Holi Festival of Colours

India's brightest and most colourful festival - March 6, 2015. 

This ancient Hindu festival has become popular all over the world and is known as the festival of colours. In India the entire country wears bright colours to celebrate Holi, markets are teaming with people, activities and shoppers who are making preparations for the festival. 

Many colour themselves with coloured powder and water; water bombs and guns are also used and anyone is a target. This happens all over India, in parks, outside temples and buildings. Music and celebration can be heard everything with people enjoying song and dance while spending time with their family and friends. 

Celebrate at home with our range of Indian Recipes, get your hands cooking Tempered Radish Raabu or Tandoori Style Lamb Cutlets

The significance of Holi is based around a symbolic legend, essentially a victory of good over evil, but the cultural significance is celebrated today where people can rid themselves of past errors, conflicts and enjoy a day where they can forget and forgive. People celebrate Holi differently across India, Holi in South India is not as grand as North India but there is a great communal harmony with graceful dances and performances. Those that are traditional, travel to Mathura-Vrindavan every year to feel the essence of Holi, where the tradition of playing with colours came from the legend of Krishna and Radha who played in the area. 

For more information check out www.holifestival.org for all information on the legend and celebrations. For those in Melbourne head down to the Werribee Racecourse on Saturday March 7 from 11am - 9pm for Holi Fest brought to you by Festivals of South Asia. You'll be able to experience traditional music, dance, colour as well as food, official catering will be brought to you by Delhi Rocks Indian Restaurant

Blue Mountains Music Festival

13-15 March

Celebrating 20 years of swinging hips and sultry sounds, the Blue Mountains Music Festival brings you a line-up of musicians that you'd be hard pressed to find all together in any other festival. 

Experience music true to Folk Roots and Blues in the World Heritage listed wilderness of Katoomba, amongst panoramas of the world famous the Three Sisters and the Jenolan Caves.

This year enjoy the accomplished vocals of John Butler along with Macy Gray, Dan Sultan, Buffy Sainte-Marie as well as 100 other performers.

The Blue Mountains Festival will run from 7pm until late on Friday, Saturday 10am until late and Sunday 10am to 8pm.

Don't know where to stay? Check out our accommodation guide here. Our favourite restaurants in the Blue Mountains can be found here

For more information and to book tickets head to www.bmff.org.au

March Top Drops

Signature Wines is a family owned winery in the Eden Valley Barossa region, they source grape varieties from Eden Valley, Barossa Valley as well as the Adelaide Hills to produce award winning wines. 

Eden Valley’s signature varieties are Riesling and Shiraz and Signature Wines produced a 4 star winner Black Label Shiraz Cabernet from the region in 2012. This deep red wine with purple hues has a well balanced flavour of red berry fruits and plums with a hint of wood. With savoury fruit and oak characters, this Shiraz will linger on your palate. If Shiraz Cabernet blends are your drink of choice, head over here for 20% off a 6 pack.  

Adelaide Hills is famous for its award winning wineries and wines, Signature Wines has produced a Sauvignon Blanc (2014) from the region that will pair with seafood, grilled fish as well as Asian dishes. Experience a bouquet of lemon and tropical on the nose while enjoying flavoursome citrus on the palate. Enjoy a 6 pack of Sauvignon Blanc 20% off here. 

If you can’t decide, or if you enjoy a selection of red and white, you’ll take pleasure in our offer of 20% off a 12 pack of award winning Signature Wines’ Black Label. It’s a true Aussie mix of deliciously sweet value, for more information see here

All wines are delivered Australia wide for free.  

News: Australia's first single origin bread

As of 05/03/2015

Beach Burrito is opening a new Fitzroy venue which will feature an indoor skate pool - a world first. ~Hospitality Mag

Mary's (Newtown and CBD) has released a limited edition Fairy's burger, where classic Mary's burgers are bedazzled with 100's and 1000's in celebration of Sydney's Mardi Gras. ~Gourmet Traveller 

Brasserie Bread has launched Australia's first single origin bread range made with flour milled from the Southern Flinders Ranges of South Australia. ~Hospitality Mag

Alissa Gabriel will represent Australia at the global Bacardi cocktail competition after she took out the Australian title. ~Hospitality Mag 

'Beta Bar' to open above Sydney's Alpha restaurant, it will operate as a standalone venue while also complementing Alpha restaurant downstairs. ~Hospitality Mag

Lead photo credit ~ Kitchenconfidante

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March: What to Plant

March is the month to start planting more bulbs in your garden. It’s a month that still yields some hot summery days but the cooler weather is certainly winning. We’re going to go temperate for our suggestions, however if you live in a different climate zone and wish to plant outdoors, you can check out this website here for more planting options.

Get that vegetable garden ready – it’s the time to plant broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, onion, radish, spinach and turnip.

When to Harvest:

Harvest from May:

Broccoli.

Radish.

Spinach.

Turnip.

Harvest from June:

Cabbage (start in undercover seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks).

Harvest from July :

Broad Beans.

Harvest from September:

Onion.

Culinary suggestions for your new garden:

Broccoli: raw, slice, steam, however you like broccoli – also goes well with blue cheese sauce. Have you ever felt like a bowl of freshly steamed broccoli smothered in gooey cheese sauce, no? Well we definitely suggest you try it.

Radish: use raw in salad or on their own with bread and butter.

Spinach: use young leaves in salad; you can also steam it or add it to a stir fry. Why not try it in a curry? Check out our spinach and cheese curry recipe.

Turnips: grate young turnips and use them raw in salads, older turnips will be best in stews.

Broad beans: the fresh beans can be steamed or boiled and eaten fresh or mixed in with curries.

Onion:  depending on the onion planted and grown, you can use red onions in salads or stir-fries where as brown (white) onions can be roasted whole with other vegetables when they’re young or when mature used in stocks and as a base in sauces.

Cabbage: when young they taste best on their own in salads or when more mature add them to a stir-fry or steam to preserve the flavour.

Happy planting and cooking!

Photo credit ~ Sneh Roy "Cook Republic." 

Paying Tribute To A Barossa Stalwart

By David Ellis from vintnews.  

A new label out of the Barossa Valley pays tribute to a stalwart of the region, Bob Wade who with mate Brian Miles devoted fifty years to establishing and managing some of the region’s finest vineyards.

Bob’s son John has launched the new Haslemere label, naming it after a 70-ha vineyard Bob and Brian planted together in 1993, and whose fruit for more than 20 years has been used in the making of top drops from companies including Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Hardy’s. That same fruit will now go into this new label. 

John Wade said those vineyards of his Dad, who passed away in 2009, and Brian Miles produced fruit that was second to none, with the Haslemere Vineyard now managed by Brian’s son Bob, and wines for the new Haslemere label to be made by consultant winemaker Mark Maxwell. 

One of the first to be released just before Christmas was their Haslemere Samuel’s Row Eden Valley 2014 Riesling that features outstanding citrus tones, clean mineral freshness and a lovely dry finish – all reflective of the excellence of Riesling from this region; pay $22 and enjoy with a prawn and paw paw salad. 

One to note: The Clare Valley’s Mr Mick Wines has released a 2014 Vermentino that’s one of those wonderfully easy-drinking whites for simply enjoying on its own, or enjoying with Italian-style seafood dishes… this, after all, is a wine of Italian origin. 

Priced at $17 a bottle and with grapefruit, fresh apple and nashi pear flavours, the 2014 is what winemaker Tim Adams calls “a trial release from dipping our toe in the water with Vermentino,” and adding that he and wife Pam (also a winemaker) intend to “really get behind and increase the make.”  

Tim and Pam describe themselves as “custodians” of the landmark Mr Mick property that was named after K.H. (Mr Mick) Knappstein, a legend of Australian winemaking who believed passionately in creating wines for everyone to enjoy, every day.

March: What's In Season

Autumn has arrived and many of your favourite restaurants will be coming out with new seasonal menus, if they haven’t already, emphasizing subtle flavours and featuring produce such as fresh figs and wild mushrooms.  Desserts at this time of year will revolve around crunchy apples, made smooth and supple, and crisp pears perfectly prepared for the tasting.  

Pears are in season, so why not try a Moroccan delight of Spiced Pear and Caramel Sauce?


What’s in Season for March

In the first month of the autumn season, we’re naturally inclined towards recipes that will warm us right up during those cool evenings.  Complementing this transitionary time, when deciduous trees across the country are shedding their leaves, we turn to colourful golden produce standing out vibrantly amongst darker hued dishes.

This time of year we think of the three produce “P’s” of the season:  persimmons, pumpkins & pistachios.  Though you’re unlikely to find a recipe that allows you to emphasize these seasonal goodies all in one go, definitely aim to build them into your meals throughout March.  In our recipe collection you will find an abundance of options to help you in this quest.

Fruits in Season

Apples –Jonathan, Pink Lady, Red Delicious & Royal Gala; Apricots, Avocadoes – Fuerte are coming into season; Bananas, Blueberries – winding down; Breadfruit, Cumquat, Custard Apples, Feijoa, Figs, Grapes, Guava, Kiwifruit, Kumatoes, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes – Honeygolds & Keitt; Mangosteen, Melons - Rockmelon & Honeydew (still sweet but are coming to the end of their season), Nectarines (coming to the end of their season) and Nuts – almond, chestnut, hazelnut, pistachio & walnut.

Oranges – Valencia in particular; Papaya –Skybury red; Passionfruit, Paw Paws, Peaches (coming to the end of their season), Pears – Beurre, Bosc, Josephine, Nashi & William; Persimmon, Plum, Pomegranate, Prickly Pears, Rambutan, Raspberries - Stanthorpe; Strawberries – a bit of a challenge around this time; Tamarillo and Tomatoes – Truss, Cherry & Mini Romas.

Vegetables in Season

Asian Greens – bok choy, gai lan & choy sum; Beans – Borlotti, butter, green & snake; Broccoli, Broccolini, Cabbage – red & Chinese (wombok); Capsicum, Carrots, Celeriac, Celery, Choko, Cucumber, Daikon, Eggplant, Leek, Lettuce, Mushrooms - Slippery Jack are back; Okra, Onions – brown, red & spring; Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Silverbeet, Squash, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potato, Tomato, and Zucchini.

Moroccan Fun Facts

Moroccan cuisine embodies a diverse wealth of spice, flavour and aroma, with a heart that centres on communal eating and family feasts.

Did you know?

Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco.

Only 19% of Morocco’s land is able to be ploughed.

It is impolite to say no to meat when offered in Morocco.

Marrakesh (fourth largest city in Morocco) requires sun protection and headgear all year-round.

Traditionally the liver, not the heart, is considered to be the symbol of love in Morocco.

Morocco is the only African country that is not a member of the African Union. 

Credit ~ Monika Walecka 

Coveted since Roman times, Morocco’s rare and beautiful thuya wood can be found only in the western foothills of the Atlas Mountains. In modern times, this material is synonymous with wealth, being the first burled wood used for luxury dashboards in the Rolls Royce.

Bread is sacred in Morocco, it is forbidden to throw away bread.

Lunch is the largest meal of the day, family members take time from work or school to come home and eat together.

It is estimated that there is one dentist for every 800,000 residents so standard treatment for a toothache is extraction.

#themoreyouknow

Morocco: Did you know?

Did you know that on this day (March 2) in 1956 negotiations for full independence of Morocco from the French was signed in Paris? By April 7, France had officially relinquished its protectorate in Morocco and later that year Spain also recognised Morocco as an independent state. #themoreyouknow

Culture

Morocco has a rich culinary heritage and it is usually one of the reasons many are attracted to the region and guests invited into a Moroccan home are treated most hospitably, often expressed with food.  Tasty Moroccan cuisine translates with the subtle play of flavours that combine spicy, savoury and sweet, while techniques such as marrying meat, poultry, or fish with fruit are unforgettable to the palate.  

Rosewater Ice Cream ~ Credit Sarah Renard 

Recipes

Want to investigate Moroccan a little further? Try your cooking skills with Moroccan Beef Tagine followed by Rosewater ice cream.

Dining

If you rather be immersed in a restaurant setting, explore the traditional world of Moroccan cuisine at Marrakech Restaurant in the heart of North Adelaide. Enjoy dishes such as bestella, a Moroccan meat pie covered in flaky layers of crispy crepe-like pastry or perhaps a traditional Afrah tagine, lamb cooked until tender with cinnamon, honey, prunes and roasted almonds is more your taste. 

Enjoy Moroccan tapas in Mosman with scenic views over Middle Harbour at Afous Restaurant where you can share an assortment of dishes such as Moroccan meat balls, Lamb brochette (marinated in cumin, paprika, garlic and herbs) as well as a marinated eggplant salad. For something a little more modern try the saffron chicken cooked with preserved lemon, onion, tomatoes and olives. 

For more Moroccan restaurants around you see our guide here. 

March - What's Coming Up

The month of luck! This month we're coming to you with some great specials, tantalising recipes and a bucket list of travel adventures.  

March at a glance: 

March 1: Melbourne Tomato Festival. More info: here

March 2: Independent Morocco - recognises the negotiations for independence. 

March 6: WOMADelaide. More info: here

March 7: Sydney Mardi Gras. More info: here

March 8: International Woman's Day. 

March 12-15: Taste of Sydney. 

March 17: St Patrick's Day. 

March 20: International Happiness Day. 

March 22: International Mother Earth Day. 

March 23: International Pizza Expo.

March 25: Greek National Day. 

March 28: Earth Hour. 

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