Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dromana Trip

The wonderful Ella from A Goddess In The Kitchen and hubby Furry had invited me to visit them at their Dromana beach house, Chez Fur du Mer. Not being one to refuse a great offer, I kindly accepted. I brought along my friend Tin, as we thought we would get to go fishing on Furry's boat.

As luck would have it though, it was pouring rain all morning. We made our way to Dromana in fairly good time despite the rain and a couple of car accidents along the way (other people involved in accidents, not us). We arrived at Chez Fur de Mer to be greeted by Ella, Furry and the two dogs.

We sat around and talked for a while before deciding on the days' activities. Since the weather was not good for fishing, Ella suggested she take us around Red Hill, which was fine with me. So off we went to Red Hill. First stop was Darling Point, the vineyard where Ella and Furry got their free wood fired oven from. They were there one day and saw that the oven was not used. Ella asked for it and the rest is history. It's now in their backyard, after some modifications where it was embiggened (wink wink Simpsons fans) by Furry and his Greek neighbours Nick, Big Nick, Small Nick, Old Nick, Young Nick and The Other Nick.

I tried the Darling Point Pinot Noir and Syrah (Shiraz). Both were good so we decided to drink the Syrah with our Tasting Plate while I bought a bottle of the Pinot Noir.

The Tasting Plate consisted of local produce of the area. From bottom left clockwise, there was Pastrami, Onion Jam, Preserved Quince, Blue Cheese and Goats Cheese, Olives, Cherries, Dukkah and Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar. Everything tasted very good and was enjoyed in the outdoor area under the patio whilst the wind blew softly and the rain pitter pattered on the cover.

From Darling Point, we drove to Sorrento, where we got the famous Vanilla Slice from Just Fine Foods. I hadn't eaten this before and I must say it does live up to its reputation. The custard is wonderfully soft without being mushy. It's not too sweet, with the sweetness provided by the icing sugar. The pastry is light and crispy, blending well with the vanilla flavoured custard.

Ella picked up a leg of lamb for dinner whilst in Sorrento. We went back to Chez Fur du Mer and started up the wood oven whilst having drinks.

Tin and I poked around the boat whilst waiting for the oven to heat up. Here's Tin pretending to be out in the sea.

Whereas the reality was that the boat was parked next to the garage.

Ella prepared the leg of lamb in a roasting pan with flavours to infuse it. There was red onions, whole garlic cloves, lemon, orange, mint, lemon grass, rosemary and fennel. Here is a before shot.

Whilst the lamb was cooking, Ella and Furry's friends Tim and Sally came over. We all sat around drinking and talking whilst waiting for the lamb to cook. Nick "the over builder" and his wife Helena also dropped by. Dromana definitely has a very community feel. Helena and Nick gave some tips on perfecting the roast, which Ella followed. After it got colder, we went inside to wait for the lamb. When it was done after two hours, it was beautifully cooked. The lamb tasted so wonderfully tender. It was literally falling apart. The meat was also infused with all the complex flavours. I suggested that we cook some pita in the oven since it was still hot. The pita bread was then used to soak up all the succulent juices still in the pan. We finished off the meal with some of the sweetest cherries that I bought at the Red Hill Cherry farm.

Then it was time to go home. What a great day we had, despite not being able to go fishing. I'm sure next time we'll be able to fish on the boat. Thanks to Ella and Furry for having Tin and I over at their beach house for a fun day.

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