Saturday, 24 January 2015

Chicken Marsala from Saveur

For Christmas I made a Gingerbread Tiramisu. A bit out of the ordinary but I was really missing the smell and taste of gingerbread with Christmas. In Australia Christmas is all about the trifle, the pavlova, mangoes and the 'barbie'. My attempt to bring back some European Christmas flavours worked out well, and we had some Marsala left.

"Marsala" I should say. Fake marsala. Made in some Industrial area in New South Wales. Artificial flavouring added to it. And cheap, very cheap. Unfortunately I couldn't find the real thing and I wasn't prepared to spend lots of money on it either. One thing is for sure, the tiramisu would have tasted SO much better if I would have used proper Marsala.

I didn't want to throw out the rest of it, so I decided to cook with it. I found this smart Chicken Marsala recipe from Saveur on Pinterest. I didn't need heaps of ingredients and it was easy to make. 

I served the chicken marsala with some bread and asparagus. The taste was sweet (and again, would have been so much better if I would have used real marsala) and very rich. You don't need a lot of it to be satisfied and it can be easily heated up the next day for lunch.

Click here for the recipe


Creative Commons License
The content of this post by BehomeforT is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Wine Tour in Central Otago, New Zealand (Queenstown area)

On the second day of our stay in Queenstown we had organised a winetour for the day with NZ wine tours.  This company is run by Jake Tipler, previously in business in marketing, he decided one day that he would like to make a living out of his passion for wine, and he started organising wine tours. The size of the groups is small (maximum 6) which makes it a personal experience. 

Jake picked us up at our hotel at 10am in the morning and to our surprise we were the only guests on the tour. Usually a tour is cancelled if there are not enough guests, but Jake decided to take us out anyway. The mini van was very comfortable and Jake had bottled water, fruit and chocolates on offer. He first took us out to a spot where we had an amazing view over Queenstown and then asked us about the types of wine we like so he could decide which wineries he would take us to. Jake knows so much about wine and he is so passionate about it!

We first visited Peregrine Winery. Jake took us to the wynyard and explained a few things about growing Pinot Noir. The white variety is called Pinot Blanc and sometimes (a very rare occurence) Pinot Noir grape bunches have a few white grapes on them, or even half and half grapes. Although these grapes are white, they are still Pinot Noir. The wynyard is surrounded by mountains and a lot of sheep. Such a magical place! Jake took us around and showed us how the wine is made, and then took us out for a tasting. This winery has a barrel room where you can see all the barrels where the wine is ageing. We tasted a few wines and really enjoyed a chardonnay and a pinot noir so took these home.

After Peregrine we went to a larger winery where they had lots of wines on offer for tasting. I cannot remember the name of this winery but it had (like many other wineries in the Central Otago) quite a few Pinot Noirs on offer. 

Lunch was at the Nose Restaurant after a visit to the Aroma Room. We first watched a movie about the winemakers and how their wine was made. The climate of the Central Otago is quite dry and this area has only recently been discovered as a good area to grow grapes. Because of the cooler climate the varieties that do quite well are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Unlike the bigger area of Malbourough where massive quantities of Sauvignon Blanc are produced every year, Central Otago has more boutique Wineries and the wine is a bit more expensive. 

The Aroma Room is a room with (as the name suggests) different aroma's you can smell. Wine can have so many aroma's and most of the aroma's in the aroma room wouldn't normally be associated with wine. Banana, leather and clove are a few of these. Jake challenged us and asked us to see how many of these aroma's we could recognise. I always think I am really good at these challenges, but I am not. The difference between Peach and Apricot! I know how it tastes but I cannot smell it. We tried two wines and had a go at recognising the aroma's - massive fail for me. The wines tasted very nice though.We enjoyed a massive platter with cheeses, meats and little vegetable dishes for lunch. It was delicious! 

After our lunch we went to my favourite winery. I cannot believe I have forgotten the name of this winery! There was a table outside with an AMAZING view. I lost myself completely staring into the distance. The winemaker came out to tell us about his wines. We tasted some beautiful wines in the sun, including a Gruner Veltiner - usually drunk in Austria. On our trip to Vienna we drank heaps of Gruner Veltiner, often mixed with water because it was so acidic. This Gruner Veltiner was very nice by itself and not as acidic. Very special.

The last winery we visited was Chard Farm, a small winery specialising in single wynyard pinot noirs. Their Mata-Au Pinot Noir was not made at the wynyard where the winery was located as the family owns various wynyards. This Pinot Noir was lovely soft and fruity, so we decided to purchase a few bottles to take home. 

We were very lucky the weather was good and that we were the only people on the tour. If you are visiting Queenstown, make sure that you book a wine tour with Jake. It surely is one of the best wine tours I have ever been on!


Creative Commons License
The content of this post by BehomeforT is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Auckland, New Zealand part 4

Our last day in Auckland was such a grey day! It was cold, windy and there was rain -  a lot of it! We checked out of the hotel early and MrBehomeforT went to get a hire car. I had a business appointment in the city and when I got back to the hotel there was still no car. Turns out that the car hire company did not have any cars left but they failed to notify MrBehomeforT on the phone. Useless! He went there all the way for nothing.

Anyway, in the end we got our car and we drove to Mt Eden on the edge of Auckland. Mt Eden used to be a volcano and has this massive crater from a dormant volcano and a few lookouts. Really nice, but we couldn’t see much. I’m sure the views are amazing on a clear day. 

Completely frozen over, we drove to the Stardome Observatory. The place is OK – explains a few things about the universe, planets and how the earth came into existence but I have seen better places. I think it’s a nice place to go if you have children and they are old enough to understand science. I was bored soon enough and so was MrBehomeforT (surprisingly).

We drove to another North Shore suburb – Devonport. It’s a nice little seaside area with a beautiful view of the city. You can go for a nice walk along the coastline and then sit down and have a nice hot drink. It’s a quiet suburb and there wasn’t a lot to do other than walking around.

We drove around for a bit longer, stopping at some nice areas for a view but it was cold- freezing cold! We could see a massive boat/ferry moving from the inside of the harbour to the open seas while we drove around. Pretty cool. Quite funny – the name of the boat, Wallenius Willemsen, seems Dutch or Belgian. I wonder where that boat was going.

Our flight was leaving at 6AM and we stayed at the Ibis Budget near the airport. I thought it was a good plan, but on second thought we could have easily stayed another night at our hotel and have taken an early taxi to the airport. It wasn’t as far as we thought it was. For $60 less than our original hotel – the Ibis budget was pretty horrendous. Very small – still a fair bit away from the airport and not comfortable at all. TIP – do not stay there.

The flight back to Sydney was very bumpy and I had to go straight back into work. Auckland was amazing though and well worth seeing!


Creative Commons License
The content of this post by BehomeforT is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.