Thursday, December 31, 2009

Buon anno

January 1st. Two Thousand and Ten. Twenty Ten. What will the next year hold??

Well, if the past year has been any indication.. full of surprises. Last year at this time, I was taking a WSET course, working and volunteering at various wine shows and tastings, and interviewing for cheesemaker roles. I'd never have guessed that I'd be starting out this decade with a wonderful new job (the 24-7 forever type as a new parent), a new job (the 9-5 sort) and projects aplenty.

However you slice it, it's bound to be exciting.

We saw in the New Year, albeit quietly (after the bub had gone to sleep) with the usual suspects of oysters, sauv blanc, and nibbly things. This year, I'd arranged for some interesting cheese that, as it happens, fits in my list of projects.

While I love baking, barbeque, matching beers and wines, and attempting all sorts of new dishes, cheese is my thing. My favourite being what is on my plate at the moment. I appreciate all the effort that goes into the making of a fine cheese and to that end, I plan to do alot of appreciating this year and will share what I discover. I hope to taste as many local offerings as possible and include a good dose of the classics we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy from around the globe.

So for a simple January first lunch, we sampled Roncal. A wonderful sheeps milk cheese from Spain and a little slice of heaven and history for cheeselovers. While the production of Roncal had long been protected (regulated since about the 13th century) and it was the first Spanish cheese to be awarded DO status. Native sheep species are still used as is the practise of seasonal migration.

I find Roncal to be of medium sharpness, slightly nutty and retaining a good dose of "sheepiness" through which the herbal sweetness shines. We served the delicious 2006 Yalumba Hand-picked Tempranillo Grenache Viognier and Simon Waghorns' tremendous Astrolabe 2008 Sauvignon blanc, however, if a good, aromatic ale is your thing, it wouldn't be out of place here either.

Happy New Year Dear Reader. May all your hopes, dreams and resolutions for 2010 come true.

Blood Oranges

I love local food. Fruits and veg, locally raised meats and farmhouse cheese, speciality products.. even peanuts! But certain times of year, there are some imported goodies that are hard to give up.

Blood oranges from the peninsula country, Italy. If you've ever had these purple flecked oranges with their jewel flecked interiors, you know what I'm talking about.

These, along with cactus pears (wonderful pics here) and abate pears, are delicious treats at Christmastime.

Hope this Christmas finds everyone well and happy and may your New Year be full of life's delectable treats.

Buon anno a tutti!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buon Natale

This is what the Calabrese are eating for Christmas Eve.. It's the Feast of the Seven Fishes and if I have room after all the zeppole (zippuli, in dialect) I'll be tucking into this wonderful, light seafood pasta.

Buon Natale!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Aglio e olio

The simpliest pasta dish. Homegrown garlic and oil.. d'oliva, naturalmente. It's the place to showcase the best pasta you can find.

I'd picked up the latest PC offering in the fresh pasta department. I'm usually skeptical of supermarket fresh pastas, often finding them too heavy, gluey or poorly flavoured. Not so this time. These were pretty good noodles.

An easy sizzle of garlic and chiles in olive oil tossed with tagliolini. When you want to forgo a little preparation in favour of sharing the meal together, this (along with some leftover sautéed greens) is an easy dinner for busy new parents.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Almond Joy

This Fine Cooking recipe is delicious with roasted pears or seasonal stone fruit. The cake is toasted almond brown butter flavoured fluffy goodness. A perfect light ending to a heavy holiday meal.

Joy to the World.