Monday, 28 December 2015

Elephant Hill Restaurant (Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay) is outstanding

Jane & I had a magnificent meal out at the restaurant at Elephant Hill​ this evening. If you are after a top class fine dining experience with magnificent food and wine and superb service then this is hard to beat. We have eaten at a number of excellent restaurants this year and this comes out at the top of the list for both of us for fine dining.

After a nice amuse bouche of apple with a rosemary foam and a cumin seed roll thereafter we were ready to get started. For entree I had the "Smoked venison tartare, beetroot meringue, horseradish sorbet, walnut" and Jane had the "Cured kingfish, lime pearls, dill, cucumber granita, crème fraîche, wakame dressing". Both were superb dishes that were magnificently presented, packed with flavour and intrigue and flavours that all complemented each other well.

For our mains, I had the "Smoked lamb loin, gremolata, goats curd, eggplant, artichoke heart, puffed black rice" and Jane had the "Glazed duck, soft shell crab, pomegranate, cucumber, coriander, vanilla lime dressing". Both were yet again superb, but my taste of Jane's dish was absolutely divine. We accompanied the mains with a nice "green leaf, walnut, pear, white balsamic" salad. I had the 2013 Elephant Hill Reserve Syrah and this was superb.

By dessert I couldn't fit much in so decided to have the "Petit Fours" which were four different chocolates and delightful. Jane had the "Dark chocolate crema catalana, milk chocolate mousse, jaffa curd, crème fraîche sorbet" and the crema catalana and jaffa curd were particularly good.

The service was outstanding as is the setting (looking out past the reflection pond to the vines and with the sea in the distance). We will very happily return.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Ski review: Blizzard Bonafide & Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT

I tried out a couple of skis yesterday from the latest range of skis on the Turoa ski field at Mt Ruapehu. The conditions were a mixture of hard packed, soft, crud and a little bit of ice but not a huge amount.

Blizzard Bonafide 2016 - 173cm - with a 98mm waist width I was looking at them in the context of an all mountain ski that is suitable with powder. These skis really wanted to move and skied well over a mixture of snow conditions but I found they were a bit hard to turn. The difficulty turning may have been due to me not being sufficiently heavy to drive these (~75kg) or maybe just not having much experience with a ski of this width. NZ$1399 (without bindings).

Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT 2015/2016 - 176cm - these skis felt great and natural to ski as soon as I headed off. I also felt a great sense of stability on the hard packed snow and felt these went well through a mixture of snow conditions (although the Bonafide was a bit smoother through the crud). With quite a stubby nose and next to no rocker, these were very responsive to turn but I expect they won't be the best in too much soft snow. NZ$2199 (with bindings).

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Book Review: The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition by Charlie Papazian

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition contains lots of good information about the brewing process and use of different sugars, ingredients such as berries, coriander, chocolate and when to add them.

There is also a useful description of different hops, basic guidelines of quantities of malts and hops to use for various styles of beer and a significant number of recipes. Unexpectedly there are also a number of different Mead recipes. There is even a section on growing hops.

The coverage of Brew In A Bag (BIAB) was quite light and I didn't see any coverage on how to scale a recipe (maybe I missed it).