Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weekend Cooking: or perhaps that should be Weekend Eating

I haven't posted a Weekend Cooking post for a couple of weeks, mainly because I have been too busy enjoying foodie related events, rather than thinking about or reading them.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when a couple of friends and I got together on the Friday night for dinner and drinks. The major reason for this get together was to share a bottle of wine that my friend's dad had sent over to her. I think it is fair to say that it is the most expensive bottle of wine that I have ever partaken of!

She cooked us beautiful steak and vegetables, and we drank the wine with dinner (having already started with a different bottle before dinner!). I love eating steak, but I don't think I do a particularly good job of cooking it, so it is very enjoyable when other people cook it well for me!

I am not really a wine expert. I drink red wine, but generally prefer white, and so when we were discussing the wine as we were drinking it I was having to read the description off of the bottle - long, silky tannins, aged in new French oak etc. It was very nice, but I don't often have a spare $150 lying to spend on one bottle of wine.

It was a great night though, followed by a cafe breakfast the next morning. I could totally get used to other people cooking for me all the time!

My friend has photos and if I can get them off of her, then I will add them to this post later.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Good Food and Wine show that was on here in Melbourne. I have actually been to a few of these shows. The first time I went was when I lived in Sheffield in the UK, and the show was being held in Birmingham. Once we got on a train going in the right direction, my friend and I had an excellent day.  The second time I went from Sheffield to London with different friends.

Since living in Melbourne I think it is the third or maybe fourth time that I have been, but this is the first time that I didn't have my son with me, so it definitely felt like there was more good wine this time as opposed to good food! I was very careful to plan my day so I didn't have to drive at all, because you only get little tries of each type of wine, but you try so many so you really have no idea how much alcohol you really have had.

One of the highlights of going to these shows is that you get to see some celebrity chefs. In the past I have seen Donna Hay, who is probably one of Australia's best known cooks, and Ainsley Harriott who is an English chef who puts on such a great all round show rather than just a cooking demonstration. This year we got to see a French/Australian chef Manu Fieldel do a demo. He has risen to prominence this year in particular as he has been co-hosting one of the reality TV cooking shows, along side another chef, Pete Evans, both of whom are very easy on the eyes! Being French, there is the gorgeous accent, and lots of jokes about loving women, using just a little bit of cream (as he pours entire cartons in), and a fair bit of a naughtiness (oh Manu!). It was fun especially as he had a bit of a circus theme because he was in the circus for a couple of years as a youngster.

As his demonstration, he made two dishes. The first was a seafood sausage which I can not imagine eating but it is apparently one of his best selling dishes at the restaurant he runs in Sydney, called L'Etoile. It involved white fish, cream, herbs and scallops and then made into a skinless sausage (cue jokes about firm sausages, and appropriate french noises!).

The other dish he made was Apple Tarte Tatin (or as it is described on the menu for his restaurant Le Tarte de Tatin de Maman - Mum's caramelised apple tart with sour cream) , and I have to tell you that I have been craving this all week just to try. It looked fantastic, and it didn't look THAT difficult to make, so I have found a recipe online, and I am going to give that a try tomorrow I think. I did try another recipe tonight which I will probably post about next week.

I have decided though that you really need to go to this event twice. One day is a walking around and trying food and wine day and buying lots of things, and the other is a day where you go and attend some of the classes that are run (like the cheese experience, or cooking with herbs classes). The other thing I would like to do next year is eat in the restaurant that is there that some of the chefs cook for. Oh, and I would try and go on a Friday in the hope that there wouldn't be quite so many people around. It was busy!

I didn't think that you were allowed to take photos, so I didn't, but for a run down of someone else's day at the Good Food and Wine show including photos, check out this post from Kimba's World Kitchen. She lives in Melbourne, and does amazing looking food posts!

I picked up quite a new full sized cook book, and a couple of mini books, and a few bargains, which is another of the highlights of the show too, and tried a whole heap of different foods. It's a bit strange really. You walk around the show, and at one stall you might try divine fudge, and then next stall might be duck, and then some salsa, then some berries etc. You don't so much eat as graze intermittently.

Here's just a brief sample of Manu's gorgeous accent, and he is very cheeky as well!

As if that isn't enough foodie events, I also went out for dinner on Sunday night to one of the local restaurants for my birthday! I had stuffed Petto di Pollo which is Chicken breast, stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, bocconcini  and pesto drizzled with a Napoli & cream sauce. Yum.

And then dessert was a tasting plate that consisted of banana crepes and brandy snap basket filled with mascarpone and fresh berries. I was a bit worried about them being on the same plate. They were both nice, but I would have been happy with the brandy snap basket dessert on it's own. Years ago I made a dessert which was poached pears with mascarpone which I loved. Will have to look through my magazines to see if I can find it again because I remember it being so good!

So there you have it, two weekends of foodie experiences, with more to come next week! I will try to get into the habit of taking photos of my food before I start eating it!

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


  1. Holy Cow! $150! I know I haven't had wine that expensive.

    That Food and Wine show sounds like a lot of fun. I have a couple Donna Hay books.

    The other chefs don't sound familiar -- but nice photo (grin).

    I love the grazing idea -- what fun! I'll have to look for something similar in my area.

  2. I love looking at Donna Hay's cookbooks and magazines. They always look so gorgeous, but I don't often actually cook from them, so I have stopped buying them.

    Yep! $150. It was nice, but for me it is highly unlikely that I will ever drink it again!

  3. Gee I am so hungry after eading that *mouth waters at thought* Sounds as if you had a lovely time :D

  4. Wow, you definitely enjoyed yourself! I wouldn't pay $150 for (red!) wine either... I'm a white wine drinker too, preferably prosecco LOL.

    My DH has a 32 year old sake on his wish list though... €65 !

  5. It sounds like you had such a wonderful time. I'm glad you told us about it as it was great to live vicariously through your experience. I'll have to look for food and wine events in my area.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. I've never spent $150 on a bottle of wine myself, but have enjoyed one when we were out with friends last winter....a very memorable bottle for sure! I seem to drink more white wine in the summer.

  7. I recently was sick for a couple of days and was even too crook to read so I had day-time TV on which I never normally see and I saw Manu for the first time ever on some kind of cooking competition show - I don't know what the heck he was cooking because my brain was befuddled by flu medication but I could listen to that accent all day :)

  8. I am not really a big wine drinker myself, but I do like a nice fruity white sometimes. Those recipes you mentioned sound great as well. I particularly am interested in the seafood sausage. It sounds very interesting and I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to try it!