Monday, July 1, 2013

Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries Shortest Lunch 2013

Last Sunday we spent the day winery hopping with Ray's parents and his aunty who is visiting from the Phillipines as part of the Shortest Lunch event. It is an annual event held on the shortest weekend of the year (winter solstice), with the funds raised from the entry fees ($10) going to the CFA. You get a wine glass with the entry fee, but I'm not that into wine so was more interested in the lunch aspect! We went to four wineries: Brumfield Winery, Seville Estate, Elmswood Estate and Seville Hill. All the food was delicious and apparently the wines were quite good too. The weather was just perfect for a relaxing afternoon out, looking forward to next year's event! Oh and please excuse the photos, I'm feeling very lazy at the moment and so none of them have been edited, just uploaded straight from the camera. 

Brumfield Winery: Brumfield burger with premium Yarra Valley beef in fresh turkish bread, Anda's tomato & red capsicum chutney, baby spinach, ripe tomato, basil pesto & yogurt sauce $15. I thought this was OK, would have been nicer if the bread had been toasted or warmed up. And why put the chutney all over the plate? I want it in my burger lol.

Seville Estate:
Slow cooked Chinese spiced duck pies with mashed potato and mushy peas $15. Probably my favourite savoury dish of the day, very tasty.
Sticky date pudding with toffee sauce and ice cream $8. This was quite good, Ray said the one I make is better #thingshusbandshavetosay

Elmswood Estate: Belgian waffle with ice cream and homemade berry sauce $10. This was nice, but would have been better if there was a bit more waffle to go with all the ice cream and sauce! The music at Elmswood Estate was the best of the wineries we visited, they had a jazz trio playing and so we stayed and had more wine out on the deck in the sun. It was lovely.

Seville Hill:
House made gnocchi served with a three cheese sauce and a hint of chilli $15. The gnocchi was nice and soft, but I wasn't a fan of the sauce.
Tomato, pork sausage and fennel seed ragu with house made gnocchi $15. I just had a taste of this one, and preferred it over the cheese gnocchi.
They had none of the advertised chocolate pudding cake left and so were serving sticky date pudding. It was nice, but I prefer my pudding with ice cream.

A few days later, I came out of yoga class and was curious as to what my weight is. WELL. Let's just say I am like the heaviest I have ever been in my life and so am now trying to make better food choices! A few weeks ago I got introduced to Arnott's Crown biscuits/Woolie's Toffee caramel biscuits (basically the same thing). I was eating like a pack a day. I think I ate nearly 10 packs in that many days. And I had swapped out drinking water for cordial. So baaaad! So no more chocolate biscuits, no more cordial. Hopefully that will help the weight situation!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

St Katherine's, Kew

Well I still haven't gone anywhere near my NZ photos yet... so here's a post about a restaurant I visited last weekend. A couple of my lovely friends organised for a few of us to catch up over dinner at St Katherine's in Kew. It's all about shared dishes, you can choose one of the set menus or a-la-carte. We decided to go a-la-carte, as we had a vegetarian and a preggers with us and figured it'd be best to choose ourselves. Apologies for the poor quality pics, only had my phone with me and it was kind of dark.

We started with bread and trio of dips (on the house thanks to my friend's connections with staff, woo free food! haha) which was delish. Next came our order of "stuff" (yes that's what it's called on the menu): fried eggplant, braised baby zucchini, Turkish lamb dumplings and a large serving of Katherine's fried chicken aka KFC. I personally liked the dumplings and the KFC best of that lot, wasn't very impressed by the zucchini.

Next up was the Mixed Mushroom Pide. It was very mushroom-y. Do not order if you don't really like mushrooms. I didn't mind it though.

For our main courses we had the sticky pork ribs, yoghurt marinated lamb rump and a side of rice pilaf. I enjoyed all the mains, and especially liked the date tabouleh which came on the lamb dish. The ribs were sticky, sweet, and oh so good. But I am very partial to ribs.

Finally dessert. We went for the white chocolate mousse with raspberry jam and nutella filled donuts. It just gets better and better doesn't it? I found the mousse with the jam to be reaallly sweet, and was glad I was sharing with Ray. The donuts were yum but I thought more nutella would have made it even better. Plus it was world donut day when we visited so this dish was a must!

There were six of us dining and this was just the right amount of food. Our waiter did suggest if we were pretty hungry we should order another main, but as we weren't, especially having had the dips with bread, we stuck to what we had ordered.
The total for food came to $33 per person, plus drinks on top of that. I thought that was pretty reasonable considering the variety of food we got to enjoy. The cheapest set menu was $40. So we did good lol.

We visited on a Saturday night and it was full up so I'd say definitely book in advance. And don't be dining here if you're in a hurry, food and drinks took their time coming out to us but we had no issue with that. All in all we had a nice time, and I have no hesitations in recommending you try St. Katherine's.

St Katherine's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Last Hawaii Post!

OK so I figured I should probably wrap up my Hawaii recap before I go into our recent New Zealand trip. Haven't had a chance to go through the gazillion photos we took anyway.
So after our cruise we spent a week in Honolulu shopping, sitting on the beach, etc. We did visit Pearl Harbour which I highly recommend, Kualoa Ranch for an ATV tour which was sooo much fun, and did a day drive up to the North Shore. 

View from Diamond Head. We saw a couple of girls do the walk up in massive wedges. Crazy! We caught the bus here, can't remember the details but it wasn't too hard and the bus driver can tell you where to get off if you're not sure.
Pearl Harbour - we did the audio tour which was well worth it. You learn so much more than if you just looked around at the exhibits and it doesn't cost much. We also caught the bus to/from here, had to get up early for that one.

Unfortunately the afternoon we went to Kualoa wasn't the best in terms of weather, but we had a great time anyway. We got absolutely soaked on the ATV ride but it wasn't cold and it didn't take long for our clothes to dry.  

At Kailua beach, which in my opinion is the best beach on the island. Waikiki is way crowded and the sand isn't very nice, there's rocks in the water. This beach was gorgeous. We also went to Sandy Beach which the BIL loved as there was waves. Unfortunately we missed out on going to Hanauma Bay as they were doing roadworks and had closed it off when we were hoping to visit. Next time!
I am yearning for another tropical getaway and we're now looking at going to Bali in October/November! :D :D :D Neither Ray or I have been there so we're going to join the rest of the horde of Aussies over there. Can't wait! Would love to hear any tips/recommendations anyone has re: Bali. I know nothing. Time to get my research on!
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