Broaden your horizons: Visa Wellington on a Plate

Wellington on a Plate runs from August 14 – 30. 

AGFG had the pleasure of exploring Wellington in 2014 and discover everything Wellington on a Plate had to offer. The 17-day festival is back this year, bigger and better than ever before with over 300 eateries, producers and suppliers taking part in a programme with more than 125 events.

This tasty selection is served to by multi-award winning eatery and bar, Hummingbird, est 2000.

Imagine Taste of Melbourne, Taste of Sydney and Good Food Month all packed into 17-days, it’s the definition of FOODIE HEAVEN. With two main events running alongside pop-up events, DINE Wellington and Burger Wellington capture the most attention with more than 100 of Wellington region’s eateries participating in DINE Wellington and over 80 eateries joining in the annual battle of the burger for Burger Wellington. However, this year, Wellington on a Plate has gone and added one more to the mix, the Capital Cocktail, a clash of the cocktails where 30 restaurants and bars will go head to head and offer you a delicious selection of cocktail creations paired with tapas treats.

For more information on DINE Wellington we suggest you see here.

To see what burgers you’ll be devouring check out Burger Wellington here.

For those of you who will never pass up a good cocktail, check out Capital Cocktail here.

We’re sure you’re thinking, Wellington on a Plate can’t possibly involve anything else, it’s just all too much! Well think again, Wellington on a Plate’s programme is 72 pages long, encompassing 130 events on top of  DINE Wellington, Burger Wellington and Capital Cocktail – if it was ever a time to visit Wellington it would be during August.

See all the events Wellington on a Plate has to offer here and get in fast as tickets to these events sell out fast and we mean super fast (as in the day they are released)! 

Oh and if you’re still not convinced, check out our adventures from last year here

An Interview: Sam Christie Restaurateur

In celebration of Indian cuisine and the opening of Sam Christie's new venture, Subcontinental, bringing great, authentic and vibrant Indian cuisine to Surry Hills, Sydney, we've broken the mold and stepped out of our usual chef profile this month to tell you a little about Sam Christie and the restaurant empire he oversees.

Sam Christie.  

With a team of 150 highly skilled restaurant professionals, Sam controls the financial and operational responsibilities of all his restaurants which include, Longrain Sydney (Thai), Longrain Melbourne (Thai), The Apollo (Greek), Cho Cho San (Japanese) and now, Subcontinental (Indian). Each of Sam's ventures are an expression of his travels and interests along with the chefs that really make each restaurant shine, such as Martin Boetz (1999-2013) and Jonathan Barthelmess. 

 Subcontinental Kingfish Dish.

We asked Sam a few questions about life before the industry, when he was just squeezing oranges and stocking fridges at Sydney's Iconic Bayswater Brassiere in Kings Cross. 

AGFG: When you began in the hospitality industry at Bayswater Brassiere, what was your vision for the future and how has that shaped your current career path – is it completely different?

Christie: It was very hard to see a vision for the future when squeezing oranges, lemon and limes and stocking fridges. Being involved in a super busy and successful business from day one definitely set me on the right path.

AGFG: We learn something new every day, but what was one thing you’ve learnt throughout your career that you’ve always come back to? 

Christie: Consistency is the key in all areas of the business and striving to improve everyday. 

Subcontinental Modern Indian.

AGFG: You travel regularly to enhance your businesses, what has been on the agenda recently that we may see in the future?

Christie:I was recently in Greece visiting some of the Greek wine producers, whose wines we serve at The Apollo. Meeting the wine makers and visiting the wine regions enables me to pass on the knowledge and passion to my staff.

AGFG: If you could pick a favourite cuisine type, what would it be and what’s an example of your favourite dish within that cuisine?

Christie: It’s too hard to choose, however Mexican food in Mexico is incredible.

AGFG: What did you learn from your shortgrain and bunker bar venture, and how have you channeled this into your concept for subcontinental?

Christie: Don’t be afraid to change your concept.

AGFG: What would you consider to be the hardest part of operating your businesses and how do you overcome this?  

Christie: The hardest part at the moment is finding good staff. Recruitment is constant. It now involves more training, more communication and more advertising. My role as a judge in the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Young Waiter Awards allows me to give back to the industry and mentor young aspiring front of house staff.    

Win a $200 voucher to subcontinental this month over at our competitions page

The More You Know: North Indian Cuisine

North Indian cuisine is particularly popular in Australia – you may already know and love curries of Kofta, Saag, Paneer and Korma, or perhaps you can’t order Indian without the accompanying naan or roti. These dishes all have origins in North India and have stood not only the test of time for popularity, but have surpassed international borders worldwide.

You can recreate them in your own kitchen, but nothing beats a good curry cooked the way it should be, and by those who know best. Although you may dine out for Indian frequently, there’s a chance you enjoy all the flavours of curries and a range of tasty accompaniments without much extra thought. 

 Photo: Phugtal Gompa - Kashmir, North India. 

Many variables can affect the way cuisines are developed, from culture to religion, location and produce availability and the influences of nearby countries.  What more appropriate time to discuss the origins of Indian cuisine than in the lead up to India’s Independence Day, celebrated on August 15, when major government buildings are wrapped in strings of lights and the tricoloured flag flutters from homes?

The location of North India is one defining factor that influences the typical cuisines and although summers in North India can be very hot, winters in the mountainous regions can be extremely cold and the area is landlocked, resulting in thick sauces and more red meats or dishes using only freshwater fish. These thicker dishes can be easily scooped up and eaten with breads like naan that have been cooked in the tandoor. Less focus is given to vegetables and more on the flavours which often cross over with Middle Eastern cuisine. 

Traditional North Indian Cuisine at Delhi 'O' Delhi. 

Another major influence is Muslim culture and the method of cooking called Mughlai. Mughlai style is cooking over the fire and makes use of rich spices and nuts like saffron, almonds, cashews and poppy seeds and even dried fruits in both savoury and sweet desserts. Fresh coconut is limited in North India, so when called for, desiccated coconut is used in desserts. North Indian desserts are varied and many, with thick and creamy textures that derive their consistency from milk pudding or rice bases and are finished in sweet, sugary syrups.  Complete a feast in the north with a pot of tea, or chai, served in India by chai wallahs all over the country who boil it with spices, sugar and milk on street corners.

If your mouth is watering just reading this article, check out our Recipe section for Indian recipes to try at home, or better yet, make a booking now and head to the Curry Club Cafe Bar Tandoor  in Victoria or find another great Indian restaurant nearer to you. Check out our list below:

Urban Tadka in New South Wales

Delhi ‘O’ Delhi in New South Wales 

Joy of India  in South Australia

Blu Ginger Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory

Yogi Contemporary Indian Restaurant in Western Australia

Masala Island Indian Restaurant in Queensland   

Indian Empire in Tasmania  

By Julie Johnson. 

5 Indian Desserts You Need To Try!

Grab a seat, glance over the menu and go straight in for your favourites. Take the sting off lingering hunger pains with tandoori chicken wings and samosas with minted yoghurt, then move on to a butter chicken curry, a side of fluffy rice, maybe some pappadums and a serving of cheese and garlic naan. Yum, delicious!

Now for dessert. Have you looked at the words used to name Indian desserts, not really known what they mean and so dismissed them altogether? If so, then you are missing out on completing a feast! A lot of Indian desserts are served cool and have subtle, aromatic flavours, so make sure to save some room to try a few. If you don’t want to ask what the words mean, or are apprehensive about what dessert you will be faced with, give these recipes a go at home, find your favourite and add it to your list of tasty Indian food to enjoy next time you go out. 

Sticky and sweet, soft and spongy, Gulab Jamun is one of India’s most favourite sweet treats. Gulab means rose and refers to the delicate rose flavoured sugar syrup that the dumplings are dipped in. Try making these tempting little bites at home!  

Phirni is a classic sweet pudding with a delectably thick and creamy texture. Serve this one warm for an after dinner dessert, or save some for later to have cold as a midday snack. 

Cool down after a spicy main with Kulfi – a delicately fragrant frozen dessert described as a ‘traditional Indian subcontinent ice-cream’.  Try creating your own exotic ice-cream at home with our recipe. It also makes a great after-school treat for the kids! 

Made mostly during a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, Modak are tasty little dumplings, shaped like a dim sum and usually filled with coconut and nuts.  The most beautiful and sweet Modak are made by traditional Maharashtrian housewives, but give your hand a go and practice with the pinching and moulding directions in this recipe. 

Although Ras means juice and Malai means cream, Ras Malai is often described as a rich cheesecake without a crust. It is usually soft paneer balls immersed in creamy, aromatic cold milk, believed to have originated in Odisha and made for weddings and special celebrations including royal occasions. 

Compiled and written by Julie Johnson. 

Indian Feast Off!

A culinary divide between the North and South. 

Many Australians absolutely love, crave and create Indian curry, but did you know there is quite a difference in the traditional dishes depending on what region you are in? Location, temperature, produce availability and even religion affect the development of cuisines over time and this can still be seen in original dishes today. Check out the cuisines known to the north, then scroll a little further and see how they compare to those cooked in the south before creating a few for your very own Indian feast-off!

From the North: Mughlai Chicken Masala

Try this Mughlai Chicken Masala recipe tonight! The capital of Mughal Empire is known for its colourful cultural and culinary history and there are still plenty of places that serve the authentic Mughlai food, maintaining the name and fame this cuisine is known for.

From the North: Punjabi Dum Aloo (vegetarian)

The delicious Punjabi Dum Aloo is one of the most coveted potato curry recipes of Indian cooking. Follow this recipe and learn how to make mouth watering Punjabi style Dum Aloo with a thick and aromatically flavoured gravy at home for a beautiful dish in just a few easy steps.

From the North: Tandoori Chicken

This tandoori chicken recipe offers all the sumptuous flavours of traditional tandoori cooking without needing an authentic tandoor oven. Although it can be cooked in a regular oven, this method offers a summer barbecue style, perfect for warm days and entertaining guests in a casual environment. In Indian cooking, the skin of chicken is usually removed, which is better for your health and allows the chicken to marinate all the way through.

From the South: Chettinad Lamb Curry

 

Chettinad cuisine is most popular in southern parts of India; in fact it has slowly gained popularity for spices and unique flavours. This is one of the most common non-vegetable based dishes you can find in south-Indian restaurants.

From the South: Chickpea Curry (vegetarian) 

 

 

Tinned chickpeas or boiled, this is a quick and easy vegan protein recipe that can be used as a supplementary side dish, or eaten as a main if you wish and can be stored without losing flavour.

From the South: Kerala Prawn Curry

Spanning the South Eastern coastline, Kerala makes use of fish and crustaceans caught in their waters to produce fresh seafood dishes with plenty of coconut as influenced by nearby Asian countries. Stir hot spices with juicy prawns and a warm blend of creamy coconut milk and you have Kerala’s tempting prawn curry, sure to entrance your taste buds.  

Compiled and written by Julie Johnson. 

Pairing Paneer

Paneer? You ask.

Yes, paneer, aka cottage cheese. Paneer comes in many forms, as the source of protein in a curry, by themselves as a side or in a medley of vegetables and grilled on a skewer, however, we think that this Punjabi specialty is best enjoyed as the main event.

Punjab is a little different from its neighbouring Indian states; its heart lies within its traditional delicacies and showcases an array of rich, robust and full flavoured dishes that are synonymous with its lush green fields, earthy tones and colourful lifestyle. 

Dishes in Punjab generously contain spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin and carom seeds and the people are also passionate about cooking with ghee and butter. Achari Paneer Tikka is our choice of dish to showcase paneer, although flavoursome by itself, we have paired it with five deliciously tangy (and spicy!) chutneys. 

Achari Paneer Tikka: Achari is a condiment which often accompanies Indian food, in this recipe we’ve mixed the spices together to make an achari masala which will marinate the paneer before it is grilled on a skewer. Enjoy Achari Paneer Tikka at anytime – especially when entertaining guests and give them the option to dip the paneer in one (or five) of these adventurous chutneys.

1. Mint and Cilantro Chutney – want to cool down this Tikka? Then a mint and cilantro chutney is the perfect accompaniment, the blend of mint, cilantro and yoghurt will coat your taste buds and prevent your palate from being overwhelmed.

2. Allam Chutney (Ginger Chutney) – this is for the tangy spice lovers: think coriander, green chillies, ginger and tamarind paste all in a delicious, velvety chutney.

3. Spicy Mango Chutney – a sweet and spicy blend with a hint of cinnamon, this spicy mango chutney is a delicious pairing with cottage cheese.

4. Fig Chutney – it’s said that Buddha achieved enlightenment under a sacred fig tree and in India, the Indian Fig tree (Ficus Benghalensis) is India’s national tree, so it’s only fitting the fig is paid homage at meal time. For a nutty but sweet accompaniment with paneer that isn’t over powering, fig chutney is your go to chutney.

5. Coconut Chutney – really no explanation needed, coconut cools and delights the taste buds and is a perfect accompaniment to nearly all Indian dishes, give it a go, we think it’ll be your favourite chutney yet. 

Great Choice with Winter Pie

By David Ellis from vintnews.  

 

If you’re fond of a good Shiraz, grab a bottle of the 2013 Logan from Orange in the NSW Central Ranges – 2013 was a great year for Shiraz out there, and this one from Peter Logan is a particular stand-out. 

 

Medium-bodied and full of cool climate red berry flavours and spice, it’s a great example of what can come out of high altitude regions such as Orange, and particularly so in the hands of makers like Peter who is a more than dab hand with the variety. 

 

“It’s exactly what I want from our Shiraz,” Peter says, adding that at the same time the variety all but makes itself in the vineyard. “It requires minimal intervention in the winery, and is fairly consistent year in and year out,” he says. “The optimal result is a wine like this one that’s a straight-up delivery of the succulent red fruits and spice of cold climate, high country Shiraz.” 

 

And interestingly while it bursts with that juicy, cool climate red fruits and spice, it has a lovely soft mouth-filling texture, and at $28 makes for a great companion at this time of year with a hearty beef pie. 

 

One to note: a 2014 Chardonnay from Fifth Leg in Western Australia’s Margaret River is one of those whites that many consider is best enjoyed when served nicely chilled during Summer time’s heat, but in reality is one to savour all year round. 

 

With a lovely crisp palate of crunchy apples that lead to tasty stone-fruit flavours, it has a marvellous lime juice finish and really does reward with being served well chilled. And while a great drop to simply enjoy on its own anytime, it makes an excellent companion with fried whitebait.

 

The quirky-named Fifth Leg, by the way, got its name from the discovery of a fossilised skeleton of a Tasmanian Devil in a cave in Margaret River a near-half century ago – and with a fifth leg laying nearby. 

 

Terindah Estate wins James Halliday Dark Horse Winery of the Year

Revered wine critic James Halliday has had over 45 years in the wine industry and the Halliday Wine Companion Awards are like the announcement of the world’s best restaurants – nerve wrecking, exciting and one that sometimes causes dissension.

Tonight, six major awards were announced along with ten of the coveted varietal awards and this year’s Dark Horse Winery of the Year is none other than Terindah Estate, which has steadily been achieving awards in numerous varietal categories since 2003, but has just received their first five-star rating – making them the perfect candidate to win the Dark Horse. 

The view of Terindah Estate from The Shed @ Terindah. 

James Halliday commended Terindah Estate on their exceptional wines as well as their beautiful winery, which boasts 15 acres of vines, a private beach, rotating wheat as well as fig and citrus trees along with a small organic herb and vegetable garden which contributes to their cellar door and restaurant The Shed @ Terindah.

“Of the eight wines tasted, three were awarded 95 points, another two 94 points and four given the value symbol. Terindah Estate was by far the best performed contender for the Dark Horse award,” said Halliday.

Terindah Estate was bought in 2000 by Peter Slattery, who has retired from running his own company Slattery Australia (where he is still the director). Peter and his wife, Cate, had a vision to create the most spectacular food and wine destination on the Bellarine Peninsula and the Dark Horse award only contributes to their vision and path of success.

“I could not resist the beauty [of Terindah Estate]; the views across the bay are spectacular. I soon realised that the terroir was perfect for grape growing, so we planted our first vines in 2001,” said Slattery.

“My original vision for the property was to have a location close to Melbourne that offered a good lifestyle and one that Cate and I could bring our 6 children to. It wasn’t until I had a boating accident that saw me pause and reflect on my life, [which lead to the realisation that] I could create a premier food and wine destination for visitors to The Bellarine.” 

Peter and Cate Slattery at Terindah Estate.  

Terindah Estate now employs more than 40 people and received the Shiraz Trophy in 2013 for the country’s best Shiraz. Peter says that there is still work to be done as the Bellarine Region is not as well recognised in the wine community as he would like.

“A lot of people still don’t recognise Geelong or the Bellarine Peninsula as a renowned wine region, so we have to continuously promote our brand as a wine destination. Being named this year’s Dark Horse will certainly help us deal with this challenge,” said Slattery.

“Recognition as a five star winery not only boosts our reputation, but enhances the area as a whole and helps to attract more visitors to our region.”

For more information on tonight’s awards see here. 

To find out more about Terindah Estate click through here 

Images courtesy of www.terindahestate.com and Drew Ryan Photography. 

Supercharged Soups

This winter has proven frostier than most and a crackling fire in a single room of the house doesn’t always cut it. Turn on the electric blankets, check the gas bottle to keep the hot water flowing and stock up on aloe vera tissues before the flu makes another round through the office! It’s time to start chopping those vegetables and making a few months worth of soups to keep you warm and healthy through icy cold times. 

Soups are great for winter as they not only warm you on the inside, but can provide a wide range of nutrients in one bowl that is easily absorbed into your system. Cue superfoods. In case you’ve missed the rise of superfoods, they are raw foods - usually plant-based - said to have exceptional nutritional value that contribute more than just your average dose of daily vitamins towards great health and well-being. You may know a few already such as kale, blueberries and quinoa and with just a few more; you can create delicious, warming foods to help supercharge you through to warmer temperatures. 

Check out some of these supercharged soups and start chopping! 

1) If green is good, this supercharged Broccoli Soup is great! Broccoli is full of Vitamin C, plenty of calcium to keep your cold bones strong and selenium to fight off viruses. With a couple of garlic cloves thrown in too, you’ll be warding off more than just unwanted illnesses. 

2) Yet another of Mother Nature’s powerhouse crops, kale is an excellent source of fibre, folate, carotenoids, Vitamins A, B and C and as with most leafy greens they are often better to be eaten cooked in order to reduce the concentration of oxalic acid.  Throw in some chicken and you have yourself a nutrient dense, hot salad, otherwise known as Chicken and Kale Soup.

3) Sweet potato provides us with plenty of beta-carotene to protect us from free radicals and convert into Vitamin A to support our immune system. This Sweet Potato, Chicken and Quinoa Soup also fills the hunger hole pretty well, along with the gluten free pseudocereal quinoa. 

4) The strange looking enoki mushrooms are full of nutrients, particularly Vitamin B and the Jerusalem artichoke can claim a delicate flavour, plenty of antioxidants and a generous range of electrolytes. For something a bit different, try this Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with caramelized shallots and roasted enoki mushrooms.

5) Let the spices in this Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup do their thing through the colder months, keeping your body heated up and the bacteria away. The cauliflower will help fill you up, the coriander will detoxify and the apple cider vinegar will help your body maintain a normal pH balance essential to good health.

6) Curing anything from mouth ulcers to digestive problems and even depression, the peppery, citrusy cardamom spice is great for getting rid of any lingering coughs or in curing bronchitis. It is also an anti-inflammatory, so if your throat is particularly sore with this year’s flu, go ahead and give Carrot, Pomegranate and Cardamom Soup a go.  Not only that, pomegranate is an extremely powerful antioxidant with fantastic immune supporting effects.  

Compiled by Julie Johnson. 

Seven Soups from around the World

Grab a world map, find your culinary compass, pick a destination and get cooking!

1) Senegal  – Peanut and Squash Soup

A wonderful peanut and vibrant squash dish from this sub-Saharan country, loaded with protein from the peanuts and lycopene from the tomatoes, this soup is not only healthy, but easy to create. Coriander stems and roots are often used for flavour in Hispanic and Afro-Caribbean cooking and give this dish a little kick if you want to sprinkle them over the top - perfect for a great dinner main with a simple crunchy green salad on the side.

2) Japan – Miso Soup

The intense umami flavour instantly revives the soul and gently warms your body and miso has a great source of antioxidants, dietary fibre and protein to give you a boost.The fermentation of soybeans gives miso its distinct flavour with longer fermentation time producing a darker, stronger flavour and shorter fermentation time a sweet and light miso.

3) Italy – Minestrone

A thick, traditional Italian soup, minestrone is made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock and tomatoes. This is a great way to feed a crowd on a winter's day as the vegetables end up with a robust flavour and you can use almost any vegetable in your fridge.

4) Vietnam – Pho

Pho (pronounced "fuhr") is a light, fragrant soup eaten at any time of day and one of the Vietnamese’s favourite dishes. Make sure you aim for high quality stock as this will be the basis to creating a fantastic pho, along with the aromatic spices and premium quality meat.

5) Peru – Chicken and Coriander Soup

In Peru, chicken and coriander soup is part of the culinary history and tradition, eaten in the home as a main dish and in some places makes for a staple breakfast. With a delicious, hearty and spicy flavour the soup is served all over the country and in more rural places, it includes potatoes and more peas. The distinctive colouring and tangy flavour can be attributed to the fresh coriander leaves.

6) Morocco – Spicy Chickpea Soup

Morocco is a country bursting with colour, noise and movement, it is vibrant, bold and beautiful and this is reflected in the simple and rustic spicy chickpea soup, traditionally eaten with deep wooden spoons. Known as Moroccan comfort food, it is often served with herbed olives and crusty bread or served over fluffy rice. 

7) French – Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse was originally a stew made by Marseille fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets. There are at least three kinds of fish in a traditional bouillabaisse, but what makes it different from other fish soups is the selection of Provençal herbs and spices in the broth; the use of bony local Mediterranean fish; the way the fish are added one at a time, and brought to a boil; and the method of serving. In Marseille, the broth is served first in a soup plate with slices of bread and rouille, then the fish is served separately on a large platter.

Compiled by Julie Johnson. 

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