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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.

Get Rick Stein's sardines in tortillas with spicy tomato sauce recipe here . 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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Food
What grows together, goes together Wunderbar lamb and Mitchell Family wines.
Words by Paul Diamond on 7 Jan 2018
The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s most underrated wine regions, which is hard to fathom given it produces some of the finest Rieslings and intensely concentrated red wines in the country. No doubt, the pull of the Barossa has a lot to do with the underestimation of the Clare, but, if you can resist the urge to turn right at Gawler and stay on the A32, you’re in for a treat.  In addition to its wine cred, Clare is uniquely beautiful. The open landscape is a sea of wheat fields sprinkled with eucalypts and stone cottages beneath powder blue skies. 
Heinrich’s Wunderbar  You’ll also notice a few sheep along the way, as Clare, like much of Australia, was Merino country. But around 1959 when wool exports declined, families left in droves. One of the few that stuck with it were the Heinrichs of Black Springs and fifth generation Ben, along with his wife, Kerry and five children, continues to farm sheep on the family’s original 810ha property just east of Clare.  But while the sheds, tractors, machinery and utes all make this look like a stock standard farm, one look at the sheep and you realise Ben does things a bit differently to his ancestors.  Practically bald and with long tails, Ben’s sheep are a breed that sheds its wool, chosen as part of his humane, minimal intervention philosophy. This is underpinned by his adherence to the Humane Choice farming principles of which he is the only certified producer in Australia. “With no wool, we can give our sheep a better life, as there’s no mulesing, tail docking, crutching or shearing,” Ben explains. “My sheep are truly free range, paddock raised, no feed lots and we try to minimise human interaction with them as much as possible.” When it comes to conventional industries, sheep farming is close to the top. The practices are well entrenched over generations and traditions are not easy to break, especially when there are mouths to feed.  So why undertake such a radical change? For Ben, it was the knowledge that the ways of the past were not going to work. “Dad was running a self-replacing Merino flock and it wasn’t going so well,” Ben recalls. “Personally, I wasn’t cut out for it, I couldn’t see myself shearing, and Dad saw the writing on the wall. It was either going to be sheep with no wool, or no sheep at all!” So Ben, backed by his dad, started Wunderbar. They’ve since gone from strength to strength, now selling directly to butchers and chefs around the district and into Adelaide. Fans of their meat remark on how tender, flavoursome and lean it is, while chefs love to cook with it. High praise indeed.  A Delicious Seed Word of Ben’s lamb is spreading and one chef that sings Wundebar’s praises is Guy Parkinson, owner of Seed Winehouse +Kitchen in Clare. Guy and his partner, Candice, have run Seed since 2014 after travelling through Clare and deciding it was the place to set up shop. Seed is now a food and wine destination, drawing people from all over to sample Guy’s creative, trattoria-inspired cooking paired with Candice’s take on the Clare wine scene. The couple had been Hunter-based, where they had a significant following of loyal winemaking food lovers, and this pattern has repeated in the Clare. 
The Mitchells Part of the Seed appreciation society are the Mitchells, who run the acclaimed Mitchell Wines. Led by second generation Andrew and Jane, they work with their children, Hilary, Angus and Edwina, to produce beautiful expressions of Watervale Riesling, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache under the Mitchell and McNicol labels.  The Mitchells have been in Clare since 1949 when Andrew’s father purchased land featuring an orchard, a dairy and a small vineyard. Andrew was born and bred on the property and after school, returned to the family business.  “I came back home and thought that making wine was better than working for a living,” he says with a cheeky smile. Most of the wines the Mitchells produce are released with some age, a decision that can be a financial burden. However, as Andrew explains, “The significant thing about the Clare Valley is that it is a region that produces wines with incredible intensity of flavour, but with elegance. We sell some of our wines at 10 years old and the dividend is that people get to see our wines at their best.” The Lunch As a celebration of Wunderbar lamb, Guy devised a menu with an entrée of lamb backstrap poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled cucumber, mint and whipped yogurt, and a main of roasted rack served on baby carrots cooked in whey and honey, pearl barley and pomegranate.  Andrew and Angus brought along a range of wines to evaluate and see which suited Guy’s food best.  For the entree, Candice chose the 2009 NcNicol Watervale Riesling. It had the age to be a perfect textural match for the silky backstrap, but also fresh acidity to cut through the whipped yoghurt. For the rack, Candice’s call was Andrew’s 2001 Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz. The wine was still dense, but time had softened the mouthfeel, allowing the secondary fruit to sit beautifully with the flesh and the sauce to suit the wonderful, natural intensity of the wine.  As the afternoon progressed, conversation became more relaxed as stories were shared and reflections were made on their beautiful home. Guy Parkinson’s back strap of lamb poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled baby cucumber, whipped sheep yogurt
Recipe:  Get  Guy Parkinson’s back strap of lamb poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled baby cucumber, whipped sheep yogurt Wine:  Explore  Mitchell Family Wines Clare Valley:  Discover the fun of cycling the   Clare Valley Riesling Trail
Food
Gourmet Destinations - Cantonese
Words by Jackie Macdonald on 4 Sep 2018
Chef Philip Chun talks through the traditions of cantonese cuisine and the challenge of shaping its identity in an australian context. When Hong Kong-born chef Philip Chun finally settled in Australia in 2010, it was the latest in a long list of countries where he’d plied his trade. Having started as a kitchen hand on Hong Kong Island in the early 1980s, he went on to work in Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Indonesia, rising to the position of executive chef along the way.  Today, he’s head chef and owner of North Sydney’s Greenwood Chinese Restaurant, where the focus is on Cantonese cuisine.  As he describes, “The backbone of Greenwood is the three main streams of Cantonese food, including barbeque, yum cha dim sum and Cantonese cuisine dinner.  “To date, Cantonese food has been very limited in Australia,” he adds, “and while we strive to maintain the traditions at Greenwood, we think outside the square to bring some new lights to Cantonese food.”   This creative thinking is also borne of a need to adapt to local ingredients.  When he arrived in Australia, Philip says, “Asian groceries were already available, therefore dry goods were not hugely impacted.  “However, live seafood and fresh vegetable options were limited and this is still the case today. To adapt, I worked on alternate methods of cooking to accompany the ingredients.”
Cantonese characters When it comes to tradition, Philip explains, Cantonese food has always been famous for being, “Light, flavourful and fresh. The focus is on bringing out the true flavour of the ingredients, while also looking after health and well-being.” For example, he says, “Soup normally contains some general health-benefitting herbal ingredients.” Another Cantonese essential is stir-fry, and the technique used can reveal the level of a chef’s experience. And there is a special exclamation used when stir-fry is mastered.  “It is very hard to explain in words, it is the experience,” Philip describes. “But when all ingredients are cooked perfectly, a special heat and aroma presents and we say, ‘wok hey!’”  For Australian diners, typical Cantonese favourites are sweet and sour pork, Mongolian lamb, spring rolls and fried rice, he says. But, Philip adds, “With more exposure, there is more knowledge of different cuisines and more willingness to try different types of food.”  Perfect motivation for Philip and his team to keep evolving our experience of Cantonese cuisine!    Speaking of experiencing Philip’s food, the Greenwood restaurant will reveal an exciting new renovation in September. Or if you can’t make it to North Sydney, Philip presents some of his favourite recipes here for you to recreate in your own kitchen. Who knows, you might even elicit your own cries of ‘wok hey!’
Philip talks food Pork, prawn and cabbage rolls with crab roe sauce   This dish has been developed using a traditional method and it requires more time and more skills. It contains a lighter flavour and has a finer touch, focusing on bringing out the true flavours of the ingredients.  Grilled whole squid brushed in sweet soy sauce on stir-fried glutinous rice Glutinous fried rice is a very traditional dish and nothing has been changed in this recipe, including flavour, ingredients and texture. The squid gives a more Australian touch, with the seafood and the grill plate coming into play.   Chilli plum fried chicken with mixed nuts This dish was created with the thinking that it would suit Australian tastebuds. The method originated from sweet and sour pork, then I added a personal touch with the light chilli.  Grilled beef tenderloin fillet dressed in bitter melon and black bean sauce The idea for this dish comes from typical Cantonese stir-fry beef with black bean sauce. However, I decided to add a personal touch, swapping beef strips for fillets, which means I can control how long the fillet is cooked. Bitter melon is one of my favourite melons and it goes extremely well with black bean sauce. 
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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