Earlier this year a group of our old friends (who find it harder and harder to get together) decided we should organise a long weekend away and the Barossa Valley in South Australia sounded like a good spot to catch up. We stayed at the Novotel near Tununda. The weather was looking perfect to travel around the area and indulge in good local food and taste a few wines, as there is no shortage of wineries. As I was arranging the itinerary for the weekend I couldn't visit the Barossa without a trip to Maggie Beer's Pheasant Farm and Shop. Maggie is well known, one of Australia's favourite celebrity cooks, has made a series of TV programs - The Cook and the Chef and has many cook books to her credit. She is passionate about fresh produce and her farm shop is an advocate for this. At the farm you can see her pheasants and at the farm shop you can purchase bottled pickles, preserves, jams, fresh fruit, and partake in picnic style lunches eaten around the lake outside the shop, a very relaxing spot. There is also a demonstration kitchen which is where the TV series is filmed and is a replica of Maggie's own kitchen. So after our picnic basket lunch we went into the demo kitchen to see what was being cooked. The demonstrator must have asked for a helper and before I knew it I was up behind the counter with the apron on!
Antipasto type dishes were on the menu using Maggie's range of Vino Cotto and Verjuice for the audience to taste. My job was to prepare the sautéed mushrooms with Verjuice
From Memory (as being a celebrity chef is a bit of a blur) here is what I cooked!
Mushrooms in Verjuice
Slowly melt heaps of butter in a large pan about 500g - be careful not to burn the butter
Season well with salt and pepper
Throw in 1 kg of sliced brown mushrooms
Saute slowly stirring occasionally until mushrooms are cooked
Pour in a good splosh of Verjuice to deglaze and cooked down until reduced and intense.
This can be served on bruschetta with a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil.
|I think this means I did OK!|
Wooden shelves displaying old china and bottled produce in the kitchen.
Check out Maggie's website here and if you get the opportunity is worth a visit.
I think I have found my "calling".