8.11am, Wednesday 16th May, The Grafton Bridge over the Clarence River, Grafton, NSW
Morning folks, its crisp and clear today on the Clarence River, and Frosty and I are off to pick up our glassware from Georgie’s Cafe in the Grafton Regional Art Gallery before winding our way up to Tenterfield in The Great Dividing Range – where I’ll meet up with Dave to continue on to Toowoomba for tonight’s event at The Downs Club (named because Toowoomba is on the edge of the famous Darling Downs cattle country).
It was a very big school night out in Grafton last night, folks – ours being the last wine dinner to be held at Georgie’s, as Mark, Judy and Jeff (the expat Adelaide crew) are leaving and moving into the main street right onto a prime site just off the roundabout on the end of the bridge. So we had all the big guns out, and Jeff the chef continued his reign as The Rissole King! Why do I call him that? Because last year he came up with a sensational lamb dish for the new Signature Cabernet Shiraz – slow braised lamb shanks, stripped the meat off with a fork then combined the lamb with spices and put it into a shell that looked a lot like an old school rissole – otherwise known as a crumbed meatball that you’d find on an Australian pub ‘mixed grill’ plate. So what Jeff does is really the super duper rissole – pretty unforgettable really. So we were keen to see what he would come up with this year to top that.
Didn’t have to wait long – he got us with the canapés! I don’t eat oysters. Ever. Not natural or Kilpatrick – not at all. I was out in the kitchen last night as Jeff sent out his tempura battered oysters – freshly shucked by himself – sitting in little Chinese soup spoons of leek and oyster puree. When I said ” no thanks” to trying one with my glass of 2007 Vintage Jansz, he basically told me to stop mucking about and face my oyster fear head on.