By Franz Scheurer
Here are a few things we liked very much during our Victorian trip:
Shannon Bennett sent out a daring amuse gueule, a ‘Wild Barramundi Tartare with Watermelon Foam’. Ordinarily any mention of watermelon combined with a savoury dish makes me want to run a mile, however this dish made me sit up and take notice. The fish was cut in different sizes making it texturally interesting and although the melon flavour was obvious it didn’t detract, but added to the flavour and to the texture. A great dish!
Vue de Monde
490 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
For more information or bookings;
Tel. 03 9691 3888
Not only does Phillip Moraghan make some of Australia’s top Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays (and if the current vintage sample is any indication soon a seriously good Pinot Gris as well), he is also a mean cook. We spent a day at the winery, walking around the beautiful lake taking in the fabulous scenery and the sensitively restored old building, working up an appetite, only to come back to the house to be served Phillips tomato soup. Here’s the recipe:
Phillip’s Tomato Soup:
4+ Brown Onions – thickly sliced
12+ cloves of garlic
Slowly soften over low flame - in ample quantity of olive oil
Add 1.5 litres of fresh chicken stock
One large smoked ham hock (get a meaty one)
Lots of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Simmer for about an hour
Add 20 or more ripe Roma tomatoes – thickly sliced
Tomato pureé – (optional)
Simmer for about half an hour
Strip meat from ham hock and stir through the soup then serve with a garnish of fresh basil and thickly sliced fresh crusty bread. This soup will be more flavoursome if prepared the day before.
Curly Flat Vineyards
263 Collivers Road
Lancefield VIC 3435
Tel.: 03 5429 1956
There seems to be a theme of great wines and fabulous food in the Macedon and Heathcote area as Suzanne Arnall-Williams proved to us with her outstanding Veal Osso Bucco. We were lucky enough to arrive just in time to sample their just pressed, unfiltered olive oil; a vividly green, peppery and unctuous oil unlike anything I have ever seen. Their Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are my favourites from this area and what better way to sample them than to sit down to a dinner with Peter and Suzanne and a couple of their friends. (Thanks Jeff for the fabulous old Leonay!)
Here’s Suzie’s recipe:
(An adaptation of a recipe in “Twelve, A Tuscan Cookbook” by Tessa Kiros)
Cut and flour veal shins and brown in olive oil. Set aside in an ovenproof dish in a single layer and season with salt and ground pepper. In the same pot add 2 cups red wine (such as Redesdale Cabernets 2000) and boil slowly until reduced almost to syrup.
Pre-heat oven to 180°C
In a food processor roughly grind 3 carrots, ½ celeriac, and 2 medium sized onions. Heat 6 tablespoons (Redesdale Estate) olive oil in a heavy saucepan and stew processed vegetables slowly until soft. Add to wine reduction, together with 2 cups chicken stock (or water). Check seasoning.
Spoon over veal, cover with foil and bake for 2- 2½ hours. Remove foil 30 minutes before finish. Baste vegetable mixture over meat and top up with water if too dry.
Make a Gremolata with finely chopped parsley, finely chopped garlic and grated lemon rind. Sprinkle over the top of the dish just before serving.
Suzie served the Osso Bucco with a Ratatouille made of BBQ grilled vegetables, seasoned French-style: Heat 2 teaspoons coriander seeds in a pan then grind in a mortar and add to the vegetables. Also add a cup of strained fresh tomato puree, a couple of fresh bay leaves and Redesdale Olive oil (no wonder they have restricted supplies of the oil!).
I made myself useful and whipped up a Swiss potato Rösti, which I seasoned slightly saltier than normal to balance the sweetness of the Osso Bucco, and Suzie’s husband, Peter, prepared a terrific panna cotta with stewed quinces from the garden, for dessert. It’s obviously tough living in the country…
North Redesdale Road
Redesdale VIC 3444
Tel.: 5425 3236
Located in Spring Street with a view of Parliament House the City Wine Shop is run in conjunction with the Melbourne Supper Club and The European restaurant next door. The City Wine Shop has a terrific concept of offering top-notch snack foods and a few select main dishes, wine tastings and an extremely well selected range of premium wines for retail sale. You can buy any bottle at bottle shop prices (the selection is enormous), and have it opened (corkage applies) and drink it with one of the many terrific dishes on offer.
You can sit at the bar, the long tasting table, or at one of the few small tables inside or on the pavement outside. Sophie Otton and Jeremy Prideaux know their business and you could spend literally hours in this shop exercising your credit card. When in Melbourne this is a must visit!
City Wine Shop
159 Spring Street
Tel.: 03 9654 6657
James Broadway has made a real difference in Australia for years as the Governor for Slow Food. Now his love for all things Italian has goaded him, together with another Italophile chef Brigitte Hafner, into opening a shop in Fitzroy, that is so Italian, it’s simply amazing. The second you walk through the door it smells like Italy. It looks like an Italian shop, too, with prosciutto and salami hanging from the ceiling, scrumptious cakes on display and an amazing range of Italian wines. Terrific coffee, a huge range of apéritives and bitters is just the beginning. When James does something, he does it right. He’s also decided to stock Single Malts and within the shortest of times now offers the largest range of Single Malts by the glass in Melbourne. Go there late at night and enjoy the buzz!
Gertrude Street Enoteca
229 Gertrude Street
Tel.: 03 9415 8262
We also loved the weather, sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine. We loved the beautiful, well-maintained roads, the clean, crisp country air in the Macedon Ranges and in Heathcote and the in-your-face autumn colours of the trees everywhere. The only thing we did not enjoy were the Melbourne taxis. They’re never around when you need them…