|Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard-Winery-Restaurant, Mount Tamborine|
|Cedar Creek Estate Restaurant|
|Cedar Creek Al Fresco Dining|
|Livingstone and Stanley|
I am in the process of writing Chapter Four of "Sling Me a Singapore Fling". Well, to be honest...I've written three lines only; but I will get stuck into it tomorrow!
I'm being a social butterfly today; I am having lunch with the "girls" at the Cedar Creek Vineyard/Winery/Restaurant. So my time will be spent readying myself for the occasion before I venture out into the wild world; wherein I shall become absorbed in imbibing a wine or two and indulging in a delicious lunch.
In the interim, I'm posting an article I wrote for our local little weekly rag up here on the mountain. Each week I write an article for the paper. This post is much briefer than my Singapore story; Chapter Four of Singapore will be up and running before the end of the week, hopefully.
Some folk have the gumption to adopt the presumption of assumption. There are those who think they know you when, in truth, they haven’t a clue. Too readily scenarios are made to suit one’s presumptions with no basis to draw upon other than their overworked, overzealous imaginations and suppositions.
Don’t make your enjoyment at a party evident; don’t laugh or rid yourself of inhibiting inhibitions; never make inane conversation just for the fun of it. Uninformed assumptions will be promptly made by the uninformed who cast accusatory glances your way. It’s presumed you’ve downed a glass too many, when the simple truth is you’re in a good mood; wishing to let your hair down ever so slightly. Maybe you’ve kicked your heels up higher than usual; an action that could cause an accidental stumble if you’re not careful, but you‘re feeling carefree, urged on by your inner devil. Judgmentally, it’s assumed you’ve over-tippled the tipple. It’s never assumed you’ve shrugged off daily restraints and reserves, and are just having fun!
Girls just want to have fun; so do boys, by the way!
Someone once said to me quite emphatically; “Oh! But you use so much cream in your cooking!”
Confused by her erroneous declaration, I hadn’t a clue how she’d arrived at her false notion. Perhaps, when taking a peek in my fridge she’d mistakenly thought the yoghurt to be cream. Cream isn’t a frequent dweller in my fridge, but yoghurt is.
Of course, there have been times I’ve made sauces and desserts that required cream, but, in the majority of instances those sauces and desserts were made when I was cooking in restaurants. Cream isn’t a regular ingredient in my home kitchen. However, if cream is integral to a recipe I’ll use it without guilt.
Almost every weekend I catered for a wedding when I was cooking in a Gympie restaurant. If I’d excluded cream from the most popular dessert chosen by the brides for their celebratory feasts – pavlovas - I’d have had a contract out on me! A disgruntled bride is not someone you want in your face!
The only time I might prepare a decadent, cream-laden dessert is when entertaining guests. I rarely entertain these days; and I never prepare desserts for me.
In restaurants and at home I’ve cooked Garlic Prawns more times than I care to count. I always prepare them the classic Spanish way with loads of garlic and olive oil; served in too-hot-to-handle cast iron ramekins; the oil bubbling and spitting; with not a skerrick of cream in sight.
Let’s take a leaf out Henry Stanley’s book. He had the good manners not to assume when, tongue-in-cheek, he asked the question: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
Cream-less Carbonara: Grab 240g thickly-cut pancetta; cut it into small squares; cook in 3tbs olive oil until crisp, golden brown; add 2 cloves garlic, chopped into medium pieces; sauté 1-2mins; remove from heat; don’t drain; set aside. Cook pasta al dente. Using a ladle, scoop some water from the boiling pasta; set it aside in small bowl. In different bowl, beat 3 large egg yolks, 1 whole egg and 1c freshly-grated Parmesan or dry Pecorino Romano and ground pepper; add pancetta and the oil. Drain pasta; place in large serving bowl or platter; quickly add the sauce; mix well; then add a couple of small scoops of the reserved pasta water. This creates the creaminess. Garnish with grated Parmesan or Pecorino and a drip of x-virgin olive oil.
Black Forest Pavlova: Preheat oven, 150C. Mark out 23cm circle on baking paper; place on baking tray. Beat 4 egg whites and a good pinch of cream of tartar on high, just until soft peaks form; add 1c caster sugar, 1tbs at a time; beat between additions until sugar dissolves and mixture is glossy with stiff peaks. Add 1/4c quality cocoa and 1dsspn Vino Cotto; fold in with a spoon. Pile onto circle in baking paper; smooth sides; make centre slightly lower. Bake 40-50mins until firm and slightly cracked, but not browned. Turn off oven; leave oven door open a crack; cool 1-3hrs or overnight. Put 500g seeded cherries in1c water; add 1tbs sugar; bring to the boil; then simmer 10mins; drain; cool. Add 50ml Kirsch to cherry liquid; reduce to thicken; cool. Pile whipped cream and grated chocolate in pavlova centre; top pavlova with cherries; drizzle with syrup; sprinkle with grated chocolate