We scored another twist potato first up, we couldn't resist. After that we wandered up to the Lilydale Chicken stand where Justine was starting another demonstration. Unfortunately, Ben was starting a demonstration across the aisle at the Barbeques Galore stand and Mum, although quite torn, decided that Ben trumped Justine and we scooted across the aisle to stake out good spots to watch Ben.
I turned into quite the famewhore this weekend and I boldly bugged Ben for a photo, but I'm a little self-conscious so you only get a bit of my hair in this pic. I even told him how much I loved the BBC version of The Best from years ago. He said that the show was great fun to make.
He was a great sport, chatting and laughing. He was even quite affable when Mum told him how much she didn't like him making fun of Darren on The Best Australia. What on earth happens on that show? I think it may have traumatised my mother. He told her that Darren gives as good as he gets and charmed her a little bit. She has been eyeing his cookbook Outdoor for a while, but she decided to buy it today and Ben good-naturedly autographed it in the middle of his demo.
Speaking of the demo, he made some pikelets in the BBQ and topped them with some banana, whipped cream and maple syrup. The photo below is of the test batch and were very tasty. I think I may have to replicate these at home.
Alistair McLeod in the Celebrity Theatre
Alistair McLeod was on MC duty for all the shows, and he was drafted into presenting when Curtis Stone wasn't available. We got a call a few months ago from Ticketek letting us know that there had been a change and letting us know that we could get a refund if we wanted. I was lucky enough to get tickets in the front row, so Mum and I decided to keep the tickets.
Last year D and I saw Alistair in the Celebrity Theatre because I liked him on Ready Steady Cook and I was obsessively lusting over the food at Brett's Wharf. I was a little disappointed, as I didn't feel that his natural enthusiasm carried over into his show. This year, however, he had enthusiasm in buckets.
He was really engaged and was so entertaining. He made some fantastic food, none of which I can remember clearly unfortunately. I discovered that I had lost my ticket about two hours before the show and we spent that time trying to work out what we could do so I could still see the show. I am still not very well with my inner ear problem, so when you add that to being very easily tired after two big days and add some stress on top I lost it a little bit and I don't remember the details.
I did take photos and I do know that Alistair was really informative, I just don't remember what he talked about. Mum and I both had a great time.
Alistair seemed to enjoy himself too, running way over time and needing to call out some help to get his dishes finished.
A salad with prawns and heart of palm and some kind of fish with a soup of cucumber and something else... I'm sorry I can't remember because it looked fabulous.
Straight after Alistair's show, we went back in for Matt Moran's final show. We bought the tickets Sunday morning and we were way back in the theatre, so the pictures didn't turn out so well.
Matt is another great entertainer. He had one of his assistant chefs helping him out, so he could focus more on the audience and not have to worry as much about the food. He did a lot of cooking too, but having that assistance helped. Matt, along with George and Gary, really tried to engage the audience more than just having a taster or two sitting on the side of the stage. Matt really made a production of his tasters, choosing couples (one married, one not) and making one guy serve everyone else and do dishes and making the husband of the other couple take a limited edition of his latest book out into the show and try and swap it for some goodies.
Matt spoke about Aria Brisbane, which is a restaurant that I really want to try. He asked the audience if anyone had eaten there and a few people raised their hands. He asked if anyone had eaten at Aria Sydney and a few more people raised their hands. He asked if anyone had eaten at both Sydney and Brisbane and only one guy raised his hand. He had eaten twice at Brisbane and once at Sydney. Matt gave him a big screen LG TV. Well, a ticket or receipt for one anyway. I excitedly told D about this, but he doesn't think that the very very small chance that Matt will repeat this gesture at future food and wine shows is a good enough excuse to eat at both Arias before the next show.
Matt cooked a chicken saute with chorizo and chickpeas served with witlof braised with orange and green peppercorns, a prawn tempura with a remoulade sauce and a raspberry tart with champagne sabyon.
I am a very bad food blogger and I don't remember much about Matt's dishes either. I wasn't very well by this stage.
After Matt's show, Mum took a stand and we went off to find some food. We had decided that we weren't going to spend more money on the restaurant, so we hadn't bought tickets earlier like we had been doing. Mum wanted to try Gary's chicken coleslaw which I ate on Saturday though, so we went and lined up for some tickets. The line wasn't too long, but the restaurant was full and the usher said that she didn't think we'd be able to get seats. She recommended going in and having a look, but she wasn't very confident. Luckily, we snared some bench seats as another couple was leaving. Mum said someone tried to take a seat three times while I was getting my dish.
As I said, Mum had Gary's chicken coleslaw and really enjoyed it. I didn't feel like eating, but I make an exception for Alistair's creme brulee dessert. This time the creme brulee topping was not crispy at all which was a little disappointing, but the chocolate custard was still comfortingly creamy. After food I did feel a little better so we wandered around a little more, but it wasn't long before we started feeling tired again so we picked a few favourite stalls to visit one last time and then we headed home.
Interestingly, D had requested that we buy him some ginger beer as a present from Sunday's show. We went to their stall and the lady there told us that someone from the show had made an error on their liquor licence so none of the beer/cider stalls were permitted to sell their goods. Poor D had to miss out on his ginger beer.
I ended up with quite a haul of strange and wonderful things. I bought some silicone fresh lids and ezi seal lids from B J Enterprises. I've already used these heaps since we bought them. I bought a shammy from one of the three shammy stalls (it doesn't clean carpet quite as well as advertised, but it still does a damn good job); two variety bags of Indomie noodles (mmm, healthy); a soy and chilli balsamic vinegar from The Really Stuffed Olive Co; a bottle of original Yumm dressing and a Back to Basics Squeeze It! from Tupperware, which is an accordian style plastic contraption to be used in place of a piping bag. Shows are fun.
Can't wait for next year!