Peterson House – Hunter Valley

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I’m pretty lucky in my line of work. I get to chat to all the wonderful boutique wineries around Australia, encouraging them to advertise with the largest circulating Lifestyle. Food and Wine magazine! I also get to organise events for our lovely members which can include wine tastings and food matching and sometimes we even get to have a celebrity chef come in and cook up a storm for a lucky few who then sit back, taste and enjoy with wonderful, hand picked Australian wines.

My trip out to the Hunter Valley just before Christmas was a little treat as well as getting to chat to beautiful people.

When we stopped in at Peterson House we were greeted by such welcoming staff and shown to our special VIP table for a wine tasting and lunch. Of course we started on the 2008 Pinot Noir Chardonnay and moved through the whites, onto the reds and then a sticky at the end.

We all ordered lunch half way through the tasting and they truly exceeded any expectation I had.

Myself and James ordered the Barramundi fillet pan fried on a panzanella salad of sourdough, Adina olives, grilled capsicum, cherry tomatoes & ripped fresh basil tossedĀ  in red wine vinegar & extra virgin olive oil served w a house made aioli. – Amazing and a must for any fish fanatic!

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There were four of us at lunch, both the girls had had a massive breakfast so opted for entree’s instead of mains.

One chose the Tempura battered king prawns on a seaweed salad w a fresh mango & coriander salsa (DF)

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The other one ordered the Semi dried tomatoes & caramelised onion tart w Binnorie Dairy feta and house made caramelised balsamic (which I didn’t get a photo of) but with a side of amazing polenta fries!

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These were absolutely amazing!

We were all so full from our lunch but the lovely girls at Peterson’sĀ decided that we needed cheese to be served with the sticky white right at the end.

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All in all an amazing afternoon with great company, food and wine! What more could you ask for?!

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Polenta – Enough Said

OMG I am slightly addicted to this beautiful ground cornmeal substance!

It was only a few weeks back when I was chatting with Kate, a girl I work with about polenta. She is gluten intolerant and I tend to cook a lot of dishes that are gluten free as my mother is also intolerant. I was telling her about the ready made stuff I used to use in the UK and how amazing it was. You see, I had attempted to make it from powder form and failed miserably. As I’m sure you’re cottoning onto, I don’t do measurements or timing so well and therefore this make it yourself polenta ended up in the bin.

I was super excited two weeks ago when i was just daydreaming down the pasta isle of Coles when I stopped to check a message on my phone and just glanced right and there, low and behold was this ready made polenta!

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Super excited, I snapped a picture quickly and sent it to Kate, I placed the polenta back on it’s shelf and started walking away, only to find myself dashing back to this exciting find and throwing it into my trolley like a little guilty pleasure!

When I got home I popped all my groceries away and then sat and stared at this wonder, wondering what I would make to go with it! You see the ready made stuff, although super easy to use, only as a 3-4 day window from opening the packet and placing it in the fridge. I definitely didn’t want to waste this golden treasure so I started planning meals that I could do that would utilise it all.

The first dish I did I pan fried the polenta in thick steaks trying to achieve the rather difficult black line look. I served this with a T-bone steak, green beans and home made red onion relish. This recipe can be found here.

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I had enough polenta left over to try a very simple polenta and rosemary fries recipe that I just made up. This time, however, I decided to spray the fries with olive oil and sprinkle salt and finely chopped fresh rosemary and then bake them rather then fry them. Although this took around 30 minutes to achieve, the result was mind blowing and I will post a recipe for this as soon as i make them again and remember to take a picture of it!

Last night, I had bought a new packet of this wonderful accompaniment and decided as it was Meatless Monday that I would use some frozen Salmon steaks and build on that. In the end I made a homemade salsa and served the dish with a swirl of Sweet Chilli Sauce. Not the cleanest of eating but OMG it just topped the dish off to a T! You can find that recipe here……

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So my journey with polenta is really only starting. Maybe one day I will venture back to the “do it yourself” kind, but for now, I am happy in the knowledge that sat in my pantry (or fridge when I have opened the packet) is my ready made polenta just waiting to be eaten all up!

#Getinmybelly