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From Australia with Love: Aussie Foods Featured at Rice Epicurean

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Right now, Houstonians can get a taste of Australian cuisine without having to fly halfway across the world. Rice Epicurean is offering many enticing Australian made products at local stores. In addition to the excellent Pensfold Shiraz selection, there are also lovely citrus-infused olive oils, oven-roasted, herbed macadamia nuts, and unrelentingly addictive mango licorice candies.

Nona Sively, winner of Hell's Kitchen Season 8, has created a menu, including recommended wine pairings, featuring these Aussie products that would work well for Valentine's Day, or any special occasion.

Lamb Meatballs 50 balls

  • 5 lb ground Australian lamb
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 2 T onion powder
  • 3 oz fresh mint, minced
  • 1 T Murray River pink salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 1/2 oz Mil Lil parmesan, grated
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 fl oz Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 1/2 oz bread crumbs
  • Lamb stock (to complete cooking)

Combine all ingredients (except stock) and mix thoroughly. Divide into 2 oz meatballs. Place on sheet pan. Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes, until just set, not browned. Remove and put in stock. Simmer in lamb stock for 20 minutes.

Pickled Beets

  • 1 pound baby beets, peeled
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 T cardamom
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Combine all ingredients, except beets, in a small saucepan, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add beets and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer very gently until beets are tender, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and keep beets submerged until cool.

Goat Cheese

Portion goat cheese into balls similar in size to the meatballs and beets.

Red Wine Reduction

  • 1 bottle of Pinot Noir
  • Handful of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves

Simmer until reduced by 1/2. Strain into a smaller saucepan. Reduce until syrupy.

To Serve

Skewer lamb meatballs, beet and goat cheese. Drizzle with red wine reduction.

Recommended Wines: Rosemount Estate Show Reserve Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, Rosemount Diamond Label Cabernet

Dark Chocolate Truffle w/Grand Marnier Flavor Burst

Truffle -150 medium sized

  • 2 lb dark chocolate
  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 pt heavy cream

Cut butter into small pieces and add to chocolate in a large bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil, pour into chocolate/butter bowl, stir until completely melted. Pour ganache into a 200 pan and chill to firm. Shape balls with a melon baller and dip in tempered chocolate.

Pipettes of Grand Marnier

Cut pipettes stem down to about 1 inch. Fill with Grand Marnier. Stick stem in the truffle right before service.

Wine Suggestion: Wolf Blass Riesling or the Greg Norman Sparkling, of course!

Finish the meal with Punch deluxe coffee or Madura tea.

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