Results tagged “Wine” from Kazza the Blank One

Shaw and Smith

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Last Thursday we went along with EffanC and Scott to Pialligo Estate for a "Meet the Maker" dinner with wines by Shaw and Smith.  This was a much smaller event than the Brokenwood dinners I've been to, but just as good.  Their head chef could do whatever he liked foodwise to showcase the wines.  A lovely evening of great food, wine and friends.

Meet the Maker at Pialligo Estate

Meet the Maker at Pialligo Estate

Poached coconut chicken breast salad, with 2017 sauvignon blanc

Chicken salad

Asian BBQ style prawn, chili, with 2015 M3 chardonnay

Chili prawns

Duck jungle curry, with 2016 pinot noir

Duck jungle curry

Sticky beef ribs, steam rice, Asian crispy brussels sprouts, with 2015 shiraz

Sticky beef ribs

Pecorino, spiced quince, with 2009 shiraz

Pecorino, spiced quince

Deep fried banana

Deep fried banana

Brokenwood Wine Dinner

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On Thursday night, Neil and I went along to the annual Brokenwood Wine dinner.

This year it was at the Monster Kitchen and Bar in Hotel Hotel in New Acton.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner welcome drinks

Brokenwood Wine Dinner

Brokenwood Wine Dinner menu

This was the entree of Mooloolaba Bug Tails.  Quite a few elements, although not a lot of actual bug tails.  Good textures and flavours, quite nice.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner bug tails

Mains was liquorice cured duck breast and boudin noir.  I don't like liquorice but I was pleasantly surprised to not really taste it.  Boudin noir is essentially a black pudding.  I found the duck went very nicely with the pinot noir, and the blood sausage went better with the shiraz.  The duck was lovely and the crunchiness of the nuts gave this dish a great texture.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner duck

Dessert was a mixed plate of "soft chocolate, mandarin, almond, rosemary".  The soft chocolate was a little bar of chocolate pudding.  The mandarin was actual pieces of mandarin.  There were biscuity bits and other crunchy stuff to give it great texture.  The rosemary seemed to be in the ice cream.  Overall I think this was probably my favourite dish.  It was paired with a sweet "Sticky Wicket" semillon, which a lot of other people didn't finish.

Brokenwood Wine Dinner dessert

So overall a lovely meal, but I think there could have been a bit more food.  I didn't end up full, and I'm not even a big eater.  I can imagine hungry guys would still be hungry afterwards.  And because it was only three courses it meant there were two white wines to go with entree and two reds to go with mains.  I would have preferred more but smaller courses so you only had to worry about one wine per course.

But, the food was nice and we had enough wine to keep us pleasantly happy without getting too silly :)

Ok so I didn't actually say that, but I did think it at one point today .. (cf: Love Actually quote)

After two insanely crazy days at work, and after Stu's team got scattered to the wind, I said we should have booze and pizza, which he totally agreed to.  At least the pizza part.  We did share a bottle of some very nice Margaret River Cab Sav and have Crust pizza, and watch some Voyager and Homeland.  

Wine and Sparkles

And I keep predicting when people are going to wind up dead in those shows...


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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.
Sage dinner

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.
Sage dinner

This was lamb I believe.  Lovely and tender.
Sage dinner

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.
Sage dinner

To go with the cheeses.
Sage dinner

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.

Wine Tasting

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.

Whisky Live

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 ..

More chickies


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

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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!)

Wine lineup

Doc saw this Back In Black shiraz and couldn't resist buying it
Back in Black Shiraz

Mosquito coil

Doc and Back in Black wine

Hunter Valley

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Day 1

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.

Learner drivers

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

Minmi Courthouse
Minmi Courthouse

Caboose in Minmi
Caboose in Minmi

I want a liqour shelf like this!  Pretty!  Popped in here to get a (non-alcoholic) refreshing beverage
Liquor shelf

Then out to the cemetery to find graves of Stu's rellies

Minmi Cemetery
Minmi Cemetery

Stu hunting
Minmi Cemetery

Found one!
Minmi Cemetery

These guys found their own rellies
Minmi Cemetery

Then onto the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.  A little pricey, but very nice.

Crowne Plaza reception
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

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!
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

View from our room - not that exciting
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

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!
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

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.
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Giant chess set (there was a checkers set in the main building too)
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Beach volleyball court
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Waiting in the Vista Lounge before dinner
Vista Lounge, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

The Red Salt restaurant (also the breakfast buffet)
Red Salt, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Our view for dinner
Dinner view

We started with this lovely Adina (a local) Pinot Grigio
Pinot grigio

The sweetie enjoys the wine and the view
The sweetie

Stu's entree.  I think this was "Caramelized Tart, of golden shallot and baked locally sourced goat's cheese, witlof salad"
Red Salt Dinner

I had "Warm salad of lobster, kipfler potatoes & frisse endive, poached quail eggs & black truffle dressing"
Red Salt Dinner

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!
Red Salt Dinner

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.
Red Salt Dinner

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!
Red Salt Dinner

We also had an amazing Rosehill shiraz - so smooth!  Yumm!
Red Salt shiraz

For dessert we had some Brokenback vintage cheddar (we were too full to eat any more!)
Red Salt Dinner

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
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley


Day 2

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).

Stu in the minibus

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 dinosaurs

Peacock Hill dinosaurs

Peacock Hill selection of wines
Peacock Hill wines

Yeah being driven around the Hunter Valley tasting wines is a lovely way to spend an afternoon
Winery tour

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
McGuigan's wine tasting

Us at McGuigan's
Us at McGuigan's

This cork stool looked pretty cool (but $249 and not particularly practical)
Cork stool

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.
Stu inspecting cheese

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.
Chocolate penguin

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


The sweetie

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
Grapevine pizza

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!)
Grapevine pizza

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.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley


Day 3

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.

Trotting horse

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.

St John's college

Walking around to the chapel

The organ is still there, but the chapel is now a little community hall
St John's chapel

And the garden out the back has a gazebo, and the cross has been removed.  A bit different to last time we were here.
St John's chapel

And instead of a nice view out to the floodplain, all you can see is houses
St John's college - retirement village

So that was all a little sad.

Kept wandering.

This is the bridge at Hinton
Hinton bridge

And we found another probable relative of Stu's in the Hinton Cemetery
Hinton cemetery

Next up the sweetie thought it might be nice to head to Port Stevens, and Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay.

Nelson Bay sign

As apparently did the rest of New South Wales
Nelson Bay

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.
Nelson Bay

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)

Nelson Bay Lighthouse

Nelson Bay Lighthouse

Nelson Head

Carried on.  Shoal Bay was just as crowded.
Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay

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.
Fish and chips

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.
Fox Bar, Maitland

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

Just a few fairy lights and a little wine is all it takes.

This afternoon I found more mess created by our most notorious mess maker, so brought home some wine leftover from Friday afternoon and drank it (after chilling it, myself in the pool, chlorinating the pool and doing a load of washing).  Then I looked over and saw this..

Lights make me happy

And it was enough to make me smile and feel all kinds of happy.
That and watching a video I took on Friday afternoon. 
I should point out that I only have the tree and the lights on it at this point - no other decorations yet.

Good times :)

Moving Feast

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So what, a week and a half ago now, I went out with Tony and various relations of his and Heather's to the "Moving Feast" at the wineries of Murrambateman.

The first winery was Clonakilla.  When we arrived there was only a small group of people there.  But just as we arrived, several other groups arrived as well.  So it made the place crowded and stressful.  But the dude was fairly organised and was able to serve everyone without too much trouble.

Moving Feast
Moving Feast
Moving Feast

Second stop was the Four Winds Vineyard.  This place was a lot more crowded and stressful with people milling around and jostling to get to the front.  We ordered pizzas here ($18 including a glass of wine).  I ordered a "salami" pizza - salami, olives, cheese and pizza sauce.  Then went to sample a few wines.  Only tried a few before the pizzas arrived!  Luckily we'd managed to acquire a table for everyone, so that was pretty good.  Had a slice of the "potato" pizza which was also pretty good.  Finished off with a taste of their dessert wine.

Moving Feast
Salami pizza goodness!
Moving Feast
Four Winds Vineyard
Moving Feast

The next stop was Yass Valley Wines for dessert.  This place had a lovely semi-outdoor eating area with a beautiful outlook to the vineyard.  But they were completely and utterly unorganised.  We had to order at the cafeteria area out the back, but then had to go back out to the front to pay.  But they only had one person on out the front, who was also doing the wine tastings.  So it was all a bit of a shamozzle.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  They were so unorganised they'd forgotten about us, and several other groups came and went having ordered full meals.  All we wanted was chocolate cake!  Absolutely pathetic.  As it turned out, we waited just over an hour for a poorly presented piece of chocolate cake and ice cream.

Moving Feast
Moving Feast
Only good thing I could say about this place was the lovely eating area out the back
Moving Feast
Moving Feast
I paid $18 for this????  Hopeless!
Moving Feast
I complained to Tony that the reflection off his head overexposed the photo, but it turned out all right :)
Moving Feast

Our final stop was Eden Road Wines.  This was a much bigger place with a lovely airy cellar door.  And not too many people.  So was a nice followup to the previous place.

Moving Feast
Moving Feast

So a pretty long day, but good fun, thanks for taking me Tony!
That's my only excuse for not having anything useful to blog about tonight.

Because it could have been a huge rant about work and the crappy afternoon I had, but that's all behind the wine now :)

He also made us a lovely fettuccine carbonara for dinner which was very yummy :) 
Today at about 3:37 I had gotten fed up with mess and decided it was time to go home.  Or at least go have a beer.  To which Neil suggested the Haha Bar, leaving at 4pm.  To which I wholeheartedly agreed.  So went down with the usual suspects and had a very pleasant couple of beers and mulled wines by the lake.  Even the sweetie came in for a bit, which was lovely.

So we got home and Nat and Andrew arrived and we looked at Stu's Japan photos and cooked a pasta bake for dinner and played several games of Buzz.  Best I could do on the leaderboard was one win - couldn't get fastest finger or most correct answers or even most taunts (I was robbed I tells ya!!).

Super fun evening :):):):)

Weekend away

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Had rather a late start on Saturday.  We headed out around 12pm to do our shopping, but of course being Anzac Day, shops weren't open til 1pm.. not even Coles (which I thought might have opened round 12).  So had to waste a bit of time before doing our shopping.  Stocked up on supplies, came home, got ready, and eventually headed out the door round 3:50pm. 

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 :)

Quiche (3.6 servings per package??? who divides quiches up like that??)

Bottlecaps Mine, DC's and Stu's efforts (one Quadruppel beer is the same alcohol content as two heinekens)

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). 

Malua Bay

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...


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Nothing much of a day.  Did a bit of tidying and cleaning and Japan planning.
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 :)


Goundrey cabernet merlot

Stu's Sunday

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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...

Satis big breakfast

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 ;)

Making cocktails

The end result was pretty cool though...

Pina coladas

And the other ones they made were even nicer..

More cocktails

And Kerry had a nice selection of finger food too..

Finger food

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.

Pepperjack wine

Pinot Gris

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When we were at Bella Vista a while back, we sampled some Mount Majura Pinot Gris.  Well the mission then became to find some.  Turns out Dan Murphy's in Belconnen sells it...

It was yummm :)

Mount Majura Pinot Gris

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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