There are very few independent wine shops in Sydney, and The Oak Barrel at 152 Elisabeth Street in Sydney is one of them.
They specialise in craft local and imported beers, whiskies and "boutique" wines from France, Italy, Spain and the New World.
A very knowledgeable team led by Paul, the owner, and Simon, his son-in-law, will guide you through this Ali Baba Cavern of Bacchus related goodies. My son Grégoire found the place for me, as he is getting quite versed in the beer department, and starting to develop a taste for wine as well: as they say, the apple never falls too far from the tree.
I have spotted a few interesting potential buys for my next purchase, in photos below. Enjoy and go and pay them a visit ASAP!
Well, the stars were aligned this morning and I managed to cram Everleigh, Pyrmont and Orange Grove markets in one morning!
Well, I had my usual stop at Willowbrae Cheese and had a chance to say Merry Christmas to Karen, then met Merna Taouk from DessertMakers and the gorgeous partner of Pepe Saya of butter making fame and, although I didn't buy any meat, there is an increasingly high number of stalls selling organic meat and you had plenty of choice for poultry, beef, lamb, pork and even goat! All claim free range, organic feed and no antibiotics.
I also discovered a French related olive oil maker from Cowra, called Charles de la Barre de Nanteuil, who just won the top award at the recent Canberra Show. Christianne Dorell who man the stall has lived in France for many years and speak perfect French. Well, this olive oil is the best by far I have tasted in Australia. These people have put "La Barre" very high indeed!
Pyrmont Grocers Market
I was in a bit of a rush, but still managed to say hello to Gilles and his wife, who had ran out of garlic by the time I arrived, but still managed to catch up with Stefano Manfredi, who was the Chef of the Day, signing his book and having cooked beautiful gnocchi dish. Pyrmont has now a pretty stable exhibitor's list, so it is not necessarily the best place for news these days, they will be back in February.
Orange Grove Markets
A quick stop there to buy a chicken from Therese at Near River Produce and cheese - fresh pecorino and Brie from John for a dinner with friends on Thursday night...
By popular demand, here is this simple recipe for a delicious summer lunch.
You need to compose this salad in each plate and prepare the seasoning separately.
Here are the ingredients for 4 people:
24 large prawns - the bigger the better - I use green prawns from South Australoia.
2 mangoes - not too ripe, so you can cut slices easily
4 spring onions
1 red or yellow pepper
Light soy sauce
Salt & pepper
Peel the prawns and reserve
Cut the spring onions in small slices
Cut the red or/and yellow pepper in thin slices
Cut the mangos in slices more or less the same size as the pepper
Prepare the seasoning by mixing together in that order salt, pepper, lime juice, light soy sauce, olive oil
As a rule of thumb, I would use twice as much olive oil as the lime and soy sauce combined to produce about 200ml of sauce.
Then, quickly cook the prawns in a pan, maybe for 1mn on each side.
When ready to serve proceed to plate in that order:
rocket, then alternate pepper and mango slices in the same number as the prawns - in this case six per plate, but can be more generous. You will probably a larger plate if you are going to have more prawns, pepper and mango.
At this stage, pour a quarter of the seasoning over and add some cracked pepper.
Place the prawns on top and finish with some coriander on top
These photos below will help you with the different stages of the preparation.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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