Sunday 26 July 2009

Cooking Schnitzel

I cooked schnitzel for dinner tonight. Simon is always a little nervous when I cook schnitzel, despite really liking it. Patience is not my strong point and as far as he's concerned, good schnitzel requires a concerted exercise in patience.

Well, tonight I cooked seriously impressive schnitzel. Thanks to a little help from German Food Guide. Every tip on this page helped.

  • Lightly flour the schnitzel, then egg it, then coat in the crumbs without patting it on and IMMEDIATELY get it into the oil/butter mix at a medium temperature. I used Canola Oil & Butter.
  • This requires a bit of preparation - I had the german potato salad (made last night) and green salad served on the dinner plates before I even removed the schnitzel from the fridge. And had the oven on to keep the schnitzels warm while I cooked the rest of them.
  • I cooked one at a time. And I replaced the oil/butter after the 2nd schnitzel.
Delicious! (And Simon reallly wanted me to make a note of it here for reference next time around).

Always great service - the Homestore

This is a shout out to The Homestore, because they are consistently awesome.

We regularly shop at The Homestore, especially when we're buying engagement or wedding gifts, or on the rare occaision that we actually need something for our kitchen. (as I told one of the staff there today - Simon has this odd expectation that you can only buy stuff if you NEED it. She responded that he's not very well trained. ;-)

Whenever we visit The Homestore, we are consistently greeted with a warm and familiar (and often cheeky) welcome, we are well looked after, we have fun shopping and it goes without saying that they always have a fabulous product. They also leave us with the confidence that if we do have a problem with something we've bought, it won't be a problem to sort it out. Even years later. They usually even remember things we bought from them, yes, even from years earlier.

We always leave feeling, frankly, special, and we pretty much always rave about them for at least 5 minutes after leaving the shop.

Now THAT is great marketing. They are guaranteed to get our continued custom, not to mention all the free word-of-mouth marketing.

Thanks for being awesome, and we look forward to visiting you again soon!

Saturday 18 July 2009

The Grove Restaurant

We dined at The Grove Restaurant (Auckland CBD) this evening for the first time.  The menu here really gives nothing away, and the molecular gastronomy experience is great. 

To start we had the "Big eye tuna, seared scallop, calamari, crayfish gelée" and the "Slow cooked poussin w farmed rabbit, foie gras ice cream, carrot ".  They are definitely not large portions, and I felt they were overpriced, but they did have some magnificent flavours and lots of discussion of what particular tastes were. 

We followed this with the "Beef fillet w cauliflower purée, escargot & oxtail ragout" and the "Market fish, gentle braise of prawn & abalone, almond, lemon" which were both very good, although not standpoint meals.  The accompanying "Globe artichokes w capers, caramelised garlic, parmesan" we ordered (for something different) was in fact a highlight of my meal.

For dessert, I had the magnificent "Crème brulée, orange blossom, rhubarb, orange" and Jane had the "Coconut parfait w smoked cashew, mango, pineapple & sesame" which was equally good.  Our accompanying coffees were also good.

A very nice meal, although not cheap, and other than the dessert and the molecular gastronomy experience did not really have that wow factor.

Der Metz German Restaurant

We went to Der Metz (Kohimarama, Auckland) last weekend for our second time.  The previous time would have been about two years ago and the experience was comparable. 

Having spent time in Bavaria 18 months ago, this restaurant is fairly typical of what we experienced at bars in Germany.  The portions are large, sausages excellent and the Hofbräu beer on tap goes down well.  We started with Nurnberger wurst and it was very good with an excellent Sauerkraut.  We followed this with an enormous Schnitzel, Venison (which was smaller than the other meals, but still an adequate portion) and a ridiculously huge Pork hock that was crispy on the outside and succulent within. 

The Apple Strudel for dessert was also nice although it was different than the standard Apple Strudel I am used to.  The chocolate mousse was apparently also good.

Just like what we had in Bavaria, the Presentation was not a focus.  A good decor with lots of Bavarian icons with a nice atmosphere.  A well priced hearty meal.  We will be back.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Craggy Range Wine Tasting

The North Shore Wine and Food Society had Craggy Range Winery along this evening.  With vineyards throughout the country they grow grapes in what they deem to be the most appropriate region for that type of grape. 

It was an excellent evening and Craggy Range have some superb wines.  Two wines this evening I found to be particularly good; the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

My rough notes from this evening:

Sauvignon Blanc, Avery Vineyard, Marlborough, 2008 Lovely nose and taste, clear, crisp, passionfruit to the nose and taste, fresh.  Drinking beautifully now but should be good for another 1-2 years. A great wine.*
Chardonnay, Kidnappers Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, 2008 Light armpit aroma (but ok), very young, lightly oaked, not big, Pale straw colour.  It was described as a “Chardonnay for Sauvignon Blanc Drinkers” which I would agree with.  Quite nice.
Chardonnay, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, 2008 Strong drench oak/buttery nose, light yellow hue. This will be a big wine, but I felt that the oak is squashing out a bit of the fruit flavour.  With a cream-based pasta this was a great accompaniment.
Pinot Noir, Zebra Vineyard, Bendigo, Central Otago, 2007 Beautiful nose, blackberry, big wine, Awesome, very long tail, great mid-palette.  One of the best Pinot Noir’s I’ve had!
Syrah, Block 14, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, 2007 Deep purple, light pepper nose, starts strong with a medium finish, big, great wine
Merlot, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, 2006 Lovely plum nose, dark red colour, dry.  Initially I felt this lacked anything of interest, but it grew on me.
Sophia, Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, 2007 This is a Merlot based Bordeaux blend.  Super Dark colour, lovely, Plum/Vanilla, Sufficient tannins to cellar.  I thought this was a bit overpriced, however we decided to get one anyway to cellar for a few years, since it felt like there was potential just waiting for time.

* Considering the wine notes for the Sauvignon Blanc mention grapefruit and white nectarine, I wonder whether I am misinterpreting passionfruit.  More drinking is obviously required.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Coffee Drinks Illustrated

I just came across this Coffee Drinks Illustration via Lifehacker (an excellent blog) and just had to share it.

Coffee Drinks Illustrated by twoeyes.