So here we find ourselves on the final day of the challenge already – hasn’t it flown by?? It’s been a few (very busy) days since I checked in but, aside from Friday night out at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for a show (followed by dinner in China Town), we’ve been sticking to the Challenge fairly closely.
Thursday evening we had venison burgers (produced in Gippsland and purchased at the Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers’ Market a couple of months ag0) with my homemade red cabbage sauerkraut (made using veg from the Eaterprises fruit ‘n’ veg box, which comes from Captain’s Creek Organics in central Victoria) and Jamie’s Fine Dressings red onion chutney, which are based at Lake Boga, just near Swan Hill (but purchased from the Grampians Estate cellar door in Great Western on Monday). Kev chose to forego the sauerkraut (not a cabbage fan, which is a shame as there’s plenty growing in our garden!!) and instead had his burgers in a sour dough roll we made at our breadmaking class at Abbotsford Convent recently with local cheddar and the red onion chutney.
Friday I had a yummy breakfast of toast with Yarra Valley Dairy ‘Cardi’ goats cheese, the red onion chutney and on another piece, grilled figs from the tree up the lane way. Yum! Lunch was some sweet corn fritters I made using corn from the fruit ‘n’ veg box, local free range eggs and chillis/coriander from our garden – quick and easy. As mentioned earlier we were out Friday evening.
Saturday was a busy day doing wedding preparation – picked up our invitations, my wedding ring and Kev’s suit. It was also a gorgeous sunny day, so after a productive morning, we slowed down a bit with a local tasting plate and some sparkling wine in our courtyard/garden to take it all in. On the menu – toasted sour dough from our breadmaking course at the Abbotsford Convent, Mount Zero Olives (which isn’t far from where I grew up in Grampians) red wine vinegar, Egyptian dukkah and kalamata olives, Rose Creek Estate (about 10km from here) Villa Varapodi olive oil (SO yum!!), Meredith Dairy marinated goat cheese (if you haven’t yet tried this, you absolutely must!!) all washed down with Grampians Estate (one of our favourite wineries) Kelly’s Welcome 2008 sparkling pinot chardonnay. Lovely!
The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent doing wedding invitations and listening to the football (we lost unfortunately) before Fleur from Book a Chook came to deliver! I grew up with my Nan’s chickens and have long since wanted to have my own but Kev has put a lot of work into establishing our garden (and has never really had anything to do with chooks, so a little unsure), so we agreed to trial having chooks by renting them for a month. So, Fleur delivered Charlotte and Henrietta, along with their coop, enough feed for a month and instructions on how to look after her girls. It’s only been a day so far but I can see how much Kev is already coming along and of course I’m loving it! Now I know one of the challenges was to ‘buy cruelty free eggs laid by happy chooks’, which I do anyway, but I think we’ve gone above and beyond by getting our own chooks!
Finally that brings me to today. I had an early appointment to donate blood at Southbank Donor Centre but we decided to treat ourselves for doing the challenge by going out for lunch at Union Dining (and because we like to try new places) as they focus on fresh and local produce, with a few ingredients from the places that have inspired their dishes. We started with an Aviation (a cocktail of gin, violet liqueur, maraschino and lemon juice – so rarely seen on menus but one of our favourites) then opted for the a la carte menu (instead of the shared Sunday lunch menu), ordering the barramundi/potato croquets with pea/mint salad followed by the pappadelle, Tallarook (central Victoria) goat shoulder ragu & green olives (Kev) and for me it was caramelised onion tart, figs roasted with saba, ricotta followed by Hopkins River braised brisket, onion soubise, caperberries – washed down with a Yarra Valley shiraz voigner. The food was lovely, the service attentive, the atmosphere laid back but not too casual and though a little more pricey than we’d normally like to pay, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that we’ll be back one day in the future.
Though I didn’t get around to pickling my own vegetables this week, I do intend to pickle some of the beetroot and turnips I have from the fruit ‘n’ veg box over the next few days, although I suspect making sauerkraut probably counts anyway.
So that’s it – week almost over! Oh yeah, dinner tonight…? Too full! Haha. All the best on your local food journey and don’t hesitate to get in touch …especially if you’re interested in how our time with Charlotte and Henrietta is going!