Monday, November 9, 2009

Wonton Soup

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I attempted to make my very first wonton soup last week. Wonton soup is one of my favourite meals, and its always so cheap no matter where you go! But the challenge is finding a soup thats up to scratch.

Sometimes the wontons are tasteless or have little to no filling in them and are just little pieces of slimy wonton pastry floating in your soup. Other times the wontons can be sensational and full of flavour but the soup resembles hot water with some bokchoy in it. I figured the best thing about making my own was that I had the power to control how much flavour the soup should have.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grampians Wineries Part 2 - Seppelt Winery, Great Western

After we left Best's it was a quick drive back down the highway to Seppelt Winery where we were booked in for a tour of the Underground Drives. The Drives were hand dug by Henry Irvine and his miner mates who had lost their jobs after the mining business dried up in the area. The Drives run over 3km and still cellar most of Seppelt's sparkling to this day.

The Drives were excavated during the 1800's from de-composed granite, making the climate for sparkling almost perfect. It was during the end of the 1800's that Sparkling Red was invented here at Seppelt.

Although Seppelt has now been taken over by the Fosters Group and become somewhat commercialised, Seppelt's history made for an interesting and enjoyable visit.
We tasted most wines available and our tour guide was knowledgeable and able to tell us which other wineries were worth visiting in the region. I would recommend a trip to Seppelt to anyone who has an interest in Victoria's wine history, or anyone who is interested in ghosts and spirits! It is said that the Drives are occupied by several spirits and that spiritual orbs can be seen in some photos taken down there. Upon inspection of my own photos later that day, I found a few photos with 'orbs' in them. However I'm still somewhat skeptical. You can see some of the orbs in the photo above and the one below.

Something I learnt...
Some of the bottles you see in the picture seem to be covered in a thick grey dust. In fact these bottles have only been in the cellar for a few months. The bottles are in fact covered in a black mould that grows from the de-composed granite. The winemakers used to spend lots of time removing it from the Drives, but after they conducted some tests they established that it does no harm to the wine or the people working there so it is now left there and makes for quite an eerie scene. It felt like extremely soft cotton wool.

Great Western, Moyston Road, Great Western VIC 3377.

Monday to Sunday, including public holidays: 10:00am – 5.00pm.Closed Christmas Day only.


Phone: 03 5361 2239
Fax: 03 5361 2328

I'm learning!

I woke up yesterday and decided that I would love to start writing a blog. I have no writing skills and I'm not a particularly good photographer, but the idea of being able to write about some of the things I'm most passionate about seems like a good idea to me. If people choose to read it and enjoy it too, then all the more satisfying!

So here it is. My blog. I have been looking at some of the other blogs going around and realise I have a long way to go, but the journey will be fun!

Last night I cooked wonton soup for the first time! I had heard that it was extremely difficult and time consuming, however I found it fairly quick and easy (once the wontons were prepared). My flatmate has a fear of pork and any chicken that is not breast. So I decided to make chicken wontons and mince the breast myself so it would be edible for her. I was very happy with the outcome! There's plenty more to tell, but I will include that in my next post along with some photos.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grampians Wineries Part 1 - Best's Winery, Great Western

With the weekend just gone being the beginning of Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival, my partner and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take a much needed long weekend away (especially since we live in such close proximity to Flemington Racecourse!).

Our chosen destination was the Grampians in North Western Victoria, heading towards Adelaide. Neither of us having travelled there before, in my true travel planning style, lots of googling was conducted to get a full list of places, wineries and farms to visit.

My food and wine knowledge is minimal, as you will learn throughout this blog. However, its these trips that teach me more and more each time. I like to try the wines I have never heard of and eat foods that I wouldn't normally eat. However, I'm still partial to a good old pub parma every now and then!

Over the four days I managed to visit a total of three wineries in the region.

First stop was Best's Winery in Great Western. The winery was first established in 1866. The Cellar Door had a great little museum of all old wine bottles and equipment, Henry Best's diary, old pieces of wine stone from the old oak barrels and plenty of photos of the winery and its makers over the past century or so. We tasted most wines on offer but I purchased a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon, I think it was a 2006. They have some original vines there from back when the winery was established and are still creating wines from those vines today.

Something new I learnt...
Pinot Meunier - One of the three main grape varieties used in the production of Champagne. Although winemakers have only recently acknowledged Pinot Meunier instead of emphasising the use of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Best's originally produced 85% Pinot Meunier, 15% pinot noir blends and continue to produce these today from the original vines.