The 12 Apostles Gourmet Food Trail

The area where I live is rich in food production. My home town of Cobden is a service centre for the dairy industry, and is home to the factory that gives you Western Star butter, Mainland cheese and Perfect Italiano cheeses among other excellent dairy brands. 

Completely separate from the big companies like Fonterra, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and Sungold Milk, there are a number of artisan food producers that offer excellent products in local settings. 

On Saturday, we headed out to visit a number of places on the 12 Apostles Gourmet Food Trail. To be honest, I don’t think you could do them all in a day and still do each one justice, but it would make an absolutely fantastic weekend trip from Geelong, Melbourne or Adelaide. 

We comfortably managed five of the stops in addition to lunch in beautiful Port Campbell. 

Our first visit was to Apostle Whey Cheese at Cooriemungle, where they make a delicious range of cheeses. My favourite is the marinated feta, while my dad loves their smoked cheddar.  The views are spectacular, and the garden is beautiful. 

The next stop was Gorge Chocolates at Princetown, Victoria, just a few kilometres from where we spent fifteen years dairy farming.  There are dozens of varieties of chocolates on offer, with a limited number available to taste. 

Also available here are a number of llama and alpaca wool products and themed gift ideas.

Next was the 12 Rocks Beach Bar in Port Cambpell for lunch. This place is a bit of a favourite – their steak sandwiches and burgers are excellent, and they do a delicious chicken parmigiana. 

After lunch we had a walk on the foreshore and checked out a few of the local shops before heading off to the nearby town of Timboon. 

The Timboon Cheesery is excellent, but because we had visited recently, we skipped that stop and went on to visit the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery. We hadn’t been there before, but it’s really nicely set up. You can have coffee and cake or a meal there, enjoy a whiskey or liqueur tasting, and shop for a range of locally produced products – jams, sauces, oils, meat and smallgoods, and the list goes on. 

Almost next door is the Timboon Ice Creamery, where the ice cream is just divine. I usually have either honeycomb or their passionfruit meringue, but this time I was excited to find a new flavour – maple and cinnamon – which was so good it nearly blew my mind. It made my inner Canadian very happy indeed. 

To complete the homeward loop, we headed to Dairylicious Farm Fudge. With at least a dozen different varieties of fudge on offer for tasting, there’s something to please every palate. They also offer cake and coffee or tea, and a range of cold drinks. 

By the time we got home, we were all ready for an afternoon nap after a most enjoyable day. 

Further information: 
The 12 Apostles Food Trail Map
12 Apostles Food Artisans 

Think About What You’re Asking.

My sister just called out to me from the kitchen while she was chopping vegetables.

Her: Are you two big vegetable eaters?

Me: If they’re big, we cut them up first.

Her: Huh?

Me: How do you even cook it unless you cut it up?

Her: No. That’s not what I’m asking.

Me: *looks at her expectantly*

Her: Do you eat a lot of vegetables?

Me: See now, that’s an entirely different question.

Her: *shows me the saucepan* Is this enough for four of us?

Me: No.

 

And she has the nerve to walk away rolling her eyes. Some people are just hard to please.

cornucopia-of-vegetables

The Irish Harp.

The Irish Harp is a wonderful Irish pub in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario. 

 

The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and right from the start, the service is outstanding. 

  
 

The food is good: there is an extensive menu of traditional Irish pub fare and more standard pub-style food with a slightly Irish twist.  

The Magner’s cider is cold and delicious, and the house beer is pretty good, according to Sean.  It’s fair to say that he knows and appreciates beer a great deal more than I do, so I’m happy to go with his opinion.
 

We really enjoyed our visit to the Itish Harp. I’d definitely make this my regular pub if I lived nearby.  

 

Loaded fries. 

Yesterday’s lunch was loaded fries: fries topped with chili con carne, cheese, sour cream, and shallots.

  
These were totally worth the $10 I paid for them. The fries were fresh and hot, the chili was just spicy enough, the cheese got all melty, and it was frickin’ delicious. I also didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day. 

 

Poutine.

It was 18 months since I last had poutine, so at my first opportunity in Welland, Ontario, I ordered a poutine with bacon and extra cheese. 

Oh man, it was good. Delicious, cheese curdsy, saucy fries topped with extra cheese, bacon and shallots. I enjoyed every moment.

  
The good news is, I’m only in Ontario. The poutine is only going to be better in Quebec. 

Yes, please! 

The Challenges of Aussie Cookery in Canada. 

Today Sean and Jenn are hosting a pot luck supper for their family and friends to “meet the Aussie”.  I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. 

My contribution will be two classic Australian desserts: I’m making a pavlova and a chocolate ripple cake. 

Yesterday we went shopping for ingredients. 

Challenge #1: There are no chocolate ripple biscuits in Canadian stores.
Solution: I have substituted chocolate chip brownie cookies instead. They are a bit softer, but given the premise that the nature of the dessert is that tje biscuits soften in the cream, that should not be an issue.

Challenge #2: There are no Peppermint Crisp bars in Canadian stores. I always top my choc ripple cakes with a smashed up Peppermint Crisp.
Solution: Grated Aero Peppermint bar. It’s chocolate and mint. It works. All good.

  

Challenge #3: My pavlova recipe calls for cornstarch. I am corn sensitive, in a nasty coeliac/volcanic/cramping/wanting to die kind of way. At home, we use a wheaten cornstarch whicj solves that problem. BUT
Challenge #4: We have a gluten intolerant person also coming today.  Same coeliac/volcanic issues. 
Solution:  I found potato starch in the store, which has the same fine, silky texture as corn starch.
I was very relieved when beating the meringue mixture that it looked exactly like my pavlova meringue batter usually does with the wheaten or corn starch. The meringue stiffened up beautifully. So far, so good.

Once in the oven, it did exactly what it was meant to. It rose, it spread and it got all nice and crisp. 

  

How good does that look? It’s just about cooked. Almost there… 

  

Alright! It looks perfect. 

Challenge #4: You have no idea how hard it was to find passionfruit here. Seriously.
When I did find some, the checkout chick didnt know what they were and had to call for a code.
Somewhat incredulous, I smiled and waited patiently. At least the folks who are here today will get to try something iconically Australian, the way it’s meant to be.

Wins all round. Yay!

Trying a little tenderness.

The man of the house cooked steak with Diane sauce for dinner tonight.
It was delicious.

LMC didn’t like it though. Her face screwed up and she very expressively said, “Ugh!”
She scraped the sauce off her steak with a very serious look on her face: there was no way she was going to leave any of that behind. She then ate the rest of her meal quite happily.

We adults were chatting happily as we ate, and then I realised what she was doing.
As she extracted each pea from the sauce, she said to it gently, “I’ll save you!”
Then she carefully rolled each pea around the plate to get the sauce off before she ate it.

After a while, I said to her, “Any talking to your vegetables should be done in your head.”
Silently, she continued the ritual until all the peas were gone and only the gravy remained.

It really was cute and funny. especially as she’s not usually so sentimental when it comes to her food.
I guess next time we’ll just give her the steak without the sauce.

Birthday blessings.

It’s my birthday today. I am happy to put it on the record that I have had a fabulous day.

Many people who share my life in one way or another have sent me birthday wishes via Facebook, Twitter and Skype.
Even more than their birthday wishes, I am very thankful for the friendship and the love and encouragement each of them give me every other day of the year. Each of them is a blessing to me and i am very thankful for them.

I have also been able to spend time talking with my special Canadians. That time I spend with them is precious to me every day. Today is no different in that regard, but it was very special that they wished me love and happiness when they are so involved in giving me both.

My birthday started with bacon, eggs and hollandaise on toast, cooked by the resident Masterchef, Fred. It was sensational. 

I was blessed with a number of gifts that were not only very beautiful but incredibly meaningful to me. I am so thankful for the love and thoughtfulness that went into the selection and giving of each of them.

I have three bouquets of beautiful flowers – roses on the dining table, and two mixed bouquets on my desk. They are all so sweet and lovely, yet not so highly fragrant that they will give me a headache.

I had an afternoon sleep. Not just a quick nap to keep me going. Two hours of completely zonked-out sleep, and no feelings of guilt when I woke up because all my school work was finished on Friday afternoon.

My house smelled SO freakin’ good leading up to dinner.
In our house, you get to request whatever you want for dinner. I asked for Indian food. Fred and Lynne-Maree cooked butter chicken, garlic naan, and onion bajhi. I can’t describe how good it tasted. Divine, in fact.

For dessert, there was lemon meringue pie from my favourite bakery.  I was so excited about this. It is by far the best LMP to ever exist,  It should come with a warning, though – it will spoil you for every other LMP that you will have the privilege to enjoy.
The velvety, tangy-sweet pie melted in my mouth, its rich lemony-goodness delivering the most delightful foodgasmic pleasure.

Tonight it’s time to relax: chatting with friends, spending time with my man, enjoying one of my few favourite TV shows.

It’s wonderful to be loved, spoilt with gifts and special treats. It’s so good be able to enjoy the rest and relaxation I’ve earned in the crazy-busy rush to meet all my work deadlines of the past few weeks.

It has definitely been a special day for Princess Me.

 

 

 

Hard Rock Cafe

There are any number of places to eat along Hollywood Blvd.
We went into one place that looked great after looking at the menu outside, but we couldn’t stay there because the music was so loud I couldn’t stand it.

We quickly chose to go to the Hard Rock Cafe partly because it’s iconic, partly because we know the food is good, and partly because every time I see the sign, Carole King tells me to.

Our experience there wasn’t quite as outstanding as it was at Hard Rock Niagara Falls, but it was still pretty darned good. Delicious food, fantastic music, and good, quick service.

Aces.