Monday, March 08, 2010

Cooking up a Storm

The storms have past but as I mentioned yesterday, Sue was cooking up her own storm in the kitchen.
Friends of ours are about to embark on a journey across the Nullabor to Western Australia by motorbike. Chris and Ellen have matching ex-police BMW bikes. They tell me they take great delight in scaring the daylights out of people who break the law by using a mobile or speeding because their bikes look just liked unmarked police bikes.
Both have upgraded from sweat wheels, pedallies, you know, push bikes. Ellen and I had previously been trained under the same coach for the Master's World Titles over a couple of years. I guess you could say last night's dinner was to celebrate both our impending journeys later this month.

The book was a Donna Hay best of from the Donna Hay magazine

As storms raged across Victoria, Sue and I were shopping for shoes, not one of my passionate pursuits in life but I understand that there are fundamental differences in the male/female psychy. I'm the sort of "get in there and get out" shopper. After trying on an uncountable amount of shoes, Sue left barefoot so to speak.
BUT, she did buy a new cookbook despite that her cookbook bookshelf has now caused the foundations of our house to sink under the pressure. Anyway I digress - she was inspired by a few of the recipes for our desert in the book but instead of following the recipe by the book, she used an idea and did her own thing.

What's on the menu, did I hear you say - Hmmmm, I should let Sue explain.

The Entree: A favourite. Figs with blue cheese melted into them with proscuitto and a balsamic glaze. Just with a little bit of rocket.

Main course: A spicy lamb tagine served on preserved lemon and orange cous cous with a layer of roasted parsnip, carrot and sweet potato and sweet chilli and coriander yoghurt. Also a little bit of spinach and rocket to feel virtuous.

And the dessert: Roasted nectarine tarts on a brown sugar/sour cream base with a raspberry coulis to cut the richness a little (a very little, hah)

The Wine:
Chris and Ellen walked in the door with one of our favourite sparkings, a Grant Burge Pinot Chardy Brut. Since the French became all precious, we can't call our wines Champangne, Hermitage or Burgundy. This is a sparking made by the Methode' Traditionelle and a lovely drop it is, very dry and perfect with our nibblies. I remember riding by his vineyard at Tanunda in the Barossa Valley, South Australia.

To compliment the entree we had a rediscovered wine from a few years back - Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc is another South Aussie wine from the Adelaide Hills which overlooks the city from the highest points of the area. Back in January when visiting the Tour Down Under we decended from Mt Lofty at speeds above 60 kph, exciting stuff.

Yet another South Australian wine was selected for the main course. Several weeks ago I took a Coonawarra Cabernet from the wine shop shelf because I liked the simple label and the quirky name. I can't remember ever having a bad Coonawarra red. The district, close to the Victorian border produce a unique flavor from the Terra Rossa, limestone soils of the region.
I went back to the shop several times buying a bottle two until recently I discovered that they only had four left, and they were all mine, mine, yes mine..........ahahahaha!!

The storms have now passed by and already the grass is turning back to green and as the sun hits the backyard, we can see, what's more even hear the grass growing. Out with the lawn mower this afternoon.


  1. I try to put on an Australian accent when I read your blog, today more than ever. I love to learn about Australian wines.

  2. Nadege, do we have an accent (LOL)?
    I'll try to offer more on Aussie wines for you. And if you come across any in California, bounce their labels off me and I'll see if I can give you any info.
    Back in 79 I had the pleasure to enjoy the wines of Napa and Santa Rosa - Mondavi is all I can remember at this moment. A more mellow, lighter style from ours at the time and closer to French wines.
    2 weeks today before "Melbourne Our Home" becomes MOH but in Paris for 3 weeks. Hahahahaha.
    A bit like Martine's Belgium/France blog.

  3. Forget the shoes, aren't you lucky that Sue is such a good cook! The photos look plate-licking good. I tend to cook very simple stuff and am always amazed to see what people can achieve when they get right into it. I feel 1. guilty 2.envious 3.inspired. The latter feeling is the one worth pursuing.

    Nice to have photos and commentary about the Aussie wines too.

    And yes of couse I scrolled down to your hail post. Wow!

    The sky is still very grey but the snow is very slowly melting here.

  4. Wow, dinner looks good.

    And a girl can NEVER have too many shoes. (Speaking as one who still can only wear wellington boots and trainers at present. Hey-ho.)

  5. An other interesting blog for you about Paris
    (A lot of Australian wines are sold in the US).

  6. Great dinner! I'm looking forward to your Paris blogposts! How many nights before you board that plane?

  7. Thanks for your comments. Nice to get feedback.
    Martine, in Paris Tuesday 2 weeks time. Sue is now starting to pack ame starting to panic with work.
    Nadege - will look at that blog for sure.
    Jean - I'm tripping over Sue's shoes all the time - enough is enough. Hoping that your recovery is coming along well.
    And Nathalie - read your blog everyday and jealous of your following.

  8. Reading about Australian wines isn't quite as good as tasting them. Mmmmmmmmmmm Mr Riggs.
    Great post Sue and Leon and loved the menu Sue or should we call you Amelda?

  9. We had a lovely dinner with Sue and Leon! It was a dinner that we'd all been promising each other to 'do', for YEARS!

    That dinner sort of 'started' first with our invite to you two to dine with us 'al fresco' at our place (finally we got weather suitable for a short-notice invite - happily you two were available!) and some weeks later we got to enjoy your hospitality!! Yum yum!!! :-D

    Safe and happy travels Leon and Sue, and Happy 60th, Leon!!! :-) xx


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