Food Features

5 Dinners That Are Simply Too Good To Miss

by Christine Salins on May 10, 2015

A Divine Match at Huka Lodge

Huka Lodge, Louis Roederer Champagne, Ryan Squires, Esquire restaurant,  Troy Rhoades-Brown, Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen, Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, Michael Robinson, Emerson Rodriguez, James Viles, Ben Willis, Sean McConnell, InterContinental Sydney 117 Dining, Alexander McCall Smith,  Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, The Summer of 1946.

Louis Roederer Champagne and Ryan Squires’ food – this incredible food and wine pairing will take place at New Zealand’s Huka Lodge on August 29 and frankly, I can’t think of a more divine combination. If you saw our recent post about Queensland’s Esquire restaurant, you’ll know all about Squires’ finely crafted food and the accolades Esquire has received as Brisbane’s only 3-hat restaurant. Squires is heading across the Tasman to prepare the 5-course dinner at Huka Lodge, and amazingly, it’s complimentary for guests. www.hukalodge.co.nz

Dine with the Dynamic Duo

http://www.hukalodge.co.nz/

Hunter Valley chef Troy Rhoades-Brown prepares some of the most inspired food I’ve tasted. His coconut dessert, in particular, is a masterpiece – it looks like a coconut but is actually roasted coconut chocolate husk filled with vanilla scented coconut water. It’s one of the dishes on the menu on June 14 at Muse Restaurant in the Hunter Valley, when Rhoades-Brown teams up with Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen to present a special dinner as part of Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month. Rhodes-Brown was Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine’s 2014 Young Restaurateur of the Year and Olsen was the magazine’s 2014 Young Winemaker of the Year. This exciting double act is not to be missed. $125; For bookings, tel: +61 2 4998 6777.

Clash of the Culinary Titans

Huka Lodge, Louis Roederer Champagne, Ryan Squires, Esquire restaurant,  Troy Rhoades-Brown, Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen, Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, Michael Robinson, Emerson Rodriguez, James Viles, Ben Willis, Sean McConnell, InterContinental Sydney 117 Dining, Alexander McCall Smith,  Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, The Summer of 1946.

Troy Rhoades-Brown is one of the chefs taking part in the 6th Annual Food Fight at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley on June 2. A team comprising three Hunter chefs, Rhoades-Brown, Michael Robinson (Margan) and Emerson Rodriguez (Emerson’s), will be pitted against a Canberra/Southern Highlands team comprised of James Viles (Biota Dining), Ben Willis (Aubergine) and Sean McConnell (Monster). Each team will prepare a 3-course lunch matched with Hunter Valley wine. This event gets bigger and better each year and the result, by all accounts, is a world-class dining experience. Proceeds go to fostering the region’s culinary talent. Information: www.hunterculinary.com.au

117 Dining: A Taste Of …

Huka Lodge, Louis Roederer Champagne, Ryan Squires, Esquire restaurant,  Troy Rhoades-Brown, Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen, Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, Michael Robinson, Emerson Rodriguez, James Viles, Ben Willis, Sean McConnell, InterContinental Sydney 117 Dining, Alexander McCall Smith,  Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, The Summer of 1946.

The InterContinental Sydney has a swish new restaurant in 117 Dining, and to highlight fresh, seasonal ingredients from some of Australia’s finest producers, it has introduced its A Taste Of series. These 5-course degustation menus matched with wine kick off with a Wagyu beef menu, available throughout May, followed by a Black Truffle Delights menu from June 25 to July 25 and White Truffle Delights from November 1 to 30. Tamas Pamer, the hotel’s director of culinary services, promises interesting and intricate dishes made with locally sourced, sustainable produce. 6-course menu $95, 6-courses with wine $135, bookings www.interconsydney.com.au or +61 2 9240 1396.

Drama and Gastronomy with Alexander McCall Smith

Huka Lodge, Louis Roederer Champagne, Ryan Squires, Esquire restaurant,  Troy Rhoades-Brown, Briar Ridge winemaker Gwyn Olsen, Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, Michael Robinson, Emerson Rodriguez, James Viles, Ben Willis, Sean McConnell, InterContinental Sydney 117 Dining, Alexander McCall Smith,  Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, The Summer of 1946.

The landmark Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, has teamed up with author Alexander McCall Smith to offer an unforgettable evening of drama and gastronomy every Tuesday until June 9. The evening begins with bubbles and canapés before a performance of The Summer of 1946, a nostalgic play written by McCall Smith, which is set at the hotel. Guests are served a dish with each of the three acts before heading to the bar for a nightcap. $AUD50 for the dinner & show; 1800 217 568 or www.belmond.com

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The One Dollar Dinner

by Christine Salins on April 23, 2015

Poached rhubarb recipe, recipes for rhubarb, www.foodwinetravel.com.au.

Talk about ten dollar dinners? What about the one dollar dinner!

It’s not quite as cheap as that, of course, because the dishes here drew on other ingredients that we already had in the fridge and pantry. But they demonstrate just how cheap you can eat when you eat seasonally and locally.

Every Sunday morning, the road just up from where we live is closed off and given over to a vibrant and colourful market where we can often pick up some very good deals in fruit and veg.

It’s not a farmers market and unfortunately some of the stallholders are simply selling other people’s stuff. Sometimes the produce is a bit tired and I’m really not inclined to pay a high price for food that has come through the wholesale markets and been carted around from one weekend market to another by an entrepreneurial stallholder. In that case, I may as well just go to the supermarket, where the produce will most likely be cheaper and fresher.

Poached rhubarb recipe, recipes for rhubarb, www.foodwinetravel.com.au.

But I’m prepared to buy at our local Redcliffe market if the produce is homegrown or if it’s cheap (and still fresh). So when we spotted some bags of fruit and veg for $1 each, yay, that’s a couple of dishes sorted. The tomatoes were still quite fresh and as we already had plenty of tomatoes in the fridge for salad, they were destined for a pasta dish.

Poached rhubarb recipe, recipes for rhubarb, www.foodwinetravel.com.au.I sautéed them in a little olive oil, adding some chopped garlic, anchovies and olives once they’d cooked down a bit. I cooked some lovely spelt spaghetti in another pot, and when it was ready, drained off the water straight into the pan with the tomatoes to give it a bit more liquid. At the last minute, I tossed in some torn basil leaves from the potted herbs we have growing on the balcony. Some grated parmesan on top and, voila, that was Monday night’s dinner.

Rhubarb is not an ingredient I cook with often as I’ve never been greatly enamoured by the rhubarb dishes I’ve had, but my man loves it and at a dollar a bunch, I’m prepared to give it a go. I thought of stewing it but then I found a recipe for Poached Rhubarb in Donna Hay’s 2009 book, Seasons.

Poached rhubarb recipe, recipes for rhubarb, www.foodwinetravel.com.au.

Her recipe called for 250 grams of rhubarb, a quarter of a cup of orange juice and half a cup of sugar, but it wasn’t enough juice to cover the amount of rhubarb we had so I upped it to a cup of juice. I didn’t want to put in four times the amount of sugar as that seemed excessive, so I doubled the sugar.

I used a good-quality commercial orange juice and found the balance of juice and sugar here just right. The cinnamon and fresh vanilla bean (which I always have on hand in the pantry) added the most beautiful flavours. The dish pretty much cooked itself and everyone pronounced it exquisite. We used the leftover liquid on strawberries the next day. Curtis Stone, eat your heart out.

Poached rhubarb recipe, recipes for rhubarb, www.foodwinetravel.com.au.POACHED RHUBARB

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Bunch of rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 10cm lengths
1 cup orange juice
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup caster sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Place the rhubarb, orange juice, vanilla bean and seeds, cinnamon and sugar in a covered dish and cook for 20 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender.

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www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine.

With the incredible run of warm weather we’ve been having in Brisbane, it’s hard to imagine anywhere in the state having open fires and autumn foliage. But on the other side of the mountains, in Southern Queensland Country, the air is distinctly cooler and the leaves are starting to turn to autumn colours. The region has four distinct seasons and a bounty of autumn produce, some of which was showcased at a very special dinner we attended at The Golden Pig Food & Wine School in Newstead.

It was just a small taste of what’s in store for city folk who ‘cross the range’. The passionate producers of Southern Queensland Country will put on an even bigger show when they take some of their products and characters to Eat Street Markets in Hamilton this afternoon and tomorrow.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine.

The talented owners of The Golden Pig, Mark and Katrina Ryan, hosted a wonderful evening to showcase Southern Queensland Country, complete with comfy lounges, a toasty fire, hay bales and inviting displays of amazing produce. We were greeted on arrival with a glass of Robert Channon Sparkling Chardonnay, one of Queensland’s few méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines, along with little crostini topped with beetroot, labneh and pecan.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine.

It set the scene for a series of hands-on sessions in which we helped assemble some delicious appetizers, including lamb dumplings and duck egg tartlets. Katrina showed how to fold the dumplings, which were filled with minced lamb from a farm near Stanthorpe, and which came with a fantastic ginger and shallot dipping sauce. You can find the recipe here.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine.

Queensland’s new Minister for Tourism (and seemingly everything else), Kate Jones (below), was a special guest and proved to be a great sport, helping to make the dumplings and cracking eggs for the duck eggs tartlets. That’s Maurie in one of the pictures below, cracking eggs alongside her. She mentioned something about running a deli in another life, so she was clearly in her element.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine.

Brisbane chef Jocelyn Hancock, who hails from Killarney in Southern Queensland, showed how to make the tartlets with beautiful duck eggs from Eggcettera near Allora. Then we snuggled into the lounge for tastings of Killarney beef brisket with pink lady apple salad and apple syrup. Sutton’s in Stanthorpe are said to be the only people in Australia doing apple syrup; it’s made by an incredibly labour-intensive process and we’re very privileged to have this producer on our doorstep. Their Dry Cider was matched with the dish, and it certainly whetted my appetite for another trip out that way.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine.

The main course was a Shared Table of hearty dishes made with more beautiful Southern Queensland Country produce: Roast pork belly with apple sauce and sweet and sour red cabbage; Inglewood chicken with sweet pepper sauce and aioli; Roast pumpkin and potatoes with locally grown rosemary; and Sauté of snake beans with tomato, garlic and radicchio. Dessert was Jocelyn Hancock’s delicious Strawberry Roulade, the recipe for which is featured here.

Jocelyn says the thing she loves about Southern Queensland Country, apart from the seasons and the landscape, is that “you can connect with people”. Southern Queensland Country Tourism CEO, Mary-Clare Power, says the people and the produce are the region’s strengths. “People are producing these things because they believe in what they’re doing. They’re not doing it for the money; they’re doing it for freshness and regionality.”

Wine distributor David Bone, of Cuttings Wine, came up with some great wine matches including Symphony Hill Gewurztraminer for the duck egg tartlets, Ballandean Estate Late Harvest Sylvaner for the dessert, and Bent Road Le Petit Mort Marsanne and Boireann Nebbiolo for the mains. The Nebbiolo is pretty much a cult wine, produced in such small quantities and in such demand from consumers that David was almost reluctant to bring it. The lamb dumplings were matched with an Irish Red Ale from Granite Belt Brewery in Stanthorpe.

Autumn is Russell Jackson’s favourite time of year. This wise bushman (pictured above) takes people on bush tucker tours from Bestbrook Mountain Resort and he is the region’s greatest advocate. He was at the dinner too, putting in his two cents worth that city folk need to “get over the range” to experience a place where the skies are big and life happens at a more leisurely pace.

If that sounds like something you’re after, tourist operators in the region have joined forces to offer six Autumn Breathe Breaks. You can find out details about them at www.somewherecountry.com.au.

Over the next two days, you can meet some of the Southern Queensland Country folk at Eat Street Markets in Hamilton. Celebrity chef, Miguel Maestre, a keen supporter of the region, will be there along with a whole host of regional producers and artisans.

You might also like: Exploring Killarney; Lamb Pot Stickers; Strawberry Roulade.

www.foodwinetravel.com.au, Southern Queensland Country, autumn breaks, things to do on the Darling Downs, things to do in the Granite Belt, Queensland wine, Russell Jackson, Best Brook Mountain Resort, The Golden Pig.

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