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Food

Rick Stein: Road to Mexico

Rick Stein recalls his first trip to Mexico as a ‘life changing’ experience. He travelled there as a wide-eyed young man back in the late 60s and, for the first time, dined on dishes like tacos, huevos rancheros and enchiladas. He was immediately besotted.
“Apart from having the odd Indian or Chinese meal back in the UK, I had no idea about how exotic food could be, and to arrive at age 21 with no concept of what the food was like, it was a real blast. 
“I think it sort of set me on the course that I’m still on, spending a lot of time travelling around the world just looking for great food experiences.”
Rick’s been a regular visitor to Mexico in the decades since, but just for short visits, so he was somewhat apprehensive when he embarked on his latest foodie adventure that would become the book and BBC TV series, The Road to Mexico.

For more recipes and the full story with Rick, pickup a copy of Selector  from all good newsagents, subscribe or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery. 

OUT NOW: Road to Mexico by Rick Stein (Penguin Random House, RRP $49.99). 

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Rick Stein's Mediterranean tales
Words by Mark Hughes on 24 Nov 2015
Rick Stein tells of an amazing but dangerous fishing adventure during the shooting of his latest BBC food series, From Venice to Istanbul . It finds him bobbing about in the middle of the Bosphorus in a tiny dinghy dodging massive tankers all for the sake of some fresh blue fish. “It was one of those times where you have to see food through the eyes of the locals,” Rick says when we sit down for a chat about the series and the book of the same title at Bondi Icebergs on a sunny afternoon. “I was with Mesut, a retired fisherman and a great character and he had taken me to catch blue fish, which is the fish in Istanbul. But it wasn’t any old fishing trip – it was right in the middle of the Bosphorus, which, as you know, is the strip of water between Asia and Europe. “There is so much shipping going through there. There is a container ship every minute passing you and we are in this tiny little boat, right in the middle of the shipping lanes – there are bloody great tankers going either way. “The photography for it was fantastic because the cameraman was so far away on land with a telephoto lens, so it looks like we are about to be split in half! “We went back to this little fishing harbour just on the edge of the Bosphorus and it was just Mesut and his mates, just hanging down there; it is like they might just get up and go down there as if they are going to work. And he made this amazing fish stew with the blue fish.” A charmed life This is just one of the colourful stories behind the 100-plus delectable recipes featured in the latest book, and the way Rick tells it, bringing such life, charisma and energy to the tale is one of the reasons the affable English chef has been so popular as a television presenter. Alongside his TV adventures, he has published a pile of best-selling cook books, as well as run six acclaimed UK restaurants, plus Rick Stein at Bannisters on the New South Wales south coast.   Despite all this, he is polite, generous with his time and almost apologetic for living such an enviable life. “I feel so privileged,” he says of his food presenter role. “I keep saying to people – you think I’m really enjoying this all the time – and I am, but it’s not like I’m on holiday, we still have to work.” Byzantine discoveries For his latest adventure he has tackled a veritable encyclopaedia of produce and ingredients beginning in Venice, travelling through the mystical heart of Hellenic cuisine, wading into the beguiling flavours of Croatia and on to the exotic food of Turkey. It is almost too much for one book. “I have to confess to just dabbling really, it is just the flavours of the area,” says Rick. Looking through the vast array of dishes, though, you get the feeling that he is being overly modest; garlic shrimps with soft polenta, Albanian baked lamb, Dalmatian fresh fig tart. Yum. “I have spent plenty of time in Greece and Italy over the years so this trip taught me a lot about the food and flavours of Croatia and Turkey, so I hope I have given a delicious enthusiast’s view of the food and flavours of the area.” From Venice to Istanbul is out now (Random House, RRP $55).
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Mornington Peninsula must visits
The Mornington Peninsula is a haven for holiday makers hungry for food, wine and adventure. Here’s our list of the best places to visit in the region.
Crittenden Estate The Crittenden Wine Centre offers a unique way of experiencing wine on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Originally the home of the Crittenden family, it has recently been renovated to a stylish, purpose built Wine Centre where knowledgeable staff guide visitors through carefully designed wine flights. Sample Crittenden’s exquisite range of traditional styles and unique alternative varietals with views over the lawn, lake and some of the Peninsula’s oldest vines, and just a short stroll to the Stillwater at Crittenden restaurant. Crittenden Estate is a true family operation with founder and living legend Garry overseeing the vineyard, son Rollo making the wine and daughter Zoe running the marketing. 25 Harrisons Rd, Dromana Open daily 10:30am – 4:30pm crittendenwines.com.au 
Yabby Lake Vineyard Cellar Door + Restaurant The Yabby Lake Vineyard offers a relaxed cellar door, restaurant, and wines of exception. Home of the history-making Block 1 Pinot Noir, winner of the revered Jimmy Watson Trophy, Yabby Lake has built a reputation for wines of great purity and character, uniquely crafted by renowned winemaker Tom Carson. Visitors to the striking cellar door marvel not only at the natural bush setting of the vineyard, but their incredible collection of artworks. Chef Simon West’s seasonal and local fare; often picked fresh from the kitchen garden, is best enjoyed on the outdoor deck, taking in stunning views of the vineyard and beyond. 86 Tuerong Road, Tuerong Open daily, 10am-5pm  (03) 5974 3729   yabbylake.com
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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