I owe my weight loss to peas and egg...each day, every day for tea
Arriving at Alan's station, we went to Woolworths where we purchased ingredients for a fantastic tea; Peas and EGG! It is my favourite food:)
All full from peas and egg...with CHEESE (yes, I had cheese on my peas and egg and it was really good!), we made custard tarts, the recipe for which we found on Not Quite Nigella. The best part of the custard tart making was eating the custard from the saucepan:) There's nothing like custard:)
Alan preparing the pasty using a tape measure to ensure pastry consistency
Alan has a Bachelors Degree. He is very resourceful and clever; If you do not have access to a cooling rack, use a fruit bowl, steamer saucepan and/or a colander
Alan's wine collection
On Saturday morning Alan and I went to the Hunter Valley, as Alan doesn't have enough wine in his collection and because I had never been there before. The Hunter Valley, known for its wines, is 150km from central Sydney and if travelling from central Sydney, Google Maps recommends to allow yourself 2 hours and 6 minutes travelling time.
The landscape in the Hunter Valley is very pretty - we took the scenic route
In the background here, you can see a culvert which was built by convicts
Entering wine country
Our first wine tasting stop was Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, Alan's favourite. He says that everything is downhill from there. Something strange happened at Audrey Wilkinson; I faced my fear of alcohol! I tasted wine! I liked it! I enjoyed it! My favourite part of wine tasting is actually smelling the wines and trying to see if I can recognise the scents on the tasting notes, such as citrus, pear, jam, berries, peaches, wood.... The lady behind the tasting bar was very friendly and didn't care that I knew nothing about wine:) My favourite wine was the Moscato 2011; It was sweet, juicy and floral.
The tasting room at Audrey Wilkinson - I would like this house:) I have so many houses on my 'I would like this house' list!
Inside the tasting room at Audrey Wilkinson
Our second wine tasting stop was Tempus Two. The building/complex is very big, but I would not say beautiful; you can judge for yourself from the photo below. There is a cheese shop and some restaurants in the same building/complex. Before tasting the wines, we decided to taste some cheeses.
The Tempus Two building/complex
The Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop was a little too touristy for me (says me, the tourist). The cheeses out for tasting were not to my liking - very strong blue vein cheeses. I had to rinse my mouth out with water but it was not enough! The taste was still there!
To get rid of the strong cheesy taste from my mouth, Alan and I decided that ice cream would be a good idea:)
Small caramelised fig ice cream, $4.50. It was tasty, not too sweet and the cup it was served in was pretty
Wine tasting at Tempus Two, after the cheese and the ice cream. The Tempus Two wines are packed in very attractive bottles
I saw this sticker on a car in the car park and laughed so much! So many people in Sydney have 'stick figure family' pictures on their cars, showing the public that in their family there is: a dad who likes fishing, a mum who likes to hold a hand bag, two children and a dog. I don't understand and I don't think I care...
The last stop was Keith Tulloch wines. This was my favourite winery, as it was very pretty and my favourite wine of the day was from here. The winery recently moved to a very attractive purpose built premise, across the road from the old building. The point of difference at Keith Tulloch is that instead of standing at a bar and tasting the wines, you are encouraged to take a seat on the balcony and the staff will serve you the wines, tell you a little about each one and answer any questions you may have. I really enjoyed this personal approach and it was really very lovely to sit out on the balcony on such a nice day. Two friendly staff served us the wines, one of which was the daughter of Keith. For someone so young, she knew a lot about wines! My favourite wine here was the Botrytis Semmillon. It was sweet and I could taste so many flavours; caramel, honey, vanilla Mmmm:) Alan and I couldn't believe that after one day I had gone from 'I am scared of wine' to 'I like this!'. I also was able to taste the red wines without them being too strong for me. That's progress!
Pretty David Austen looking roses in the foyer of Keith Tulloch
When you reach the top of the stairs, you will find a welcoming balcony waiting for you
Sitting on the balcony with our tasting notes, wine and spittoon
View from the balcony
Alan purchasing some more wines for the collection
Outside the window of the tasting room. In the building you see here, is a small restaurant
A long day of wine tasting behind us we drove back to Sydney, well, Penrith to be exact, to go shopping at Penrith Plaza Woolworths. I had never been to Penrith Plaza before. I thought it would be fun from what Alan has told me about it but it was quite average. Just another big ugly shopping centre.
On the drive back I noticed an SMS from my dad on my phone:
"Qantas has grounded all flights"
Kim - What? My dad says Qantas has grounded all flights!
Alan - What? No. Lets check the news on my phone
Kim - *reads* Qantas has grounded all flights effective immediately! I hate you ALAN JOYCE!
Then I suffered from some sort of panic attack and became very worried about how I would get home...thinking I would have to catch a BUS!
Anyway, it was not as bad as I thought. First I looked on WebJet for all available flights. WebJet wasn't working for two reasons - No flights left or system overload. Then I had another panic attack. However, then I looked on Virgin and found a flexible Virgin fare back to Adelaide for the bargain price of $500 :| Apparently Qantas will refund me the difference, but I wonder how long that will take. Oh well, it's not so bad. This is why I am a big supporter of 'emergency money'. If you don't have 'emergency money' your goal for the next week should be to accumulate some.
Back to the story: When Alan and I visit each other we usually go out for tea. This time, we decided to cook at home because I wanted to learn to cook fish. At Woolworths we purchased two salmon steaks, sweet and normal potatoes, a leak and some aioli. Alan and I learnt that the salmon steaks at Woolworths are NOT pre scaled, so you must do this yourself. Who knew a fish has so many scales. Alan was also very kind and ate the piece with the bones in it...he probably thought I would have another panic attack if I ate a bone;)
It's an honest dessert. I highly recommend this Weis ice cream
After one and a half minutes, the dessert was ready and we enjoyed it with dessert wine from the collection
The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan
On Sunday morning we went to the St Clair shopping centre to buy cold roll ingredients. Amazingly, this time, I actually got dressed to go to the shopping centre. Most other times I have been there, I have worn my Pajamas...as no one seems to care! All the ingredients were purchased and we went to Alan's mum's house where we assembled the cold rolls. Alan's mum even showed me how to make the 'Secret Vietnamese Cold Roll Sauce' and how to steam chicken:) We took the cold rolls and the secret sauce to the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan, where we went for a walk and had a picnic.
Home made cold rolls with steamed chicken, cucumber, carrot, bean sprout and lettuce filling. They are so cheap to make at home. A much better idea than paying $5+ for two at the shops
The secret cold roll sauce Shhhhhh
Partly cloudy, chance of showers or thunderstorms. Fortunately the Weather Man was wrong!
After the picnic we visited Alan's grandma. She does not speak English, but she managed to teach me how to make Vietnamese style filled pancakes. We looked at the clock; 17.15! AHHH! We had half an hour before the check in closed, so we drove to the airport. I thought we wouldn't make it on time, but we did:)
On the way to the airport, we passed many grounded Qantas planes. I shook my fist at them. I also shook my fist at the Qantas billboard. Grrr. They have lost a customer
Once again, another Sydney visit came to a close too quickly. We had so much fun! We celebrated a great weekend by sharing TWO lammingtons at the departure lounge:) The lammingtons are from the St Clair Bakery and I highly recommend them as well.
What does a $500 plane ticket buy you in terms of an in flight meal? A wrap filled with beef, cheese, mustard pickes and lettuce, a 250ml bottle of water and a Lindt chocolate bar. But, just to clear things up, it was a flexible fare, so you are not paying for the food - you are paying for the flexibility.
Woah, look at the wrap's ingreident panel! I normally wouldn't eat this because lists of many ingredients scare me, but I ate it for the blogging experience and to get the most out of my fare money
Upon my return home, I placed the Qantas frequent flyer cards/baggage label in a pile with the Ansett memorabilia
And that was the end of my weekend. I hope you enjoyed the post and had a nice weekend too:)
What you need to know:Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard
Where: DeBeyers Road, Pokolbin (Hunter Valley) NSW 2320
When: 10:00-17:00 each day
Where: Corner of Broke and McDonalds Road, Pokolbin
When: 10:00-17:00 each day
Where: Hunter Ridge, Hermitage Road, Pokolbin NSW 2321 Australia
When: 10:00-17:00 Saturdays and 10:00-16:00 other days