Monday, May 23, 2011

Barossa's Table: Lunch with Gill Radford


Hello hello!  Today's post is going to be a picture-heavy one!  On my fifth day in the Barossa, we were treated to a wonderful home-cooked lunch by Gill Radford, of Radford Wines.  Originally from South Africa, Gill now lives and works in the gorgeous Eden Valley, (the other valley in the Barossa region), producing a range of wines with her husband Ben.  She's a lovely lady and an incredible cook: it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that this meal was my culinary highlight of the trip!

Gill's house is a food-stylist's dream - just look at all the lovely natural light!


We started off with an informal tasting of the wines; the 2010 Eden Valley Chardonnay was the pick of the bunch.

She also explained the biodynamic principles they use to grow and harvest their grapes - it's a fascinating practice that includes ethical and spiritual considerations, and takes into account planetary positioning.  Lots of the larger wineries (including Henschke) also follow biodynamic principles - it's no accident that vintage occurs around Easter each year!



The Radfords also have some beautiful birds in their backyard: chickens, peacocks, guinea fowl and more! 
Peacock / Peahens

Guinea fowl!  I never knew what they actually looked like before!
Gill made the most amazing lunch of braised rabbit with bacon and fluffy gnocchi fried in brown butter.  She'd prepared most of it in advance, and finished cooking while we were there.  I "helped" by stirring the pot!

Mmm... bacon...


She had braised and de-boned the rabbit the night before. 

Another interesting touch was that she fried sage and rosemary until crispy, and it gave off the most wonderful aroma!

And here are the gnocchi! (Which she'd prepared in advance).

These babies were then fried in brown butter! I don't normally use textspeak in my blog but I think it's warranted here: ZOMG!
Mmm... butter. You can tell she's a professional chef!
And here's Gill, calmly flipping the little gnocchi.  No stress! Despite all the little things that needed to be done to make the lunch, she was totally zen and super organised.  (That's totally the aspiration for a keen home cook like me!)


And here is the completed dish, topped with the crispy fried herbs and parmesan cheese. Wow!


I see this is the 7th gnocchi-related photo in this post, but I just can't overemphasize how much I loved it!  I don't even ordinarily like gnocchi, finding it dense and heavy.  But Gill's gnocchi were perfectly light and fluffy little clouds, with a crispy buttery edge.  Heaven!

To accompany, she'd made a refreshing salad of witlof and sprouts.

Due to our packed itinerary, we unfortunately didn't have a lot of time to sit around and chat, but there was time for dessert!  I'd spied the below cake in the pantry while Gill was cooking, and was so glad when she said it was for us!

It was a flourless almond cake (like an extra-buttery frangipane), with the addition of LSA mix and desiccated coconut.  It was moist and nutty and delicious, made even better with the addition of fresh Jersey cream. So decadent!


Mmm... cream.


Sarah and Sandra enjoyed lunch at Gill Radford's house as part of the prize for winning the Barossa's Table competition, with thanks to Gill for an absolutely incredible lunch!

3 comments:

susan said...

That lunch looks seriously amazing. I hope you got the recipes from her!

Anonymous said...

great read - could you update your feeds for google reader, so that the article shows up?

thnx
/d

Anonymous said...

shows up with pics :D

/d