Monday, September 13, 2010

Cooking September

The Divine Miss White gets the party started

So the year is steamrolling on and here we are, well into September. With 9 months of De Bortoli dinners under our belt now, we have a pretty good formula for getting each night right in terms of guests, locations and working out who will do what in and around the kitchen.

This kitchen ain't big enough for two egos

As usual it was going to be a bit of a joint effort, but Rachel had set herself a slippery and smelly individual task that no one else was keen to challenge her for. Tim Keenan is Head Chef at the De Bortoli's Yarra Valley Estate and this month he took us into our first fishy feast with his delicious recipe, Pan Fried Trout Fillets with Fennel, Potatoes, Marjoram & Capers.

Rachel toasts her creation

Alcohol may well kill brain cells, but fortunately, fish is brain food. So we figure that everyone was a winner this month as we indulged in generous helpings of both. The De Bortoli Emeri Sparkling Pinot Grigio was the weapon of choice in the assault on our grey matter, but on the defensive was a frontline of succulent Trout fillets, each one more Omega-rich and bursting with essential oils than the last. Now I'm no neurolgist, but I can still competently compose a semi-logical blog entry, so I think it's safe to say that our friend the fish was the victor on this occasion.

Diva central

With brains largely intact we enjoyed a kind of celebratory evening, toasting our guests; artist and performer Liam Benson who is currently gracing the cover of runway magazine, and social media Queen, Catherine White (aka The Divine Miss White), returning from 3 months in New York. Starting with some drinks on the roof overlooking Potts Point, we indulged in a quick photo shoot. Despite the warm Spring day, once the sun was lost behind Sydney's skyline we had to retreat to the warmth of the apartment where, conveniently, the rest of the grog was.

Daniel and Liam swap hair
(Photo: Catherine White)

But it was pretty much straight into the kitchen for trout-wrangler Rachel, who had already spent the afternoon engaging in the masochistic labour of pin-boning every fillet of fish. Tim's recipe may be to die for in the culinary sense, but certainly not literally. So with almost an obsessive-compulsive fervor Rachel delicately removed every tiny bone, brandishing only a set of tweezers and the mouth of a wharfie. Then with the choking hazards taken care of it was on to the actual cooking, a much more pleasurable part of the process. From here on in Rach was salting lemons, frying fennel and blanching potatoes to make a wonderfully tasty combination of flavours. The trout came up deliciously crispy and we all cleaned our plates feeling a little bit smarter.

Rachel pretends Heath is Leo Sayer

Armed with her fancy camera, Catherine earned honours as guest photographer when Daniel and Heath weren't snapping away. Rachel revealed her secret passion for Leo Sayer. Liam dazzled with a gift of homemade lemon butter (a family recipe). Heath did the dishes like a good boy. As the night went on, the bubbles kept doing the rounds despite the fact that it was a school night. The recycling bin was quite healthy come morning, as was the lingering scent of trout in the apartment.

Liam poses with his artwork Bleeding Glitter from Daniel & Drew's collection (Photo: Catherine White)

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