Driving back from the beach after the weekend we stopped off in Matakana where we discovered the Matakana Patisserie . If I was thinner I'd have happily spent the entire afternoon in the sunny courtyard eating pastries. They also make the best ciabatti bread I've tried in a long time.
Tami has posted the round up of the lastest Donna Hay event. Drop by and visit her blog for some great entries and cast your vote. My post seemed to attract some rather unpleasant spam comments. I hope no one else suffered similar comments.
Also the Donna Hay magazine kindly sent me some merchandise to give away as prizes which has either been lost in the post or stolen from my letterbox. Hopefully I can track it down as I don't expect them to send a second package.
In the past month two specialty food markets have opened in Auckland. The first to open was Nosh in Apirana Ave, Glen Innes and last week Newmarket Fresh opened in Gillies Ave Newmarket. Both are worth a visit with Nosh having a more upmarket approach. This does not make it any better than Newmarket Fresh as they carry a similar range of New Zealand and imported products.
Last weekend I finally met Arfi. We've been swapping emails for some months now and at last we were able to coordinate a day to meet. The day started out a bit grim with rain looming on the horizon. By the time we had driven a little over an hour out of the city the sun was shining and Arfi had set the outside table for lunch. Arfi and her family live on a few acres in a pretty part of South Auckland surrounded by rolling hills.
We were treated to an Indonesian style meal of Chicken in peanut sauce served on perfect fluffy white rice followed by a tangy jellied yoghurt with lychees. I'd saved room for some of Arfi's special chocolate truffles. And I even found more room for the lemon cake she served with herb tea.
After lunch we collected flowers from the garden and took a walk
through the orchard before going home with some home made tamarillo chutney and
farm fresh eggs from Arfi's chickens. Which made a beautiful omelette
for our dinner that evening.
A layer of sliced telegraph cucumber A few tiny squares of fetta cheese A couple of slivers of smoked salmon A few slices of red onion A flutter of leaves of flat leaf parsley A drizzle of olive and and a sprinkle of Maldon salt
Last year I was tagged for the previous outing of this meme by Mona . When you've just been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 18 months the word "die" is not something you want to think about let alone consider which five foods you need to eat. This time around I've been taggedtwice and so in the interests of research by Melissa I've decided I can cope with participating.
5 FOODS TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE
Iberico jamon - Unbelievably this was part of my last meal in Santiago de Compostella before visiting a doctor in Portugal the following day and being admitted to hospital for emergency life saving surgery.
Blue Manna Crabs - caught at Busselton Beach, best eaten with family and friends and served from a table covered with newspaper with just a touch of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.
Somethings are so simple it is easy to mess them up. My pastry puffed up into little pillows and I misread the baking time and didn't cook them for long enough. They don't look as pretty as Tami's , the host of this months Hay Hay Its Donna Day, but they tasted fine. I'll know better next time and leave them in the oven 10 minutes longer.
Update: I've been getting some nasty spam email to this post so have altered the word in the title I think is attracting it.
We saved the best till last. Montrachet on Given Terrace in Brisbane was our favourite meal by far. From the decor to the waiter you could have been in Paris, everything was so French. On the last day of our trip we spent a long lunch here with our friends R & S before checking in for our flight home. We've all be raving about it ever since. Here's what I ordered for lunch. Foie Gras de Canard à la Compote de Poire Duck foie gras served with fresh pear compote and toasted baguette Bouillabaisse Reef fish, Queensland scallops, fresh green
prawns and Moreton Bay bugs served in a rich seafood broth with aioli
and garlic French toast Touree De L’Aubier (Normandy, France) This is a washed rind
cows’ milk cheese,surface ripened and also known as the “woodcutter’s
cheese”. It has a distinctive thin layer of spruce bark surrounding the
outer rim. and a soft texture which is surprisingly mild, sweet and
creamy with just a hint of pine. washing, mouldy cellars and farmyards.
Back in Auckland and it is cold and raining the warm Brisbane weather is now just a memory. Our holiday started in the best possible way with a room upgrade at Rydges on Southbank . We didn't spend much time in our extra large room but when we did we would sit on the balcony and enjoy the spectacular city and river views. Little Stanley Street became our kitchen away from home as there were plenty of eating choices.
The Satay Hut was our favourite and we dined there more than once.
click to enlarge
While in Brisbane I phoned the The Old Foodie from a bar and it happened to be across the road from her apartment so she joined us for a drink. We spent the afternoon chatting with Janet and enjoyed more views of the river from her gorgeous apartment. Knowing how much I love great cheese she served the first of my many Roquefort experiences on this trip. We even cut the cheese with a special cheese knife Janet purchased in Roquefort. There is a silly reason that doesn't allow it to be sold in New Zealand. I purchased it several times and for anyone interested it sells for $95 a kilo. Around $18 will get you a decent serve for 4 - 6 people. Depends how greedy you are!
Season - we were so tired after the drive we popped in here for a quick meal on our first night after Jules said it was her favourite Noosa restaurant. The BBQ prawns, spiced tomato risotto, preserved lemon and chili was just enough after a long day.
Berardos - an enjoyable meal spoilt only by the waiter who had no idea how to wait. He interrupted our friends story by saying "I must tell you the specials, they are much more important than all this talk". I had a simple Scotch fillet with mushrooms and red wine sauce here as the rest of the table had chosen all the interesting dishes and we all tried to eat something different. My dessert of Quince and pistachio halva made up for having the ordinary main.
HUMiD - we all agreed this was our best meal in Noosa. Our only complaint is the restaurant is very noisy despite it being small with only 12 tables. I had the Crispy skin confit of duck, roasted pumpkin puree, caramelised beetroot with balsamic glaze. And for dessert Sticky date and chocolate pudding served with butterscotch sauce and Gippsland double cream. Gorgeous and so rich I couldn't eat it all.
At the apartment we lunched on the patio with supplies from the Eumundi Markets .
Finally we spent our last few days with our very good friends R & S on the Gold Coast. Excellent weather and we did mostly picnic lunches and dinners at home. No trip to the Gold Coast is complete without driving over the border into New South Wales and a drink at the Byron Bay Beach Hotel. We stopped off there after a visit to the pretty town of Bangalow and lunch at Utopia . I'd drive there again just for the mussels....and I was so hungry after the drive I forgot to take a photo. But heres a photo of the bread and dips.....
....and the rocky road
A couple of other little finds were La Riviera Patisserie in Noosaville
Doesn't this tart look yummy? Will yours look as good as this? This is the savoury tart made by Tami our host of Hay Hay Its Donna Day #5. Check out Tami's post for the details and get your entry in by 15th September.
I'm back home and wearing an extra sweater. It is so much cooler in Auckland. Thank you to everyone who left messages while I was away. We had a great time with lots of fine wine, excellent food and catching up with good friends. I'll be posting a few of my foodie adventures as soon as I've unpacked and organised myself.