River trout, horseradish and new potato salad

Potato salad Enjoy this recipe courtesy of Bernard & Jill Hayes of Hayes Catering, Shepparton. Bernard & Jill recommend our Dookie Hills Viognier as the perfect wine to accompany this salad.

700g new potatoes 4 heaped tablespoons crème fraiche or sour scream Zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1 (alternatively replace some of the lemon with orange zest and juice for a tangy sweetness) 4 tablespoons quality extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and black pepper 4 heaped teaspoons horseradish (preferably fresh, it should be in abundance after the winter months) a handful of fresh parsley leaves Handful of fresh chives Small bunch of spring onions, washed and finely sliced 400g smoked river trout A couple of bunches of chopped chicory or fennel can be a palatable, crisp addition to this salad

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, drain them well. While they are still warm, peal and cut them into squares or squash them into a large salad bowl. Add crème fraiche, juice, zest and olive oil. Toss and season to taste. Add the grated horseradish, chives, parsley and spring onions. Tear trout and add it into the bowl, mixing everything together. The fish can be lightly grilled and served warm or at your discretion.

Grilled fig salad with goat's curd and proscuitto

Figs are currently in season so if you don’t have a neighbor, family or friend with a tree in their backyard, purchasing from the green grocer or market won’t break the bank. Team the figs with prosciutto and goat’s curd for a mouth watering salty sweet experience. Recipe serves 4.

4 large fresh figs 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/8 teaspoon sea salt Ground pepper, to taste 250g mixed salad leaves such as baby cos, radicchio and rocket 100 grams goat’s curd 8 slices prosciutto

  1. Snip the stem end off each fig and cut in half lengthwise. Combine the vinegar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, add the figs and gently toss to coat. Allow to marinate while you heat the barbeque.
  2. If necessary, coat the grill with a little olive oil then char-grill the figs, for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until grill marks appear. Do not overcook as the figs will become too mushy. Remove figs to a plate and reserve the marinade in the bowl as the base for your dressing.
  3. To the reserved marinade, add olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper, whisking well to completely incorporate. Adjust to taste.
  4. Place greens in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing, then divide greens among 4 individual serving plates. Place 2 fig halves on each plate of greens and serve.

The big Aussie red

Australian wine writer Max Allen wrote an interesting article in the Weekend Australian Magazine July 4-5, 2009 on the influential wine critic Robert Parker Jr of the Wine Advocate publication. Parker is widely known for his penchant for the "big red", with lashings of ripeness and oak thrown in. Over the past decade Parker embraced the big blockbuster style coming out of several South Australian wineries and gave them near or perfect scores in the Wine Advocate. Naturally enough this lead to a surge in popularity and sales for these Australian wines and as a consequence many other Australian wineries followed suit. Australia developed a reputation for producing monster Shiraz and for some time enjoyed the benefits of the huge popularity of this style. As Max Allen stated in his article, times have changed and consumers have turned away from the big over-oaked style of Shiraz, instead looking for elegance and greater fruit expression in their wines. Unfortunately for Australian wineries, the once beneficial reputation they earnt for producing big red wines has stuck despite a strong local trend towards producing more fruit driven wines. Many global wine consumers are not aware that Australia actually produces a diverse range of red wine styles so Australia is currently at risk of being considered a one trick pony.

To overcome this opinion may be a long journey for the Australian wine industry. There are plenty of wineries producing fantastic wines which definitely do not fall into Robert Parker Jn's big red style however we need to get the message out to the rest of the wine drinking world.