Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Welcome to Adelaide

Here's what the sky looks like every day in Adelaide.
I was warmly welcomed at the Adelaide airport by ML&A, introduced to me through my friend Mary. Their house is incredibly lovely, one of the oldest in Adelaide. They were extremely hospitable and allowed me to tag along to an event at the South Australian Museum to celebrate the donation of a set of aboriginal artifacts. They then took me to a spectacular Chinese restaurant, Citi Zen, where I had my first taste of smoked tea duck and was introduced to South Australian wines via a Pike’s Reisling. This Reisling wasn’t nearly as sweet as those I’d drank in the States and I was very pleasantly surprised.

The next day I explored the city and began to put together my new life here. Dinner was a real treat! ML&A pulled together a South Australian feast for me and two very interesting marine biologists out of San Diego who were also staying with them. On the menu: South Australian prawn cakes, roast lamb, potatoes, rocket (arugula) salad, and date fritters with cinnamon and yoghurt cake. A very memorable meal indeed. Also stand out were A’s wine choices and I must say I felt quite spoiled by the whole ordeal. We drank a 1982 Medoc from Chateau Potensac and a 1981 Penfolds Cabernet-Shiraz, both dusty from their years in the cellar. I couldn’t decide which I preferred, but I did notice that the Potensac continued to improve after it was opened. Both were a delight.

ML shared her dessert recipes with me - you should definitely make these tonight.

Date Fritters with Cinnamon and Yoghurt Cake

Recipes courtesy Ali Seedsman

1 ½ tsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ cups luke warm water
1 ½ cups plain flour
Vegetable oil
24 pitted fresh dates
½ cup flour
½ tsp cinnamon mixed with ½ cup sugar

Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ½ teacup water. Allow it to stand in a warm placed for 10 minutes, until it starts to bubble. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add remaining water, and beat until smooth. Leave covered in a warm place for 1 hour. The batter will be soft and quite liquid, bubbly and elastic.

Heat a generous inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Toss the dates lightly in the flour, then drop them into the batter. Pull them out one by one and fry, 6 or so at a time, turning after approximately 2 minutes, and fry on the other side until they are golden a crispy. Drain on paper town and toss in the cinnamon sugar mix. Serve warm with yoghurt cake and warm honey.

Yoghurt and Brown Sugar Cake

**This recipe needs to be made a minimum of 2 days ahead

1 tub Greek-style yoghurt
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
Honey, warmed

Line a 4 cup sieve with cheesecloth. Place the sieve in a mixing bowl. Tip 1/3 of the yoghurt into the sieve and smooth out. Sprinkle ½ of the sugar evenly over the top. Pour over another 1/3 of the yoghurt and repeat with sugar. Pour over the remaining yoghurt and smooth out. Cover with the flaps of cheesecloth and then with plastic. Place a light weight on top and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 days. Pour out any whey that collects in the bowl.

To serve, unwrap the cake and carefully place a serving plate on top. Invert, then remove the sieve and cheesecloth. Serve small slices with the date fritter, or fresh figs, and warmed honey.

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