Looks fancy but very easy Autumn salad


There is nothing better than a change of seasons and new season vegetables and fruits you haven’t seen in 6 months making a return to the market shelves.  I especially love the first flush of autumnal goodies, small, delicate, very pretty and such a change from all the sweet brash summer offerings.

This dish can be adapted to whatever you have around, but I love this combo.  Layer all the ingredients up on a shallow platter and serve as a side at dinner or on it own for ladies who lunch.

Baby golden beets roasted till tender and cooled

Baby fennel mandolined or very thinly sliced

Cauliflower gently broken into small florets

Walnuts lightly toasted

Radish mandolined or very thinly sliced

Radicchio shredded roughly

Feta for crumbling

Dressed with EVOO, S&P, Red Wine Vinegar & garnished with fennel fronds

Slow roasted lamb shoulder on crispy potatoes

When there are men to feed, every meal must have potatoes … or is that just in my household?

I can’t remember where I first got this recipe from, but I have adapted it over time and it is a family favourite.  Plan it for a wintry weekend when you are hanging around the house and can enjoy the smells.  Serve it to the table in the roasting tin for maximum effect as it looks great when it is cooked, but not so fancy once it is served, after all it’s meat and potatoes.

Shopping:

Boned out shoulder of lamb, garlic cloves (thinly sliced), rosemary, bay leaves, equal amounts of white wine & chicken stock, EVOO, S&P, potatoes (peeled and sliced thinly)  and red onion (thinly sliced).

Cooking:

Add some EVOO to the bottom of the roasting tin and then layer the potatoes, onion , garlic, rosemary, bay and S&P until they are all used.  Season generously as you go.

Add the stock and wine (should be just enough to mostly cover, but not quite, the layered potatoes) and lay the shoulder of lamb on top.  EVOO & S&P lamb generously and put in a pre-heated high oven to brown the lamb for about 20 minutes.

Turn oven down and leave to roast for 1 – 2 hours, till the meat is falling apart. Remove the lamb and rest it (keep it warm) and pop the potatoes back in the oven (only do this  if needed to finish crisping and reduce the liquid), otherwise turn the oven off and pop the potatoes back in to keep warm while the meat rests.

Plating:

Serve to the table in the roasting dish.

This dish is rich, so keep your sides green and fuss free.  I quite like a crisp Italian coleslaw (thinly sliced or mandolined savoy cabbage and fennel, red wine vinegar, finely grated pecorino cheese, EVOO, generous amount of S&P, mint & fennel fronds to garnish) or similar to cut through the richness.

Easy lemony seafood, potato & herbs

Easy, yummy, cheap, adaptable and best served with a really good baguette with lashings of Lurpak butter.  I love to pair this dish with our G Series 2014 G4 Chardonnay** and plonk it on the table in my favourite roasting pan for everyone to rummage through (we have picky eaters in our household).

The G Series is our new top of the line range and the Chardonnay is complex and very traditionally Burgundian in its style, so it needs something that packs a punch of flavour to stand up to the layers of rich fruit characters and French oak nuances.

Which is why I don’t like to over complicate the food match…. when the wine is this good I want to enjoy it, not become a slave to it.

Ingredients:

Chat or baby potatoes, Mussels, calamari or squid, green prawns, scallops (out of shell), white wine for cooking (don;t use the G4 Chardonnay!!!), extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), garlic, red onion, lemons and lots of fresh herbs.

You can really use whatever seafood you want or can easily get, just make sure they are roughly cut to the same size so they cook evenly (quickly).

For the herbs, I use whatever is around, but generally go with lots of flatleaf parsley, oregano (fresh), thyme, rosemary, basil, chives and even a bit of mint.

Method:

Have a sip of your cooking wine to check it is all right, tie on your apron and pre-heat the oven to 200 (Celsius).

Add a good lug of EVOO to a heavy based roasting pan suitable for the oven & stove top.  Add your potatoes, whole cloves of garlic, red onions (quartered), rosemary, thyme (lemon thyme if you have it), lemon zest and lemon juice (don’t be shy!), a small amount of the white wine and season well with salt and pepper and put it in the pre-heated oven till the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown (30-40 minutes). Remove form the oven and turn oven to a high heat.

Turn the cook top onto high to keep the pan really warm while it is out of the oven and scatter the seafood in a single layer on top of the potatoes.  Add more white wine to the pan to make your sauce, and a bit more more lemon juice and zest and seasoning over the seafood.

Place back in the oven and cook seafood quickly (you don’t want it to stew, so if your in doubt about any of it, pre-cook it in a pan first), until it is just tender and showing colour.

Remove from the oven, season again for good luck, and splash over some more lemon juice and zest and add all your beautiful fresh green herbs.

Serve it in the roasting tray to the table and let everyone serve themselves.

One large roasting tray usually feeds 4 – 6 with bread depending on appetites and boy / girl ratios.

**The inaugural  release of our G4 Chardonnay will happen in or around October 2015.

My steak with chimichurri

Another mid week winner.  Particularly great for mid week entertaining or to have some leftovers of in the fridge. Chimichurri seems to have many guises, but this is one of my favourites.  It is also a very economical dish and looks great served on a wooden board in the middle of the table with a few salads or char grilled veg to dress it up.  And, the best part … no washing up!

Ingredients:

Steak: I tend to use rump or rib eye on the bone or a similar cut.

Chimichurri: equal amounts of flat leaf parsley &coriander, half the amount of oregano, garlic (crushed) to taste, paprika (I use smoked) & ground cumin equal amounts (round half a teaspoon of each)  and lemon juice to taste, but don’t be shy and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

Method:

Bring steak to room temperature, drizzle with EVOO and season well with S&P.

For chimichurri, add all ingredients to a little hand blitzer and blitz till coarse.

Cook steak on the BBQ till it’s how you like it and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Plate:

Cut steak up into strips against the grain, drizzle with chimichurri and serve the rest on the side.

Roast chicken with all the good stuff

I love chicken!  There I’ve said it.  It’s my favourite meat, the most versatile and the best to match with Chardonnay.  I cook this at least once a week and the best part is the smell that emanates through the house.  There are many fancier versions of roast chook, but for a weekday meal, it’s set and forget, puts the kids to bed and then finish it all off in the last ten minutes.  And, no, before you ask, don’t even think the pre-flavoured & stuffed marinated birds you can get from the supermarket will do the job…. they never do!

Ingredients:

A chook, a lemon cut in half, thyme (I have an enduring love affair with lemon thyme), sage, rosemary (or a variety of fresh woody herbs that you have at your disposal), extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a head of garlic, salt and pepper (S&P), brown onion quartered or eshallots.

Sides: dutch (baby)

carrots, washed and trimmed, chat potatoes, woody herbs, butternut pumpkin, feta, sage, walnuts, EVOO, S&P and garlic.

Gravy: plain flour & chicken stock.

Method:

Put the chat potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water, season generously with  salt and bring to the boil and cook until until tender (20-30 mins).

Drain any excess liquid out of the chicken carcass and pat the top of the chicken dry. Stuff it with half the lemon, a bunch of your woody herbs, half a head of garlic (cut through the middle so the inside of each clove is exposed).  Put a bit of EVOO in a roasting dish (also suitable for use on the stove when making the gravy), place the chicken breast side up in the dish, drizzle generously with EVOO and season (don’t be shy with the salt it will help the skin go crispy).  Place the quartered brown onion or eshallots (these help give the gravy a rich brown colour) and the other half a head of garlic in the pan and put in a pre-heated oven at 180-200 degrees for an hour.

While the chats are cooking, put a glug of olive oil in another small roasting dish and add carrots, thyme and S&P and put in the oven  for about 40 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

Cut the pumpkin into wedges and place in another baking dish (a big one so there is room for the potatoes too) with a lug of EVOO and S&P, and cook in the oven with the carrots and chicken for about 40 minutes or till caramelised and soft.

When the potatoes are soft, drain and place in the baking dish with the pumpkin.  Smash them with a masher (I use a pestle), so they break up a bit, drizzle them generously with EVOO, season well, scatter over some of the woody herbs, a few garlic cloves and the juice from the other half of the lemon and roast them along with the pumpkin until they are golden, brown and crispy.

When you think the chicken is cooked, pierce the area between the thigh and the breast and if the juices run clear it is cooked.  Place the chicken breast side down on a plate and cover with foil to rest.

Put the kids to bed at this point and pour yourself a glass of E.M. Limited Release Chardonnay, a food and wine match made in heaven!

Put a handful of walnuts in the oven to toast (watch them carefully they turn quickly).

Skim or remove the excess fat from the roasting tin the chicken was in and add a tablespoon or two of flour and mix to form a paste.  Put the pan on the heat (stove top) and add chicken stock to make the gravy (I usually start with 500ml and add gradually as  necessary).  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the roasting tray, squish the onion up and squeeze out the garlic cloves and bring to the simmer until it is the desired thickness.  If you are having trouble getting a nice rich colour in the gravy, add Vegemite or soy sauce to help.

Boil the jug and fill a gravy boat or whatever you plan to serve the gravy in with boiling water to get it warm.

Meanwhile in a small fry pan, brown some butter and add the sage when the butter is nut brown.

Plating:

Once everything is cooked, turn off the oven and put in all your plates and serving platters to get warm.

Add any liquid from the resting chicken to the gravy and pop back in the oven to keep warm.

Plate up the pumpkin, pour over the sage and brown butter and toasted walnuts and put back in the oven to keep warm. Put the potatoes and the carrots in serving dishes and back in the oven to keep warm.

Strain the gravy through a sieve into the warmed gravy boat and put in the oven to keep warm.

Take out the chicken, carve it and serve it to the table with all the sides and the gravy. Add the feta to the pumpkin at the last minute.  A family feast!

Then act really tired and make yourself scarce – there will be a pile of washing up.

1952 – 2014: A Retrospective of Tulloch Wines

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As a custodian of a proud family company, there is nothing more gratifying than making your boss, in my case my dad, proud.

I recently had the opportunity to do this, when we gathered 10 wine folk together for a Retrospective Tasting of our wines to celebrate Tulloch Wines 120th birthday.

My Dad had been holding onto some old wines for a very long time, waiting for the right opportunity to  pop the corks and show off the greatness of the Tulloch name from years past.

Tulloch has an interesting history, including a much maligned 34 years in the wilderness of corporate ownership.  I suspect, during this time my Dad never thought he would get to see Tulloch returned to greatness.

The Retrospective Tasting well and truly provided him with the long awaited sense of pride he is so very deserving of, for his determination, persistence and belief in the Tulloch legacy as its figurehead during difficult times.

I think Huon Hooke s sentiments below capture the mood beautifully.

Congratulations Dad.

Tulloch Wines Back In Cracking Form

to be continued…..