Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Good Food & Wine Show, Sydney 2016 - Part 1

The Good Food & Wine Show in Sydney is my annual pilgrimage. It’s the one major event of the year that I look forward to and enjoy every single minute and this year I backed it up with a two day visit!

Arriving early on Friday the lines are already long but we are in the doors before we know it and purchasing our tasting glass and lanyard.  As an FYI this year, if you were a Dan Murphy’s member you could ‘jump’ the line and enter in a separate line quicker and also receive a free wine glass (which I did on the Saturday). Thanks Dan Murphy’s.


Where to begin?  Wine of course!

First stop is Bunnamagoo Wines.

Our second stop of the day was a absolute delight. Sampling the awesome Hartshorn sheep whey vodka and vanilla liqueur.  How?  By developing a technique to use the by-product (from making cheese from sheep milk (whey) from the family business at Grand Ewe cheese and distilling this to create a clean, crisp vodka is, in my opinion, brilliant. 

The bottles are gorgeous too being lovingly hand painted!  The vanilla liquor is like vanilla icecream in a bottle!!!

So much to try and see.

We make our way through Barossa wines before landing at Bruny Island Cheese Co.  I am a fan of the stinky cheeses and newly paired beers. Here we have The Saint and the Otto.  The Saint is [   and the Otto is a fresh cheese wrapped in prosciutto.

The Saint (left) and Otto (right) - Bruny Island Cheese Co.

Bruny Island Beer Co is brewing some awesome Farm Ale and dark beers too, which pair really well with stinky cheeses.
I’m excited about beer and cheese together (and there is more on that during Saturdays visit later).
I’m sensing more beer this year.  Although I am not a big beer drinker (occasionally drinking beer when it’s hot), today I sampled some beers that may just change my mind a little. 

Over at the Australian Brewery I was surprised by a nice Pilsner (which is my Partner and Dad’s beer of choice) and their Ice Ice Baby (pilsner on ice on tap).

We may have spent quite some time over at Tamburlaine chatting with Mark Davidson.  This is one of my favourite wineries and love their GSM and their stickies and Muscat!

Tasmanian artisan brewery Moo Brew have a range of brews to suit your palette.  I really am liking the darker ales today!

Want something wintery and warming? Maxwell’s Liqueur Mead is heavenly and a bottle is  purchased!

Doc Adams is next.  A friend has raved about their wine (specifically the 2013 GSM) and I have been wanting to try it before I purchased a case.  Sadly, they are not sampling it at the show.  I made some enquiries about purchasing a bottle before committing…and I left my details. 

A drool worthy moment with Miguel as he cooks a huge pan of paella.  Cannot help myself and purchase a paella pan and a take home paella kit!  Pity he didn't come with the purchase! 

We stop by Sud Polaire for some gin….  I am not a gin person (it makes me cry) so I don't enjoy it as much as other spirits and I find tonic to be to bitter and grrrr....

So I  am surprised by this tonic!  I like it.
Whiskey and Porteen over at Melbourne Martini is sipped (and bring the Boy back the next day).


Cheers from us girls as we sip our way around the festival.

James Squire is offering a selection of their beers and we can not help ourselves, we have to sample all of them.  I am a big fan of the Summer Swindler.  The Jack of Spades Porter is palatable too!

The Wog with the Grog have a selection of European grappas and citrus based liqueurs.

I think it is clear what the Biltong Man makes and the mango and chilli one is a winner!

Over at Mr Black I fall in love with their cold drip coffee liqueur.  I don’t think I have ever tasted something so delicious made from/with coffee.

Oregano bakery offering up some awesome scrolls.

Always stop by Stone's.  I noticed the Gold is no longer available but there are a few other options.  The reserve is quite nice.

Okay so there was some food involved (at some point!). hahaha

Jack Dillion’s was there again this year and offering some tasty BBQ sauces along with their lovely smoked garlic. 

The lovely people at Brixton gave me a bottle of their Jerk sauce and their BBQ rum sauce is awesome!!! (purchased a bottled the next day).  Looking forward to making some jerk chicken with this.

The Smelly Cheese Club offer a range of just that (stinky) cheese from all around the world!   So as per normal I purchase their selection. (in fact we had the le Delice de Cremiers on the weekend and loved this soft cheese)

We discovered Nick’s Jerky at the Deni Ute Muster last year and are fans of the dried stuff.

The aptly name Sticky Balsamic  stall is a must.  A lovely range of balsamic vinegars including a gorgeous pear balsamic.  Miss B purchased the box set!!!!

Murray River Pork are taste testing their pork products and I arrive just in time for a slab of pork belly with crunchy crackling.  Yum!


Tamar valley truffles is always a nice stop…one day I will purchase you lovelies!

There is lots of cider tasting this year too.  Elk cider is a traditional Swedish cider and they make a  nice apple cider!  I find pear to sweet.

Over at Cheese Ally, there is a lot to explore and enjoyed meeting Mrs Cheese from Hunter Belle Cheese.  Say Fromage!!!!  the cheese range is good too and purchase a few of the range including caramelised onion and hyme and cranberry and pistachio.  Their beer cheese is divine!

Our first day was awesome at the show and there were plenty of products purchased (lucky I took my Nanna trolley).

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Mudcake with Nutella Ganache


We celebrated my Partners birthday last weekend and to finish off a wonderful dinner I made dessert.

Who wouldn't want to celebrate with this birthday cake!!

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Mudcake and Nutella Ganache 
3 x small chocolate mud cakes 
(I cheated on this one and purchased Coles brand and took the layer of icing off 
Salted Caramel
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup of double cream
¼ teaspoon salt (I used Murray River Salt Flakes) 
Swiss Meringue Buttercream 
8 egg whites
1 ¼ cups castor sugar
400g unsalted butter, cubed (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
Nutella Ganache
1 small jar of Nutella
½ cup double cream

Baby Meringues
2 tbs of above swiss meringue
Empty jar of nutella – either washed or at least wiped down with antiseptic cleaner and rinse)
Maltesers x small packet
Ferrero Rochers x 5-6 (4 cut in half and 2 left in their packaging)
Salted Caramel Tim Tams x 2-3
Kinder Bueno x 2
Baby meringues
(or you can use whatever chocolate and fruit you want on top!) Go Crazy!!!!
For the salted caramel
  1.  In a small saucepan add sugar and water and swirl water around to make sugar ‘wet’.
  2. Bring to boil and leave until sugar has melted and develops a rich amber colour. (use a wet pastry brush to wipe around the edge of the pan so that all sugar is dissolved).
  3. Remove from stove and slowly pour in ½ cup of double cream. 
  4. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and mix through.
  6. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool (set aside 1 tbs for decoration) 
For the buttercream
  1.  Place the egg whites and 1 ¼ cups castor sugar in a mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the egg white and sugar mixture until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm. (you can rub the mixture between your fingers and feel it).
  2. Remove from heat and continue whisking on medium/ high until stiff peak stage, the bowl should also be cooled by this point. 
  3. Continue to whisk and add butter one to two cubes at a time, make sure each cube is incorporated each time. The buttercream mixture will take some time to come together and will start to separate at, but continue whipping. It will come together and will be a fluffy, smooth texture (trust me). 
  4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the meringue mixture into a piping bag (or Ziploc bag) –Optional if piping baby meringues for decorations. 
  5. Stir in vanilla extract into the remaining mixture.  
  6. Add cooled salted caramel sauce. Whip until mixed through. 
  7. Set aside at room temperature to use (can be kept in fridge for 3-4 days). 
For the nutella ganache  
  1. Place jar of nutella into mixing bowl. 
  2. Gently heat double cream in a saucepan (do not boil). 
  3. Slowly pour hot double cream over the nutella and whisk together until shiny and smooth.
  4. Set aside until room temperature.  
For the baby meringues (for decoration)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees 
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper
  3. Pipe small drops of meringue onto baking tray.
  4. Bake for approx 20 minutes or until just crisp.  
  5. Turn off oven and open door to cool meringues.
  6. Allow to cool.
Assembly of Cake 
  1. Place one cake layer on a cake plate or cake board and spread about ½ cup of buttercream evenly over the layer.
  2. Add the second mudcake and repeat with buttercream finishing with the third cake layer on top.  
  3. Spread buttercream over the top and sides of the cake until covered. Ensure layer is even and smooth as much as possible.
  4. Place in fridge for 30 minutes for buttercream to set. 
  5. Drizzle some ganache into the nutella jar to cover the sides.
  6. Slowly drizzle the nutella ganache over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides.
  7. Let ganache set for approx. 15-30 minutes (placing in fridge if need be) before decorating.
  8. Place Tim tams on top of cake. Place Nutella jar nestled between the two Tim Tams (secure with some ganache). Let set.
  9. Place Maltesers, Ferrero Rochers, Bueno Kinder fingers, strawberries and meringues on top and around the bottom layer of cake, drizzle some ganache over the opening of the jar so it looks like it is oozing out of the jar.
  10. Drizzle / dot some of the salted caramel sauce on top of cake.
  11. Place in airtight container in fridge until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature to serve.
I was so impressed with myself! hahaha
Do I start taking orders?


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Travel Photo of the Month - August 2016

Throwback to fun days in Orlando. 

Enjoyed catching up with a friend at Joe's Crab Shack. Who could pass up a crab pot?

Huge pot of crab, potatoes, corn.  Could not have asked for more, except more time catching up with my friend.