Thursday, 20 February 2014

Lobster Pasta


200g good quality pasta
1/2 lobster tail (raw) cut into pieces
2 cloves of garlic
small red chilli sliced
50g butter
2 pieces of thinly sliced pancetta or bacon
handful of halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
small bunch of parsley
salt & pepper

Cook pasta according to packet directions

In a saucepan over medium heat add butter and sliced pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add garlic, chilli and tomatoes continue stirring, cook for another two minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add white wine and stir until evaporated. Stir in cream and finally add lobster meat and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to lobster sauce, add parsley and stir to combine.

Serves 2.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is fast approaching, less than a fortnight to go. So I have put together a little Christmas gift guide/ my wish list. Something there for the kids and big kids in your lives. All available to buy online, so you can get some last minute gift buying in and if you are still at a loss come Christmas morning buy a Mr & Mrs Smith e-voucher, you can't go wrong!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

NSW Southern Highlands

Grand Pacific Drive

Craving a quick weekend away the decision was made to hop in the car and head to the NSW Southern Highlands. Only a two hour drive from Sydney it's the perfect weekend escape. The town of Bowral was our base and then we headed out exploring from there.

Our main reason for the weekend away was a chance to visit Biota. Biota Dining and Rooms is situated in Bowral. The grounds are a picture perfect setting, ducks and the resident geese, named Fois and Gras paddle in the pond and there is also a vegetable and herb garden. Chef James Vile's aim is to source food locally by supporting local farmers and growers, as well as foraging in surrounding areas. The Biota Rooms are located next door to the restaurant in what was an old roadside motel. Whilst not a lot has been done to update the rooms, they are decorated in the Biota aesthetic, complete with perfectly arrange sticks above the bed. Costing less than $200 for a queen room on a Saturday night, it really is a bit of a bargain.

After our drive down to Bowral and an in room beverage we headed over to Biota Dining. On entering the restaurant the first thing that I noticed was how the space felt. It was clean without feeling sparce, with botanic decorations perfectly placed around the restaurant. The restaurant also has a bit of a science lab vibe with beakers dotted around the restaurants and the chefs using science beakers when plating up the meals. Whilst waiting for our table we popped into the bar area to have a drink and check out the bar menu, the temptation to order a few starters from that menu was strong, but keeping our eyes on the prize and knowing said eyes are usually bigger than our stomachs we decided to wait to eat in the restaurant.

We had front row seats to the show that was happening in the kitchen, watching the chefs create each dish. The menu has a choice between three, five and seven courses, we opted for three and it was the perfect amount of food. Each course was a perfectly presented work of art, with amazing ingredients and flavours. We had the sommelier match each dish with a glass of wine. All in all it was a pretty incredible dinner.

On the last Sunday of each month Biota hands over it's carpark to local farmers, growers and artisans to sell their produce at a market. We had a quick walk through as we were heading back to Sydney, picking up some beautiful almost too good to eat eggs tinged a blue green from the Araucana breed of hens that laid them. Also if you are around Bowral on a Sunday and haven't already overindulged at Biota, go for brunch. Great coffee and a menu that is not the usual breakfast fare.

Biota Dining, Rooms & Grounds

Things to do

Take your time getting to your destination. Leaving Sydney we decided to take the 'scenic route' down the coast, going through the Royal National Park and along the Grand Pacific Drive which hugs the cliffs along the coast to Wollongong.

Berry, we stopped in Berry for lunch and grabbed a pie from Milkwood Bakery on the main road. Honestly one of the best pies I have eaten, I attempted to balance out the my pie with a green juice which was equally as delicious. There cakes looked pretty tempting as well. A quick wonder along the main street of Berry and we came across South Coast Providores, a gorgeous little store filled with preserves, chutneys, sauces and marmalades. The owners Ian and Carole are passionate about using local seasonal produce to make small batches of there chutneys and jams.

Visit Berrima, a really cute village only a 15 minute drive from Bowral. The village caters for visitors and tourists with most stores being little homeware shops, cafes and restaurants.

Fitzroy Falls, take a walk around Fitzroy Falls and see the great view of the valley below.

Burrawang, if you are looking for a great spot to have lunch or an afternoon beverage head to the Burrawang Hotel. We drove through the very small village of Burrawang and came across a street full of parked cars, so we stopped to see what all the fuss was about and stumbled across the Burrawang Hotel, an old pub with great gardens, we grabbed a Pigs Fly beer and cider from the Bowral Brewing Company and staked a spot on the grass to enjoy the afternoon sun.

Kangaroo Valley, if you decide to take the coast road either to or from Bowral you will pass through the beautiful Kangaroo Valley. After the steep descent to the bottom of the valley you are surrounded on all sides be high rock escarpments and green hills ahead of you.

Burrawang Hotel