Mudgee is well known for it’s great wine and local produce which also means it has some great cafes and restaurants. One I’ve been wanting to try for a while is The Zin House. I’ve sampled some of the Kim Curry (the chef)’s food before at Lowe’s Cellar Door horizontal tasting this year as part of the Mudgee Food and Wine Festival, but haven’t eaten in the restaurant.
Before Aimee went home, Gemma, Aimee and I made our way to The Zin House for their five course menu with matching wines. The Zin House restaurant is situated within the Lowe’s Family wines estate – an ideal setting with rolling Mudgee hills and a wonderful vegetable garden providing supplements for the restaurant.
We weren’t disappointed with the meal which delivered on every course. It was hard to choose a favourite but the Saffron Rag Pasta with garlic, chilli, mushroom and zucchini was mine and has tempted me to drag out the infrequently used pasta machine. My fellow diners praised the Limoncello Cured Trout Gravlax and the Slow Cooked Five Spice Pork Shoulder.
I was inspired by the use of many of the herbs I grow but don’t use. I always have a mound of Sorrel which usually goes to the chooks or compost, but the Cucumber, Fennel Flower and Sorrel Salad will most likely put a stop to that. We had Borage flowers on the house-made herb butter, Mint in the Salsa Verde and Lemon Verbena (which I also grow) in the Honey and Lemon Verbena Ice-cream. Even the Peppermint Tea was a lovely glass teapot housing fresh mint leaves.
The wine was predominantly and unsurprisingly Lowes Wines and well chosen as companions to the dishes. Service was excellent, including the offer of a break between courses with a recommended walk around the vegetable gardens and property in the dusk.
It was one of the better dinners for some time and a great finish to a wonderful Christmas break.
I love entering the local Agricultural Shows – I’ve only attempted the last few years and mainly with knitting. Whilst it’s a thrill to win a prize at one of the bigger shows like the Royal Easter Show, it’s more of a buzz to participate in the local ones.
I’ve had some reasonable successes with my knitting but have been an abject failure in other categories such as tomatoes, dahlias and roses, but am determined to persist with my efforts. And I’m way past the Showgirl section!
The knitting categories however are now the core focus for G and me, particularly now we have Convent & Chapel Wool Shop up and running. Somehow the stakes seem much higher this year. Anyway, we have our projects underway – using shop yarn, of course. To date I’ve focussed on lace shawls but will be spreading myself a little more this year, planning on also entering accessories – I’m thinking mitts, scarf and maybe a beanie – as well as possibly a baby garment.
The Shows start with a flurry in mid February, kicking off with Gulgong, followed by our own Kandos Rylstone Show, then Mudgee, Lithgow and Bathurst all jammed in closely. Other shows are a little more spaced with Sydney Royal Easter Show in late March. Not sure how many we will manage, but we will definitely be supporting our local shows.
At this stage the projects are under wraps – we’re keen that they will be surprises. no doubt you’ll hear about our results – good or otherwise.
One of the highlights each Spring is the sculptures on show at Rosby Estate in Mudgee. This year was no different. The weather was more like Summer than Spring and the crowds turned out in droves. Whilst we thought it was no problem turning up by 11 on the first day, we were disappointed to see that so many pieces of sculpture had already been snapped up.
G and I had a great time looking at all the sculptures which were amazing and loved the always beautiful gardens at Rosby. A glass of the estate rose went down well with our tasty couscous salad. It was fun selecting our own sculptures, although a little anxious racing back to the sales desk to make sure we were successful with our purchases.
We loved the wire animals by Roshelle Mckilliop and I was sorry I missed out on Alison Dent’s ‘Lyre Bird’, but it seems many people had their eye on that one. In the end I settled on Nicola McCutcheon’s ‘Close’ which will look perfect back at the Convent. It’s rewarding to be able to purchase local artwork and then enjoy it becoming part of home.