29 September 2012

Hunter & Gatherer

My title for this blog may be a tad misleading....

I didn't hunt anything, 
except for a few good wines in the
 'Hunter' Valley...

And the gathering was more like a wee 'forage' in 
my sister's and my vegi patch on a quick trip home.

But anyway, let me tell you a little more about these events.

Two of my closest friends tied the knot 
in The Hunter Valley this past weekend....

Grace and Shane, 
the stunning couple in the middle,
 met, would you believe through food....
Very appropriate for this blog :)

Such a lovely day!
And I had the absolute pleasure of making the wedding croquembouche....
Which was quite interesting as I didn't have a cone to 
mould the shape around...
But with some very sound advice from 'Rex'
from Burch and Purchese, 
I made a cardboard one :)

Not just cooking..
Art and craft as well!

And now the finished product....

Toasted coconut profiteroles with spun sugar and chocolate daisies...

(Looks like its hairy ha ha)

First recipe for the blog is my choux....
(yea you lucky ducks you get two this time around!)

1 Cup water
Pinch Salt
100g Butter
3/4 Cup flour
4 Eggs

Heat your oven (fan forced) to 180 degree celcius. Bring the water, salt and butter to the bowl in a pot,turn down the heat then add in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated, keep mixing for another 2 minutes before transferring into a stand up mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment.
Turn the mixer onto a low speed and beat for about two minutes, just to get rid of a bit of the heat from the mix. Then add one egg in at a time, making sure that the egg is fully mixed in before adding the next.
You can pipe these however you like, profiteroles, eclairs or if you down have a piping bag
just use two spoons.

Pop in the oven for about 25-30 mins, if you have an extremely size add on an extra 5 mins.
Make sure you keep the door shut the whole time, as you do not want to release the steam
from the oven while the choux is cooking.

Take out of the oven, leave to cool
Then fill with whatever tickles your fancy!

A great wedding,
And for a little bit of fun-
A photo booth!

And now a few photos of the 
Hunter Valley...

And me frolicking in the vineyards...

We managed to venture to a few wineries..
James Estate was the first...

And we came across their 'Vitai'..
A sweet wine with hints of citrus and a slight fizz,
great for a picnic and for a refreshing beverage on a
warm summers afternoon..

Then Keith Tulloch which has a stunning set up..
And do their own MasterClasses on vino

Something I will definaltly be looking into doing!

And finally Audry Wilkons 
Who produce Moscarto- 
My favourite wine...
and this would have to be one of the best I have tried..

Good wine..
Great company...

Time to head home....

Since Masterchef I have moved to Melbourne to work at Burch and Purchese Sweet studio
with Darren Purchese,
So it is always nice to take a quick trip home to see the family.
(And have mum's lamb roast!)

My sister and I love to cook together quite a bit int the kitchen...
And Just recently She has started up a great vegi patch...

I love it...
Fresh herbs are one of my most favourite things- 
And in her vegi patch the herbs are plentiful!
4 different types of basil, mint ...

The list goes on.....

I cooked up a few things while I was at home...
(Can't help myself!)
A warm beetroot and Jerusalem artichoke salad 
with lots of beautiful things from the garden
And a lemon and rosemary creme brûlée

Lemon & Rosemary Creme Brûlée
300mL Thickened Cream
5 Egg Yolks
90g Sugar
2 Sprigs of rosemary
Zest 1/2 Lemon
Demerara Sugar

Heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Whisk the cream, yolks and sugar together, then pop into a pot
along with the zest and rosemary. Heat over a low heat, to a low simmer.
This will infuse the flavours of the lemon and rosemary.

Leave to infuse for 15mins, then turn the heat back on a stir with a 
wooden spoon unit the mixture has thickened.
Strain the mixture into 6 ramekins, and pop into a water bath,
then into the oven for 25mins.

Take out and leave to cool for about 2-3 hours.

To brûlée, sprinkle a generous amout of demerara sugar
over the top of each ramekins, then using a blow touch, 
melt the sugar
(Be careful!)

This goes so well with the James Estate Vitai wine...
So pour yourself a glass and