Monday, 2 November 2009

Maeve O'Meara lunch at Moorilla

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, what happens? It gets better!

I’m talking about today’s lunch with Maeve O’Meara at Moorilla. Absolutely everything was perfect: the food, the service, the wine, the company and the venue, as well as Maeve herself.

What a personable, effervescent, friendly and happy person she is. Not that I wasn’t a fan before but after today, I’m a definite Maeve devotee. If she started a cult tomorrow, I’d be there!

Maeve was introduced by Rodney Dunn from Agrarian Kitchen, who had previously worked with Maeve on Better Homes and Gardens when she was the resident cooking guru on that TV program.

It was interesting seeing and hearing what Rodney had to say, then listening to Maeve – who, by the way, used absolutely no script or prompting. She talked to us like she was chatting to a group of friends at lunch – which is how she said she regarded today’s lunch.

I learnt Maeve has 3 teenage children and balances her hectic life around them as well as her food tours and trips round the country and overseas, her television programs, and projects like this most recent recipe book. I also learnt that she is a sucker for Arnotts Shapes, and that if she eats one, then she can't stop till the whole packet is gone!

She has been filming an Italian Food Safari this year to be aired next March, which sounds like must-watch TV.

The menu (naturally all recipes taken from Maeve's book) comprised alternate drops of mains and desserts of:
Chicken tajine with preserved lemon and olives
Beef bourgignon (Guillaume Brahimi’s recipe)
Italian tiramisu
Orange and almond cake

I sampled every dish, and let me tell you, they kicked arse! The chicken (pictured above the beef, above) was brilliant. It was served with couscous which had flaked almond through it and a strong preserved lemon flavour. The beef (directly above) likewise was done to perfection with the beef not needing a knife to be used at all. The gravy accompanying the beef was a flavoursome, hearty dose and came accompanied by sinful mash (with lashings of butter – as Maeve said, go for a walk after eating it to ease your conscience!) and a slice of sourdough for mopping-up purposes.

The tiramisu (above) was absolutely stunning. I have never tasted any dessert so gorgeous. It was served at the table onto a clean dinner plate placed in front of every second person, directly out of the large bowl in which it had been prepared and set. You had the option of one or two dollops. This was followed by a waitress with a jug, pouring over the tiramisu the most unctuous and beautiful sauce imaginable, made predominantly of Kahlua. What a treat!

The cake (below), when I sampled it, (expecting it to be average after eating the tiramisu) was also fabulous.

Moorilla definitely weren’t stingy with the wine, and glasses were continually being topped up or refilled the whole time. Once again, despite his absence today, Andy had catered to Rita’s well-known (by now) sweet tooth and wine preferences – so initially I had a glass of the Moorilla botrytis, which was fine but not quite as sweet as the Frogmore Creek I had last time, so that was bought out to me after the Moorilla botrytis went! My gratitude to all for that gesture.

Coincidentally, I was seated next to Joan Mahindroo, from Solicit. Joan likewise enjoyed herself, with both of us lamenting the fact that John wasn't there - he really would have enjoyed himself, especially the tiramisu!

I bought 2 copies of Maeve’s book, plus a copy of Series 3 of Food Safari and had a lively chat with Maeve.

A wonderful lunch, and brilliant idea of the corporate table next to us to celebrate at a pre-Christmas function like that – beautiful meal, unlimited wine, fabulous service, renown guest speaker/entertainment – the rest of us are mugs for not thinking of that for our Xmas lunch function!

My eternal gratitude too must go to Kate from Dymocks for allowing me the opportunity to experience such a life-changing lunch.

I love my life!

Posted on by Rita


steve said...

Its such a pleasure Rita to read your enthusiastic accounts, your eagerness is viral. I think Maeve is the real deal also.

Rita said...

Thanks Steve. It gets harder to differentiate between fabulous, breath-taking, stupendous etc! Note to self: buy Thesaurus!
You should have been there too!

ut si said...

And I should have been there too! Dead jealous. x

Rita said...

Yes you definitely should have! x

Victor said...

Get you! What a life, Rita! Glad you had a wonderful time!