Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Mexican Style Quinoa and Blackbean Salad with wine!

Spring hasn’t exactly been wowing me with her balmy days and nights, but I’ve decided it’s definitely time to embrace the salad once again. Yes, there have been some Ottolenghi cauliflower salads in there…but I thought I wouldn’t impose my love of cauli on you again.

This time it’s the all delicious, all amazing QUINOA and BLACKBEAN MEXICAN SALAD! It’s absolutely scrummy as a side dish or as a stand alone meal, and it's VEGAN to boot!

Half a cup of quinoa, rinsed and cooked as per the instructions to boil.
1 bunch of coriander, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped (stalks and all!)
1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed.
1 capsicum sliced into thin fingers
1 large tomato, diced
1 ear of corn, cooked and removed from the cobb.

Salt, pepper, juice of ¼ of a lemon, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin and tablespoons of olive oil.

Place sliced capsicum onto a tray, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast in a hot oven until it is soft. Allow to cool.
Cook quinoa in boiling water until soft, drain and cool.
Cook corn (either boil the cobb until the kernels are soft, cook on a barbeque, or do what I do and leave in the husk and pop in the microwave for about 5 minutes)
Combine all ingredients into a salad bowl.

For the dressing:
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin (adjust as you see fit) and dress the salad.
I served mine with crisped up pita bread and a cracking glass of white, try the (also vegan) Spring Seed Semillon Sav Blanc for that hint of lemony mouth feel and lovely floral hints. You can buy it here.

*** Vegans look away now: this salad is also awesome topped with some crumbly feta cheese and grilled prawns or white fish.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake... with wine! More Ottolenghi goodness...

Cauliflower is pretty much my winter of 2016 hero. I’ve only recently got into cooking with it, and it has made its way into a multitude of different dishes, soups and salads this season. It’s a cheap veggie from the markets, and it easy to grow if you can keep the Cabbage White Moths away.
I've been playing around with my Ottolenghi recipes (I'm obsessed!) and thought I'd share this one with you...yes, it's got cauliflower in it. 

It's a CAULIFLOWER AND PARMESAN CAKE! Ottolenghi suggests serving this “cake” (think: sturdy baked omelet) as a light dinner with a “makeshift salad of sliced cucumber, dill, mint, a little sugar, cider vinegar and grape seed oil”. You can serve it with whatever you like really, steamed greens, snags, or just wolf it down all on its own. It's been lunch box fare all week and is pretty awesome.


1 medium/large cauliflower
1 large red onion, peeled
75mls olive oil
3 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
3 teaspoons picked and chopped thyme leaves
8 eggs
A good handful of parsley (Ottolenghi suggests basil, but it isn’t in season at the moment and my garden is awash with Italian parsley, so that is what I used).
Scant 1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
220 grams of parmesan or aged cheese. I didn’t have quite enough parmesan in the fridge, so topped up with about 70 grams of grated tasty and all was well.
Salt and black pepper
Butter, for greasing pan
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

 Ottolenghi says to boil your cauliflower, but I chose to roast it instead. I broke the cauli into small florets and chopped up the stems too. I tossed the lot in olive oil and a liberal seasoning of salt and pepper. If you choose to do it this way, omit the extra seasoning later otherwise it will be salt overload!

Once cauliflower is cooked, preheat oven to (180°C) degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Halve your red onion and cut a few thin rings off the end of one side; set them aside. Coarsely chop the remainder of your onion. Heat all of your olive oil in a pan and saute the chopped red onion and rosemary thyme together until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk eggs and olive oil and onion mixture together. Stir in parsley. Whisk flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese, (if you have boiled your cauli at this stage add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and many, many grinds of black pepper together in a separate bowl) and add to egg mixture, whisking to remove lumps. 

Stir in cauliflower gently, so most pieces remain intact.

Line the bottom of a 24cm round springform pan with baking paper. Butter the sides generously. Put the sesame seeds in the pan and toss them around so that they stick to the sides. Pour in the cauliflower batter, arrange the reserved onion rings on top and bake cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a crisp white. Why not try the grassy Freehand Semillon Sav Blanc? It’s an absolute cracker and you can buy it here

Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Perfect Spanish Tortilla!

Recipe Time! 

Okay, so I have a lovely Spanish friend who taught me how to make a real-deal Spanish Tortilla. The way he showed me there weren’t any measurements or the like. Basically make sure your potato to onion ratio is about 3:2 and that your potato/onion to egg ratio is about 3:2. Basically you need to make sure you don’t over egg it, the perfect ratio is what makes it sooooo good! This dish can be eaten alone, in a sandwich, with a salad or as a side to grilled meats. It is super versatile. It pairs well with many wines, including Tempranillo or Verdejo (try the Spanish Vicente Gandia) or with a good Reisling (try the Hochkirch). It also goes well with lighter style reds like a Grenache or a light red blend, check out our full selection here. 

My own tip is to choose your fry pan carefully. I usually cook up my potatoes and onions in a large wok (enough for several tortillas!), and then cook the actual tortilla in a smaller pan that I know inverts easily and isn’t too heavy for me to manage. A non-stick pan is essential.
I also know the capacity of my smaller pan, so when I am making my egg/potato/onion mix I make it to the exact quantity that fits in my pan. I have a large measuring-mixing jug where I combine the ingredients before pouring into the hot pan. If you are making enough for more than one tortilla I recommend combining the egg and veg for each tortilla individually, that way the heat of the vegetables won’t cook the eggs before you get it onto the stove!

 Below are ingredients for one tortilla

500g potatoes (I haven’t been fussy about what kind, I usually buy mine from a local organic veggie seller who drives around our neighbourhood in his ute!)
1-2 onions
Olive oil
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
6 eggs


1. Peel the potatoes or leave the skins on, if you prefer. Cut them into 5mm slices. Cut onion into half rings of the same thickness
2. Heat a good slug of oil in a large frying pan, add the potatoes and onion and stew gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are softened. (add more oil if it’s sticking or looking dry).
3. Beat the eggs separately, then stir into the potatoes with the parsley if you like, and plenty of salt and pepper. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a smaller pan. Tip everything into the pan and cook on a moderate heat, using a spatula to shape the omelette into a cushion.

4. When almost set, invert on a plate and slide back into the pan and cook a few more minutes, until the middle of the tortilla feels firm, this indicates the egg is all cooked. Some people prefer to leave it a bit gooey in the middle, this is up to you! Slide on to a plate and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

* Variations on this dish are endless! Sometimes I cook slices of red capsicum with the potatoes and onions, or I add a small amount of chorizo or some olives. I also like to place some slices of tomato or some sage leaves in the bottom of the small pan before carefully pouring the mixture over them, this makes a lovely pattern on top of your tortilla for serving!  It's Spanish goodness on a plate, served with Spanish goodness in a glass!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Ottolenghi's Crushed Puy Lentils with Cumin...and a wine pairing

Today I'm sharing a recently discovered recipe which has become a total fave.   It's an amazing Crushed Lentil and Cumin dish from Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty More'.  For those of your unfamiliar with Ottolenghi (have you been living in a cave somewhere??) 'Plenty More' is a book filled with delicious Middle Eastern inspired vegetarian recipes. I would like to add that I am not a vegetarian, but if someone cooked me food like this every day, I'd be tempted to convert! 


This was an easy to prepare dish (I doubled the quantities and have loads to get our family through the week, as well as a container for a sick friend). I'm planning to pair it with a light red wine tonight - the awesome Kalleske Clarry's GSM which you can buy here: http://bit.ly/24XbiUd. You could also choose one of our PinotsThe new Huckleberry Hustle by Temple Bruer, a Tempranillo or a red blend like the Gemtree Phantom. Winner.

Crushed Puy Lentils with Cumin


200g puy lentils
30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil , plus extra to finish
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
3 medium tomatoes, skinned and cut into 1cm dice
25g coriander leaves, chopped
4 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
½ small red onion, peeled and sliced very thin (I pickled this in a mixture of red wine vinegar, water, salt and sugar...I found that it added a real zing to the dish...delicious!)
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

This sustaining meal-on-a-plate is a little bit like hummus, though much easier and quicker to prepare. With warm flatbread, I could eat this every day. Serves two as a main, or four as a starter.


Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook for 15-20 minutes, until completely cooked, drain and set aside.

Put the butter and oil in a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin, and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, 20g of coriander and the cooked lentils. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the tahini, lemon juice, 70ml of water, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes more, until hot and thickened. Roughly mash the lentils with a potato masher, so that some are broken up and you get a thick, porridge consistency.

Spread out the lentils on a flat platter, run a fork through to make a wavy pattern on top, and scatter on the sliced onion, the remaining coriander and a final drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside. (I served this with a slice of Spanish Tortilla...I will post the recipe for that next time...I was taught to make the perfect Tortilla by a Spanish friend and I think I've got it just about right!).

Enjoy with a light red from our selection. Scrumbo!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Roasted Cauliflower Soup and a White Wine Pairing

So, it's been ages between posts...life has gotten in the way, and I don't seem to have garnered many followers...must look into that.

As Winter is now well and truly here, I'm sharing a recipe for a delicious warming soup, and a wine match made in heaven.  We plan to share a recipe and wine pairing each fortnight, here and on our Facebook page.  We hope you enjoy them, and welcome your feedback! Happy cooking.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup.


1 whole large cauliflower broken into florets
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
Thyme, around 1/8 of a cup of picked leaves
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 large leek, finely sliced

4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1-2 litres of mild tasting stock (vegetable or chicken would be great, I used beef because this is what I had most recently made, it was still awesome!!).  You can reduce the amount of stock and make up the difference with water.
Heavy cream (optional)


Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, place on a baking tray and roast in the oven (on around 200˚c) for around 25-30 minutes.  Check the cauliflower regularly and turn if necessary.  You’re looking for the florets to caramelise a bit and look and smell delicious!
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat a medium sized stock pot on the stove.  Melt butter in the pan and add a slug of olive oil.  Then add onion, garlic, thyme and leek, cook until all translucent and sweet smelling.
Add stock/water and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Once cauliflower has finished roasting put most of the florets into the pot (set aside a few pieces for serving).
Use a stick blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency.   If you are using cream, add it after the blending and make sure you do not boil the soup when reheating.
Serve with a few cauliflower florets sprinkled on top.

As a wine pairing, I suggest the Ngeringa J.E.Assemblage White.  It is a Viognier/Chardonnay blend.  The silky smooth, floral sweet of the Viognier and the sharp acidity of the Chardonnay balance

Monday, 30 November 2015

Organic Christmas Hampers

Christmas Hamper time!

I’ll tell you why I love receiving a hamper…  it’s full of stuff that I’ll actually USE and won’t be left trying to find a home for all year.  Don’t get me wrong, I love presents, BIG TIME.  However, as I’ve grown older, made my own home, have my own family, and have developed my own (very particular) aesthetic tastes I’ve become more fussy.  Sometimes getting a gift from an acquaintance of say: a teapot, a vase, a salad bowl, some candle holders…you get the drift, just doesn’t really thrill me to the back teeth.  I’ve got a house full of things and I don’t need another ‘item’.  Which brings me back to the brilliance of a hamper!  I can EAT and DRINK all of the things in it!  And even if they’re not all my favourite things I can bring them out to share at one of the multitude of holiday events that pop up at this time of year.  

We’ve got two hampers for sale this holiday season, one contains a range of organic tasty treats, all parcelled up in an attractive recycled box, the other contains those yummy treats, and CHAMPAGNE!  I’m betting money that you’ve got someone in your life who would be happy with either (or both!) of these scrummy hampers.  You know who I mean (Aunty Beryl who has everything you could ever need, a dear friend who lives miles away, your colleagues or employees), I’m sure you’re already compiling a list and tallying up the numbers.

If you’re not so keen to buy a whole hamper, we do have our hamper items for sale individually.  You might like to pair them up with a favourite wine, pop them in a gift bag and hand them out to children’s teachers, or ‘drop in’ friends.  Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a good organic wine and a delicious organic treat for a Christmas gift.

The low down:

GOURMET ORGANIC HAMPER:  This is a lovely selection of Australian Organic goodness; including your choice of a range of Alter Ego Fair Trade, organic chocolates and truffles, Rosnay fig preserve, Carwari Organic Salted Roasted Cashews, Bodhi Farm Organic Tassie Blend Dukkah, Pure Origins Organic Leatherwood Honey.  Did I mention, delicious?

Just add one or more of your favourite wines and you will have a fantastic gourmet organic gift.

CHAMPAGNE GOURMETORGANIC HAMPER:  This hamper contains all of the above tasty goodness, and a bottle of Authentic Organic and Biodynamic Champagne - Fleury Blanc de Noirs.  This is a delicious wine, and even without the additional gourmet adornments would be a lovely gift.   We are only stocking limited quantities of this Gold Medal winning Champagne, and with the toasty aromas,  hints of apple, almonds and nectarines and the well balanced acidity with minerally notes, we won’t be able to keep it on the shelves for long.  You are, of course, welcome to substitute the wine for a sparkling to suit your taste or budget.

Just click here to peruse our hamper items and place your order!  if you want these items to arrive in ample time for Christmas, with no stress or fuss, please place your order as soon as possible.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Gemtree Organic and Biodynamic Wines.

Delicious wines with a conscience.









In 1980 Paul and Jill Buttery established the Gemtree vineyards in McLaren Vale on must be left in better condition than they found it in.  Not content to just pay lip service to a philosophy, the Buttery family decided to act, preserving a 10 hectare section of land within the Gemtree vineyard in 1998.  This stretch of land, originally a degraded creek line, littered with rubbish and weeds, was lovingly cleaned up and replanted with over 50,000 plants contributing to the survival of local native species and ensuring an ecological balance is maintained on the property. The site is now a bio-diverse wetland and a haven for native birds, plants and animals. 
Thirty five years after realising their dream of caring for a vineyard, Paul and Jill have handed over the reins.  Now their son - Andrew runs the business, their daughter Melissa Brown is the Biodynamic Viticulturist and her husband, Mike Brown is the Chief Winemaker.  All share a passion for producing quality organic wines and their philosophy is simple ~ minimal intervention in the wine making process and a more environmentally conscious farming systems.  These beliefs as well as hard work, education and care, mean that the Gemtree Winery produces wines which are powerful, concentrated, and express the true characteristics of each grape variety and the region.  

Over the years the Gemtree vineyards have expanded from the original 38 acres containing Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines, sustained only by limited mains water.  With a bore sunk, and the purchase of adjoining parcels of land over the years, there are now 328 acres of Gemtree Vineyards, with 272 under vine.  There are now a huge spread of grape varietals being grown, grafted and tinkered with by the Buttery/Brown family:  Chardonnay, Verdelho, Savagnin, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot. Riesling, Mataro, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and even some Zinfandel.

Mike and Melissa are the hands-on people when it comes to grapes and wine.  Mike acknowledges that all great wines are made out in the vineyard.  Since the introduction of the biodynamic regime into their vineyards there has been a significant increase in fruit quality and intensity.  He sees it as his job to merely “massage and showcase” what his partner is doing out on the land.  Essentially, you will taste not only the true characteristics of the wine varietals of the region, but the results of this love of family, the environment, and their passionate philosophies about wine making, in every bottle of Gemtree Wine.
We’ve got a range of Gemtree wines available for sale on the website here, from an everyday quaffer like the Gemstone Chardonnay   or something a bit special like their Obsidian Shiraz (ah-mazing!)

When seeking out information about this winery, I came across this story on their website.  It’s a lovely little fable which sums up their philosophies in a neat package.  We hope you enjoy the tale, as well as the wine!
The Gemtree Story. (from the Gemtree website)

There was once a tree. Not the tallest tree, nor the oldest tree, but a tree that had put its roots in just the right part of the paddock. Here the soil was deep and layered - sometimes hard and rocky, elsewhere soft and sandy - and the wind had just enough room to move, and even the rain - when it was kind enough to visit - would fall evenly and gently.

Because of its favoured position, the grasses grew tall against its trunk, and the wild flowers were easily encouraged to grow closely around it, and the insects and birds that looked to trees for shelter and for vantage, eagerly moved in.

One day a farmer approached the tree and wondered: “You do not grow the strongest, nor the fastest, so why is it that you grow the best fruit?”

The tree let the answer whisper through the wind in its branches: “If I am shown a patient mind and a gentle hand, if I am left to follow the rhythms of my seasons – to rest in Winter; to revive in Spring; to make busy in Summer; and to provide in Fall – then I can offer fruit that tastes not just of the ground upwards, but also of the sky downwards, and of everything around me.”

The farmer thought to himself: “This is truly a Gemtree – it takes only what it can give back to the land, it contributes to its surroundings, and it provides for those that live around it.”