Warning - this is a very long post!!!
We had another early start on Sunday, the last day of the Good Food and Wine Show for 2010.
Before we were scheduled to meet my aunty M and her partner (also M) at the Show (at 9:45!), Mum and I were attempting to pull off a huge feat of scheduling and attend not only the Northey Street Organic Markets but also the Jan Power's Farmers Market at Mitchelton, with a stopover at home (which is in Brisbane's southeast) in between. We were committed too, but then we met one of Mum's former workmates from Cairns who she hadn't seen for nearly two years at the Northey Street Markets and it was so lovely catching up with them that we couldn't rush it.
I did feel bad because I promised Richard from Noosa Reds I would see him at Mitchelton that Sunday and we didn't end up going. I hope he will be at the Powerhouse Markets this weekend so I can apologise in person.
The line to enter the Show defied all logic this year and when M and M arrived at the show at 9:30 am there was no one there and they were at the head of the queue. When Mum and I arrived at 9:55am there were substantially more people and we felt quite guilty ducking under the velvet rope to join M and M, but we had their tickets!
Mum and I had made a list of the things that we wanted to do on Sunday and M and M kindly agreed to let us do them before we started browsing. This was great, because that meant that we could just join in with M and M and enjoy being at the show.
Brisbane Oxford Landing Restaurant
We visited the Show Restaurant again on Sunday. We ordered more dishes on Sunday that the other days so I saved the bulk of the photos for today's post. I didn't get to try them all but they all smelled and looked wonderful.
This was my main, after much deliberating. Quinoa and I have had a rocky relationship in the past, which probably hasn't been helped by my poor quinoa cooking skills and an unfortunate incident with the quinoa dispenser in the bulk foods section at Flannerys Natural Grocers which led to us eating quinoa a LOT. I wanted to taste what quinoa was supposed to taste like. I also love eating seafood and haven't tried kingfish before.
I was very happy I did decide to get this. I loved the meaty texture of the kingfish and the spiced flavours of the quinoa. I saw quite a few of these dishes with a very small amount of sauce and we were concerned that it would be dry. I think I was lucky to get a bit more sauce on my plate and the dish wasn't dry at all. It helped that the kingfish was perfectly cooked and was juicy and succulent.
This was Mum's main. On Friday she tried Manu's coq au vin and didn't really enjoy it because the sauce got very heavy towards the end. On Saturday she was pointing to this dish commenting on how much lighter the sauce looked and we had to convince her that it was a different dish.
She enjoyed George's dish so much more than the coq au vin. The gravy was light enough that it didn't drag the dish down as you ate it, the mash was creamy and the chicken nicely cooked. We had a small debate with the people sitting near us as to whether the herb garnish was fennel or dill. I don't think there was an actual resolution, we were pretty evenly split.
(After an extensive internet search, the herb turned out to be dill)
This was M and M's entree on Sunday and I had also tasted this dish on Friday. The dish on Sunday looked much nicer than mine on Friday. I didn't taste this one, but on Friday I really enjoyed the contrast between the strong flavoured trout and the fresh watercress and the sharp vinaigrette. My potatoes were undercooked and I ended up leaving them out, but I enjoyed the rest.
This was M and M's main on Sunday and D's main on Friday. According to Wikipedia, a bastilla/pastilla is a typical Moroccan pie that combines sweet and savoury flavours.
It was also massive. Absolutely huge. D couldn't come close to finishing it and I think M and M struggled. I really enjoyed my taste of D's on Friday. The lamb was nicely flavoured and the pinenuts gave a nice textural contrast. The spices in this dish are incredible - it's a fragrant mix of sumac, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and white pepper. In terms of the other ingredients, I don't remember whether there were olives in D's pie. I don't remember seeing any. D doesn't remember any either. Not that we mind, D isn't the biggest fan of olives.
As I may have mentioned in previous posts, D doesn't eat lamb because he doesn't like the taste. He picked the pie because he thought it sounded nicer than the chicken dishes (or less risky as he doesn't like the leg or thigh). The lamb coloured his final verdict on the pie, but he did say that if the pie was made with beef mince it would be 'phenomenal'.
We finished off our lunch with some desserts. M and M had George's chocolate and walnut tart with salted caramel sauce and I chose Manu's vanilla crème brulee.
I was very impressed with Alistair McLeod's chocolate crème brulee from last year, so much so I ordered it twice (on two separate days). The second day the crème brulee had lost its hard caramelized top and it was just a nice tasting custard. The first day it was warm, the second day it was cold. That particular dish was much nicer warm.
I told myself to expect a cold custard without a hard caramelized top so I wouldn't be disappointed. As it happened, this is was I received, but the custard tasted amazing! I don't know how he did it, but the custard was incredible. Even Mum enjoyed it. She scraped the edges of the bowl after I'd finished, and she never does that with desserts!
I have to send a quick thank you to Hardys Wines who were the sponsors of the Show Restaurant for the Sydney and Melbourne Shows. Hardys have published the Celebrity Restaurant Recipes and Wine Matching Guide with the recipes from the restaurant. I would like to try Gary's bastilla and I finally have a resolution to our herb problem in George's fricassee. Hardys were the sponsors of the Brisbane restaurant last year and published the wine matching guide then also. If Oxford Landing are looking to sponsor the Brisbane restaurant again next year, they should seriously look into doing the same!
Matt Moran in the Celebrity Theatre
Alistair McLeod has been replaced as the MC of the Celebrity Theatre. I'm not entirely sure because I kept missing his name and restaurants, but I think it was Dan Vaughan. I'm sure I heard Hugo's somewhere. Can anyone confirm this for me? It was nice to have a change from "Name That Fruit" (although it is always surprising the number of people that get stumped by carambola) but I think the pre-show hype was a bit much for me. The whole "scream the name of the chef" followed by "I can't hear you, scream louder" didn't work for me. Especially not when it was happening three or four or more times before the show started!
Apparently Jacob's Creek Wines had offerred a bottle of their new 2010 Moscato to each and every member of the audience if the wheel landed on 1 so they spun the wheel before each show. The deal was that you as the audience had to make noise the whole time the wheel was moving or the wheel was stopped. This was in addition to the chef name screaming above. Too much shouting for me. On Sunday I was feeling a little poorly as I had come down with the dreaded lurgy (Thanks KRudd for reintroducing me to that word!) and had a very sore throat. The MC (is it Dan?) was similarly afflicted. He was quite hoarse, the poor thing. That's karma for making people shout.
The pre-show games weren't too bad, where they called a few audience members up on stage to play a game. There was a bit of variety too, we only saw one game twice. I did have a problem with the MC standing on the benchtop to annouce his game show host persona. Chefs are about to prepare food on that!!
Anyway, our final visit to the Celebrity Theatre was to see Matt Moran's My Favourite Things.
Matt Moran - Matt's Favourite Things
You can take the boy out the country but you can't take the country out of the boy! Well known for his love of the land and with lamb fresh from the farm, be prepared for a mini lamb masterclass and learn the tricks of Matt's lamb roast . Fresh from his stint on Masterchef, join Matt Moran as he prepares some of his "favourite things".
Matt made an impressive entrance accompanied by a fresh lamb from Prime Cut Meats, which he proceeded to butcher in front of us. He was making Roasted Lamb Joints using the leg and shoulder. The rest of the lamb he handed out to the audience, offering it to the first person to come and get it.
There was a stampede for the stage every time he chopped off a bit of lamb. There were some children who didn't even wait for him to chop off a piece and just stood there until Matt gave them something. The chefs seem to have a bit of a soft spot for kids. Janella and George and Gary all gave freebies to some random kids that wandered onto the stage. Parents were getting wise to this though (am I getting a bit cynical here?), we saw a kid and its parent both rush the stage when Matt was handing out lamb, so they ended up getting two bits of lamb. Mum was a bit put out by that. I tried to tell her that even if she did manage to get a piece of lamb she was flying home to Cairns on Tuesday and D didn't eat lamb if she considered giving it away to us, but she was still very unimpressed. I had to agree, as the show went on and Matt starting giving away non-raw prizes, people started climbing over the chairs to mob the stage. It was crazy.
During one such mobbing, Matt cleared the randoms off the stage and introduced Isabella and Sofia from Junior Masterchef who had come to the stage to try some of the cooked lamb (I think, there were a lot of mobbings). They are so cute! They look much younger and smaller in person. It makes what they cook on the show so much more impressive.
Matt told the girls that George and Gary were backstage and they should go back and say hello, but they hesitated because they wanted to watch the end of the show! Very cute.
Matt also cooked one of Aria's signature dishes, Roasted Scallops with Shaved Serrano Ham, Chestnut Puree and Brussel Sprout Leaves and finished with Lemon Mousse with Fresh Raspberries & Sesame and Poppy Seed Tuile.
Matt was definitely the most boisterous of all the celebrity chefs. He gave away the demonstration Kitchenaid mixer after mixing his geniose sponge for the mousse. Just picked it up, bowl and all, and handed it to the first guy who reached the stage. The guy was onto Matt though and refused to leave the stage until Matt gave him the whisk attachment. Someone sent a little kid up to ask for the Thermomix but they were foiled when the kid couldn't say Thermomix and Dad had to come and translate. They didn't get the Thermomix.
Matt also gave a prize to someone who had eaten at Aria, like he did last year. This time lots of people have eaten at Aria, so it was the person who had eaten at Aria who reached the stage first. The lady who made it seemed a little vague. Matt asked her what she ate when she visited and she was like "something with scallops?". He didn't seem convinced but gave her the prize anyway. I think it was an espresso machine?
The roasting lamb had filled the theatre with an amazing smell for the rest of the presentation. It was enough to set my stomach rumbling!
I'll put up another post of my goodies soon, but I didn't buy something from all of my favourites so I'll share them here.
I'm not a wine drinker but I don't mind a glass of sparkling now and then. I really liked Jacobs Creek Sparkling Moscato White.
The Barilla stand had an incredible show special with two boxes of pasta, two jars of sauce, a magazine and an apron for $10. They sold out completely by 1pm on the Friday!!
Blu Pearl Gourmet Couscous
We were very impressed with the samples these guys were handing out. The boxes were two for $6 so we each bought two to try. I love couscous.
Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
I have been very jealous of Sydneysiders since reading Not Quite Nigella's post on the Ben and Jerry's scoop shop in Manly so I was very excited to see that Ben and Jerry's would be at the show. No matter what time it was, there was always a line for ice cream here. The staff worked tirelessly though and certainly churned through the ice cream (haha!). I tried their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in my first visit and it was awesome. The chocolate chips were good quality chocolate and the cookie dough was just what cookie dough should be. D tried the Chocolate Fudge Brownie and I was so tempted to cheat on my cookie dough. The brownie pieces were good enough to be eaten on their own!
Mum and I went back again on Saturday and this time tried the Chocolate Fudge Brownie, but we were assured by the people in the queue behind us that Chunky Monkey was where it was at. At that stage they had run out of Chunky Monkey and the girls were willing to wait for them to get more, so it must be good.
Although there aren't any plans to bring a scoop shop to Brisbane at this stage, you can buy your very own 'pint of euphoria' at a surprising number of places around Brisbane. See the list of stockists at their website.
It wouldn't be the Food and Wine Show without some yummy halloumi from Olympus Cheese!
Mövenpick Ice Cream
For a slightly more commonly seen ice cream, Mövenpick were offering small teaspoon sized samples and they were selling their small take home packs for $5. Unfortunately, they only had a limited range of flavours to sample and you had to buy a take home pack if you wanted to try them. I cannot get their website to make sense in either Firefox or IE, so I'll just say I tried their chocolate flavour and it was good. I wanted to try the maple walnut but was told I had to buy it so I passed.
The website was horrible in my browsers and I can't guarantee that what I'm seeing is relevant to Australia even though I cleared my cache and went back in to try again but I saw that they have a salted butter caramel flavour. I want. Now.
Chop Chop Chicken
This was more to satisfy a curiousity more than anything. I have never had a desire to try chicken in a can, but I have wondered what it would be like. We bought a tin when Heinz first released their tinned chicken but it's still in the pantry because I can't bring myself to try it. It wasn't bad, but it is still chicken in a can.
Mum took note of their show special and when we got home we compared the show prices with the shelf prices and nutritional data of Chop Chop's chicken versus Heinz chicken. Heinz wins the nutritional battle, but not by much.
Only because I love their salmon mascot. I wanted to get a photo of him last year but missed him so I was determined to get one this year, but I missed him again!!!!
I enjoyed their coffee.
Smallgoods of the Riverland
Mum and I originally come from South Australia even though I was still quite small when we moved away. It's funny because there are still some things that I remember that I miss about it. For example, I love mettwurst but only the mettwurst you can buy in SA. The other mettwurst isn't the same. I have no idea why. I have had my mother bring me back a supply of mettwurst when she goes to visit her brother and sisters and my grandparents.
These lovely ladies were selling the awesome mettwurst!! I had to buy some, but I only bought a small one because mettwurst doesn't really fit in with our healthy eating plan. It was cool, because Smallgoods of the Riverland is from Waikerie which is quite near where Mum is from. The ladies also played netball and their team often played the team that Mum played for. We didn't find out if they could have played against each other, but it was still pretty awesome. Small world indeed.
I bought my first bottle of Yumm Dressing at last year's show and I loved it. The only problem was that I couldn't buy anymore because they haven't expanded to distributing in Queensland. I was very happy to see them return to the show so I could restock. I confirmed that they still don't have any Queensland stockists but that their online shop is now open so I won't have to wait another year for my Yumm fix.
Larderfresh shared a stall with Yumm Dressings and in my first visit I didn't realise that they had different products. Luckily, one of the Sunshine Coast Regional Growers and Producers sent us over to try out their wares.
I haven't tried falafel before but now that I've tried Larderfresh's gluten free, dairy free, egg free, preservative free and filler free falafels made from fresh legumes herbs and spices I think I'm spoiled for any other. They were absolutely amazing. I bought two packets and I'm determined to track down their Brisbane stockists to get more.
Larderfresh also had their new (I think) roasted pumpkin and chickpea burger which is equally delicious. I am so happy I've discovered their products!! Now, to track down some nougat which can only be bought from their market stall or online...
I know I have been quite critical in some of my posts but there were some things that the show can do better. Despite my criticisms, which certainly aren't deal breakers for me, we had a fantastic time at the show each day we went. It was hard not to make comparisons to previous years, but I'm sure next year I'll look back on this year more favourably. We'll definitely be back next year.
Good Food and Wine Show
4-6 November 2011
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre