on a big morning cook-up on the weekend! We eat out often, but also love nothing better than whipping up a plate and eating at the kitchen bench with the sun streaming in... or in bed if M's feeling generous and lets me have a sleep in!

Last weekend I made us a simple but classic dish - avocado on toast. Sometimes I mash it, but more often lately I've really been enjoying it cubed with a dash of good quality olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, some herbs and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Of course, it's obligatory to serve it up on some beautiful bread! Every weekend M (the early bird) goes down to our local Leo's and picks up a loaf - our favourites are Phillipa's and Zeally Bay sourdough.

What a great way to start the morning!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Monday, 9 July 2012

M's wine review - Ad Hoc Middle of Everywhere Shiraz 2010

James Halliday voted Ad Hoc Middle of Everywhere (the winery) winery of the year in 2011. It is run by Larry Cherubino a well respected wine maker who produces wine under this label, other brands and his own name. The winery is located in Franklin River in Western Australia. The area is approximately 180km east of Margaret River, they produce wine and also olive oil and they export their produce within Australia and to other global markets.

The label is quite catchy, graphic and interesting, however it also makes you ask the question - did they just get a ‘cool’ label design to sell the wine?


Well, the wine is great! It's certainly up there in the true 94 range. It has plenty of depth, length and flavour. It has plenty of berries, just the right amount of fruit, tannins strong enough to keep it suitable for medium term cellaring. The wine is smooth and complete ready to drink now or in a few years - although if drinking now give it some time to breathe.

It's certainly good enough to keep you interested and also impressed! Great value under $20.

Price Range $18-$20

Monday, 2 July 2012

Pope Joan breakfast delight!

On Saturday morning M and I went to Pope Joan in East Brunswick for brekkie. M's a bit of a closet romantic and often takes me out somewhere as a surprise. So, on Saturday morning after a busy busy week at work he said we were headed out for brekkie at a surprise location.

I'd heard good things about Pope Joan and it certainly lived up to the expectation. The only slight negative was that we ended up sitting at the bar in the Bishop of Ostia next door and the stools without food rests weren't super comfy to perch on.

But food-wise Pope Joan certainly didn't disappoint! We ordered coffees first and M was very impressed with his strong latte, served at just the right temperature.

M had the pumpkin and haloumi pie with fried egg, rainbow chard and dukkah, it was a bit different for a brekkie meal but very 'tasty and wholesome' he thought the flavours were nicely balanced and a good size, he particularly liked the runny egg on top.

I had the NZ smoked salmon with parsnip croquettes, slow cooked egg and Joan’s slaw. When it arrived it looked fantastic, better than I expected for sure. The dish came with a little salad too, normally I'm not a fan of salad with breakfast but this one was so beautifully put together with carefully picked salad and herb leaves it was impossible not to like it! The parsnip croquettes eaten with the salmon and 'Joan’s slaw' were sensational. The croquettes were beautifully crispy on the outside and super creamy and cheesy inside, the salmon had a great smoky flavour and the slaw was a fresh crunchy contrast. I couldn't peg quite what the slaw was made from so a nice waitress told me celeriac and apple- mmmm!

The other thing that interested me about this dish was the slow cooked egg. The yolk had an unusual gooey texture throughout but the white was actually much softer and runnier than the yolk, the reverse to the usual but worked surprisingly well!

The fit out inside was super cool and the staff friendly. I would have loved to have checked out the cute veggie patch out the back in more detail if it hadn't been so cold!

We loved Pope Joan and will definitely be there again soon!

Kate eat-drink-dream

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