Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Recently we traveled to Blackwood and then onto Daylesford (about an hour and 45 mins from Melbourne). The Daylesford and Macedon ranges region is known for it's excellent and diverse food and wine product. Along our journey we met passionate locals who care about issues of sustainability and are committed to growing, producing and serving excellent local wine and produce. We enjoyed Blackwood and our visit to St Erth -Australia's first publicly open certified organic garden. We spent time walking through the garden admiring all of the produce, and then made our way to the St Erth cafe to devour it's meals fresh from the garden! We relaxed on the garden deck, listening to nature and enjoying the fabulous food.

Once we finished our lovely lunch at St. Erths we drove north from Blackwood towards Daylesford and came across a sign on the side of the road beckoning us to Daylesford Cider House and Tavern. We, like many others, have become cider-devotees, enjoying the sweet pleasures of  Swedish "Rekorderlig"  pear  or mixed berry ciders, the lovely dry tartness of "The Hills" apple cider  from South Australia or the occasional jar of  good 'ol Bulmers from the Isle of Brit. 

We drove the 3km's off the beaten-track to the cider house and reached the front of the property. We found the charming English Heritage Revival cider house building was fronted by the large double-decker bright red "Daylesford Cider Bus". We can only assume this marketing tool was created after the creator had enjoyed a few too many of their own products!

The cider house itself was lovely, and to our glee provided us with a brilliant cider experience we were hoping for. As we walked through the front door, Sally (the owner) greeted us & very quickly informed us this was not your "typical high-street" cider house. Here the apples are grown on the property - in fact it is the only such cider-farm in the central highlands of Victoria.

Sally let us know very quickly their cider is of the traditional & non-carbonated kind. OK, we were kind of bummed about that at first - being the newly crowned cider king & queen of Nth Carlton. The cider is in fact aged over 18 months and is derived from 20 varieties of apples. Their production process in entirely organic and is not watered down, full of sugar and chemicals - as many of the big-named city-ciders are - according to Sally!

We were encouraged to try 3 varieties offering sweet, medium and dry finished flavours. They were all quite different and all provided a deeply complex flavour to the last. We had struck gold! A great new cider we can call our own - now you can too! PS - they deliver free (into Melbourne at least). Kanpai!


Ginger and Mint tea

Finally, the very hot weather has packed up overnight and left Melbourne...well for a few days anyway...we don't have air conditioning, so for the past week we have had our place locked up to keep cool...we are enjoying having all the windows and doors open this morning. Currently we are being entertained by a family of birds on our balcony eating seed we leave out for them every couple of days. They seem to be embracing the cooler weather too. What are you drinking this morning? We have just made some ginger and mint tea. The mint we picked from our herb garden. It's such a refreshing natural way to start the day! We thought we would share with you our very easy recipe.

See baby bird keeping cool amongst our basil

Ginger and Mint tea

x2 Long clear glasses
Mint leaves
Ginger, sliced very thinly with skin left on the outer
boiled water

place boiled water into 1/2 glass
Add ginger and let brew for 5 minutes
Add rest of boiling water to glass
Add mint leaves, stir and let brew for 2 minutes
Wrap a napkin around centre of glass to grip with your hands when drinking
(you don't want to burn yourself!)


Monday, January 30, 2012

Garlic paste

We have been tennis mad this past fortnight here in Melbourne! We love the tennis. We always find this Grand Slam so uplifting and buzzy! It's inspiring for us to watch the incredible strength, power, resilience and athleticism of  Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams (and more). Every year if not travelling, we visit the tournament to watch some super explosive matches, and then spend the rest of the tournament watching the matches from home glued to our couch cheering and barracking, feeling privileged that we are witnessing historical moments in sport - such as the Nadal vs Dojokavic Grand Slam final last night! An epic 5 hrs and 53 minutes five setter! Incredible gladiator athletes driven to their absolute best! We can't help but have the blues today...not just because it's Monday, but because Melbourne's best sporting event (in our opinion) has now packed up, the athletes have moved on, and we must wait another year...*sigh*

Ah well, now more time for cooking.

We missed our Thursday cooking tip post because we were preoccupied with the tennis...so here it is!

Garlic Paste

Peel the cloves of garlic

Lightly chop into smaller pieces, then add salt

Using the flat edge of the knife, flatten the cloves of garlic to a smooth paste


**Garlic paste can be used in many dishes. We will use it in dishes we post, so stay tuned! For now, some easy creations are - mix garlic paste with butter, finely chopped parsley, a little lemon rind or orange rind. Place onto baking paper and roll into cigar shape, tie both ends and refrigerate or freeze. Take out and slice when needed to use when cooking steak, seafood, vegetables
Another easy one is adding garlic paste to butter and making garlic bread or garlic pizza using focaccia or pita bread