Saturday, October 27, 2018


Tin Can Bay

Champagne isn’t produced in Australia.  

Referring to our Aussie bubbly or sparkling wine as “Champagne” is an erreur.   However, if we insist on the name calling (as we do), doing so doesn’t mean we’re a snob - just a stirrer. 

Our plebeian habit does upset the pedantic French, though.  To be fair, in their defence, it is their right (legal right) to feel a little put-out, and give us a spray.   With years of practice, we’ve become pretty adept at it runs off our backs easily.

Of course, we all know...or should know....Champagne is produced within the province of Champagne in the north-eastern part of France. 

If we Aussies produced a special wine at Tin Can Bay we’d call it “Tin Can Bay”, and be protective of its name, wouldn’t we?  Of course we would!

The French aren’t the only ones defensive of their wine names, ma chérie amour.  
The Portuguese also believe they have the right to acordar com os pés de fora (wake up in a bad mood/be grumpy), or be estar com o azeites (be angry) if we call port, “port”.  The folk of Portugal think ter muita lata (we have a lot of nerve) to do so.

What are we supposed to call it – “suitcase”? 

As for sherry, the Spanish, if they grabbed a hold, would probably toss us into a bull ring or into the streets of Pamplona ahead of the Running of the Bulls if they caught us referring to sherry as “sherry”.  Again, to we Aussies it’s como el que oye llover (It’s like water off a duck’s back) – sherry it shall remain.  

I’m whining, I suppose, but the Europeans get pretty toey about our irreverence. 
The Italians jumped on the wine wagon, just to prove the point, I think.  For reasons known only to them they decided to change the name of the Prosecco grape to “Glera”. 

That’s la goccia che ha fatto traboccare il vaso (the straw that broke the camel’s back)!
Porca miseria  (Damn it!)  It’s impossible to keep up!  I need a drink!

Deleted from our Aussie vocabulary, or supposed to be, are the following: - Burgundy, Chablis, Graves, Manzanilla, Marsala, Moselle, Sauterne, White Burgundy, to name a few.  Amontillado – no, it’s not an armoured anteater - is on the banned list, too. 

Since when have we been known to do as we are told?  

Tokay is still okay...for another few years, anyway. 

Are people still popping their corks hosting Champagne Breakfasts these days?

Inviting friends over for a Champagne Breakfast was a popular way to waste a day back in the 70s and early 80s.  Such en vogue les rassemblements (in vogue gatherings) were barrels of fun.

Importantly, one had to ensure there was enough food hidden in the fridge to cover lunch because some folk never knew when to leave.  There were some guests who were welcome to linger longer; and then, of course, there were some you wish you’d not invited in the first place.  

“Bubbly Breakfast” or “Sparkling Wine Breakfast” doesn’t sound as effervescent, frivolous or inviting as “Champagne Breakfast”, to my way of thinking. 

For my breakfast these days I start off with a glass or two of water; then I juice oranges au naturel (the fruit, not me); munch on a bowl of muesli, or chomp on toast heaped high with avocado, followed by a mug of comforting coffee to fill any gaps that may remain. 

Being the boring old whatsit I’ve become, there’s not a glass of Champagne or bubbly within easy reach or sight.  

The three bottles of Champers I’d had hidden in my fridge I gave away to a good friend a few weeks ago.  Someone may as well get some good use out of them!   I can always buy another bottle or two, if or when I get the urge.  I never seem to get the urge these days.  

What is the world coming to?   C'est la vie...

 But then...Melbourne Cup Day is rapidly approaching...who knows?

Mandarin Cinnamon French Toast: Combine 300ml cream, 1tbs icing sugar and 1/4tsp ground cardamom; whisk until thickened slightly. Cover; chill.  Place 2c champagne, 1/2c sugar, 2 green cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 lightly crush star anise in saucepan over low to med-heat; stir until sugar melts. Increase heat to high; bring to boil. Add 6 peeled, quartered and halved crossways mandarins; cook. 2-3mins; take off heat; set aside. Cool 10mins before moving mandarins; place on tray. Place poaching liquid back on heat; bring to boil; reduce heat; simmer 10mins or until thickened.  Whisk together 3 eggs, 1/4c milk, vanilla, 1/3c caster sugar, 1/4c cream, tsp cinnamon and 1tsp lemon zest. Heat pan over med-heat, melt 20g butter until it begins to bubble. Dip 8 thick slices of fruit bread into the egg mixture; place on pan to cook. Cook in batches, 2mins each side or until golden. Divide the cinnamon between 4 plates with the poached mandarins.  Pour over the syrup; top with cardamom cream.

Crabby Benedict: Cut English muffin in half; toast each half.  Poach 2 eggs, 3-5mins. When cooked, place on paper towels to remove excess water.  Make yoghurt sauce – 1/2c yoghurt, 2tbs Dijon mustard, 2tsp lemon juice; season to taste. On one half of muffin, layer slices of avocado, cooked crab meat; repeat with other muffin half, avocado and crab.  Add a spoonful of yoghurt sauce; top each stack with a poached egg; top with more sauce. Garnish with chopped shallot.

Champagne Cupcakes: Preheat oven 175C; prepare a cupcake pan with liners. Whisk together 1-2/3c plain flour, 1c sugar, 1/4tsp baking soda and 1tsp baking powder.  Add 3/4c room temp butter, 3 egg whites, 1tsp vanilla, 1/2c sour cream and 1/2c plus 2tbs champagne; mix on medium speed just until smooth.  Do not over mix. Fill cupcake liners a little more than half way. Bake 18-20mins.  Cool 1-2mins; then remove to rack to cool. Make frosting: Combine 1/2c butter and 1/2c copha until smooth; add 2c icing sugar; mix until smooth; add 4-5tbs champagne.  Add a little more champagne, if needed, until desired consistency is reach; top cupcakes with frosting.