Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lobster March

Canberra Day long weekend coincides with the best time of the year for lobsters and oysters on the South Coast, so we always know when it's the right time for our annual gathering at Rosedale for the "lobster lunch". 

This year our Chef Jane is travelling OS (she was thinking of us apparently from some lovely spot in Sri Lanka). So we had to prepare our lunch OURSELVES this year. Judy & Jurgen sourced the amazing seafood from Batemans Bay Fine(r) Food, and everyone else contributed starters, salads and desserts.  Apart from our traditional Majella aperitif, all the wines this year were sourced from the Canberra region - in honour of Canberra's 100th birthday weekend.

It was another beautiful Rosedale day on Sunday: 24oC , kookaburras overhead, brilliant flashes of king parrots, and soft glimpses of the ocean between the trees - perfect!

Jennie's contribution was canapes: duck breast in orange jus, lamb fillet with ginger and fresh figs wrapped in proscuitto, grilled lightly in the oven......what a way to start - all my favourite foods in one hit and a perfect match for the Majella!  

Maxie's contribution was the dressings for the 6 dozen Clyde River oysters. She had created three different dressings: green apple jelly and young ginger (from Michael Milkovic's, mirin and soy (from Neil Perry's Rockpool) and diced pickled cucumber, salmon (substituting flying fish) roe and chives (from Richard Ptacnik's Otto). It was quite labour intensive plating all this up, especially after 2 glasses of Majella. James proved to be a very good man in a kitchen oyster dressing crises.

Naturally the oysters finished up a real work of art - both to the eye and to the palate.

With no Louise here this year it was up to the beautiful young things to do table service.

Luckily they managed to fit their own lunch in around their duties.

As usual we relied a lot on Jennie and Wayne to guide us through the wine choices.  An amazing selection of Rieslings, a beautiful Kardinia Viognier and a Chardonnay accompanied the oysters and our main course lobster. Some standouts were the Half Moon 2010 Alex McKay Riesling, the Ravensworth 2012 Bryan Martin Riesling, and, of course the Vickie + Jennie Viognier and the Adam's Rib Chardonnay Viognier. Jennie and Wayne looked very sparky today despite them being in the midst of high season grape picking dramas at the vineyard and hosting a team of young pickers from France and Germany.

Judy's roast jacket potatoes (Dutch Cream and low GI) and her lime and lemon aiolis were perfect accompaniments for our lobster dish. Maxie's couscous and harissa salad
was a big hit and my roasted beetroot salad and marinated mushrooms with walnut and tahini yoghurt (both from our darling Yotam Ottoleghi) rounded out the main course selections.

Fiona and James faced the challenge of preparing the traditional Bombe - always our dessert of choice at Rosedale lunches. I was so glad I didn't score this course. Naturally their Bombe turned out beautifully.

We all demanded a lesson from Fiona on how it was done.  She used Maggie Beer's burnt fig ice cream as a base and then worked her wonders with chocolate cake and meringue layers served with a rich chocolate sauce, using the limited facilities available in these south coast holiday house kitchens - amazing!

Fiona had sourced a beautiful 2010 Lerida Estate Botrytis Pinot Gris - which matched this luscious dessert beautifully.

By late afternoon we were able to rouse ourselves sufficiently to walk off some of our indulgence around the beautiful Rosedale coastline.

The kids had got going much earlier than us and were enjoying playing in the surf and doing handstands on the beach in the late afternoon light.

Doing our lobster lunch ourselves has been an unqualified success.....but no doubt involving more adrenalin charged moments for everybody in the process. It's made it a particularly memorable celebration..lucky us! Thank you to Judy and Jurgen for their generosity in hosting our lobster lunch at beautiful Rosedale each year.

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