It’s a brand new year!

Well hello there! Hello to 2013. Hello to new resolutions. Hello to reinvigorated motivation and a feeling of excitement. I have the feeling that this year is going to be a great one! It’s been a while since we last spoke. So I’m going to fill you in on the biggest change that has happened in the world of My favourite fruits since then and some insights garnered in 2012.

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Continue Reading January 3, 2013 at 1:43 am Leave a comment

Barossa Valley tour, January 2011, part 2

Better late than never, right? (Apol’s for the delay) I’m excited to finally post the second (well, technically third if you count meeting Maggie Beer) article covering our trip to the Barossa Valley in January. I will be publishing a third, but may not do so for another week – I’ve got something else to tell you about in the mean time – stayed tuned. Back to this story though… So up to now, we’d landed; had a terrific lunch at the historic Lord Lyndoch hotel; celebrated Nanna G’s birthday while watching Sting perform against the backdrop of the gorgeous South Australian sunset; been on a sublime afternoon of wine tastings with John Baldwin (when we met the aforementioned Mrs Beer, superstar) and begun enjoying our time at the Barossa Shiraz Estate. We were doing a good job of having a great time! Today’s post covers the Mengler Hill lookout and sculpture park (yes, really) and one of my favourite lazy lunch experiences – at the gorgeous Charles Melton’s winery.

First up, farm stay breakfast

I’ve just gotta tell you quickly about the excellent supplies that they made available to us as part of our accommodation at Barossa Shiraz Estate. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of all the loot in the fridge before we got into it, but can tell you there was no risk were going hungry at breakfast time – as we were provided with about 30 eggs, four or five heavy packets of bacon, loads of farm grown tomatoes, two beautiful loaves of bread; various cereals, milk, butter and spreads – as well as coffee, tea, orange and apple juice and more. Whoah! So naturally, we had a big cook up on the barbie and fuelled up for the day.

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About one tenth of the breakie provisions we were given! (BYO mushies and local sausages.)

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Beautiful roses growing next to our breakfast table at Barossa Shiraz Estate

Lookout! We’re off to Mengler’s Hill

During our winery tour the previous afternoon, John Baldwin had told us about a lookout which was a short drive away and allowed lovely views across the valley. We didn’t have time to visit during our tour with John, but resolved we’d head to the lookout at Mengler Hill on our own time. Fortunately for me, that meant getting to take the the RAV4 for a spin! So we all piled in, programmed the GPS and started our adventure for the day.

Mengler’s Hill is on the road between Angaston and Tanunda and provides a lovely, panoramic view of the wineries and farms in the Barossa Valley region. It also features huge sculptures which were created for the 2008 Barossa International Sculpture Symposium. Pics of some of the sculptures are shown below.

While the view was lovely, I found the sculpture park was a bit strange – in fact, I’m glad I was there with other people, it would have seemed eerie otherwise, I think… I guess if you like a good sculpture, this might be more your sort of thing?

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Strange article… Pa walks through a turn-style to get to the sculpture park.
I’m not sure about why a turn-style was required in the middle of nowhere…

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Sculptures viewed from Mengler’s Hill lookout

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Sculptures viewed from Mengler’s Hill lookout

There were some interesting trees in the sculpture park which afforded Mr L with a photographic opportunity or two.

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And other wildlife provided an photographic opportunity or two for me!

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Mr L becoming one with a sculpture

I’m sure you can imagine that all the walking around the sculpture park made hungry and thirsty work, so we decided we’d best visit some wineries and head towards Charles Melton’s for lunch.

Lazy lunch at Charles Melton’s winery

I was excited about going for lunch at Charles Melton’s and returning to Krondorf Road in general – as the last time Mr L and I were in the Barossa, we stopped into the various wineries along the road and really loved our time there. Sadly, on that day we didn’t have time to stay for lunch, we’d planned better this time though and a long lunch we would have – after all, it was Nanna G’s birthday the day before and we hadn’t finished celebrating it yet!

We pulled into the driveway, parked under a big tree and none other than Charlie himself was walking in at the same time. There was a notable absence of hounds and we learnt that Axel and Major, the dalmatians we met on our last visit (see below) were having a day off that day and were at home.

So since we had no hound patting duties, we gratefully declined the wine tasting (we were hungry) and pulled up a pew on Charlie’s deck and prepared to eat and drink! First thing was first, to get the birthday girl (and supporting party) a glass of something delicious.

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Nanna G with a well deserved glass of the Father in Law Shiraz

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Awwww – Pa and Nanna G <3<3

Lunch at Charles Melton’s winery is simple, but effective. The boys and I both had a pie – I had the Pewsey Vale beef pie and Pa and Mr L both had the Hutton Vale Lamb Pie. They were all delicious. Nanna G chose the roast pumpkin and vegetable tart, which I sadly did not get a photo of (we were all so hungry that I took a few quick snaps and then tucked in) though I can tell you that it went down a treat.

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Pewsey Vale Beef Pie served with Maggie Beer’s Cabernet sauce, local salad greens dressed
with Maggie Beer’s Vino Cotto and locally produced red capsicum

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The inside of my pie (mmmmmmmmmm!) with Pa’s pie in the background

So after a longish lunch, we did succumb to wine tasting around the magnificent table at Charles Melton’s cellar door. I’m afraid our credit card has only just recovered. (Sob!)

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Pa, looking at home at Charlie’s big table

Moving on – Lyndoch Bakery and running in the vines

We moved onto Rockford (just down Krondorf Road) where we continued to taste and spend before heading back into Lyndoch to get supplies for dinner. One notable stop was at the Lyndoch Bakery where we discovered a number of delicious baked items. We picked up some bread and noted their impressive pie selection.

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No caption required!

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The extensive pie selection

We headed back to our accommodation and spent the rest of the afternoon running through the vineyard singing “run, rabbit, run”, laughing a lot and admiring our surroundings. All in all, this was a pretty terrific day.

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The little blue figure in the background is Mr L, running down between the wines

February 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm Leave a comment

Barossa Valley tour, January 2011, part 1(a)

What a few days we’ve had! We’ve just recently got home and I’m writing this post, flopped on the couch in Sydney, following a really fantastic few days in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Adelaide. I’ve got so much to tell you, but will try to do in brief – an overview follows. This post is the first in a series of three about the trip which I’ll publish this week.

Continue Reading January 30, 2011 at 5:55 am Leave a comment

Mm.. mmm.. mmmmm… meeting Maggie Beer!

Evening y’all! I’ve got so much to tell you about the amazing time that Mr L, Nanna G, Pa and I have been having in the Barossa Valley, (South Australia) these past 36 hours, and I’ll do that over the next couple of days, but tonight, I just need to focus on one thing because I’m so excited and I’m afraid I’ll ramble, so here ’tis… We met Maggie Beer today! Yes, that’s right, Maggie Beer!

Continue Reading January 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm 2 comments

Madhur Jaffrey’s Anglo-Indian sausage patties

Around lunchtime at work on Wednesday, my mate Al and I were talking about food (not an uncommon occurrence) for we were both hungry, and Mr L had found the most recent edition of Gourmet Traveller in our mailbox that morning, which was open on my desk. The January edition of Gourmet Traveller boasts two attention grabbing articles about burgers: one about making them and the other about eating them. We were both drooling over pics of the fantastic wagyu burgers from Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill, while I was trying to explain to Al how worth their $22 they were. Talk of burgers led him to recall a book that he’d received for Christmas (and was quite excited about) with recipes from Madhur Jaffrey. He said the book contained loads of excellent, easy curry recipes and one other recipe had caught his eye: Madhur Jaffrey’s Anglo-Indian sausage patties. Within seconds, he’d found the recipe on the Telegraph UK’s website, and I hatched a plan to make them for dinner the next night.

Making patties early Thursday morning

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On Wednesday night, I went to the shops and procured all the materials I needed to make the patties. The recipe calls for them to be refrigerated overnight or for at least a couple of hours, so I decided I’d make them the next morning and went to bed, dreaming of pork and wagyu.

Next morning, I bounced out of bed into the kitchen and made the patty mix. It only took about 10-15 minutes all up, and I separated a bit of the mix and wrapped it separately to take to work for Al (who’d not yet had the chance to make them himself) so that he could cook and try the patties at home that night. I then got myself ready for work, feeling unusually prepared – all that was left for me to do was the shaping and cooking of the patties and to make a raita and other Indian-style accompaniments after work that night.

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Al’s single patty – cling wrapped and ready for delivery

An unfortunate turn of events, resulting in a somewhat random dinner

A short time after, I left the house carrying a chiller bag (containing the patty and ice bricks), my handbag, keys and a one litre glass bottle, filled with chilled water. Somehow, at the top of our stairs, I lost my footing and stacked my way down ten concrete stairs to the bottom, breaking the glass bottle on the way and giving myself a dreadful shock. Stunned and in slow motion, I picked myself up from the bottom of the stairs and took in the damage: my left arm was bleeding all over the place; egg sized bruises were quickly rising on various parts of my body and broken glass and water was strewn all down the stairs. It was quite a sight to behold.

At that point, our very lovely neighbour poked his head out of his door as he’d heard the commotion. He caught sight of me, the blood, the broken glass and the strewn luggage and told me to go and clean myself up and that he would sort out the rest. I did as I was told, picked up the rest of my belongings and went back inside, still shocked, suddenly very tired and now with a thumping headache! (Thank you Rob, I’m so grateful.)

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I knew that all was not right with me at this point. I cleaned and bandaged myself as best I could, got changed and then got in the car and went to work, perfectly intact patty in-hand! I saw Mr L on the way who gave me lots of hugs and made me feel better, but told me to get my computer and work from home – very good advice, for later in the day wearing my body got to be even more uncomfortable as the swelling rose and I got more tired.

I dropped Al’s patty off, picked up my laptop and went home. Of course, I hadn’t had the time to get the other bits and pieces for dinner, but figured I could make do with what we had, so we ended up with a very healthy, but slightly random dinner, with one of our favourite dinner companions, PC, who we’d booked in earlier that week.

Anyway, wrapping up, if you make these patties (and I’d recommend you do), you might like to serve them with something like this:

– Rice
– Raita (cucumber, natural yoghurt and mint)
– Carrot and sultana salad
– Papadums and
– Mango chutney

We had ours with salad and papadums, which was about the best I could muster, avoiding walking and driving in my bleary-eyed, sore muscled state. I think the patty-salad combo worked okay – nobody complained, so it can’t have been too bad! Madhur Jaffrey also suggests serving them in pita pockets with eggs for breakfast, or adding them into curries – both entirely doable ideas that I will be putting in the memory bank meals down the track.

Everyone enjoyed Madhur Jaffrey’s Anglo-Indian sausage patties, including Al, who’d texted me that night, asking how I was and confirming he’d cooked and consumed his patty with delight. If you like coriander and enjoy Indian spices, then consider this recipe for a quick and easy dinner. As no breadcrumbs are required, these patties are gluten free and since my patties were made of lean pork mince, they’re a healthy burger experience, so they get the double thumbs up from me!

By the way, I’m still a bit bruised, but am otherwise fine now – will pay more attention when descending the stairs in future!

Madhur Jaffrey’s Anglo-Indian sausage patties (from Melissa Whitworth’s article, published in Telegraph.co.uk on 2 September 2010)

Note: make these the night before you plan to cook them

Ingredients

450g minced pork, preferably a bit fatty (I used lean pork mince and it worked well)
3 tbsp shallots or red onions, peeled and finely chopped
100g fresh coriander, chopped
½-¾ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garam masala, preferably home-made but shop-bought will do
2 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

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  1. 1. Put the pork in a bowl. Add the shallots, coriander, cayenne pepper, garam masala, a teaspoon of salt and lots of black pepper. Mix thoroughly, making sure to pick up and integrate all the shallots and coriander. Shape into a loaf, wrap in cling film and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but for one to two hours if you are rushed.

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  1. 2. Divide into eight equal pieces and roll into balls. Flatten with the palm of your hand to make eight smooth patties about 7.5cm in diameter.

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  1. 3. Put the oil in a non-stick frying-pan and set over a medium-high heat. Put in the patties, as many as will fit easily, and brown on both sides, turning frequently. This will take four to five minutes. Make sure that they are cooked through.

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  1. 4. Make all the patties in this way. Remove with a slotted spatula and serve whichever way takes your fancy!

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January 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

Gluten free, Friday night pork tacos

The other night in Woolworths, I was kind of loitering in the Asian food aisle, trying to absorb some dinner inspiration when I happened across Select brand’s “Authentic Mexican Corn Tortillas.” Ding! (Lightbulb moment.) I decreed (to myself and the bag of tortillas – we were the only two who cared) that Mr L and I would have soft shell tacos at some point this week! So tonight, Mr L had just returned from work drinks at the pub and was pretty hungry. Rarely does he feel like tacos, but tonight, he said they were just what he felt like and even commented that the tacos represented “good pub food”. I thought that was a pretty good endorsement from a man who’d worked up an appetite, lifting schooies at the pub. It seemed the time was right, this was to be taco night! Mmmm… delicioso!

Continue Reading January 21, 2011 at 11:18 am 2 comments

Volunteering to assist with Queensland flood recovery

I received another update from Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman overnight which provides some terrific info on how to go about volunteering for those wishing to assist with clean up efforts after the Queensland floods. I’ve pasted Campbell’s message below for your info – it also emphasises the importance of being safe around fire hazards – of which there are many, with all the compromised electrical circuits around the place.

Continue Reading January 19, 2011 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

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