Friday, July 17, 2009

Yarra Valley Saturday

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us went day tripping out to the Yarra Valley. Again, I was largely the tour guide, which again proved to be much fun. We went to...
Helen's Hill, which I think is also known as Ingrams Rd. Some odd scents, they reminded some of us of cheese. Their chardonnay was beaut.

Yering Station, where there was a fantastic cellar door assistant telling us lots of information in a knowledgeable, passionate and still down-to-earth way, who also looked a bit like David Wenham, to the enjoyment of at least two of the girls on the trip. Oh, and some delicious wines. David Wenham guy took us through all of the 20 or so wines on the list, and then a couple that weren't! I remember really liking their rosé, and an Italian-style red: think the Sangiovese was good. And a sparkling pink that exploded in your mouth, it was fantastic.

Yarra Valley Dairy, where we were going to get lunch, but the dining part was downscaled from what it had previously been, so we did a quick cheese tasting, or wine for some, and moved on.

Coldstream Brewery was where we did get lunch. Their cider was delightful! Subtle, small bubbles, and almost colourless. Beautiful.
Dad and I shared some smoked trout and potato cakes with a horseradish sauce, and this pizza: Caesar salad with calamari. Crazy, and really good.Dominique Portet, a smaller winery, was really French and quaint, straight from Provence. We met the man himself, Dominique, and all had a go at throwing a boot into a barrel to win a crepe (none of us made it). Though I wasn't blown away by the wine, I adored the place anyway. And to be honest, by this point, my tastebuds had had many many winey flavours through them and probably weren't at their most.. astute.Coldstream Hills (where the top photo is from) was our last stop before heading home, and I found pretty much the same thing as at the previous place: just wasn't appreciating the wine as much. There was a nice toasty smelling chardonnay again, though.

You can find a map of Yarra Valley's cellar door places (where you can do tastings!) here.

And that night, when we all got back, I was due to head out for dinner with two friends, one of whom was visiting from Perth. It had been rather a big day, so I declined the pre-food cocktail at Murmur and the with-food wine, and not being hungry yet, ordered a salad. We were at +39, that new trendy pizza place everyone has been writing about (oh, look it up if you want, I can't be bothered), but my salad was (excepting their exceptional tiramisu) by far the best thing we got!
Radicchio, pear, parmesan, walnut, and truffle honey dressing.
It was a very good day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

gâteau de l'amie de la mamy de Clotilde

Just made le Gâteau de Mamy from my increasingly beloved C & Z book. Adorable. My camera's at my other abode, so I can't take a photo, but it's beautiful, even more than the ingredient list would lead you to predict.

Only the pear version is listed online, but I'm willing to bet it's just as delicious.
Have I ever mentioned that Chocolate and Zucchini was the first food blog I ever saw?
I was looking for, probably just googled, a recipe for zucchini cake, I think. And to my disappointment, because it wasn't the recipe and then delight, for obvious reasons, I stumbled upon Clotilde's blog.

I bought the book. It's the only thing I've ever bought online.
Everything I make from it is wonderful. It is where I discovered one or two of my favourite sandwich combinations, and that you can eat gingerbread the cake with pear without any butter and it's lovely.

Anyway, this is a sweet, friendly, buttery, melting step in my apple teacake quest.
Make it. Remember that fresh fruit means the cake will take longer to cook through, and when you tip it out, tip it onto a plate, just in case. Don't use a cake rack, especially if you ran out of space and stuck the extra apple on top of the cake, because you might lose some of it and trust me, you don't want that.
Mmmouth watering!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bakery Hopping, Part 2

Man, it's been a busy week or two.
Third stop on our bakery tour was Dench, where there was no room for us to sit down and I was the only one to buy anything, so no photos. The loaf of raisin bread I got is interesting. It's like.. densish white bread with raisins in it and a lemon scent (no spices, I'm pretty sure, and little, if any, sugar). And taste. I think it's got a lemon glaze too, and the top is rather dark, kind of burnt tasting. Having had it for breakfast a couple of times so far, I can say it takes a bit of toasting and is quite chewy.
It makes wonderful French toast with butter and cinnamon. And a chopped up pear chucked in the pan too.
I was too lazy to photograph mon pain perdu. But back on the visually documented track...

4. Loafer Bread, Scotchmer St (just across St Georges' Rd from Dench):
Sandwich, I shared it with S. Beetroot, feta, leaves, some spicy chutney. Pretty standard. Nice subtly sour bread, chewy enough but not too much.
M had a quiche that disappeared before I could get a photo, and she said it was the best one she'd ever had. Was going to buy another one for lunch the next day, but then forgot.
And the savoury brioche that I longed for (thought between the other pastries, the sandwich was more virtuous) and tasted C's. What was on it? I can hardly remember now. But I recommend.
The cakes looked lovely, too. Let me know if you go and try their chocolate beetroot cake. I've been wanting to taste chocolate and beetroot cake for quite a while. They have a big list of coffees, which I approve of (when I wanted coffee in the good old days, I never knew what to ask for. I knew people had all sorts of different coffees but didn't know what there was. So this is good) and S had her first dandelion latte, which she liked.

5. Babka.
We waited patiently and then less so, for more than half an hour to be seated, while groups of 2 and 3 came, ate and left. Sigh.
Then we had coffee and the 4 of us shared two $7 wedges from the cake fridge, which was the right amount.

The chocolate fiends among us required that mud cake be one of the two. It was good mud cake and not overwhelmingly chocolatey. Kind of subtle. I dunno, it might have been fantastic if I'd really wanted it. As it was, I might have rathered pecan pie or a dried apricot and fig cake with some tea. Either way, mud cake was completely upstaged...Highlight of the day: caramelised pear and custard tart. My words and this photo are inadequate. Let's just say it was our favourite.