oh austral-ii-ia!

how i love yo-ou!
you fill my bel-ly!
and make me gri-in!

sigh. where to start? i'm going to have to list 'em:
1. first and outrageously foremost, our new year's eve lunch at vasse felix winery in margaret river. we took an early trip to the cellar door so we were well-equipped to face the wine list in the restaurant upstairs. the rest kinda followed from there...

we started with a sparkling shiraz (oh!) and the charcuterie plate comprising (left to right) salad niçoise atop beef fillet; duck confit with cabernet jelly and balsamic onions; pork rillettes with cane cut semillon jelly; and pork and pistachio terrine with pickled ratatouille. mmm so meaty, so good.

i had a sauvignon blanc and candied pork with sticky black rice which almost made me cry with pleasure.

chris had the shiraz and bigoli (loooong spaghetti) with shredded duck, red globe grapes, baby spinach and braised fennel.

dessert was a bittersweet chocolate tart with beautiful rosemary and honey frozen yoghurt and caramelised dates. oh. oh. oh.

2. is it wrong to list one of mine in second place? hm i don't know, but i was really excited about cooking lunch for my family as a post-christmas treat. we didn't take any photos but the day was suitably perfect and made me glow inside.

chris and i continued our love affair with skye gyngell by serving her beautiful mezze plate (roasted pepper purée, beetroot and mint purée, chickpea purée, slow-roasted tomatoes, braised lentils, lemony salad, fresh ricotta and basil oil), followed by the chilled almond soup, all of which appear in her book.

we stoked the wood-fired bbq and charred a couple of legs of lamb that had been pre-roasted earlier in the day. while the meat rested, kate and i grilled some peach halves and then served the lot on a bed of rocket and scattered with hazelnut picada (roasted hazelnuts, orange and lemon zest and juice, parsley and anchovies).

late in the afternoon we feasted on frozen grapes and chocolate and grappa di moscato. yay!

3. mama's every meal. no, seriously. my favourite was the marinated and barbecued baby squid, prawns and scallops. chris has a hard time deciding whether it was the faux-christmas roasted turkey or the farewell crayfish which changed his life more.

4. and last but not least (cuz i'm running outta space and time), the breakfast bruschetta at van's in cottesloe = pancetta, spinach, slow-roasted tomatoes, soft-poached egg, persian feta = gold.

only eleven months to wait! yippee!