Pomegranate, Apple and Lime Fizz

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Serves 8

Ingredients:

3 limes | 1 small Granny smith apple | 1L of pomegranate juice (chilled) | half cup small mint leaves | ice cubes (to serve) | 1.25L lemonade (chilled)

Juice 2 limes. Pour juice into a large jug.

Cut apple into quarters and remove core. Thinly slice and add to lime juice mixture.

Add pomegranate juice and mint, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add a few ice cubes to each serving glass. Pour pomegranate mixture among glasses. Top up with lemonade. Serve.

Recipe courtesy of Australia Vogue Living – April 2013

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Dinner Party

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As the cold weather sets in, a cosy dinner party amongst the closest of friends seems in order. Perhaps I shall serve this delicious pomegranate , apple and lime fizz

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And draw much inspiration from these beautiful arrangements…
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Don’t forget the dessert!
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This article in the April issue of Australia’s Vogue Living is rather excellent, offering wise advice and recipes from Sean Cook, owner of Sydney florist Mr Cook.
Do you have any suggestions on what makes the best dinner party? I would really love to hear your ideas.
-T.
Photographs by Brett Stephens. Article featured in Australia Vogue Living – April 2013.

Margaret River Day 2

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After a quick breakfast of croissants and coffee, the Duke and I headed out to the Margaret River Farmers’ Markets. Of all the fresh produce and gourmet cheese that was present there, this is what caught my attention:

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…a duck pumpkin?

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…not to mention the largest pumpkin I’ve ever seen! It’s almost as big as those young boys standing just behind it. Only in Margaret River…

The Duke also spotted some lovely handmade soaps (courtesy of the Margaret River Soap Factory) of which we bought three of: Rose Geranium with Pink Clay, Coconut & Vanilla, and Australian Bush.

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By the time we were finished looking through the stalls at the markets, it was almost lunchtime, se we headed out towards the wineries in search of some delicious morsels to satisfy our appetites.

Our first stop was the Duckstein Brewery, located on the Saracen Estate. Upon our arrival, we were apologetically told that there was a one hour wait before we could be seated. As much as we would have loved to stay, our empty stomachs beckoned and we moved on to Laurance Wines across the road.

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(My view of the vineyards through the Duke’s glass of shiraz)

Upon entering the estate, one can not help but be breathless as they look upon the vast estate. With a magnificent rose garden that boasts over 1 000 bushes, Laurance Wines was the perfect place for an peaceful lunch (for more details of our lunch, click here).

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After a filling lunch, we stopped by the Margaret River Chocolate Company to have a look at their produce . The Duke then suggested a special place he wanted to show me. And so we set off…

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..and found ourselves in a magical place where the trees continue on for hundreds and hundreds of meters.

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The Duke says that he so very much wants to bring me here in the winter time, when the lilies awaken from their slumber and cover the forest ground in their brilliance. Perhaps our next getaway is not so faraway after all.

The rest of the afternoon wasn’t all that eventful to be honest; returning to our rooms at the Margaret River Resort, we ordered some takeaway curry before settling in to watch Will Smith’s I, Robot.

Day 3 in Margaret River will be up shortly.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.

-The Fine Duchess

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 

Laurance Winery

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On a cloudy afternoon, the Duke and I had a quiet lunch at Laurance Wines amongst the backdrop of the beautiful vineyards. After a brief look over the menu, we settled on the Western Flavours Tasting Tray, which consisted of the following:

pork and veal meatballs | potato/venison chorizo taquitas | goats cheese rolled in candied walnuts | grilled garlic and thyme rubbed quail | caprese salad with prosciutto | cauliflower soup shots| locally baked bread | roquet and parmesan salad

Accompanying our light lunch was a glass of the Laurance of Margaret River Shiraz for the Duke and a glass of sparkling water for myself.

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The highlights of the dish were the quail (so succulent) and the cauliflower soup. The little parcels of potato/chorizo taquitas added a nice crunchy texture to the platter whilst the meatballs were unfortunately on the dry side. The duke quite liked the goats cheese but myself not so much – it wasn’t that it tasted bad; I’m just not as big of a fan of goats cheese as the Duke.

Overall, the lunch was pleasant and we left beautiful Laurance Winery feeling very content.

Laurance Winery on Urbanspoon

Gnarabar, Margaret River

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On the evening of our first day in Margaret River, we drove over to Gnarabar Bar and Bistro for a cosy dinner for two.

We started off with garlic & parmesan bread and a serve of seared scallops with cauliflower puree, pancetta, truffle oil and baby herbs. As delicious as our entrees were, we felt that the garlic bread lacked a bit of punch from both the garlic and parmesan aspect (though the bread was very fresh and soft in the right places), and the pancetta (panfried) was an unnecessary addition. The  scallops themselves were cooked to perfection and the cauliflower puree was simply divine.

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For mains, the Duke chose the porterhouse steak whilst I went with pan fried gnocchi. When the steak came out (along with the sides of steamed vegetables and shoestring fries), the Duke was blown away by the large portion size and was left feeling very full at the end of the meal.

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My plate of gnocchi was full of goodness, containing fondant leeks, cherry tomatoes, sweet peas, baby spinach, lemon and parmesan. The flavours were well balanced, from  the acidity of the lemon to the sweetness of the leeks. When the Duke had a taste, he commended them on the well thought out dish but had to say that the last gnocchi he had eaten (at Cantina 663) was just the slightest bit better. Nonetheless, I was very content with my meal and easily polished it off.

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With a wide array of items on the food and drinks menu and attentive staff, I would be delighted to have another chance to dine at the splendid Gnarabar Bar and Bistro.

-The Fine Duchess

Gnarabar Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

Margaret River Day 1

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…a hot cup of coffee and an array of pastries to choose from is sure to be a good start to a holiday.

After a delicious breakfast, the Duke and I set off in search of The Grove Liqueur Factory. Doesn’t the name sound so enticing?

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First up was a tasting of the shiraz, followed by the rich muscats. Oh, the muscats. They were quite the treat. We began with the five year old muscat, which was so smooth and aromatic. The 10 year old muscat was described as Christmas in a glass, whilst the twenty year old muscat was like liquid gold. The knowledgeable lady that took us through the tastings mentioned that despite being called the twenty year old muscat, it was more like a fifty year old muscat as one can only declare the youngest grape.

The Duke then went on to sample the wide array of liqueurs (descriptions provided by The Grove Liqueur Factory):

1. Raspberry: the raspberries are macerated in blended spirits for some time to extract as much flavour and colour as possible. Serving suggestion – mix with white chocolate liqueur or use in Champagne cocktails.

2. Turkish Delight: a blend of rose water and our fabulous Milk Chocolate liqueur. Uncle Cadbury, eat your heart out! {This liqueur was so thick thick and smooth – perfect with some ice cream)

3. Butterscotch: OMG {I’m serious, that was all that was written for the description}

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After the Grove, we ventured down to the Bootleg Brewery, situated on a beautiful land with an array of tall pines and a calm, peaceful lake. There, the Duke sampled a selection of the beers brewed on site.

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To finish off our day, we headed towards the coast to Gnarabar for a lovely dinner. A review and pictures from our dinner will be coming soon can be found here.

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Hope you had a chance to find some time for yourself this week.

-The Fine Duchess

Throw And Grow Confetti

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With the release of Niko Niko‘s new Throw & Grow Confetti, one no longer has to worry about the mess of regular confetti or be concerned with cleaning up the mess. The confetti is made from biodegradable paper-like paper, cut in shapes of blossoms. When thrown to the wind, the confetti (filled with seeds) will eventually become a lovely scattering of wildflowers.

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Perhaps this would be  perfect for your next celebration.

May you all have a lovely weekend.

-T.

[Niko Niko via swissmiss via gizmodo]

Barista Parlor

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For those who love coffee (and when I say love, boy, do I mean it), the Barista Parlor in Nashville Tennessee is the place to be. With a unique set up and seven of the best roasters in the world, one would say that Andy Mumma (owner) really has outdone himself. Quite the coffee enthusiast myself, I am left breathless as I can only envision one day being able to work in such an establishment.

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For more information, visit their site here or read an interview with owner Andy Mumma here (scroll through the images to find the interview at the end).

-The Fine Duchess

All images by Jennifer Causey via The Makers

Cantina 663

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…have always been a big fan of Cantina 663 since my days at WAAPA. I first came to know of this fine establishment late one evening after a choir rehearsal, almost four years ago. Rather than return home, a group of us decided to grab some dessert around the corner at Cantina. I still remember my first meal: hot chocolate with the sample of their housemade icecream.

This quaint little restaurant, tucked in the Astor Arcade has since been a favourite of the Duke and I for a while now and is always the perfect place for a luxurious breakfast with a dear friend…

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Yesterday was the birthday of my dear friend, C, so today I took her out for a cosy breakfast at Cantina.

After promptly taking our orders for drinks, C chose the big breakfast (Mamas scrambled eggs, mushrooms, bacon, chipolatas, and beans)…

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…whilst I chose the chicken and bacon terrine with slow egg, served with apple-hazelnut-herb salad.

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After the meal, I opted for a refreshing (and freshly juiced) apple juice.

All in all, it was a delightful morning to celebrate the ten years that C and I have been the closest of friends.

Hope you have a day filled with the company of loved ones.

-T.

Cantina 663 on Urbanspoon

The Zombies

This Old Heart of Mine by the Zombies

Fantastic song by such a great band. I must say that it is a shame that they were overlooked during their time due to the fame of The Beatles. Still, they are sounding very good here.

-The Fine Duchess

PS. Did you know that they were still alive? I had no idea – how shamefully ignorant of me. Check them out here.