Truffle and Wine Dinner at The Cosmopolitan Hotel – Trentham, Vic

She walks shyly around us… …sniffs around our legs and hunts for that subtle hint of truffle. Bingo! She finds it, immediately turns her head to her master with a victory expression on her face as the tail wags uncontrollably to show her pride, and expecting a treat at the same time. Trainer Georgie Patterson from Aussie Truffle Dogs gives little miss Summer a piece of cooked chicken meat as reward. Summer swallows the reward effortless, points her nose back at the same truffle oil soaked cotton pad on the floor then back at Georgie, she is expecting another reward. Funny she finds it again… again… and again! The truffle dog stole the show as the opening act at the Truffle and Wine dinner at Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham, as part of the Truffle Festival events happening around Australia this year. The Pom and I found ourselves in Daylesford that particular weekend and simply couldn’t resist to join in for some truffle treat. This special event was held at the newly renovated private dining area at Cosmopolitan Hotel which used to be the stables. We sat down with the other fifty eight truffle lovers for an indulgence evening of local fine wine from Passing Clouds, and if memory serves me right, I believe the truffle supplied for tonight’s event is from Tasmania because Georgie said the harvest season in Canberra is a little late this year. Lumps of Perigord truffles were passed around the tables so everyone could have a sniff of that distinctive musky aroma of a truffle. It was Bastille Day and house french chef Aurelien Papet...

Rabbit Terrine Recipe

I recently read a post on food blog Corridor Kitchen by Lauren about her prediction on the 5 food trends for 2012. I laughed out loud when I read this, “It’s now cool to act like a Granny and no one will laugh at you for growing your own kale. It’s kinda like how we used to take the piss out of people who ate squid, or garlic, or other ‘weird’ foods in the 70s and 80s, and now you can’t walk into a pub without someone shoving a plate of calamari and aioli in your face.” So true. This year is totally about DIY and Locavore-ism. I even found myself growing my own veggies, baking my own bread, making my own cheese, even thinking about sewing my own quilt! But that is totally another story. Yep, I am totally a nanna in disguise these days. “Where’s my hot water bottle and rocking chair?” As we are right in the middle of winter here in Australia, that’s the time we embrace homely comfort food – slow cooked, braised, stewed, boiled, roasted, preserved and cured. One particular ingredient that always remind me of winter has to be the rabbit. Winter and rabbit goes hand in hand, these bouncy little fluffy bunnies are not only cute and cuddly, they can also be the perfect companion to beat the winter chill – not in the bed, but on the table. Instead of making a rabbit stew, I decided to make a rabbit terrine which is absolutely delicious. Terrine is invented to preserve the meat by cooking in fat to prolong its shelf...

MONA, Museum of Old and New Art – Hobart, Tasmania [part 2]

In a world class of its own. I bought some ancient art. It was getting a bit mouldy. I built a little gallery. I let people have a look. I bought some newer art. Some people made some art for me. I built a bigger gallery. I have some things I want to say. You might not want to hear them. When you have lots of money, you can do whatever the f*ck you want; and that’s exactly what Tasmanian professional gambler David Walsh did – he built himself a museum within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania and called it MONA – Museum of Old and New Art. Despite his filthy rich background, at least he spent his fortune with good intentions by sharing it with the public through his own private art collection and vision at MONA. Through David’s vision, this museum is built to shock and offend, as well as challenge, inform and entertain – and he certainly has achieved his goal. After a $75 million renovation, MONA was opened to public in January 2011. The building itself is a sight to behold. When David met Melbourne architect, Nonda Katsalidis in 2005, his brief to Katsalidis was to build a large building for a wide variety of exhibits where art should be discovered rather than shown off. We followed our tour guide down a spiral staircase down to the museum’s lowest floor at 14 metres underground, suddenly we found ourselves inside The Void, a giant hole in the ground carved out of a 240-million-year-old sandstone quarry. It felt like being inside an...

Bistro Molines at Tellavera Grove – Mount View, Hunter Valley, NSW

The Mount View from our table at the restaurant. Picture speaks a thousand words, and you wonder where this wine region got its name from. Mount View is only 20 minutes south of Pokolbin, it is a wine region in Hunter Valley that is less frequented by visitors, including myself. This is actually my first visit to Mount View and I think I have fallen in love with Hunter Valley all over again. Seriously, with a view like this, I don’t think I need to put much effort to convince you to come and discover Hunter Valley yourself. Follow the windy road up the hill and down the gravel tracks, you’ll find boutique cellar doors and award winning restaurants are dotted along the beautiful Brokenback Range. Tonight, we have a table booked at Bistro Molines, one of the most well-acclaimed restaurants in the valley, which has been awarded one chefs hat on SMH good food guide 2012, the third year in a row. Located in Tallavera Grove winery, Bistro Molines is one of two restaurants established by Hunter Valley pioneer Robert Molines and his wife Sally Molines. The other restaurant is Briar Grillade not far on the other side side of the hill at Briar Ridge. Robert has been cooking in the region over three decades and responsible for bringing French cooking to the region. At Molines, you will expect rustic yet sophisticated French cuisine, nothing over the top, just simple but done well comfort food. The parisian decor is a blend of both old and new, rustic but chic, it is welcoming and instantly feel at home. The...

Rick Stein at Bannisters – Mollymook, NSW

First and foremost, how are we all? I’ve almost forgotten how exhilarate it can be to spend more time outdoors and get active again. This is the first time I turned on my computer after being absence for over two months. I seriously thought I won’t survived without the internet for more than a week, but who’d have thought my internet-deprivation is actually not as bad and I actually love staying away from computer as much as I could and do other things that are actually more hands on than just clickety-typety-taps. Having said that, A Table For Two, the food blog is here to stay. My only pride and joy. Despite the lack of posts off late, my forever growling stomach is always on the hunt and fulfilled with delicious food whenever, wherever possible, like our recent dinner at Rick Stein at Bannisters, for instance. The name of celebrity seafood chef, Rick Stein, may have been the draw card alluring us for a weekend getaway to Mollymook, a seaside town on NSW South Coast that I never heard of, until he has his signature engraved on the glass door at the Bannister’s restaurant since 2009. What are the chances of meeting the seafood man Rick Stein himself while we dine there? The odds are slim, as he probably won’t be in Australia till end of the month for this upcoming Food Odyssey tour. I can only envy Spicy Onion and her encounter with Rick while she was there. The restaurant is hidden behind the luscious green foliage right next to the Bannisters lodge. We push through the door...

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2011 Media Launch at Berta, Sydney CBD

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2010 seems so long ago now! Helen and I were very grateful to be invited by the Tourism Victoria to attend the festival in March this year, and it was definitely one of the most exciting and memorable culinary journey we’ve had together. (Oh dear, I said *journey*!) But the journey doesn’t end there. Fast forward six months later, Helen and I find ourselves among a group of Sydney media congregated at Berta restaurant for the launch of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2011. The festival program for next year will soon be revealed over a four-course lunch features guest chefs from Melbourne. Next year is about celebration of heritage and the tradition, think mum’s cooking as we will see some girl power in festival program. The popular Langham Masterclass will celebrate three central themes: Women of the Kitchen The Lost [culinary] Arts, and Stars of Spice And guess which domestic goddess and kitchen seductress is going to be in Melbourne next year? The one and only Nigella Lawson of course. Now imagine she is going to travel to Australia with a suitcase full of butter… hmm…. butter…. The lunch menu today is also inspired by the traditional dishes from the chefs’ childhood. The affable Rosa Mitchell from Journal Canteen, spoils us with cauliflower fritters and a classic Sicilian stuffed artichokes. The artichokes are some of the biggest I’ve seen, apparently they have been freshly picked picked from her cousin’s garden in Werribee South. Rosa declines of using the microphone during her speech as she prefers to move her hands around when she...