Tag Archives: Petaluma



Hi Tony,

Its open fire, roasted chestnuts and red wine time of year. And to think, all of that without cranking the airconditioner up.

Funny, no snow on the ground in the mountains yet, but we are already thinking about spring/summer again. That may have something to do with a little party we are planning in the spring…or because we are hanging out to slide down a hill and ride a lift back up again. Not sure which, maybe a little from column A and a little from column B.

Been working silly long hours, both of us, so the cooking has taken a bit of a backseat. Weekends have been our saviour. A chance to spend a few hours in the kitchen and get a few things made and frozen.

Come winter proper, we’ll be back at Mt Buller every weekend. Might put pay to some of the weekend cooking. Going to have to find a solution for that at some point.

Hey, when was the last time you made dumplings? Yeah, thought that might be the case…why would you make dumplings if you can buy them in Chinatown for a couple of baht each? Ok, so I spent a couple hours mixing up some minced chicken, lemongrass, ginger, coriander, garlic, chilli, sesame oil and Xiao shin wine and then folding a teaspoon full in some gyoza wrappers. Sure, I cheated at this point…I didn’t make the gyoza wrappers. Store bought. Not half bad though.


Try this, some chicken stock, ginger, dark soy sauce bring to the boil, add the dumplings and after a while, Chinese broccoli, oyster mushrooms and some egg noodles. Great fast winter filler.  Wash it down with something zesty like an aged Petaluma Riesling.


Do you ever get home at the end of the day and just have a hankering for something? Even if it means standing in 12C and rain whilst bbq’ing some chicken thigh fillets marinaded in cumin, sumac, turmeric, dried chilli, garlic and olive oil. But even more challenging, proving and baking some Turkish bread at the same time. Throw a little thinly sliced cucumber, chilli relish and tahini (with hot water and freshly chopped parsley) and you have a killer chicken burger!

Speaking of bread. I did a bread making course at the Abbotsford Convent over summer. They have an amazing wood fired oven, but doing a course there on a 40C day is not advisable. Was a great course, but I was scanning the paper today and low and behold, there is a pic of Baker Bob. Ok, it wasn’t such an inspiring story to go with the art. Seems Baker Bob was dabbling in other sorts of dough.

Revisited an old fav on Friday night. Not sure if you’ve been to Old Kingdom? It’s a Melbourne institution. Forget the menu, little on it that you would want to order. Duck is what it is about. It’s a duck 3 – way. Starts off with Peking duck, moves on to duck stir fry then finishes things off with duck bone soup. Wash it down with a bottle of pinot noir, either red or sparkling…who knew that Champagne would go so well with duck?!

Quieter time planned this week. I think I’ve done my bbq’ing for the week. Might crank the heater and hang out inside. Perhaps even light a fire and find a suitable bottle of red. Maybe a Forest Hill Cabernet?

Smoker’s cough


Oh, I get it.

With the advent of review sites like Urbanspoon and Yelp (in the US), you open the door to “professional” reviewers and casual diner/reviewers alike. What I don’t get is complaining about a restaurant experience on social media. What happened to speaking to someone at the venue?

On the other hand, raving about the latest place, because, well, it’s the latest place is equally annoying. In Melbourne the trend is for “south of the river” residents to brave the hipsters in the north to “find” that “undiscovered gem”. Really? You do realise the locals had been eating there for the last 12 months. They’re not anymore.

Wagyu. That’s my beef (pardon the pun).

Over the course of the last few years, we have seen a distinct swing to the use of wagyu beef, except at some fast food joints. But, I was under belief that the whole wagyu thing was that is extensively marbled with fat so that it is uber tender. At least that’s what I encountered with steaks in Japan. So, why is it that every pub, restaurant and burger joint (there are too many of these) is spruiking a wagyu burger? Last I checked ground/minced beef was tender, well, because it was ground/minced. Did I miss something?

Call me cynical, but I suspect this is so we can be charged $20+ for a wagyu burger which is comprised all of those cuts of meat which we just don’t really want to know about. I’m probably happier with a burger made from nice meat from any old bovine for half the price.

Ok, so hindsight is a pretty good thing. Should have considered things a little more last night. But it seemed like a damned fine idea at the time.


Take 1 x 750g rainbow trout (sadly it was farmed, not wild), clean, season and place on BBQ (not over heat) with smoker box full of hickory wood chips. Sounds pretty fine, yeah?

Ok, so taking the washing off the line beforehand would have been sensible.


Despite winter being upon us, I do so like firing the BBQ up drenched in sub-tropical, lush, verdant green foliage. Alright, it currently is a somewhat overgrown jungle.

You’ll be happy to know that the trout was sensational, if I do say so myself. Matched it was a warm middle eastern cous cous salad. Pretty easy, mix some sumac, cumin, ground coriander and fennel seeds with your cous cous and cook per normal. Sprinkle with some goats cheese, pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.


I know, a healthy meal. Even better with an aged (2009) Petaluma Riesling. So much goodness.