Sunday, March 21, 2010

beef steak with garlic and grandfather port *drools*

I have been eating a bit more red meat lately as my iron levels are low...

Tonight i had two small beef steaks and didn't want to just fry them up and chew away at the meat like I have a few times since starting to eat meat again. I knew that red wine could be used in sauces, and I felt like spoiling myself. AND we had an open bottle of Penfolds Grandfather port sitting around begging to be used.

So i combined a few recipes for red wine sauces I found on the internet.

This is what I ended up doing.

I cracked pepper and sea salt over a plate, dolloped three teaspoons of minced garlic on to the plate, and then poured a few teaspoons of olive oil over it and mixed it all up with the back of a spoon. I popped the two steaks on to the plate and rubbed both sides in the garlic/salt/pepper/oil, and heated up a pan (with no oil). When it was hot I cooked the steak for about 3 or 4min on each side, then let it rest on a separate plate. I added a tablespoon of nuttelex to the pan, half a cup of stock, a few tablespoons of beef gravy powder, two tablespoons of grandfather port... it mixed in with the leftover garlic/oil/salt/pepper and turned into a rich, tasty sauce.

Loved this sauce so so much. I wouldn't normally use such expensive port in cooking, but for a treat it was lovely. I didn't cook the port for long enough for the alcohol to be burned off, so it tasted lovely and alcoholic. I was surprised at how good the port tasted in it - I ate a few spoons of the sauce by itself before pouring it over the meat and it was so good I went back for a few more spoons. It complimented the beef so so well.

I overcooked the beef slightly for my liking - it was medium well done instead of medium rare - but the port sauce, full of the juices from the pan, made the meat taste delicious.

Win! This recipe's a keeper :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

so I don't forget my first Port Fairy Folk Festival in many years!!!

I didn't see any of the bands on Friday, as I got the train and bus down after work and arrived too late. Karl was good enough to pick me up from the bus stop. We got to the camping grounds and it was pitch black - pretty much straight to bed, which worked for me as I was tired and knew the next day would be exhausting.

First up on Saturday morning was Tenzin Choegyal & the Monks of Tibet... the monks were great, loved some of the unusual sounds they made with their voices, but the highlight for me was Tenzin Choegyal's voice. I thought to myself (as I would during many concerts over the festival weekend) 'I must get this guy's CD later, when I have some money!' Grr at being poor, but I was lucky to be able to afford going to the festival at all considering we're saving for Europe in a few months time. While I was in the tent a woman got up to leave, and it turned out it was Robyn, an old family friend!

Next I went to Kate Vigo and the Undergorund Orchestra, but it wasn't the kind of music I felt like that day (lovely voice though!) so I wandered to the free street part of the festival... that's where I ran into my aunt and uncle, and two friends. I had lunch with my mates and then we headed to the Fiddler's Green. 'The Tiger and Me' were playing, a band from Melbourne I already really like.

Next I caught a bit of 'Band of Brothers' with Karl (great guitar work), and then 'Totally Gourdgeous' (who were quite hilarious).

According to the program description for Band of Brothers, "The Grigoryan and Tawadros family names are synonymous with australian classical music. Guitar virtuosi, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan, join the extraordinarily talented Joseph and James Tawadros for an adventurous musical partnership that crosses boundaries."

Met up with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin at The Shebeen and had a Moscato mmm, and then headed to the Lighthouse Cafe to see The Crooked Fiddle Band, who were... it's hard to describe. Some of it seemed to be folk metal if that's possible, while others were more rock or more classical or gypsyish. Meh hard to describe but AWESOME to listen to. One of the best things I listened to that weekend. I bought their cd and haven't stopped listening to it this week.

I wanted to head to the Ruby Hunter tribute concert that night, but it was so packed and in the end i piked (which i regretted). However this meant I got to see the excellent Ego Lemnos, with plenty of room to stretch out and listen right up the front. He's an East Timorese man with a beautiful voice, so smooth and relaxed!

I caught a few songs by the badloves (where had they been? Green Limousine! random but in a good way...) and finished the night off with an excellent concert by Dereb Desalegn & the Lion of Judah. I'd never heard Ethiopian jazz before. I wish I'd gotten up and danced... I'd like to get a cd of his stuff too.

On Sunday we had more rain, and more great music. I started out with Kavisha Mazzella first thing in the morning (she was one of the main reasons I was excited about PFFF in the first place). She was wonderful as usual. Such a lovely voice.

I had some breakfast then headed (too late) to 'A Woman's Voice'. Not too late to hear the music but my god it was crowded. I couldn't get a seat inside the enormous tent, and had to sit outside on the grass. I couldn't see much of the stage but they helpfully set screens up and I watched that instead. I got to hear the awesome sounds of Kerrianne Cox, Eleanor McEvoy, Alanna and Alicia Egan, Kim Richey, Jen Cloher and (again) Kavisha Mazzella.

At half three i went to the open mic retro open stage at the RSL hall. I wasn't planning to sing, but the guy taking names was pretty nice. He'd asked 'are you performing today?' and I must have hesitated sufficiently for him to sense that a part of me wanted to sing something. He encouraged me, and I got up (first) to sing 'The Grey Cock' and 'Red is the Rose'. Nerve wracking as all hell, and my diaphragm wobbled enough that I thought I sounded bad. I was shaking, and even said I'd only sing one song so I didn't put anyone 'through too much pain' lol. I was asked to sing a second song, and the applause and comments convinced me I'd done ok.

The band hosting the open mic session was called 'Dev'lish Mary' (another cd I'd like!) and they were three women, one on the fiddle, one on the double bass and the other on guitar... and all doing vocals - great harmonies - together.

I wandered back and saw a few bands, nothing I remember really, and then caught the bus to the surf club. The four groups were amazing - the Bree Arne Trio, Tara Minton on harp/vocals and her excellent brother on saxophone, Shanachie (both girls had beautiful voices, I particularly liked the girl with the deeper voice), and The Tiger and Me (who were even better than I'd seen them the day before, if that's possible - I think the gypsy rock sound filled that little place and rocked it out so well compared to fiddlers green where the sound kind of disappeared into the air a bit.)

On Monday I finished off the festival with a visit to Glover & Sorrenson (funny but not brilliant, the part I loved was when Mal Webb got a spot in the show. He layered music and sounds over eachother with a pedal thing (got to find out how he did it!) that recorded the sound whenever he put his food down on it. God I'm a technological luddite. Anyhooo it was amazing. Next up at the Lighthouse Cafe at 11am was Alanna and Alicia Egan from Bendigo. They were one of my favourites from the 'A Woman's Voice' concert and I'd hardly seen that except on a screen from a distance... this time on the Monday, I sat right up the front and got to hear and see them much better. I'd like their cd, they were funny and had fantastic voices.

Finally, I found Karl and we watched Genticorum, a band that rocked my socks off. They were a French canadian Celtic band... if you can imagine that! DEFINITELY want their cd.