Saturday, October 31, 2009


Ok, so this isn't a photo of their award winning winery, it's the woolshed. But a better angle to reflect on the stunning stillness (not perfectly still, but still enough) and light of a late Central Otago autumn afternoon.
We did a tasting in the Mother Ship. Warm toasty Pinot noir to warm the bones of weary travellers. The tasting area overlooks the barrel room and has some great seating so you can do it all in comfort.. lovely riesling as well.
Previously, I'd been there for a Shapeshifter concert two years before. As if you needed another reason to go to Central Otago, the summer concert series is a perfect way to take in a great Kiwi band or two.. sitting on the hill and sipping a sublime wine (or a skillfullly crafted local beer) in this stunning natural ampitheatre.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Herzog Pinot Noir 2001

Hans Herzog makes great wine. It's very often gone under the radar, but if you have Pinotphile tendencies or some duck on the menu.. Herzog Marlborough Pinot noir is a wine you should seek out.

I'm not sure how all the labelling conflicts with Herzog in the US have changed things domestically, if at all.. but I believe in the US it is now referred to as Hans Herzog.

The 07' Pinot noir is as delicate and delectable as the rabbit terrine that should accompany it. One finely crafted wine.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Homemade Pitta

Nothing is easier than homemade pitta. The freshness of this bread is worth the minimal effort when combined with savoury dips and some marinated, grilled lamb skewers.

The only patience required is the short proofing time when the individual pitta are rolled out. Without this proof, the breads won't puff as nicely in the oven so they can be split for filling later on. They also require some space for proofing as the recipe makes a dozen or so medium-sized pitta.

The critical step: letting the breads cool under the cover of a damp tea towel makes lovely and pliable pitta that keep amazingly well (in a plastic bag) for a couple of days.

~Easy homemade pitta~
1 package of yeast
125 mL warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour (or a mixture of ap and whole wheat flour)
1 1/4 teapsoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
250mL lukewarm water

Dissolve sugar and yeast in 125mL of warm water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy. Combine flour(s) and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in yeast. Slowly add the remaining warm water and stir until an elastic dough forms. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place dough in bowl a large bowl coated with vegetable or olive oil and turn dough over to coat.
Allow to proof for about 3 hours or until doubled in size. Then, roll into a rope, pinch off 10-12 portions and roll them into balls. Place balls on floured surface and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
Move rack with baking stone to the very bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 260C. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 12-14cm across and 1/2 cm thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until puffed. Turn pitta over and bake for an additonal 2 minutes.
Remove each pita and set inside a damp teatowel. Pitta will deflate and form a pocket in the process.

Serve with dips, salads and thinly sliced or cubed, roasted meats.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A proper date scone

Whenever I hear the term " proper" referring to food, it makes me think of a simple or homestyle version of whatever is being deemed as a "proper" this or that.  Often, it's the old, traditional stand-bys that are mucked up with some flash addition or fancified inclusion that leaves us with a hankering for the proper way, that is, however our mum, auntie or nana might have made it.

This is THE scone recipe I follow when not using my standby Edmonds cookbook version (Arfi at HomeMadeS been baking these too) or the luxe Donna Dooher (previously of Mildred Pierce and now of Temple Kitchen fame) recipe to which I add a cup of chopped dates, a smattering of grated lemon zest and a pinch of cinnamon.

 Any of these make a perfect breakfast or delectable treat and as Mildred says,

"There's no such thing as a lowfat scone".

Just to make sure, please pass the butter.