Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lunch at The Source, Moorilla.

We took a long  weekend off in Hobart.  Well, we intended to take a weekend off, but I spent most of it doing a job application, as it turned out.  (A successful job application, yay.)  So instead of spending the days relaxing, I spent some part of the days relaxing, other parts working, and in between, got in a couple of very nice meals.  The first of these was a leisurely Friday afternoon lunch at The Source, which is the restaurant at Moorilla Winery.

We took a ferry to get there, and they offered us a wonderful deal, a two course set lunch with our tickets for not much money.  We of course said yes, as the set menu options looked amazing, and we figured we could always branch out if it took our fancy.

The ride out was nice, a pleasant cruise with some colourful local commentary about the good old days of Hobart.  Upon disembarking at the pier, we were met by a lovely staff member in a golf cart, who drove us to the door of the restaurant.  Such service.  We began with some wine (and beer) tasting.  The wines are excellent, although I think both of us preferred the cheaper of the two available Pinot Noirs, a 'Praxis' Pinot Noir.  Good wine.  We were paritcularly keen, though, to try the beers, and they didn't disappoint at all.  While I am a little jaded on both pilsener and IPA, the Moorilla versions were tasty.  The real treats, though, were the Hefeweisen, the Dark ale, and the Stout (this last is only, I am told, on tap, but apparently there is one at Beer Deluxe in Melbourne, well worth getting your hands on a glass of).

That done, we moved to the restaurant for our food.  We were already comfortably impressed by the service and the style of the place, and the restaurant did not disappoint.  Ushered kindly to a pleasant table overlooking the harbour, we began with Goats cheese gnocchi for myself ("Goats Cheese Gnocchi, Jeruslaem Artichoke, Hazelnut"), and a beetroot tart ("Pickled Beetroot tart, Celery Caviar, Lemon Thyme, Creme Fraiche) for M.

The Jerusalem artichoke, both in pureed form and the crispy roasted chunk of it on the right of the photo, was amazing, and the hazelnuts added a nice crunch and textural change to the airy, delicious gnocchi.  The standout part of the beetroot tart was, for me, the celery caviar, and odd texture, but I found them endearing.  Both dishes were delicious.  For the main course, I went for a Cape Grim Angus steak, while M. had the line caught fish of the day with "truffled macaroni, fois gras emulsion and jus."

Again, the food was delicious, my steak was wonderfully rare, as ordered, and while the fish doesn't photograph perfectly (probably my fault more than anything else), it tasted incredible.  So much so, that we decided to order a dessert.  In addition to a coffee (good), we had a handmade chocolate each, the jersey caramel being particularly delicious, and we were drawn to a fascinating sounding dessert on the menu, "Chocolate, Olive Oil, Salt."  Upon asking what exactly this meant, we were told that it was exactly what it said on the tin.  This turned out to be true, but not at all in a bad way.  Pink flakes of Murray River salt on a soft, ganache like chocolate, drizzled with a light and fruity olive oil, and served with crisp bread (which we ate some of, and moved the rest of, before remembering to take a photo of this).  Would definitely get this again, and encourage others to do the same.  Oh, and the glass with the sugar cubes in it made for a nice photo, so that is included here too.

Highly recommend the restaurant and the Winery, excellent food all round, and a wonderful location.  Not crazy prices either.  Website is http://moorilla.com.au/moorilla/

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Daring Cooks, June: Pâté and Bread

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice. I chose to make a Three Spice Pork Liver Pâté, and I made some bagels to go with it.

Three Spice Pork Liver Pâté (Recipe modified a bit to make sizes easier for me (rounding up from pounds, increasing garlic/spice quantity because garlic and spices are good)

Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

Oven: 180 centigrade

500 grams pork liver
250 grams ground pork
250 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
3 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander (ground or crushed)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tbps coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
30 ml cognac (brandy)
2 bay leaves
250gm bacon (long strips)

I got the butcher to grind the pork belly for me, as I don't have a food processor, so the making it smooth was going to be fun at the best of times (stick blender almost works, it turns out). Basic plan for the recipe is to blend/grind/slice all the meats with the garlic, shallots and spices until the whole thing is as smooth as you want it to be. From there, mix it through the cognac and eggs.

Line your tin with bacon, overlapping the sides (see photo). Put a bay leaf in the bottom. Spoon in the mixture and fold the bacon over the top, sealing in a second bay leaf. Put in a water bath in the oven and bake for an hour and a half. Let it cool in the pan so it reabsorbs the liquid. Chill before turning out.


 I made a second Pâté, a Red Lentil and Goats Cheese one, as I was attending a party where I knew there would be vegetarians. The recipe for this one is tremendously easy: 1 cup lentils cooked in 2 cups vege stock + bay leaves until soft and the liquid is absorbed, 125gm soft goats cheese mixed with 3 eggs. Combine the two, season with salt/pepper, bake until they come away from the sides. I used individual size (300mL capacity) dishes for these, and they cooked in an hour in a 180 centigrade oven, at the same time as the other Pâté. Next time I would maybe add some paprika to darken the final colour of the dish, but that isn't a major.

I also made Bagels, as my bread contribution. The bagel recipe is from Gray - The Destitute Gourmet:

(1) 1/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp yeast (I used 2 sachets of the supermarket dry yeast)

(2) 4-5 cups plain flour, 1 tbsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 1/4 cups water (I used 5 cups flour and needed a little more water, say 1 1/2 cups)

2 tbsp molasses, 1 egg (beaten). Toppings (sesame seeds and sea salt, for mine)

Combine ingredients in (1), set aside.

Put ingredients in (2) in a mixing bowl. When (1) is frothy, add to (2), mix until combined. Then turn out and knead for 8-10 minutes (original recipe says 5-8, more works for the consistency, I find).

Put dough in greased bowl, covered with greased gladwrap/clingfilm, leave to rise until doubled in size. Punch down, knead lightly, break into 12 pieces.

Make the pieces round, poke a hole in the centre, then shape into bagels. This process is hard to describe, so here is what I did (with apologies for the description). I poked my forefinger through the centre of the ball, then smoothed the whole. Linked thumb and forefinger, and turned the doughball slowly, contracting/releasing the thumb/forefinger loop until I had performed a full rotation of the bagel. I then put a second finger through, repeated the process.

An alternative method is to make the hole with your thumb, and shape the dough around your thumb, using your other hand, then remove dough from thumb, and compress to a bagel shape. This produces a smaller hole, but if done right, a smoother ring. (Thumb length/width may be a factor).

Boil a bot of water. Add the molasses. Drop the bagels in for 20seconds, then flip and leave for 20 more (they may sink at first, should rise fairly quickly). Remove, drop immediately in cold water, then put on a tray. I did this step in batches of three, so they didn't bump as they rose, pan size will determine how many you can do at once.

200c oven, put the bagels on a tray, bake for 7 minutes, remove, flip, brush new topside with egg and add topping, return to oven and bake for 13 more minutes. Then eat them. (Recipe has a complex process to avoid bagel flattening, I ignored it, seemed to turn out fine anyway. It involves the first 7 minutes being baked on a wet cloth, then flipping out onto the tray proper for the last 13).

The whole thing turned out pretty well, as you can see from the photo's.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Something refreshing.

Sometimes you have egg whites left over from something or the other, and because one isn't American, the perfect thing to do with them is, of course, to make a sour of some description. This particular version was made with Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur) and 42 Below Honey Vodka.

Basic recipe, for 2 drinks:

1 egg white
45mL simple syrup (sugar syrup)
30mL lime juice
Half a lemon juiced.

Spirit of choice, 90mL of one, or whatever division you desire. Mine was 50/50 of these.

In the glass side of a boston, put a bunch of ice. Add the rest, lid it, shake a while, vigorously. Pour into two glasses, over some more ice (you can leave the shaking ice in, if you want)

Other delicious options include the Candy sour, equal parts frangelico and amaretto, or a sour made with either of those alone. Also, I should really buy some more appropriate glasses for this kind of drink. Maybe when I move house!