Join us at Mussel Mania – Adelaide Central Market Fri 27th April


100 year old Paella Recipe found in Valencia

The #HEARTYPARTY is this Friday at Central Market, where we will cook Paella and serve all sorts of heart-warming, heart-pumping wines to welcome the first weekend of WINTER.

Today Amanda received an email that quite literally spooked her out.

A man named Juan Pablo emailed her. He had found her by searching for paella on twitter. He lives in Valencia, the home of Paella and is renovating his home which was apparently once a brothel circa early 1900’s. While renovating he found a pile of old documents, many ruined, but that included an original paella recipe! In spanish, of course.

He sent it to Amanda.

We are going to use this recipe this Friday at Central Market for the #HEARTYPARTY

It is reproduced below (in Spanish and translated to English). Thankyou Pablo for the recipe and thankyou world wide web for making this kind of thing possible. Stay tuned for more info about “Rosa” who may or may not have been a prostitute… (in said brothel)!

Rosa’s Seafood Paella Original Recipe

Olive Oil            Cover hot pan

Rice                   Alborio

1 Onion                 diced

4 Red Capsicum Diced

Saffron              Ground

Smoked Paprika

Garlic                Crushed

When rice is opaque white and starting to brown, add stock

7 litres    Chicken broth   Turn up heat.

Mussels         Cleaned

Fish cubes          Firm fish

Prawns                green

Squid                   cleaned, raw

Tomato                      medium dice


Parsley                Chopped

Basil                    chopped

Seasoning  to taste      chopped mild chili, salt, pepper

Heat oil in a paellera.

▪   Add mussels. Cook until they open and then remove.

▪   Sauté prawns

▪   Add chopped fish.

▪   Add squid

▪   Add garlic

▪   Add tomato

▪   Add rice and braise in sofrito.

▪   Add paprika.

▪   Add chicken broth and then saffron

▪   Add salt to taste.

▪   Simmer until rice is cooked

Receta de la original del Paella de los mariscos del ™ s del € de Rosaâ

Aceite de oliva Cacerola caliente de la cubierta Arroz Alborio 1 cebolla cortado en cuadritos El pimiento de 4 rojos cortó en cuadritos Azafrán Tierra Paprika ahumada Ajo Machacado Cuando el arroz es blanco opaco y el comenzar a broncear, agregue la acción 7 litros Caldo de pollo Dé vuelta encima de calor. Mejillones Limpiado Cubos de los pescados Pescados firmes Gambas verde Calamar limpiado, crudo Tomate dados medios Guisantes Perejil Tajado Albahaca tajado Aderezo al gusto chile suave tajado, sal, pimienta Aceite del calor en un paellera. el ª del – del â agrega los mejillones. Cocine hasta que ellos se abren y entonces quite. gambas de Sauté del ª del – del â el ª del – del â agrega pescados tajados. el ª del – del â agrega el calamar el ª del – del â agrega el ajo el ª del – del â agrega el tomate el ª del – del â agrega el arroz y lo cuece en sofrito. el ª del – del â agrega la paprika. el ª del – del â agrega el caldo y entonces el azafrán de pollo el ª del – del â agrega la sal al gusto. el Simmer del ª del – del â hasta el arroz se cocina

That’s Amphorae

During the recent 2011 vintage Ducks in a Row decided to take the plunge into a long held dream and make a wine using the vessel of choice of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Amphorae (or ‘Giara’) are terracotta containers of basically between 400 and 600 litres, but can be larger. The use of this completely ancient technology is now in use by modern winemakers in Italy, France, California and now Australia.

The style of wine produced is quite different and unique offering new flavours and textures. Making red wine is obviously very similar to that of any vessel, although the exception being the cooling method employed to control the heat that is generated during fermentation. Most winemakers are burying their amphorae in the ground allowing the coolness of the earth to keep ferments at reasonable temperatures.

What’s quite different both in technique and outcome is that of fermenting white grape varieties this way. White wines are almost always fermented in the absence of their skins and seeds as these are full of astringent tannins and other weird and wonderful compounds. These are the last thing a winemaker let alone the punter wants to see in an elegant Chardonnay or zippy and fresh Riesling or Vermentino!

In order to make these extracted tannins integrate into the wine a great deal of guts and patience is required. A period of months is required for these often bitter tannins to transform into a magical, mouth-filling, full bodied other-wordly drink…. all without the presence of the usual safety blanket of Sulphur Dioxide. I first encountered an Amphorae the day I started work at Penfold’s Nuriootpa in the Barossa valley of South Australia in late 2002. There were two of them outside the very dated and a bit kitsch cellar door entrance. No one can tell me of their origin and how they became part of the décor. The only common account is that they were from the Kaiser Stuhl winery across the way.

vermentino, moscato giallo and fiano

I would often hold out my hand out as I walked past to feel their smooth and cold surface. They are equally kitsch themselves really, each painted in a now cracked and peeling dubious classical motif… Germanic?, Greek?…I’ve never been able to decide! I even got a step ladder once to have a look inside one of them…sure enough they had become collectors of all sorts of clutter and even waste… a half eaten fossilised cake and one of those shocking printed tourist tea towels with a Barossa landscape and map. My thoughts were often on how could we make use of them. They looked to me that they were indeed real winemaking vessels and had in fact been in use…a definite crust on the inside surface and a wonderfully crafted but otherwise utilitarian brass tap at the bottom.

A few years later and a couple of major changes in my little corporate existence, Penfold’s was now part of Fosters and I was moved to the Group White Wine Making role for the Company. One of the great pleasures in my life is knowing Kevin McCarthy as a friend…. thank you Fosters … oops Treasury Wine Estates! I have the very vivid memory of Kevin waiting in our very clinical tasting room (think surgical theatre) with a bottle of hazy wine and looking very nervous. He wanted me to taste the wine, I did and he immediately apologised as he often has a habit to do…for no apparent reason. Eventually he came to the point..

“Will you let me bottle this?”

ferment complete, skins starting to sink

Not knowing really what the heck the wine style was I said yes, after finding out that it was a tiny quantity and would not be seen outside his T’Gallant Cellar Door and a few Restaurants! He was happy with my answer, although I must say I was a bit nervous now myself.

In one of our many conversations down the track he mentioned the wine was to be launched as part of the Melbourne Wine and Food festival, it was 2008, during Vintage. After hearing him say the launch was titled “Amphora Euphoria” I said something along the lines that the wine had not been made in an Amphora and he responded that it was in the same style. I think he apologised.

My mind immediately turned to the Amphorae at Penfold’s and I asked if he wanted one for the event. In March the Amphora and I were at the launch. I met there the love of my life, Amanda. Amongst many other things in her role at Fosters she had organised the PR and a media contingent to the event. Until March 2011 this little amphora remained… in our hearts and at T’Gallant.

committed to the task at hand…

So, here I am with a wire brush, our vacuum cleaner and me deep inside that thing. It was like a birth canal, except that I had dust up my nose and throat and sharp grit in my eyes and the shrilling sound of the vaccum cleaner starting to make my ears reverberate. What was the same as a birth canal is the thought that most babies must have… will I or won’t I…? I was in a mild panic really.

The hand picked fruit from Heathcote was already at the winery. Had I enough grapes picked to fill this old thing full enough? Is this baby clean enough to wax?… WAX?! I had never waxed before (thanks Grant Harrison!)… Was my idea of a 45:45:10 blend of Vermentino, Fiano and Moscato Giallo going to taste okay? What was I thinking?! That very, very long day during vintage has passed and I can almost smile about it. The reward is yet to be realized and many more weeks of attentive watching must occur to even get half way to a finished wine.

The really wonderfully fulfilling thing is that I have learnt so much about winemaking and myself and some great images in my head. I’ve never seen three grape varieties in the receival bin of a de-stemmer before. I’ve never been so concerned about every berry in my care. I’ve never looked so often in the top of an oversized clay pot! The dynamics of the wine are so close and personal as the amphora being around 450 litres allows – even demands you to be so.

Roger the wine pooch

Not wanting to bring up images of birth canals again… but, having your arm deep into the neck feeling for any hot spots while literally hand plunging each day, tasting what was going on inside the berries that were still whole and seeing the wine change dramatically as the alcohol increased and the bitterness increased… stuff that’s quite exciting for a winemaker relearning his craft after spending far too long behind a desk , a steering wheel of a car or waiting in a QANTAS Club lounge.

A big thank you to Amanda (my Muse), Kim and Bruce Chalmers (wonderful Fruit), Stu at Fix St James, Sydney (encouragement), all the guys at Fleurieu Vintners (man handling a large Clay pot without breaking), My friends at Fosters – Iain Shepherd and Kevin McCarthy (Red Tape cutters) and Roger our dog (for making people happy).

Glenn (let’s see what this sucker looks like in a few more months, huh?)

Vintage widow

Glenn pumping over the new pinot blend

So, Vintage 2011 is maybe, finally, exasperatingly drawing to a close. It has been a vintage some would care to remember, others will never forget. I am in the latter department.

Vintage 2011 is my first as the wife of a winemaker with our own business, Ducks in a Row. And the first with my husband Glenn running the night shift at a winery.

When Glenn decided to take the night shift job his boss asked him, had he sat me down to explain just what it meant?

“Yes” he said.

And he had…

But I don’t think I was quite prepared for the craziness that is being a “vintage widow” – a term I had heard before but had never resonated. Now I know very much what it means.

Me pumping over another tank of the same "pinot squared" blend

Being a vintage widow means lonely nights and days – even when your partner is with you, his mind is elsewhere – a haze of grapes, crushing, intake, pumping over, racking and returning etc etc…

Being a vintage widow is worrying about your partner – is he eating enough? He seems to be losing weight… Is he getting enough sleep? Not likely… Is he okay driving home after 12 hours straight at the winery? Praying he doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel.

I have to say the term “vintage widow” is not new to me but it is now one I can call my own.

The brilliant thing is that this vintage is also our own. The first as independent winemakers – and not only am I a vintage widow – I am now a cellar hand, working with him when i can in the winery. I’ve learned more from Glenn this year than 10 years working in the wine industry. And I am so excited about the wines from vintage 2011.

People may say this vintage is one to forget, but for me, it is one I will always remember.

Photo Blog – here comes 2011 Fiano

1. Picking the Fiano grapes at Heathcote 2.03.2011

2. Fiano picked and loaded on the truck, ready for the drive to the winery

3.00am - Fiano arrives at the winery in 500kg bins - perfect condition

An eerie full moon as the grapes arrived - Glenn says that night it was the closest the moon had been to earth in 18 years - known as the "Lunar Perigee"

a beautiful sunrise at the winery, getting ready to crush the fiano

One of many bees attracted to the fiano just prior to crushing. It is commonly believed that the original name for Fiano was Apianum, derived from Vitis Apiana, which was a reference to the high sugar level of the grapes and the bees' attraction to them. (Ape, pronounced "AH-pay" is the Italian word for bee, derived from the Latin "Apis.")

the "raccus" - what was left once the fiano had been very gently de-stemmed

view from the sight glass of the grapes going into the bag press

… and why Melbourne is top of the pops

I’ve been something of a tourist in my old home town this week… and its been something of a revelation.. or something like that.

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF)  is my one, true festival love. We go way back – like back to when Matt Preston was the creative director and Ute Beifang the producer and they would argue (and laugh) about the virtue of having xyz chef as part of that year’s or next year’s Festival.

Matt is now, well – i’m quite certain you know what Matt is doing: winning logies and generally being the star that he’s always been, just on a larger scale – and Ute is living in France doing equally brilliant things – but the festival has continued – infact it has bloated to become over 250 events across Victoria – with most right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

Pete with Melbourne food blogger Claire Davie at The Appropriately Long Sommeliers Lunch

I’m fortunate in that my business partner in all things Kooki, is Pete Dillon – a former Chef and journo who gets invited to attend all manner of events during the festival period. In fact, I met Pete when I did the PR for the MFWF.

Happily, I now get to play his handbag (or fag-bangle, as he affectionately calls me) at the colourful, clever and sometimes crazy events that make up this orgy of food and wine.

So this week I’ve been to St Kilda, Albert Park, Middle Park, Williamstown, Yarraville, Southgate, Bourke St, Collins St, Fitzroy St and the Nelson Brothers Funeral Home (one of the more quirky venues) celebrating all things Melbourne Food and Wine.

It has been far too much fun and perhaps a tad excessive… I’m not sure a visit to a certain South Yarra night club was really warranted post the Appropriately Long Sommeliers Lunch and the entire pig’s head at Beast on a Block at Scotty Pickett’s The Point Albert Park had me wondering

Ms Pearls pours the Ducks in a Row Vermentino at "How not to drink wine like a wanker"

if I needed a second stomach. One of the best events I attended was How not to drink wine like a wanker with the delightful Ms Pearls of Madame Brussels and Dan “Hollywood” Sims playing irreverent yet thoroughly entertaining and informative hosts. Another highlight was English jelly mongers Bompas and Parr at Nelson Brothers Funeral Home. At this event we sat in the chapel and discussed funeral food across Chinese, Jewish, Greek and Australian culture – followed by funeral jelly – a plum and prosecco wobbling concoction that would put a smile on any mourners face. Rivetting stuff.

But my big revelation at this year’s MFWF, (like I didn’t know it already)  is just how fabulous Melbourne truly is. Like, jaw-dropping fabulous.

Picture this. Its Friday evening, the sun is making its way down but its still gloriouslywarm. People are finished work for the week AND it is a long weekend. On one side of the Yarra, families are partaking in Moomba festivites, ON the river, there are young rowing teams and a couple of boats, on the horizon is the MCG and tennis centre and on the OTHER side of the river, hundreds of people are drinking wine, cider and beer and eating snags at Riverland… and even more above at Federation Square in yet more bars and restaurants.

Beast on a Block was not an event suited to vegetarians...

Melbourne  has got its groove on… the city is so well connected. She makes the most of her river, her laneways, her trams and buildings. In food and wine, smart people are doing smart things all over the city.  

Melbourne,  I actually felt warm of heart for you this week – bring on next year’s MFWF – 20 years of the festival is certain to bring the best and brightest.

Why Adelaide is heaps great

Samantha James, Matt Preston and me, hamming it up at Central Market

G’day again. This week I’ve been loving the City of Adelaide. The City of Churches, Park Lands, the River Algae (ahem Torrens), a big bicycle race, a big motorhead race and the best food market in the country – Adelaide Central Market.

I’ve not always been such a fan of this city I now call home, in fact, when I first moved here from Melbourne two and a haf years ago I was ready to hightail it back to the City of laneways, rooftop bars, the MCG and my beloved Smith St, Collingwood.

But Adelaide has grown on me… and I’m a definite convert to this square mile city that sleeps perhaps a little too often, unless it is March :).

My first job in this City was working for the former Lord Mayor – Michael (Harbo) Harbison as his media advisor. I’m not sure he took my advice all that often 🙂 … but that role for the City Council certainly gave me quite an insight into the City… the Council chambers, the Civic receptions, the rates, roads and rubbish! – and the fact that anything that happened in the square mile could potentially become my media issue to deal with!

Working at Council introduced me to some awesome Adelaideans, too – people I now call my friends and who continue to show me all of the hidden and not so hidden gems of this City.

Some of the civic receptions were more entertaining than others...

But it’s been since leaving Council to start Ducks in a Row and to focus on my own growing PR business that my eyes have truly opened to just how cool this place is – places like Leigh St Luggage, Est Pizzeria on East Terrace, Georges on Waymouth, Arcade Lane, cocktails at dragonfly, East End Cellars, Collect Magazine, the “mushroom man,” chicken dimsims from Prestige Meats on Gilbert St, the revamped Wine Underground and the Asian food court at the back of Adelaide Central Market.

And then you have the proximity to places like Fino at Willunga, the McLaren Vale wine region, The Willunga Farmers Markets, Star of Greece, Kangaroo Island, Port Willunga, The Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills and the town of Angaston with its co-op CWA style shop full of handmade bits and bobs, preserves, fresh eggs etc. Its seriously good here!

Port Willunga

So, thankyou Adelaide, you were a hard nut to crack – you can be a little clique-ey and sometimes your shops and restaurants don’t open long enough, but I like you alot.

You’re great. And you’ve supported our wines in a jolly good fashion.

So drink up the Ducks Adelaide, we’re just around the corner in a restaurant, bar or independent retailer near you!

Guest Post – Dan Sims

Another drum roll is called for again this week as I welcome Dan Sims, (pictured right) he of Sommeliers Australia and The Wine Guide and one time winner of the much acclaimed Age Good Food Guide “Sommelier of the Year”. Dan has been very kind to oblige my request to answer a few questions for this very blog… questions that I really wanted to know the answer to, and that I heard him talking about on the radio with Pete Dillon on Cravings (Joy FM)…

So, over to you Mr Sims and thankyou very much…

Q.       What are the top three things that make a great winelist?

There are much more than three, but some of the most important, as I see it, is ‘balance’, ‘consistency’ and ‘respect’.  Balance is about ensuring broad representation with not one section outweighing another.  Consistency – if you start off doing things one way, keep doing it.  For example, if you list vintage first (I don’t) keep doing it throughout the list. If you list the vineyard at the end, keep doing it throughout.  ‘Respect’ is all about your market, your storage space, the ability of staff and, most importantly, respect for the person who’s paying for the wine (both owner and customer!)

Q.       What are the top three bungles you can make on a wine list?

Again, many more than 3 but ignoring the above would be certainly be a start!  One thing I really hate is wine lists set out by price (cheapest to highest), it not only insults the guest, but it is impossible to read and find what you’re looking for plus, everything becomes about price rather than what the customer wants/enjoys.  And it leaves a sommelier nowhere to go in terms of engagement.  Did I mentioned they’re bloody awful to read?

 Keep the list up to date.  Yes, it can be hard but if it’s on the list, it’s ready to sell and should be available.  Make sure the vintages are correct, SPELLING!, region etc.  All are essential.

 Also, it’s all well and good to have esoteric, weird and wonderful wine on your list but there has to be a balance between commercial reality and creative.  Be respectful of your market.

Q.       What are your top 3 factors when putting together a winelist?

Know your market and ensure that what you are trying to do is clear and manageable from both venue and staff point of view. Then, look at how much space and storage you have as it will be the deciding factor as to how many wines you have on the list.  Storage and turn over a key as you must have ease of access during service and be able to restock easily pre and post.

Then, it’s a question of maintenance and management.  Who is ordering? How many suppliers can you buy from (more makes it more complicated). Who will be on the floor as a sommelier? Do they have a sommelier? What wine knowledge do the staff have? Will they have training? The questions and factors are endless and all must be taken into consideration when putting a list that both suits the venue, entises, excites and (essentially) is profitable.

Q.       How can winemakers maximise their chances of being listed in great restaurants?

The easy and somewhat cynical answer is make great wine! If it’s good, most Sommeliers (professional) will seek you out. Though again, this is a multi faceted question in which your could write an essay. But basically, the best way is to make it as easy as possible for them to buy with minimal fuss.  Be respectful of their time (and this goes both ways mind you) as most would be doing around 70-80 hours a week with very limited time to catch up with suppliers, wineries, importers etc.  Also, get to know the venue first, look at their wine list, have dinner or a drink there and get a better feeling for what they’re about.  For example, if you’re a small tiny production winery and you see that they buy wine from only 3 or so suppliers, you’re going to struggle. If the wine list is full of big company wines and you’re small and boutique, you’re going to struggle (and vice versa). 


This pic taken from an article in the age about an event titled "how not to drink wine like a wanker" that's Dan far right

When in front of buyers, don’t tell to much of the spin and jargon; tell them about the wine sure, but also tell them about you, why you’re here and the story behind it.  ‘The Story’ is becoming more and more important.  So much about wine is relationships and these take time; patience is a virtue.

Q.       What are hot right now in wine varieties/styles but more importantly, what do you predict will be next?

I get asked this a lot and I think it impossible to pick just one.  I simply say ‘diversity’.  This can be diversity of regions, varieties, styles … you name it.  Also, I think ‘the story’ behind the wine is becoming much more important than it has previously. Yes, ‘alternative’, or what I prefer to say ’emerging’, grape varieties will continue to grow in popularity which is great and I hope it continues.  The right varieties in the right regions so you can produce a wine with minimal intervention (added acid/tannin etc)

 Though I say that with a disclaimer, just because it’s different doesn’t mean its good.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. What’s in the glass must still be a drink and one the consumer (and staff selling it) can understand and enjoy easily.

Q.       Tell us about your weirdest and your most wonderful Sommelier experience…

Easy though I have several. The classic was at Fifteen just after we’d opened and I went to a table after they asked to see me  in relation to wine (well, that’s what I was told). On introducing myself they simply looked at me a look of annoyance and impatience and said, ‘…I’m sorry, but we asked to see the Somalian’ .  Who was I to argue …

Guest Post – from the Ducks winemaker

A drum roll please for Mr Glenn James Pritchard, Ducks in a Row winemaker who is gearing up for Vintage here in South Australia, but has been taken by (and is somewhat smitten with) what he described to me as “some of the most beautiful soil I’ve ever seen” in Heatchote, Victoria.

Ducks in a Row will be making our Fiano from Heathcote this year as well as a new wine to add to the range: Nero D’Avola. Given I’m not likely to see much of Glenn in the next month as he tackles vintage, (although I will be helping out where time permits), I’ve asked him to write all about this new grape variety and region he is so enamoured with.

 You can find Glenn’s words here.


Vermentino based white sangria

Roger eyes off the white sangria

I’ve been asked for the recipe for this delicious drink since posting pictures via twitter last Sunday when we returned home to 40 plus degree weather in Adelaide.  With approximately one hour left on the road trip from Melbourne all we could think about was this fabulous drink. As the temperature guage rose we just got thirstier. This recipe is adapted from one by Frank Camorra of MoVida and there is a red sangria recipe also in his book (aptly titled MoVida, which by the way is essential for any cookbook colection). This recipe makes about one litre so if you have guests and want more than one drink – double it! I’ve made both versions (sodawater and lemonade) and both equally tasty. Needless to say if you’re not much of a sweet tooth go for the soda water version. Also – the pomegranate makes this look very pretty though its not essential.

White Sangria

310 ml Vermentino

500 ml soda water or lemonade

1 1/2 tsp red wine

125 ml white rum

60 ml Cointreu

4 lemon wedges

lime wedges

seeds from one pomegranate

6 mint sprigs, leaves only

Combine the wines, rum, Cointreau, pomegranate seeds and lemon wedges in a pitcher and mix. Fill four large tumblers with ice and add lime wedges into each glass. Pour the soda water into the pitcher then pour the sangia over the ice – garnish with the mint leaves.

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