Monday, September 29, 2014

We visited Homestead Brewery on the very first weekend they opened. It was a lovely warm day and we were greeted by a friendly staff member who gave us a quick run down of the Menu.

We started by having small tastings of the 4 Beers they had on tap. I chose to drink the Thunderbird IPA which went down very nice and didn't leave that heavy feeling in my stomach that I usually find with craft beers.

We took a seat on the veranda in the beautiful sun over looking the newly sprouting green vines whilst looking over the menu.

The menu is great, you can order some tapas and cheese platters to share with friends over a few drinks. Light and main meals are also available, kids meals and a pizza menu where the wood-fired pizzas are made using house-made dough.

Out the back they have a new, fully fenced playground with soft-fall and shade sails. The grassed area is huge, it has heaps of bench tables, is shady and is a great place to bring a picnic rug and sit under the trees or in the sun. The outdoor bar serve beer and wine to the grassed area and they also have a little deli to the left where you can purchase cheese platters and add some charcuterie meats and fresh baked rolls to your platter. Pizza's are also available here and come out in a take away box so its easy to dispose of.

The outside also backs onto the river which would be a great spot to tie up your Kayak or boat and walk up and grab a drink and a bite to eat. Just note that the Jetty there is Private and belongs to Sandalford!

After watching our daughter play on the playground for a bit we ventured back inside and walked past the Mandoon Estate Fine Dining Restaurant which was lovely and fancy, I'll be back to try this one day soon.

For lunch my daughter chose the kids Margherita Pizza and ate it all! Love the homemade dough.

I had the Pork and Fennel Tacos which were tasty, light and filling.

Hubby ordered the Fish and Chips and A friend had the Wagyu Burger on a Brioche Bun .

The meals came out within a reasonable time frame and were presented nicely. Next time I think ill try the Mussels, they sounded so good.

There's plenty of seating around the place, tables, lounges and picnic benches and if this place is bustling you'd still be able to grab a seat somewhere and enjoy a drink or 2 without feeling crowded.

Photo credit J Staniforth

They had a live band playing outside when we finished our lunch and it was so nice enjoying a glass of red whilst listening to classic Aussie live music.

Photo credit J Staniforth
Whilst inside looking through the glass walls at the shiny new brew tanks, we spotted a Taxi Phone. How great is that! And being not that far into the Valley I can probably guarantee you wont be waiting too long for a cab too.

We also had the General Manager come over and ask us how our food and general experience of the place was. After a little chat we told him we look forward to becoming regulars.

Homestead brewery at Mandoon Estate are open 7 days a week. No more wondering through the valley thirsty on a Monday/Tuesday, head on down here!

Homestead Brewery on Urbanspoon

Mandoon Estate on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I made this lovely side salad to have with dinner last night. Asparagus has just come into season here in Australia and I purchased some from my local supermarket.

This salad would go very well with some grilled fish!

Warm Potato, Asparagus & Dill Salad

A big handful of small chat potatoes (sliced in half)
A bunch of asparagus (ends trimmed, chopped in thirds)
1 Carrot (julienned)
A few red radishes (sliced thinly)
Half a punnet of cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
Half a red onion (thinly sliced)

2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh chopped dill

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well, set aside.

In a salad bowl combine the carrot, radishes, tomatoes and red onion.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes until tender. Blanch the asparagus in the water for 1-2 mins.

Add the drained potatoes and asparagus to the mixing bowl and pour over the dressing. Stir

gently to combine.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

We've made pasta from scratch a few times now, and it's gotten a whole lot easier since I received a pasta roller attachment for my beloved Kitchenaid Mixer for my birthday a few weeks ago!

Spinach, Ricotta and Prosciutto Ravioli

Pasta: (This Recipe is from the back of '00' Pasta flour Brand: Molini Pizzuti)
500Gm '00' Flour
5 eggs
1 tsp Olive Oil
10 Gm Salt

In a bowl/mixer mix eggs, salt and oil. Add flour and mix into a soft dough. knead for 2 mins then cover and rest.

1x small tub Ricotta cheese
1x bunch spinach, wilted and chopped
2 TBSP Parmesan Cheese, grated
5 slices Prosciutto, chopped
1 TBSP Dried herbs and Garlic (I use YIAH Herb & Garlic Mix)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.


Pinch off about a golf ball sized ball of pasta and lightly flour. Roll out the pasta sheets, but not too thin. I finished on number 5 on the pasta roller which is medium thickness and good for filled pasta.

Roll out a long sheet and then place a small heaped teaspoon of mixture about 5 cm apart on half of the sheet.

Use a pastry brush or finger to lightly wet around the mixture with water so the pastry on top sticks then lightly cover with the other half of the pasta sheet.

Press lightly around the mix to seal the pasta and make sure no air bubbles are trapped. Cut out with a circle or fluted cookie cutter and place on a floured place or line with baking paper or it will stick! and lightly dust with flour.

Repeat until you have enough.

To Cook: Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and then lower the flame so it just simmering. Rapidly boiling water will break apart the pasta so it needs to cook gently for about 10-12 minutes until tender. 

Drain and serve with any pasta sauce you like.

This was so yum!!

We've also made ravioli with egg yolks inside before too and served it with a Burnt Butter, Garlic and Sage Sauce. Delicious!

Egg Yolk Ricotta Ravioli

As per above recipe.

Above recipe minus the prosciutto.
Egg yolks


Roll out pasta as above and place a heaped small teaspoon of filling 5 cm apart on half the pasta sheet. Make a small well in the centre and lightly place an egg yolk on top.

Use a pastry brush or finger to lightly wet around the mixture with water so the pastry on top sticks then lightly cover with the other half of the pasta sheet.

Press lightly around the mix to seal the pasta and make sure no air bubbles are trapped. Cut out with a circle or fluted cookie cutter and place on a floured place or line with baking paper and lightly dust with flour.

Cook as pasta above but for half the time to have the yolk runny. You can serve it with the sauce below.

Burnt Butter, Garlic & Sage Sauce

75Gm unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp crushed garlic
4-5 sage leaves
1 TBSP chopped parsley & Parmesan Cheese to serve.

Melt butter in a pan and season to taste. once bubbling add garlic and sage and cook until butter just starts to change in colour.

Take off the heat and spoon over pasta.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley.


Monday, September 8, 2014

This year I participated in The Streetswap 2014. It's where Food/Lifestyle Bloggers register to make 3 handmade sweet treats to send to their 3 'matches'. To participate you need to have a blog/website and a passion for cooking!

I registered my name and my blog and soon received the names of my 3 matches.

I initially decided to make and send some Salted Caramel Popcorn as I've been making it a lot at home just to snack on but I didn't think it would arrive as crisp as I'd want it to so I turned to Plan B.

Plan B was my Hubby's idea and I thought it was great! Rocky Road!

So my recipe for the rocky road is as follows;

Aprils Streetswap 2014 Rocky Road

Half packet of marshmallows (cut in half)
1x Pack of Snakes Alive (chopped)
Half a Pack of Milk Arrowroot Biscuits, crushed roughly
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1x block of Cadbury Milk Baking Chocolate
1x block of Cadbury White Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup coconut

Mix marshmallows, snakes, biscuits, sultanas and nuts in a square baking tin/dish lined with baking paper. Melt milk chocolate in the microwave and pour over mix.

Let cool in the fridge until set. Then Melt the white chocolate and pour on top of the milk chocolate

Sprinkle with coconut and cool in the fridge until set.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

I sent off my 3 parcels express post so my recipients could enjoy them fresh and fast. My 3 matches were Belinda - The Hungry Mum, Kate - Foodies Agenda and Alice - Western Sydney Food Blog.

My 3 Streetswap goodies received were:

Peanut and Gummi Bear Chocolate Fudge from Aleesha who owns Me and The Young Blog. This was soooo yummy and I loved the crunch and chewy combo that the peanuts and gummi bears gave. I also cant remember the last time I ate a Gummi Bear and have bought more since.
Aleesha also was kind enough to leave her recipe for me so I can create it at home now too, and I definitely will. My whole family enjoyed snaking on these!

My second parcel was Salted Caramels with Fennel and Chilli sent by Katherine of A Cupcake or 2.
These soft buttery caramels were presented so beautifully in a cute small wooden box and were individually wrapped. A surprising flavour combo with the subtle heat from the chilli and the aniseed crunch of the fennel seeds hidden in salted caramel buttery goodness. I'd love to try and make these, they reminded me much like a soft toffee I used to eat as a kid.

Last but definitely not least my final Streetswap treat received were beautiful handmade chocolates by Sandra who owns the informative blog $120 Food Challenge. Choc Chilli 'Bombs' and Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Hearts. They smelt amazing when I opened the box.  2 of the hearts had leaked a bit of the caramel but it no way affected my daughter and I both eating them! I had to put these away to make them last and have since bought some more chocolate moulds to give 'filled chocolates' a go!

I hope my Rocky Road Parcels were received well and didn't melt or crumble. I've never sent treats via Post so this was a learning curve for me also .Seeing the beautiful way the treats were packaged up and how much effort the ladies went though to post, it's amazing and I will definitely do better next year!

Thanks to the organisers of the Streetswap and the ladies who sent me my treats too!

The Streetswap much fun!!

April xx