Sunday, June 28, 2009

The truffle is tres bon

We celebrated our first Canberra region Truffle Festival last Friday night with a wonderful dinner at Christophe Gregoire's Le Tres Bon in Bungendore. The 5 course menu was teamed with local Tallagandra Hill wines. Around 80 of us were cosily seated in this cute French country style restaurant in the main street of Bungendore for this very special dinner.

Christophe himself welcomed us, proudly showing off a precious plate full of the wondrous black fungi. We wished he'd passed it around so we could get a close up sniff, but understood that at $3,000 a kilo he probably didn't want to risk someone dropping it on the floor.

The first course was Vol au vent of scrambled eggs and fresh truffle followed by Beef consumee with fresh truffle. Both dishes were very delicately flavoured, classically French and had the merest whisper of truffle flakes (and flavour) adorning them.

We were more excited to see our Rabbit and perigourdine sauce, lavishly dressed with a paper thin crisp of fresh truffle, with a truffle infused mash. It was a gorgeous dish, rich and full of flavour, the tiny amount of truffle delivering a big bodied essence of mushroom flavour to the dish.

Roast duck with a vanilla and truffle sauce followed the rabbit course - another gorgeous dish with big luscious flavours complementing the richness of the duck.

To end off this very classic country style French menu Christophe served Fresh truffle creme brulee.

I know this all sounds very rich, but portions were quite small, flavours were carefully balanced and there were no heavy starchy additions to overload our enjoyment of this very special meal. We didn't think much of the wines. People more erudite than me judged that the Viogniers had been been picked too early and the Shiraz was a typical thin tasting cold climate wine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Park & Art

Another week of earthly delights and amazing news from Davey, in the UK ,about his sudden, imminent return to Oz while his work visa is re-negotiated! We'll all loving seeing him again, but.......

We had our best day ever with Ella on Friday. She has found her Mojo again after the "turning two blues" and is full of smiles and rapidly expanding conversation. She found everything we did in the warm winter sunshine hugely enjoyable: feeding the ducks, swinging very high, sliding down the dip very fast, climbing, running.

Dialogue opened at ANCA Gallery in Dickson on Saturday afternoon. Maxie exhibited the last of her recent "heads" - very depleted after her successful Re-Generation exhibition at The Q Gallery with Claire. This time she exhibited with Ilona, Anne and Kate, some of my former Art teacher colleagues. Their show looked beautiful (of course), and there were lots of red dots in evidence.

Rob and I had an overnight visit to Sydney to install our beautiful new painting from the Re-Generation exhibition (any excuse!). His-story looks wonderful, we've decided, in the living area. Our little place at Coogee really feels like home when we visit now. The only big job left to do is a complete interior repaint, but we will try to avoid embarking on that as long as possible!

We stopped at Berrima for lunch on the way home today instead of the usual quick coffee at the hideous Macca's at Sutton Forest. We enjoyed our civilised stop - real food and a great chance to catch up on the "Ute-gate" debacle in all of today's papers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Move fast stay warm

Everyone knows we had the coldest day in 43 years in Canberra on Friday. The maximum temperature never rose above 4oC all day. Joshy has the perfect antidote to the cold weather blues when he takes to the Canberra speedway in his super tuned go-kart machine. The rest of us piled on the layers for a relatively warm day at the track today (11oC). Joshy never felt the wind chill factor at all as he charged around the track at breakneck speed.
Even Ella has finally got out of her sundresses and realised the benefits of a puffer jacket although she's always known the benefits of running and swinging in the air.

These two photographs fail to capture the close race between Josh (no 17) and no 15 for second place in the Rotax Heavy division. Joshy worked his way past him in the last few laps with some exciting (and very dangerous looking) moves and succeeding in winning second place.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sydney Luminous

To celebrate Vivid Sydney we headed straight for McMahon's Point last Friday night on our way to Coogee to see what Brian Eno had done to the Opera House for the duration of Sydney's winter festival of music, light and ideas.

We stayed long enough to see a rich suite of colour waves and patterns sweep over the sails and decide it was rather all rather wonderful and not kitschy at all.

We were very lucky to see Miss Zoe D. (almost 11 months old now) quite a bit this weekend, along with Sydney Clare and her dad S. First stop was Adriano Zumbo's Cafe Chocolat in Balmain. In our three hours there we all overdosed on Adriano's delectable chocolate confections and intense full bodied coffees. Miss Zoe felt right at home in this hip little French style cafe and was particularly struck with the low slung red glass chandelier.
I was amazed by my ability to scoff down a "It's not a hamburger! ...It's a macaron!
Created to mirror the flavours of a banoffee pie, one of Adriano's old school favourites. the "Hamburger" was created in honour of the many customers who commented that Adriano's macarons looked like "tiny little hamburgers". Two giant chocolate macarons filled with dulce de leche gelato and dark chocolate sauce, rested on a bed of banana and caramel rice pudding, finished with a sprinkle of bitter chocolate soil."

Next venue was our favourite local hero, Barzura's at Coogee Beach where Miss Zoe was able to sample a bit of everyone else's tagliatelle, poached ocean trout, risotto and crumbed wild mushrooms and goats cheese with baby eggplant and red pepper sauce, which she did with great gusto.
In between these dining marathons Rob's Mum had a lovely stay with Miss Zoe at Glebe while we had a quieter time doing our thing at Coogee Beach: long walks every day in the bright clear winter sun and a long, expensive afternoon at Bondi Junction picking up some more stylish gym gear to suit our new memberships at SCHC.