Merricks Creek Winery

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Sipping a glass Chardonnay on a warm Summers day. Blue sky as far as the eye can see. Sitting next to Hubby on his birthday weekend, enjoying a child free day to relax and unwind from the busy week.

We spent the afternoon at Merricks Creek Winery. A family run winery.  After two decades of wine making, they have set up their own cellar door.  We sit on low casual seating with ample of cushions to make it feel homely. I instantly love the open space and the beautiful view of the vineyard.

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We chat with Peter, the owner.  He tells us that his wife is in the kitchen, his son is the front of house staff that also greeted us when we arrived and his daughter was the lovely lady that first contacted me to invite us to check out their newly open cellar door.  They offer Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Close and just last year made their first Chardonnay.  It’s a family run business.  I love that!

The day we visited, they had only opened a couple of weeks before, however a lot of people have already found them.

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They offer a variety of share plates ($11 and $15) which are generous portions.  All their ingredients are fresh and are of great quality.  I can taste it with every bite. Hubby and I thoroughly enjoy the share platters

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Rare eye fillet, caper vinaigrette and ciabatta

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Crispy thins with pistachio, hazelnut, fetta, mint

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20 month aged Italian prosciutto di Parma, Shaw river buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with ciabatta

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White chocolate mousse mini pots with fresh passion fruit

They are open every day up till January 31st, then only weekends after that.

44 Merricks rd, (corner of Yal Yal rd)

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James and I dined with compliments of Merricks Creek Winery

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

My Easter 2015. Time spent with Family

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Easter 2015.

Easter this year, like most years, is spent with family.  During the Easter season, I am most thankful for the family and my friends around me.  Most of my days are focused on work and duties on being a wife and a mother.  I am constantly busy planning our days and weeks ahead that sometimes it is hard to live in the present.

This year, I spent 5 days focused on what is important.  My Family.  I love to have my table laden with food that has been prepared with love.

Here is how I spent my last few days 🙂

Good Friday is always spent at my Mother in law’s home.  We are always well fed.  But for some reason (mostly due to the consumption of (numerous) glasses of wine) I forgot to take photos of the delicious roasted salmon and barbecued vegetables we ate.

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For dinner I had my #luxbitefamily over for a pot luck dinner.  Nothing can go wrong with a bunch of foodies and chefs over for dinner.

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We had a feast.  It is very rare that we are all able to get together for a meal.

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I baked my Easter Hummingbird cake.  It’s moist and light.  I love this cake and I’m happy to say that it went down a treat with my co-workers.

On Easter Saturday, the day was warm and the sun was shinning.  A perfect day for a drive with Hubby, Kiddies and my parents.  We took a day trip along the Victorian coast to Torquay.

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Easter Sunday.

My dear friend, Hilda, whom I have known for many years, came over with her family for lunch.  We used to work together back in my corporate days. We have kept in touch after I left and we are still so close.  So close that she became Thomas’ God mother.  Along with my parents, we enjoyed lunch together.

I was lucky to have received a pack from Murray Valley Pork.  I roasted up a pork shoulder that was boned and rolled.  The skin came out super crispy and the meat was so tender and moist.  My tip to achieve this is to pump up the heat of your oven to 220degC for the first 20 mins to get the crackling going then turn the heat down to 180 and cook for 20mins for every 500g of the pork.

 

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Dessert was meringue nests with cream and strawberries.  I have to say the meringues came out really well.  I used Mary Berry’s recipe this time round and I think it turned out to be the best I’ve made.  Hilda also brought some of Phillippa’s hot cross buns and crepe cakes from Mille & B.

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Easter Monday.

easter13Family time at Nature Play at Royal Park.  We discovered this park a couple weeks back. It’s a great park for all ages of children.  There is also a wet area for hot days.  But on this day, we kept ourselves dry.

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The Simnel Cake I baked for Hubby.  I don’t eat fruit cake and marzipan so it’s all for him.

Tuesday.

I had the day off so we went out for breakfast and a movie.

We try to eat locally to support great businesses in our area.  Unfortunately, there are not many in our area but when we do find a good one, supporting them is important so they survive.

Before heading off to watch a family movie, we had breaky at a local cafe, Red Beetle. Cafe.  Their food is honest and hearty.  It is affordable and will warm up your tummy.

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I am happy to have spent days with my family to create happy memories.  These days are precious.

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

#DrinksMadeByHubby

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I haven’t posted anything on my blog lately about cocktails and drinks.  While I love cooking and baking, hubby loves to get in his bar and mix up some concoctions for me and family.  He loves to keep his bar fully stocked with different liqueurs and spirits.

Just like me, he experiments with flavours and textures with his drinks.  He can make me a lovely refreshing cocktail and at the same time, whip up a delicious mocktail for the kiddies to enjoy.

 

Here are a few Hubby has mixed up and have come up a treat.

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Pimms and lemon squash

 

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Mai Tai: White rum, Malibu, orange juice and grenadine

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Blue Sky Colado: Malibu, coconut milk, blue caraco, pineapple juice and sugar syrup

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Sexy Cider: Sparkling White wine, Calvados, apple juice and fresh berries

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And Hubby’s favourite at the moment  …

Vodka and Lime Crush: 

1/3 cup caster sugar

4 limes, cut into wedges

160ml vodka

Crushed ice, to serve

Chilled lemonade, to serve

1. Place the sugar and lime wedges in a mortar and pound with a pestle until the lime is crushed.

2. Add the vodka and ice and pound to crush.

3.Divide among serving glassed and top up with lemonade

For more drink ideas and inspiration, check out my instagram feed and search for #DrinksMadeByHubby.

Cheers!

Cherrie

Yorkshire Brack – Hubby Bakes!

Yorkshire Brack3 OMG! My Hubby baked!  My Hubby is an eater, not a baker. So you can imagine my surprise when he came up with this.  He did a great job and I was so proud of him 🙂 He saw the recipe for Yorkshire brack on “Ade in Britain”, an English cooking show featuring Ade Edmondson.  You’ve would’ve seen him in shows such as “Young ones” and “Bottom”.  He hosted this cooking show which is one of Hubby’s favourites to watch.  Ade travels around Britain learning about local produce and of course, cooking along the way. Yorkshire Brack is a fruit cake with a tea infusion and is usually eaten for afternoon tea with a nice pot of tea but honestly, it can be eaten anytime you like.

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He decided to make this one day. It’s so easy to make that even a non-baker can make this.  It only has a handful of ingredients and basically everything is thrown into a bowl and mixed together.  The only thing is though, you need to plan ahead as the dried fruit need to soak in tea the night before.  No offense to Hubby, but if he can make this, anyone can. Yorkshire Brack4 I’m not really a fruit cake fan but I have to say, this cake is probably the only one I have enjoyed eating.  It has a treacley, caramely flavour and the sultanas and raisins give it a real sweetness.  You can play with the type of tea you use to give the cake different flavours. Recipe:

  • 150ml of hot tea
  • 454g of mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins and currants)
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 175g demerara sugar (can also use raw sugar)
  • 1 egg, beatened
  1. Soak the dried fruit in the hot tea overnight
  2. Next day, Preheat oven to 160degC
  3. Drain the dried fruit into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to combine. If mixture is too dry, add another egg and mix.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake for approximately for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean
  5. Best served warm with butter and a slice of cheese.

Yorkshire Brack5 Bon Appetite, Cherrie

Quick side dishes for an Indian Feast.

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A couple of weeks ago was Hubby’s birthday.  We went out for his birthday dinner at Newmarket Hotel in St.Kilda.  You can read about it here.

We also had his family over for dinner.  Hubby asked his mum to make his favourite chicken curry, which of course, she obliged.

I decided to add a couple of quick side dishes to add to the feast.  A quick carrot salad and a quick tangy lemon pickle.  These dishes were inspired from Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals.

Tangy lemon pickle
1.  Cut 1 lemon into 8 and remove seeds, then slice.
2.  In a pan add 1 tbs olive oil.  Add 1 tsp black mustard seeds (I used yellow mustard seeds as I didn’t have any black ones), crumble a little dried chilli, add chopped fresh chilli, and 1 tsp tumeric
3.  Add the lemon and cook for 10 – 15 seconds.  Mix.
4.  Cool down to room temperature to serve

Carrot Salad
1.  Grate 4-6 carrots and place in a large bowl
2.  Add chopped coriander, grated ginger and 1 chopped chilli.  Mix together.
3.  Add salt and squeeze half a lemon and 3 tbs of olive oil.
4.  Toss.  It can be served with roasted almonds sprinkled on top.
My Mother-in-law’s chicken curry.

Pappadams
Naan, reheated in the toaster.

Tumeric rice.
Needless to say, Hubby (and the rest of the family) thoroughly enjoyed the Indian feast.
Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Hubby’s birthday dinner at Newmarket Hotel

Another year, another Hubby’s birthday dinner at another one of Paul Wilson’s Hotels..
Hubby’s birthday last year, we went to Middle Park Hotel.  We loved it.  You can read about our great meal here.   This year, Hubby’s choice for dinner was at Paul Wilson’s new establishment, Newmarket Hotel in St. Kilda.   This time, the menu has a South American/Spanish theme, unlike his other hotels, which is more of an English theme.  Hubby even said that the bread and butter pudding from Middle Park Hotel was the best he’s ever had.  I guess I have to work on mine then.
We have already met Chef Paul Wilson through twitter (@chefmrwilson) and we wanted to meet him in person so when we saw him  at the restaurant, Hubby and I approached him and we introduced ourselves.  I was relieved when he recognised us as his twitter followers and have had conversations with him.
Upon arriving we ordered a pitcher from their cocktail menu.  Confederate cup ( honey liqueur, mint, orange, strawberries and peach iced tea.  This was tasted beautiful and it was also visually gorgeous.
We decided to order a few different meals instead of ordering just a couple of mains.  So we ordered pork carnitas with soft taco, baby gem lettuce, pickled pineapple and hot adobo sauce.  This was a flavour explotion. The pork was tender and full of flavour.  The inclusion of the pickled pineapple made the dish sweet but it pulled it all together.
We also ordered soft taco with wood roasted bone marrow with chimichurri and ranchero brisket.  When I first heard there was bone marrow somewhere on the menu, I know I had to have it no matter how it was served.  I do have to say, though, that I thought the chimichurri over powered the bone marrow a little.  But when I got a big chunk of the marrow by itself, it was meltingly good.  The brisket was very spciy but I didn’t mind the spice.
Catalan pizza – spiced lamb, grapes, purple basil and pomegranate molasses.  This was awesome.  It was big on flavour.  I don’t usually like thin based pizzas but it was crispy and had a good bite to it.  The molasses gave it a sweetness which paired nicely with the lamb.  The grapes gave little sweet explosions when bitten into.
The roast of the day was roasted Wessex saddle back suckling pig with blood plums and a radicchio, fennel and broad bean salad.  When the waitress came over and was in the process of telling us what this dish was, Hubby’s and my eyes glazed over when she said the crackling is aaammmaaazzing.  That was the deal breaker and we didn’t hear anything else she said after that.  And let me tell you, this roast suckling pig did not disappoint.  The crackling was crispy but melting at the same time.  To die for.
To finish off the meal, we ordered two desserts to share.  One was latin style chocolate pot with bananas and dulche de leche.  The chocolate was dark and bitter, just the way I like it.  The sweetness of the banana and dulche de leche help balanced out the rest of the dish.  Yum!
The second dessert was peach, raspberry and amoretti pie.  It was more of a cake than a pie but it was delicious none the less.  The pie was crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  The raspberry sorbet went great with the fresh fruit.

Overall, Hubby and I enjoyed our meal and experience at Newmarket Hotel.  We will come back and next time we will try everything else we didn’t have.


Newmarket Hotel on Urbanspoon


Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Hubby’s Birthday Weekend

A few weeks ago was Hubby’s Birthday. We celebrated his birthday all weekend long.
His actual birthday fell on a Friday and we both had the day off.  We took our 2 children and spent the day at the Royal Melbourne Zoo.  You can see Deanna’s post on her blog here
Since the food at the zoo is somewhat limited to junk food and is quite expensive, I decided to pack a lunch for us.  I made a Muffuletta.  See my post on how to make it.  It’s such perfect picnic food.  It so tasty and healthy and easy to take too.

That night we had his family over for a barbeque.  We recently fixed up our barbeque to it’s original glory.  We neglected it for a number of years and I decided that I would like to start enjoying using it once again while the weather is perfect for it.
For dessert, Hubby opted for Eton Mess, instead of the traditional birthday cake.  I used the opportunity to use my Cook Book Challenge theme for that week.  You can see my post here.

For the following night, I managed to get a booking for dinner at Middle Park Hotel.  It opened to raving reviews and having seen the offal salad on the menu, there was no other choice to dine for his birthday.  We were not disappointed.  We enjoyed every morsel. You can read what we ate here.  We even got a birthday Tweet from Chef Paul Wilson, himself.

On the Sunday night, it was my family’s turn to come over for dinner.  This time, Hubby requested a curry.  He LOVES curry and it is my life’s mission to find the best curry I can.  I think I’m getting close with the one I cooked for him on this day.  I have been asking around from my friends.  Once I perfect it, I will definitely post.

I also used this opportunity to catch up on my Cook Book Challenge.  I missed out on the first 3 weeks of the challenge and have been trying to catch up.  Week 2 was the Indian theme.  I decided to make Mango Lassi from Keith Lloyd’s book.
This time, decided to bake him a cake.  After all, it is his birthday.  I don’t know if it’s a phase or not, but Hubby is really addicted to Lego at the moment.  Most particularly, Star Wars Lego.  So I thought it appropriate to make his birthday cake in the shape of Lego.  The actual cake is Lemon cake.  I made a large sheet and 12 mini cupcakes and joined them together.

All in all, I think Hubby had a great birthday this year.  He was able to spend it with family and great food.

Bon Appetite,
Cherrie