Anyway, it was very very busy on Saturday at the Food and Wine Show. Very very busy. It was still a good fun day as D joined Mum and I and we also caught up with some friends. As hard as it is keeping a big group together in the crowds, it's fun to share.
D, Mum and I made our way in in the morning, thinking we could beat the afternoon crowds. I don't think there was anything you could do to beat the crowds on Saturday. Again, we made a beeline to the ticket booth for the restaurant. It was one of our best ideas all weekend (the other was going on Friday too!).
Thanks to our Friday visit, Mum and I had wandered through all the stalls and we had already earmarked our favourites to revisit. It was good, because it was really hard to get to many stalls due to the huge crowds in front of them. We knew which ones were worth the pushing and the waiting.
One of the stalls well worth the wait is the Twist Potato stand. On Friday we saw these people wandering around with these crazy looking potatoes on sticks and on Saturday we decided to wait in the line (10 minutes at 10:30am!!!) and see what all the fuss was about.
Twist Potato sells a strange little machine that cuts a potato into a spiral which is then threaded onto a skewer, dipped in a batter and fried in duck fat. After the frying, you get to sprinkle on your choice of flavourings, BBQ, chilli, cheese or onion.
We spoke to one of the exhibitors while in line and they are hoping to sell these for use at fetes and markets as a tasty snack food. They are really easy to use, while we waited they invited some kids to make their own potato and the hardest part was threading the spiralled potato onto the stick.
After our wait we joined the few people wandering around with these beauties. We got stopped so many times by people wanting to try them. They were really yummy, better than hot chips and even roast potato. You still got the crispy outside and the soft fluffy inside, they were so good!!
Unfortunately, their stall was in front of the Black Pearl Epicure stall, which had this amazing selection of cheeses in a French Cheese showbag. I tasted some of their cheese on Friday and adored them, but didn't want to carry cheese around because we would be away quite late and I never had the opportunity to go back and taste more cheese or buy the showbag. I guess I'll just have to go and visit their store.
Spirit House Spice Cream
I would love to visit the Spirit House at Yandina. I had a work colleague that attended some of their cooking classes and she said that they were magnificent. The Spirit House had a stall in Lyndey Milan's Regional Produce Market section of the show offering samples of their amazing spice cream. Mum's and my favourite was the chocolate and chilli, while D preferred the coconut and lime.
Wild Oats Restaurant
We were a little later on Saturday and were lucky that we managed to score a table.
D picked the main dish from Gary for lunch. The beef was a little dry, but the onion marmelade and the horseradish mash were very well received by D. He liked the sauce to start, but felt that it got very overpowering as he made his way through the dish. I liked the sauce, but I thought the osso bucco on Friday was nicer.
Speaking of the osso bucco, Mum chose to have this for lunch on Saturday. She felt that the meat was dry and there wasn't enough sauce. She said that my version of the dish on Friday was heaps tastier.
Entree from Gary Mehigan - Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw, Green Papaya, Peanuts and Mint Nuoc Mam Dressing
I couldn't find any peanuts or green papaya in my lunch, but it didn't matter because it was a perfect fresh summer salad. It was light and tasty and had a great zingy dressing. It was pretty big too, I didn't feel that I was going hungry by not choosing a main.
Of course, I may not have needed a main dish because I indulged myself with dessert again. D stole a bite from this before I got a chance to. He said that it was all right but then followed it up with "you'll love it" to me. He was right, I love creamy desserts and I love lemon curd so this mix of flavours hit all the right notes with me. Yum.
Justine Schofield and Lilydale Chickens
Justine from Masterchef was demonstrating recipes at the Lilydale Chicken stand. We started watching her make a stir-fried chicken and prawn omelette, but Mum was being squashed up against the wall by lots of people behind her and we decided to leave them to it and we left before she finished. She is really tiny in real life.
Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris in the Celebrity Theatre
George and Gary put on a great show in the Celebrity Theatre. They bounced off each other really well and the script felt quite natural as they related little anecdotes and teased each other. They were funny and really engaging. It was lots of fun.
They each made two dishes and took so long that at the end they were being chased off the stage by Alistair McLeod, who was MC (it is really difficult to get a photo of Alistair - he never stands still!)
Gary made a Trout Watercress, Potato, Radish and Bacon Salad. He arranged it Stonehenge-style on the plate, but it still looked awesome. I would have really liked to taste it.
Gary's second dish was English Doughnuts filled with jam and dusted with lavender sugar. Another dish I really want to try! Then, eschewing the 2009 custom of having two audience members sitting stage left (or right) during the show, Gary instead called three or four kids up on stage and tasked them to remove the flowers from the lavender at the table. The lucky things also got to taste the doughnuts. Gary also took the remaining doughnuts for a run through the audience, comparing the audience to seagulls as he handed them out. Gary and George alternated dishes, and the doughnuts were actually the last dish made.
George made some Greek egg and lemon soup (Kotopoulo Avgolemono) and a lamb souvlaki served with chips. I didn't get a photo of the egg and lemon soup, but I was sitting in my chair wishing I could taste some of its creamy white goodness. George did get an audience member to sit stage right, and it didn't look like she was a fan of the soup as she barely touched it. George tried to feed some to her, but she didn't seem to change her position. Soon after Gary finished his trout dish, the audience member chosen to taste that dish shared some salad with her and soup was left sitting on the table.
George's second dish was a lamb souvlaki. I love souvlaki, and even though D doesn't like lamb I'm going to make this. George cooked this for eight hours in a very low oven (I think it was 100 degrees C), saying that it could even be cooked overnight. I don't trust my oven to maintain any sort of heat for any length of time (it has trouble with 15 minute biscuits) so I may have to move first...
George served the lamb in a pita smeared with mustard (the Greeks only put out the garlic sauce for tourists, apparently) and topped with some red onion, parsley and thick cut chips which he freshly deep fried. He wrapped it up in some paper and then had the whole audience jumping up and down when he asked who wanted to try it. Sadly, it wasn't me. Gary went for another run into the audience handing out the remaining chips.
Their show was really fun, all three of us had a great time.
I am really into Greek cooking at the moment and I've been wanting to buy one of George's books for months. I wasn't sure which one to buy and had been intending on doing some internet research before I gave in to temptation, but after the show I succumbed to my consumerist tendencies and bought a copy of George's Greek Cooking from the Hellenic Heart. Luckily, I've been quite inspired by many of the recipes in the book. I also got it signed by George and he impressively managed to take up three quarters of a page with his signature. Well done. I also scored another photo with him, this time taken by D who amazingly managed to get a really good photo of me. I'm calling it my glamour shot. George was also much friendlier on Saturday than he was on Friday night. When I asked for a photo, he responded quite positively and gave me a hug which was a marked difference from Friday's "make it quick" so he must have had a bad day on Friday.
Ben O'Donoghue and Barbeques Galore
After my brush with fame we wandered past the Barbeques Galore stand where Ben O'Donoghue was demonstrating some of their products. He was making a pizza of some kind. Mum remembered seeing him use the pizza stone combo last year and was hoping that we could try some this year, however the people in front of us didn't move after taking their samples and we couldn't get in before they were all gone. Oh well, it wasn't meant to be.
Here's a blurry picture of Ben. It was very busy at the stall and that picture was the best one of the lot!!
Below is a picture of the beer can chicken they were also cooking. It uses a funky little stand so the chicken stands up easily while mounted on the can. I want one so I can try and make beer can chicken. It looks awesome.