A beautiful day in the vines

By November 1, 2013News, Out & About
A beautiful day in the vines

Yesterday was my birthday, and I can’t imagine a more beautiful day than what I had. In our family, everyone gathers in our room first thing in the morning and gives gifts.  The boys make their own cards and buy presents with their own money.  (Back when they were little we used to take them shopping and let them choose something from a bargain store – the results were always sweet and almost always hilarious.)

Just a little wine tasting

Mick and I set off on this glorious morning for the Hunter Valley, about an hour up the road from our beloved Central Coast.  We arrived at Tallavera Grove winery a little early for our lunch reservation so went go to the cellar door and sampled a fairly wide range of lovely wines.  There’s something special about sipping on a wine while looking across the terrace to the very vines that produced the grapes.

Chef Robert’s house made duck liver pate. To die for.

We headed across to the restaurant, which has tables inside and out.  I chose Bistro Molines because I came here once about three years ago and had very fond memories of the location, the service and the food.  I’d been looking for a reason to get back here and it seemed like the perfect choice for my birthday lunch.

Mick starts with linguine, clams and pesto

We were warmly welcomed and seated on the terrace overlooking the vineyard and the beautiful blooming jacarandas.  After the intense couple of weeks we have had weather-wise, with terrible fires and wild storms, the blue sky, perfect temperature and light breeze seemed too good to be true.

My entrée – zucchini flowers stuffed with goats cheese, olives and melon balls

There are so many beautiful French dishes on the menu that I needed some advice from the waitress to choose.  What followed was a blissful couple of hours of truly beautiful food, fabulous local wine, and warm, attentive service.  Robert, the lovely owner and head chef, sent out some extra things for us to try, which were very gratefully received and well enjoyed.

Mick had veal in prosciutto, Jerusalem artichoke puree, cavalo nero and champignon sauce

I had rack of lamb with Merguez sausage, white bean cassoulet. Divine.

Asparagus with garlic and parmesan

After lunch we cranked up the music and headed home.  Mick and the boys made a beautiful lasagne with salad and garlic bread for dinner, all topped off with Grandma’s Never Fail cake as my birthday cake.  Along with all the beautiful phone calls, messages and well wishes I received, it has been truly a beautiful birthday and one I will always remember.

Mick’s chocolate fondant, hazelnuts and caramel ice cream

I had baklava with pistachio ice cream and spiced honey

An extra surprise – tarte tatin with a sparkler for my birthday!

Thanks to my family, beautiful friends, the team at Bistro Molines and Tallavera wines, Nikki and Wade for growing amazing roses, and especially to my wonderful hubby and partner in crime Mick who made the day so special.  I’m so grateful for everything and I love youse all.

Beautiful! Lasagne looks good too.

Beautiful red roses…

I am a very blessed and lucky person. Thank you everybody!

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Chris R says:

    So glad you had a wonderful birthday Julie, no one deserves it more than you. That food all looks divine and well done to the men in your life for making your day so special.

  • Penny Hlavaty says:

    We share a birthday, but mine was a bit different, spent making another prototype for the very innovative Quickir Cooker.

    I am envious, but c’est la vie.

    I also used to live on the Central Coast, at Bateau Bay, which I dearly loved, while I raised 3 children as a single parent and worked as a food technology consultant. It was there that I became an inventor.

  • Julie says:

    Thanks Chris, I ama very lucky girl.

  • Kate says:

    Bistro Molines is devine and I hope that next birthday Mick might be able to stretch the budget to a stay at Bonnay in gorgeous Mount View! We would be delighted to share our little piece of the Hunter with you and your family. Happy birthday!

  • Joolzmac says:

    Happy belated Birthday, Julie! I have ‘pencilled’ in that winery into my phone notes for when we visit up that way – it looks divine! Beautiful memories are made of days like these!

    Cheers – Joolz xx

  • Jenny says:

    Just happened upon your blog, so wishing you a late but none the less heartfelt Happy Birthday. The food looks DE VINE – get it??? ha ha
    My Mum is celebrating her 88th birthday on 30th November and our family mark it with a lunch or weekend on the Central Coast with my brother coming down from Byron and cousins from Newcastle. Last year we booked into the caravan park at Toowoon Bay, this year we’re going to the Anglers Restaurant at Brooklyn.