Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The many marvels of Hunter Valley

One of the things I have heard a lot about after coming to Australia, is the wine in general and the Hunter Valley vine in particular so it was with great expectations that my friends Desiree, Karsten and I decided to visit the “Casuarina country inn”. I feel compelled to underline that we chose this as a colleague of mine had told me it was the place to stay …. And it was if we were going away for a very naughty weekend or were looking for a location for a porn movie! But as we were planning a weekend of tasting…. eating and drinking in an era, where according to the gourmet traveller, “dining out has pretty much replaced organised religion“.

We started out with lunch at the lovely little café Peterson house, which was a part of the Petersons champagne house. As it so often happens on a vacation, you take a wrong turn and it ends up being the best part of the trip and so we decided to have lunch here, not because of any fantastic recommendations, but because we were hungry as! As I often write, nothing beats good honest food, food that is what it claims to be, nothing less, but some how so much more! And that is just what they serve at Petersons. We actually liked it enough to return for seconds 2 days later! For dinner we went on to Lazzarini’s and once more we had a very good experience, with lovely food in a lovely atmosphere at a price that matched the level. Only the dessert ruined the picture. Witch was too bad as every thing else had been great. For dessert I had a risotto ice-cream which was so hard that it was like actually eating frozen risotto – no fun! But still the all over experience was one of good quality and a place I’d absolutely return to. The trip did however hold one great disappointment – Robert’s at Pepper tree, a place people have been almost lining up to praise! The Gourmet traveller and American Express to mention two – absolutely undeserved if you ask me! The problem with the food was that it was FU****G uninteresting! It did not even have the nerve to be bad, that at least would have implied some sort of character! This however was nice, in the way of kittens and hot chocolate …. And at the prices they charge at Roberts I expect so much more when nice!! So please, don’t!

Life….. interruptus!

I hate mediocrity, when things are almost …. Almost anything, but particularly if they are almost good, do it properly or not at all! At Roberts the service was a good example of service interruptus, they almost delivered the standard one expects of a place like that. Let me give examples, the place is beautiful when it comes to décor I can’t put a finger on anything, but the salt and pepper shakers which reminds me of the cafeteria at work …. The service was just a bit short all the time, too little to late. They did not brush the table of crumbs between the entrée and the mains, leaving us with loads of crumbs from the rather blend bread, all over the place, and when they finely did brush the tablecloth, they only did half of the table – not that’s what I mean by service interruptus!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ris à l'amande (Danish Rice pudding)

1,5 liters of whole fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
200 g pudding rice (Italian aborio rice works quite good )
2 dl cream
Corns of one vanilla pod
50 gram chopped almonds
2 teaspoon sugar

what to do:
1) Bring the milk to a boil stirring ALL THE TIME OR IT WILL BURN!!!
2) Add the rice and let it return to boiling.
3) Add the vanilla – and keep stirring!!
4) Keep on low heat for 45 minutes,
5) Chop the almonds, saving one for later!!
6) Add sugar to taste and let cool down, some people like to add port wine here or rum ….
7) After it has gotten cold, add the almonds, chopped and the one whole!
8) Add the wiped cream.
9) Bon Appetite

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Arabian Nights Grilled Herbed Chicken

The yogurt and fresh herbs make this chicken so moist, flavorful, and low-fat, you’ll make this recipe often!

1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh fennel tops or 2 teaspoons dried fennel seed
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 8-ounce carton nonfat plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
1 chicken, about 3 pounds, butterflied
1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine parsley, fennel, onions, yogurt, in a glass bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Remove excess fat from chicken. Rinse and pat dry. To butterfly chicken, use poultry shears or a sharp knife to split the bird lengthwise along one side of the backbone. With the breast side up, pull the body open, pressing down firmly on the breast until the rib bones crack and the bird lays reasonably flat.

Place fingers between the skin and meat of the chicken to separate and make space for the herb mixture. Place herb mixture under chicken skin, pushing it in gently under skin until all parts of meat are covered. Massage the chicken to evenly distributed herb mixture under the skin. Let sit at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

Brush chicken skin lightly with oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place breast side up in center of cooking grate and grill for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices run clear and the skin is crisp. It is not necessary to turn chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: In a hurry? Have your butcher butterfly the chicken for you.

Ths recipe is from one of Webers cookbooks