Champagne and strawberry celebration sorbet

Moet & Chandon bottle

What do you do when the man you love; the man you’ve spent the last 7 (very happy) years with; the man you moved to the other side of the planet to be with; asks you to marry him?

You say yes.

Moet & Chandon cork

And you celebrate with many many sparkles, strawberries, sorbet and smiles.

That’s all.

Champagne and Strawberry celebration sorbet

Champagne and strawberry sorbet

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Pork with a serious, devilishly good (chocolaty!!) twist

If you’re anything like me you will think chocolate and wine are thee very  bestest inventions in the whole entire wide universe. Fact.

They are delicious together. Or separately. For breakfast (well maybe not the wine), brunch, lunch or tea. When you’re happy, sad, bored, stressed or just feel like you deserve a treat. I honestly don’t know what I would ever do if, in a desert island type situation, I had to choose between The Fella and a chocolate-red-wine combo. I’d certainly need a glass of wine to help me mull it over, I may need several in fact.

But… what if you mix these two yummie ingredients with something totally left of field, something completely unusual, something like pork? Am I blowing your mind?! I hope so because this dish is very very special indeed.

This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends, and it has been a major hit since the first time I made it a few years ago. Initially people are very reluctant to try it, but after a little coaxing and a taste, it gets gobbled up quicker than you can say: but chocolate isn’t supposed to be for dinner! Of course, you don’t actually taste the chocolate; it just adds a beautiful richness and sweetness to the sauce. Midweek dinner this ain’t, this is RICH and filling and unusual, but totally delicious. So I urge to mix it up a bit this weekend and try it, I guarantee you’ll love it, or your money back.

Sweet and sour pork with raisins, pine nuts and chocolate

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Christmas in July

OK, OK I know that it’s now August, not July. But those of you who know me, know that I’m probably going to turn up late to my own funeral. Punctuality is NOT my strongpoint. And also, if you’re picking an arbitrary date to celebrate a northern hemisphere winter style holiday, does it really matter when exactly that arbitrary date is? Eh, I don’t think so.

So this weekend, we’re going to Melbourne to celebrate ‘Christmas’ with our good friends Betty and Elms. The thing is though, none of us are really that pushed on the whole Christmassy element of this celebration, what with temperatures topping 23 °C in Sydney this week, it doesn’t feel particularly like Christmas (or even winter for that matter). So really, this is just an excuse to have a bit of craic and get a wee tincy bit langers (who said that?!), so actually, quite like Christmas at home really.

Anyways, these little mulled wine parcels are perfect for this celebration. Just add alcohol and hey presto, you have Christmas in a glass!

Mulled wine parcels

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Bœuf bourguignon and posh potatoes

Like all of my fellow countrymen (and women), I enjoy the odd spud. But then who doesn’t? Spuds are great. They are super cheap and filling (making them a firm favourite during my student days), but they’re also unbelievably versatile. As a famous hobbit once said, you can “boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew” not to mention bake them, gratin then, fry them, ferment them, and the list goes on! Well ladies and gentlemen, this weekend I brought the humble spud to whole new levels of fanciness: I got me a potato ricer.

I can just hear my Dad now, saying that it was far from potato ricers he was reared and sure what’s wrong with an ordinary masher and a bit of elbow grease? Well Dad, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But with a ricer I promise you, you will make the most yumbo, softest, un-lumpy, creamy mashed spuds you’ve ever had in your life.

So, then all I had to do was think of something equally fancy to serve with the spuds. I figured beef bourguignon was almost posh enough. The spuds still held their own though, fair dues to them.

Bœuf bourguignon and posh potatoes

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