March 30, 2015

Breakfast (or brunch) parfait

Trying to eat well can be a challenge when you are a food blogger. I generally try to eat wholesome, healthy food throughout the week to make up for the many indulgents I consume over the weekend.

Since returning to work I have found if I prepare and take healthy snacks with me I'm less likely to be tempted and order the thick slice of  white bread toasted and slathered in peanut butter with my morning coffee or one of the chocolate bars from the fundraising box late afternoon.

Which brings me to the latest snack that I have been enjoying for the past week or so, the breakfast or brunch, depending what time you are eating it, parfait.

Using two Australian made and owned products, Table of Plenty, velvety vanilla toasted and untoasted museli and Jalna pure yoghohurt with coconut, and a few chopped strawberries this is an easy to assemble, yummy and wholesome early morning/mid morning snack!

What I used:

45g Table of Plenty velvety vanilla toasted and untoasted museli
100g Jalna pure youghourt with coconut
4 strawberries

Measurements of each layer (working from the bottom to the top):

Layer 1. 25g of museli
Layer 2. 65g of youghurt.
Layer 3. 20g of museli.
Layer 4. 35g of youghurt.
Layer 5. Chopped strawberries

March 27, 2015

Mount Ashby Estate, Moss Vale

Mount Ashby Estate
Wines on offer to sample and purchase
Two glasses of Pinot Grigio, warm crusty bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Antique chandelier on display
Charcuterie shared plate
Open fire
View outside from the cellar door

French connection fur vest
Last weekend we started our short trip to the Southern Highlands at the Mount Ashby Estate Winery in Moss Vale.

Finding the winery during a quick Google search the night before I must say I was quite proud of my finding.

The estate surrounded by a vineyard and cattle contains a blend of French provincial and early Australian structures.

Feeling the part  in my new French Connection vest we headed towards a farmhouse style building in the hope for some food and drink.

As we entered the building I felt as if I had been transported to a French tavern from yesteryear, the room warm  was full of people, laughing, chatting, sampling wine, eating and drinking. The decor rustic consisted of farmhouse tables, antiques and an open fire. It was very cosy.

Despite having not made a reservation the staff were very accommodating. Finding us a table we were quickly seated. Starting with a serve of warm crusty bread, olive oil, balsalmic vinegar and some butter for the 'baby' it was hard to decide what to order. Keeping in mind a dinner booking only hours away we decided to order light by choosing the Charcuterie plate for two.

The Charcuterie plate containing feta, brie, pork rillet, terrine, olives, sundried tomato, salami, proscuitto, cornichons and some leafy salad leaves worked well with a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Sampling the other wines available was fun, in the end we left with a bottle of Pinot Gris, Merlot , Petit Rouge (rose).

For lovers of antiques, the estate holds a range of Sally Beresford antiques and French farmhouse tables.

If you after good food, wine and antiques in a non commercial setting than Mount Ashby is the place.

March 23, 2015

A short stay in the Southern Highlands, NSW

Entrance to Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral
Gardens on the grounds of Peppers
Mount Ashby Estate, Moss Vale
Selection of wine to sample and buy, Mount Ashby Estate
Antique store, Mount Ashby Estate
Biota Dining, Bowral
One of many historic buildings in Berrima
Berrima Correctional Centre
Berrima schoolyard market
Steph's Gourmet food market stall
Over the weekend we spent a short twenty four hours in the Southern Highlands, 110km south west of Sydney. Visiting Moss Vale, Bowral and Berrima our visit mainly revolved around food.

With slightly cooler weather to Sydney it really was the best climate to eat and drink. Our food adventure started at Mount Ashby Estate in Moss Vale, a boutique vineyard and cellar. Keeping dinner in mind we ordered light, sharing a Charcuterie board for two and each enjoying a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Heading back to Bowral, about ten minutes away, we checked into our room for the night at Peppers Craigieburn. Our room, a Morton Wing room was a little smaller than expected. A positive though was the porta cot had already been set u.

That evening we dined at Biota, we choose the five course degestation without wine, instead choosing to order our drinks as the night went on. The dining experience was enjoyable, not rushed we enjoyed our five courses over a two and a half hour period.

The next morning we had a country style buffet breakfast (included in our package) at Peppers before we checked out and headed to the historic town of Berrima.

In Berrima, a town smaller than Bowral we stopped at a few historic sites before heading to the markets at the local school. At the markets we purchased some fresh figs, gourmet produce from Steph's gourmet food and a fabric memory board to hang in Gabby's room. Before heading home we stopped at Stones Patisserie for lunch where we ordered a beef, mushroom and red wine pie with salad and vegie crisps and a pumpkin and parmesan soup.

Overall despite it only being a short trip it was quite enjoyable. Next time if the weather permits I would like to visit Fitzroy Falls and perhaps the Wombeyan Caves.

March 21, 2015

Thermomix Easter cooking class

Hot cross buns
TM31 and TM5 Thermomix models
Ginger beer - ginger and lemon syrup
Ginger beer - Addition of mineral water
Fruit and nut muesli
Crunchy carrot salad
Honey butter
Hot cross bun dough
Hot cross buns prior to baking
Brown rice, vegetable and tuna salad
Samples to try - Moroccan soup, brown rice salad and crunch carrot salad
Prepared prior -Pepita and chia seed loaf and Vitality truffles
Prepared prior - Zucchini and chocolate loaf
Evening purchase - Quirky cooking Thermomix book
On Thursday night I attended an Easter themed Thermomix cooking class run by a few local consultants. Having attended a Thermomix cooking class in the past I was looking forward to a night of demonstrations, tips and taste testing.

The evening ran for about two hours, during this time the consultants prepared and cooked the below dishes using the TM31 and TM5 Thermomix models:

  • Apple and fig sorbet
  • Ginger beer
  • Fruit and nut museli
  • Hot cross buns
  • Smoked salmon mousse
  • Crunchy carrot salad
  • Brown rice salad
  • Honey butter
  • Spiced Moroccan lentil soup
Using seasonal produce these dishes are perfect for entertianing over the Easter period. The stand out dishes were the apple and fig sorbet, fruit and nut muesli, smoked salmon mousse, honey butter and the hot cross buns which I plan to make closer to Easter.

The apple and fig sorbet had a creamy texture, with the addition of cinnamon and cardomon it tasted a little like an apple pie. The fruit and nut museli (recipe available in The Basic Cookbook) was light and fluffy. The fresh apple, desicated coconut, almonds and dried fruit added a variety of textures and crunch!
The smoked salmon mousse was flavorsome, using onion, dill, capers, lemon, Tabasco sauce, cream cheese, pouring cream and smoked salmon it certainly isn't a dip for those counting their calories.
The class wouldn't have been a class without a few tips. Hints and tips shared between the group included:

  • If a recipe requires raw egg, in lieu of that you can use a piece of meringue.
  • When making sorbet if using frozen fruit omit the ice.
  • For a fancier sorbet rather than using ice cubes, use some frozen coconut milk/cream cubes or champagne cubes.
  • Store your yeast in the fridge or freezer to avoid the yeast becoming inactive.
  • If wanting a slow rise add cold water not warm water to your yeast.
Overall it was an enjoyable night, I left with a full tummy, some recipes to try, tips and a copy of Jo Whitton's Quirky Cooking Thermomix book which I purchased.

March 16, 2015

Taste of Sydney 2015

First drink of the day, Rekorderlig Festival apple cider

4Fourteen - Suckling pig on a spit.

4Fourteen - Slow Roast pig with pickled cabbage, apple butter and crackling style crisp.

Biota - Dipped Lamb Caramel Buns, soft lamb belly with hot lamb glaze

Otto - Orecchiette 'Bolognese'

Porteno - BBQ'd Porchetta

Poreteno - BBQ'd Porchetta with chilli, fennel, silverbeet and truffle pecorino

Porteno - Baked ricotta with rosemary pound and black olive jam

Ansett trolley
Sake - Steamed prawn dumplings, spicy ponzu

Enjoying 'The Paddington' cocktail. Dress - Country Road AW14

Movida - Pincitos Morunos (minus some lamb consumed before the photo was taken)

The Cut Bar & Grill - French Dip grain fed Beef standing rib roast slider

Pei Modern - Spiced doughnuts, whey butterscotch

Verano ciders

Range of products from Maille

Family pic!
Yesterday I headed to the final day of the Taste of Sydney Festival. After days of seeing dishes posted onto Instagram by fellow Sydney food bloggers, I was excited.

What started as a miserable day with dark, low lying clouds moving quickly through the sky turned out to be a sunny, blue skied day.

After purchasing what I hoped would be enough crowns, the official currency of the festival, we started with a cup of the new Rekorderlig apple cider appropriately called Festival. 

Working in an anti clockwise direction, our first stop was 4Fourteen. Impressed by the suckling pig on the spit  we ordered the slow roast pig with pickled cabbage and apple butter. Combining all elements with a little piece of the crackling style crisp worked well, the pork was soft and the cabbage fresh and crisp. Mr FPL wasn't impressed when the wind tried to take one of the crisps away.

Moving to the next group of stalls I ordered Biota's dipped lamb caramel bun with soft lamb belly and hot lamb glaze and Otto's Orecchiette 'bolognese' consisting of wagyu beef, pork and veal Sangiovese ragu. The caramel bun which looks very neat in the above photo, ended up a little messy from the juices of the lamb glaze, disecting the bun we tried to guess was there apple or onion on the bun? The Orecchiette didn't disappoint, we discovered Gabby has recently learnt the meaning of the word 'more' as she kept repeating this word after each piece of ear shaped pasta.

Not being able to forget our first experience of Porteno's at the Sydney Festival earlier this year we stopped at the busy stall. Attracted to the sight of the crispy looking Porchetta sitting above charcoal coals we added the Icon dish, BBQ'd porchetta to our order of baked ricotta. These two dishes were great. The sweet and salty flavours and textures of the baked ricotta dish were amazing, whilst the crunchiness and right amount of soft, chewy fat from the crackling was perfect. Topped with a little silverbeet, a hint of flavour from the truffle and some pecorino accelerated the experience.

After a short break in the Trolley'd seating area which contained some Ansett memorabilia we ordered a plate of steamed prawn dumplings with spicy ponzu from Sake. The dumplings coated in noodles with just a hint of spice was a nice change. Also in this area was The Cut Bar & Grill which we later returned to and ordered our last savoury dish of the day  being the Icon dish - French Dip grain fed beef standing rib roast slider. Looking fairly unattractive this slider invoked a number of senses, when I first looked at it I scrunched my nose in distaste, as I bit into it I thought the bun was too sweet, however when I got to the beef which was soft and a little fatty my mind changed, it was like the bun and beef transformed, hard to explain it ended up being very delicious.

Heading towards the end of the food stalls we ordered Movida's, Pinciots Morunos, a skewer of Flinders Island lamb marinated in spices and cooked over charcoal. 

In desperate need for a drink we stopped at the Cascade stand for a cocktail. I ordered The Paddington which consisted of Lemon, Lime and Bitters, mint and few other ingrediants which I can not remember. It was very refreshing.

With little 'Crowns' left  we used the last of our crowns on Pei Modern spiced doughnuts with a sweet whey butterscotch sauce, a cup of apple, mango and passionfruit Verano cider and a jar of Maille's mustard with wine and blue cheese which came with a free jar of Cornichons extra fine gherkins.
So after a day of eating which dish was the best? Porteno's, BBQ'd Porchetta, closely followed by the not so good looking Cut Bar and Grill, French Dip grain fed beef standing rib roast slider!