Results tagged “Wine” from Kazza the Blank One
On Wednesday night Neil and I went to Sage for a super nice dinner hosted by Brokenwood wines. A night of delicious food and a *lot* of wine ensued. All the food was amazing, I'd like to go back again some time. We happened to be seated next to a lovely couple from Nicholls (Vicki and Stuart) who (after it got way past last bus time) gave us a lift home.
This was cured salmon. I typically prefer cooked salmon, but this was *awesome*. And that yellow thing? A slice of lemon that had been baked (or fried?) and was crunchy and sour and delicious. A wonderful opening course.
This was pork belly with cauliflower and some odd prawn-chip style popcorn stuff?? (I really wish we'd had a menu so I could tell you what everything was!) The only problem with this dish for me is that all that pork? It's just a lump of fat :( There was no meat at all :(:( I ended up doing a bit of a swapsie with Neil so I could get some meat.
This was lamb I believe. Lovely and tender.
They also brought out some sides of a creamy mashed potato and salad which were just lovely, but I didn't get photos.
A couple of cheeses to end the night. I loved the creamy one.
To go with the cheeses.
Been a bit of a boozy few days.
On Thursday, and dude from McLaren Vale came up to offer a wine tasting, mainly for the bar, but for others as well. So a small group of us partook. There were five whites, a muscato, a rose, four reds, a dessert wine, a tawny "port" and a "Delight" - which is much like a Baileys. It was a fun night, had a taste of some lovely boutique wines, and I bought a mixed case of things.
Yesterday we went along to Whisky Live. $99 for 100 whiskys in three and a half hours. Stu and I shared tastes to start with, so we could try more things. But then it got a bit complicated trying to have any working method of working the room, so I ended up wandering around by myself towards the end. There was an ample supply of hot food (cheesy risotto balls!) as well which was great. A fantastic event, I'd be interested in going again next year.
Afterwards we went over to F&C's (who were also at Whisky Live) for a yummy moussaka. And I ate blue cheese for the first time since 1987 (I've had it a couple of times on pizza, but it's a bit different cooked). Then we watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But I just didn't *get* it. It was funny reading reviews on IMDB as well - people either loved it or hated it. I'm on the hated it side heh.
Today was fairly quiet. I finished geotagging my holiday photos, and have started culling them down.
Kit bought three more chickens and two ducks today ..
This afternoon I was craving a roast dinner, but we had nothing to roast, so I popped over to the markets to get something.
Last Friday Night (last night) a couple of Daves and a Neil and I crashed @CLBradley's place for wine and pizza. Lots of fun, but sorry Lisa for keeping Miss M up way too late! (and she knows the words to TGIF much better than I do, which is slightly disturbing, given that she's eight!)
Doc saw this Back In Black shiraz and couldn't resist buying it
The day after boxing day we made our exit from Sydney. Since we had to be back on the 30th for my cousin's wedding, the options were to stay in Sydney, go home, or have a couple of nights somewhere else. We decided to go to the Hunter Valley.
We let the GPS guide us out of Sydney, and we managed to avoid the most horrible piece of road in Sydney, which is the five kilometres between Gordon and Hornsby, where it's just stop start the whole way. The GPS took us round the north of all that, and it was much less stressful.
It's amazing the number of L-platers that were out. I reckon they should either be banned from highways altogether or allowed to do the full speed limit. Because forcing them to slow down on the freeways just makes everything slow for everyone else.
We decided not to go up the Sydney-Newcastle freeway, opting to get off at Peat's Ridge and take the back way. We mostly had the road to ourself, and it was a much prettier and less stressful drive.
Coming down the valley along the Great North Road was very pretty
Spaceman in a sculpture park north of Wollombi
Cessnock is very pretty at the moment with all the trees in bloom
As it turned out, we probably should have gone up the freeway, because we decided to go out to Minmi, which is right next to the freeway. So it was a bit of a detour, but we weren't in any hurry so that was ok.
Crazy big house on Richmond Vale Road
Caboose in Minmi
I want a liqour shelf like this! Pretty! Popped in here to get a (non-alcoholic) refreshing beverage
Then out to the cemetery to find graves of Stu's rellies
These guys found their own rellies
Then onto the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. A little pricey, but very nice.
Crowne Plaza reception
We got a hotel style room in the main building. There's a tonne of self-contained units around the place that hold quite a few people. They looked lovely, and people were out with deck chairs sipping wine, which totally looked like the life :) They're a bit further away from the main building, and something like $800/night - ouch!
View from our room - not that exciting
What I did love about the place was the abundance of power points. Something like 14 of them around the room, in nice useful places, like right next to the bed. 10 points right there!
Settled in and got ourselves freshened up, then went for a walk around the place
The huge pool. A bit emptier at this point, but it was full of people a little earlier.
Giant chess set (there was a checkers set in the main building too)
Beach volleyball court
Waiting in the Vista Lounge before dinner
The Red Salt restaurant (also the breakfast buffet)
Our view for dinner
We started with this lovely Adina (a local) Pinot Grigio
The sweetie enjoys the wine and the view
Stu's entree. I think this was "Caramelized Tart, of golden shallot and baked locally sourced goat's cheese, witlof salad"
I had "Warm salad of lobster, kipfler potatoes & frisse endive, poached quail eggs & black truffle dressing"
For mains Stu had "Coq au vin free range chicken, braised in Hunter Valley pinot, golden eschalots & smoked bacon, roast garlic puree, fried bread crumbs". This thing was delicious - and look at that huge chunk of bacon! Yum!
I had "Confit duck leg with cassoulet of white beans, lovedale smokehouse sausage & bacon, poached quail eggs". The duck was nice, but too many beans for my taste.
We also had a side of "Sauteed mixed mushrooms with garlic and sherry vinegar (Swiss Browns, Buttons, King Oysters, Enoki)". Omigosh this was so delicious! One of my favourite parts of the meal!
We also had an amazing Rosehill shiraz - so smooth! Yumm!
For dessert we had some Brokenback vintage cheddar (we were too full to eat any more!)
After dinner I was so full I went for a little walk around the place.
Took this nice HDR shot from the entrance area on my phone
We had breakfast the next morning at the resort. A pretty decent buffet of food. Was quite crowded though, even though we were there near the end of service.
At 1pm we piled into a little minbus with a family of Swedish people and headed out on a winery tour (stopping to pick up some other people on the way).
Our first stop was Peacock Hill Winery. This was quite a small winery, and was much like the tours we did at Yass last year with a very small cellar door and crowds of people. I found it a bit stressful, but the lady was reasonably well organised, so it wasn't too bad.
They have dinosaurs, which kept the two little Swedish boys amused
Peacock Hill selection of wines
Yeah being driven around the Hunter Valley tasting wines is a lovely way to spend an afternoon
The next stop was McGuigan's. Having heard of this winery it wasn't surprising that they had a much bigger cellar door. And they have this whole room setup for tour groups that looked pretty amazing.
Tour group wine tasting room
Us at McGuigan's
This cork stool looked pretty cool (but $249 and not particularly practical)
McGuigan's also make and sell cheeses. We might have bought some, but didn't have a cooler bag or a fridge at the hotel.
Sunflowers at McGuigan's
Next stop was the Pokolbin village for chocolate and cheese tasting. The chocolate tasting was ok (half a dozen nibbles of chocolate), but the cheese tasting wasn't really anything special. First you had to find the store that was doing it, then you had to ask for the cheeses to taste. Yeah, not ideal.
I did buy this cute little chocolate penguin from the chocolate place.
Our last stop was Brokenwood. This had a medium-sized cellar door and we sat around barrels to do the wine tasting. We even got to taste a wine which was normally only opened for people paying to taste the wines. So that was very nice.
On the way back we got up close to some kangaroos, which I think all the tourists liked :)
So a very nice (although somewhat expensive) afternoon, with half a box of wines and fortified wines acquired :)
For dinner we went to the Grapevine bar for beer and pizza
This was the "Truffled Mushroom" pizza, which sounded nice on the menu (swiss brown, button and enoki mushrooms, white sauce, confit garlic parmesan, thyme and truffle oil) but was a little bland
This was the "Italian" pizza - pepperoni, capsicum, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, parmesan & chilli, sour cream, thyme and rocket. This was much nicer (I think the sour cream was a winner!)
After dinner the pool was looking nice so I wanted to go for a swim. But a change had come through which made it quite cold. So we didn't stay in long.
So our final day.
First stop (after breakfast at the Scottish Restaurant in Cessnock) was a trip to Morpeth to look for more of Stu's relatives in the cemetery. We didn't find any. Just some harness horses trotting by.
Then to St John's College, only to find the whole place has been turned into a retirement village. So far the historic buildings remain, but who knows for how much longer.
Walking around to the chapel
The organ is still there, but the chapel is now a little community hall
And the garden out the back has a gazebo, and the cross has been removed. A bit different to last time we were here.
And instead of a nice view out to the floodplain, all you can see is houses
So that was all a little sad.
This is the bridge at Hinton
And we found another probable relative of Stu's in the Hinton Cemetery
Next up the sweetie thought it might be nice to head to Port Stevens, and Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay.
As apparently did the rest of New South Wales
It was so crowded it was painful. We didn't stop anywhere along the beachside. Couldn't have anyway - no parking! Just snapped a pic out the window.
We did stop at the lighthouse though (only because a super huge 4WD couldn't fit into a half sized parking spot, so we got it)
Carried on. Shoal Bay was just as crowded.
Eventually ended up at Fingal Bay where we stopped for lunch a few streets back from the beach, where there was actually parking. Fish and chips and potato scallops. Because that's what you do when you go to the beach. Even though we were nowhere near the beach.
So left the craziness behind and headed back to Maitland to meet up with Margie at the Fox Bar. This a nice little wine bar. We had the whole front area to ourselves, but it was only when I went to the loo that I saw the lovely little garden they have out the back.
And finally headed back to Sydney. Would have been uneventful except a horse float overturned on the freeway near Kariong killing two horses and completely closing the road. The GPS saw it coming and we took a detour around it. No idea if it worked out faster (it probably did) but it was certainly less stressful and no stop-start traffic for us.
Finally made it back to my parent's place and crashed into bed
Had a nice easy drive down to the coast, arriving just after 6pm. Whereupon it was decided it was beer o'clock. We cooked a store-bought quiche for dinner (I mustn't have been with real men ;) ). Eventually got in the spa and stayed there for the next five or so hours. Ooops. :) DC mostly kept up with me drinking-wise. Not quite, but I was still impressed :)
Sunday was a bit of a sleepin (as you do). Spent a good chunk of the day doing a jigsaw of Neil's. And later played some Super Mario Galaxy. It was ok, but was really only one player so not as much fun (oh, played a bit of Lego Star Wars too, but really don't *get* it).
Dinner was a lamb roast with lots of veggies, and our wedding cake for dessert. And a Mount Majura Pinot Gris, which was very fruity. Watched Mythbusters and Iron Chef and Rockwiz and then fell asleep when Dave put on Keating the Musical. So abanoned that and got in the spa. Where we turned off the lights and sat and just watched all the stars. Was extraordinarily pretty. Stu and Dave saw the same shooting star, but I missed out :( Was determined to stay there til I saw one, but in the end Dave wanted Ben to get some sleep, so I got booted :)
Today we played some Mario Kart, went for a walk then cleaned up, and left for home. Dumped our stuff then headed straight back out again, this time to Ding's for a very civilised dinner. He'd been cooking up a storm all afternoon - he did a pretty amazing paella with mussells and calamari and prawns and crab and chicken and saffron. Jo also did a highly nomorific salad. Definitely ate far too much :) And had some Mount Majura Pinot Noir. And then there was dessert. !! Definitely need to have more dinner parties. Need to get a dining table...
Anyways. So that was the weekend. Think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend...
Went shopping for a few bits and pieces for dinner tonight.
Which was freakin awesome! Stu had these two big squashes he needed to cook, so he split them in half, then put them in ramekins with mushroom, garlic and fetta cheese.. epic nom!!
I did some roast potato as well and some roast garlic.. it was all delicious.
That and some red wine all helped make this evening very pleasant :)
Sunday Stu arranged another breakfast out and about. Although this one at the slightly more civilised time of 9:30. Met up with Pauline and Brett at Satis (where yet again we were forced to perch on tiny stools while we waited for the others to arrive, but did manage to squeeze onto an (outdoor) table eventually). I swear that place needs to invest in some towels to dry up the back section which has been wet every time we've been there >:(
Had their "big" breakfast this time ($12.50).. rapidly running out of things on their menu to try...
Had a fairly quiet rest of the day before heading over to Potty's for cocktails and nibbles.
How many people do you think it takes to make pina coladas? Four apparently - three workers and one supervisor ;)
The end result was pretty cool though...
And the other ones they made were even nicer..
And Kerry had a nice selection of finger food too..
So it was all very pleasant.
We were planning on going out to dinner afterward, but Stu came down with a migraine, so we ended up just going home. Whereupon we ordered a pepperoni pizza on puff pastry... omigosh!! soooo good!! (we've had them before but had forgotten their evil goodness heh). Stu suffered on the Monday for it, but claimed it was totally worth it ;)
As an aside, on Saturday night we made home-made pizzas and opened another of our wedding present bottles of wine - this time a Pepperjack shiraz, which went surprisingly well with the pizzas.