Archive for October, 2008

Pesto Pasta Salad

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

pesto pasta salad.jpg

A very quick and easy lunch idea that can be made ahead, all you need is half a BBQ chicken (shredded), half a packet of farfalle or fusilli pasta cooked al dente, half a sliced red capsicum, half a punnet of cherry tomatoes (halved).  Toss together, with 4 large tablespoons of pesto with a little bit of the pasta cooking water to moisten it, or more olive oil if you’re not watching the waistline. You can add anything to it that you like – cucumbers, sliced mushrooms, or you could just eat it warm by stirring the pesto through the pasta just after it’s cooked.

If you wanted to be a bit more tricky and make your own pesto: one bunch of fresh basil (1.5 cups), 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts, 1 garlic clove placed in a blender, then turn it on and pour 1/2 cup of olive oil to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. It’s nicer if you leave a bit of texture in it rather than completely pureeing it.  Store in the fridge with some extra olive oil to preserve it on top.

Mudgee Wine Region

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Mudgee is a wine region 3.5 hrs drive from Sydney that is increasingly rivalling the well established Hunter region as a place to go for a good drop.  September was its annual Food and Wine Festival, and that was the reason for our 3 day trip.  With over 35 cellar doors, we managed to get through around 11 in 3 days.  Highlights were:

1. Blue Wren wines – the friendliest service from the winemakers, without a doubt. They had an amazing white port, which is served to you on ice, with a squeeze of lime.  Quite the pep up after breakfast, it was sweet without being sickly, and sooo refreshing.  Also makes a delicious verjuice for the non-drinkers in your party.


2. Logan Wines - we stopped here for a coffee and lounged around reading the paper in the overhanging glass room looking over the winery.

3. Farmer’s Daughter Wines – also lovely service from the Farmer’s daughter and had a delicious pink moscato – really sweet and goes down really well as dessert on its own. 

4. Oatley Wines – great combination of food tastings and wine, and attentive service also.

5. Elliot Rocke (right)- trendiest place, try the ice wine – dessert wine made with frozen grapes. But the staff informed me they are not frozen on the vine like some NZ varieties.


 6. Burrundulla Vineyards – delicious whites and has an art gallery too.

7. High Valley Wine and Cheese Co – apparently has a great breakfast, but sadly, we missed it :(

Other places worth checking out: Mudgee Honey Haven to try Mead – which is a honey alcohol, from which the term honeymoon is coined.  They also sell a honey ale and honey ginger ale and there are over 15 varieties of honey to taste from creamed honey with chocolate and strawberry through it, to my first taste of honeycomb! (more…)