A Weekend On The Mornington Peninsular

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Our weekend started with an evening in South Yarra with our amazing friends Robyn and Michael who had decided to throw an early Birthday feast for my partner Colin. A delicious meal that consisted of Eye Fillet of Beef cooked to perfection and the best chocolate pavlova you have ever tasted! The table, as always, was like the cover of a high end home styling magazine

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Robyn’s Mustard Baked Eye Fillet Roast with Red Wine Jus

1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery,chopped
12 button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle dry red wine
2 cups quality beef stock
2 tablespoons red current jelly
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

To make the red wine sauce melt 3 of the 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, sage, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the onions and other vegetables are browned and caramelised. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, until it begins to darken. Add the wine and the beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any residue from the vegetables. Boil for 30 minutes. Pour everything through a strainer into a saucepan, and squeeze the juices through the strainer with a ladle. Boil over high heat until it is reduced to about 1½ cups. Add the redcurrant jelly and stir until it is thoroughly dissolved. Turn off the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper and swirl remaining butter until it is thoroughly melted.

Eye fillet roast

2kilo eye fillet roast

4 tablespoons mustard

Cover eyefillet with seeded mustard and refridgerate for 2hours. Bring eyefillet to room temperature. Preheat oven to 180C (fanforced), and heat up BBQ grill. Sear fillet on all sides and transfer to oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes depending on your preference for rare – medium. Remove from over and cover in foil and leave to rest for 10mins.

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Colin’s Chocolate Meringue Birthday Cake

for the chocolate meringue base
6 large egg whites
300 grams caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
50 grams dark chocolate (finely chopped)

for the topping
500 ml double cream
500 grams Strawberries
3 tablespoons dark chocolate (coarsely grated)
Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm / 9 inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2/300ºF and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.
When you’re ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don’t want the raspberries’ luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate’s rim.
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After a couple of hour drive from Melbourne we arrived at Mornington a pretty seaside town and the home of The Rocks

Established in November 2001, by the De Santis Family, after 30 years of history in various restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula, the rocks offers a unique fresh air, waterfront dining experience for the whole family to enjoy.

Being positioned on the water, the rocks is primarily a modern seafood restaurant. Having said that, it also offers an array of non seafood and vegetarian options along with light lunch alternatives.

Executive chef, Xavier Nailty has been at the helm for the past 5 years, delivering his modern approach to classical cooking.

With a pantry so diverse on its alluring doorstep, being the Mornington Peninsula, and a team that strives to extract its fruits, it is no wonder its annual reviews and recommendations in various media over the past 12 years, along with the support of its loyal customers, has led the rocks to become a recognized institution for fine food.

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Being in such a pretty harbour town we couldn’t go past the fish and chips which were cooked to perfection, with light crispy batter and thick home cooked chips and to our surprise and delight they had Malt vinegar, which is a must in my opinion

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Spring is a beautiful time for the Mornington Peninsular and all the springtime flowers are bursting with colour

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cheese

A little further along we spotted the Red Hill Cheese Company and being a cheesemonger myself I couldn’t resist a visit. Trevor and Jan Brandon established their small Cheesery and Cellar Door on the farm at Red Hill in April 2000, producing distinctive, handcrafted regional cheeses to complement Mornington Peninsula wines. They were first inspired by farmhouse cheesemaking in Europe, and draw upon Trevor’s experience as a food microbiologist.

They are joined by their son Burke and his family. Burke is a graduate in agriculture, with extensive training in cheesemaking, and has a particular interest in the management of cheese maturation and flavour development. During 2008 Burke & wife Bronwyn began milking their flock of East Friesian sheep and made trial batches of sheep blue and luscious yoghurt. They have since released the mild Prom Picnic Pecorino, a true sheep milk Pecorino, as well as two soft pure sheep cheeses.

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The highlight of our weekend was dinner at The Port Phillip Estate,  The Dining Room a refined space offering exceptional food and wine. The space extends to an expansive outdoor timber deck taking advantage of the sweeping vineyard and coastal views to Westernport Bay and Bass Strait.

Head chef Stuart Deller Stuart began his career in London, working at a number of fine dining establishments including Quo Vadis and the Oak Room under Marco Pierre White. In the early 2000s Stuart relocated to Australia and following senior positions at a variety of highly-regarded regional restaurants assumed the role of Head Chef at Port Phillip Estate.

Stuarts’ cuisine is infused with a strong European sensibility. His menu changes regularly, highlighting the best of the season. The relationship between food and wine is symbiotic, in both pursuits we strive to highlight terroir and seasonality.

The menu expresses a strong sense of the European influences that lie at the core of Port Phillip Estate. The winelist showcases Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate wines and is complemented by a carefully selected cellar of old and new world vintages.

 

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Rabbit dish from the Port Phillip Estate.

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Australia’s very own London Bridge which is a coastal rock arch formed by wind and wave action at the western end of Portsea’s Back Beach. On either side of the rocky outcrop there are sand beaches

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To finish off a wonderful weekend we took the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, this was our first trip to The Mornington Penninsular and it certainly won’t be the last.

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