9.24am, Sunday 8th August, Adelaide Airport, South Australia
Waiting for the flight to Auckland, then on to Christchurch – location of last night’s win by the All Blacks over the Wallabies – ensuring the Bledisloe Cup stays in Kiwiville for another year. But DO NOT FEAR Wallaby fans! Believe as I do that the Robbie Deans Machine is on the vast improve, and we WILL see them prevail over this extraordinary All Black steamroller that they have cranked up at the minute. One try to two is a good result in front of a manic capacity home crowd, and maximum points to the South African ref for actually chatting Richie McCaw about his antics at the breakdown. Finally!
Bring on the next game and good-o to Sharp, Ashley Cooper, Mitchell, Beale, Pocock, the Faiingas … the whole lot of them … and keep rolling.
Now back here on the other side of the Tasman last night, our work with the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand was a bit of a win. Star of the night was our head cooper Andy Broad. His assembly of the barrel drew big applause, and I have no doubt that this won’t be the last time he’s going to be up under the big lights driving hoops for an audience! Here’s the ‘before’ picture of Broady getting ready for the big debut – he was off like a shot when he finished, so sorry there’s no ‘after’ pic!
The other star of the night was the man in charge of the food: Simon “The Cook & The Chef” Bryant. He put together a menu featuring South Australian produce to duck and weave with our wines, with a magic result. I had a chat to him early, and have a shot of him sorting the best pickled ginger to go in the wasabi leaf and black sesame salad with the seared Cleanseas Hiramasa Kingfish entree – which was paired with our 2008 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier – all cool smooth and fit like a hand in a glove.
The main course deserve a big mention: the melt-in-the-mouth, slow cooked beef cheek, brisket terrine, cauliflower puree, tarragon lavender and baby broccoli pearls with Coriole aged sweet vinegar. This beef is pretty special, grass-fed Red Angus from up near Strathalbyn, behind the Adelaide Hills. I’ve put a picture of the dish in with the wine Simon worked to – our 2005 Signature Caberent Shiraz. This blend continues to jump out of itself with lifted cassis over the top and sweet plum and berry shiraz underneath – just the ticket for the flavours and textures swirling about with that beef and veg combo. Trust me when I say there were NO leftovers on the plates going back into the kitchen on those plates!
Then the dessert. Simon was given the 2007 Heggies Botrytis Riesling to work with. It comes from a hidden little corner of the vineyard, tucked in next to a small dam, where when everything goes right at the end of the ripening season – a cool mist cloud will drop and sit on the vines – the good mould Botrytis Cinerea will develop, and concentrated liquid honey, citrus flavours and lemon oils will end up in the wine.
To go along with all of this, Simon made up soft chocolate cookies, sat them on top of Beach Organics (Port Elliot) vanilla bean ice cream, which was floating in a molten sauce of bittersweet chocolate, dotted with dried cherries, and topped with candy floss!
Did it work?
It shouldn’t have on paper … but yep, on the plate it was right out of the box. The photo doesn’t really do Simon’s dish justice – and I had a ball just watching the assembly line put them together and send them out – pinching the odd cherry and dipping it in the choc sauce!
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better: To go with coffee, Haigh’s sent a massive block of their dark chocolate in, and it was left to folks to help themselves with a hammer and chisel!
So there you have it – a nice long story to kick off this block of work in New Zealand. Wish us luck over there, and I’ll see ya next when we’re working on the South Island in Dunedin with AJ.