The big day (Christmas) is fast approaching. You might be hosting Christmas lunch at your place or heading to family and friends' places for the day.
And if you are heading to someone's house, turning up with one of these beautiful, delicious and decadent Red Velvet Christmas Cakes is bound to get you a future invite and will keep everyone happy.
What you'll Need:
3 cups of cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature and separated
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Liquid or gel red food colouring
1 cup of buttermilk
Cream cheese frosting
450g full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter
5 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 180c Grease two 9-inch cake pans line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.
Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute.
Add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. (Set the egg whites aside.)
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in your desired amount of food colouring just until combined.
Gently fold into the cake batter. The batter will be silky and slightly thick.
Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when gently touched, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. If the cakes need a little longer as determined by wet crumbs on the toothpick, bake for longer.
Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
Make the frosting
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until thoroughly combined and creamy. Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Frosting should be soft, but not runny.
Assemble and frost
Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard or crumble over the finished cake. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate.
Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.
As we head towards Christmas, it's an excellent chance to lead into the holiday season with a bit of love and kindness in mind.
It’s been a rough year for a lot of people and as we head toward the end here are some ways to add a little kindness back into the world.
Buy gifts that give back to communities in need
Supporting local business is more important than ever at the moment, and you can make a real difference in the lives of others this year by purchasing presents from businesses and services doing it tough. It could be buying vouchers from local businesses such as bookstores, restaurants or locally-owned shops.
It’s true what they say; when you buy from a small business an actual person does a happy dance.
Volunteer your time in your community
Roll up your sleeves and assist a charity during its busiest time of the year. This year volunteers are down due to vulnerable members of the community not being able to volunteers as they usually are able too.
Lend a helping hand if you can spare some time.
Invite a friend for Christmas lunch
We have all gotten a taste of what it's like to be isolated and or lonely this year, and that is why it's vital to reach out to your friends and colleagues who may not have anyone to spend Christmas day with.
Invite a friend over to share the day with your family.
Make a donation
Donations to local charities are really down this year as a lot of people struggle with financial fatigue and stress. If you can this year, donate to a local charity. Every little bit counts, no matter how small.
When you are out shopping, at a restaurant or café, try and be extra kind this year. It's been a tough year and a kind smile, a compliment or keeping your frustration in check if you have to wait in a cue for a little longer than usual this year goes a long way.
Try and treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.
If you haven't already started thinking about Christmas Day and what you will be serving at your table well, now is the time.
Bringing your family together on Christmas Day is an important time of the year, and with all that has been going on in the world, this year it has even more relevance.
This Roast Duck recipe is an excellent alternative to doing a big ol’ Turkey.
What you’ll need:
1.5kg potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
2 onions thinly sliced
500ml chicken stock
1 x 2kg whole duck, giblets removed
1 clementine, cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 head Savoy cabbage, leaves shredded
50g dried cranberries
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cranberry apple sauce
2 apples, peeled, cores removed, roughly chopped
200g fresh cranberries
5 tbsp cider
2-3 tbsp caster sugar, to taste
Arrange the shelves of your oven so that there is space for the duck at the top and the potatoes on the shelf immediately underneath. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Layer the potatoes and onions in a large roasting dish, seasoning each layer with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the stock, flattening the top layer down.
Place the potatoes onto the lower shelf in the oven.
Pierce the duck skin all over with a fork and stuff the neck end of the cavity with the clementine halves and cinnamon stick. Rub the five-spice powder all over the skin and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the duck directly onto the oven rack above the potatoes, so that the juices from the duck will drip onto the potatoes as they cook.
Roast for 1½-2 hours, or until the duck is cooked through and the potatoes are tender and golden-brown.
Meanwhile, for the spiced cranberry apple sauce, bring the apples, cranberries and cider to the boil in a frying pan. Reduce the heat until simmering and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst, and the mixture has thickened.
Season, to taste, with sugar, if too tart, then pour the sauce into a serving bowl and set aside.
When the duck is cooked, remove it from the oven and set aside to rest for 10 minutes on a serving platter while you cook the cabbage.
Pour enough water into the bottom of a large frying pan to reach 1cm/½ in up the sides of the pan. Add half of the butter and bring to the boil.
When the butter has melted, add the cabbage and boil until it has just wilted, stirring occasionally. Add the dried cranberries and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, spoon the wilted cabbage onto a serving platter and lay the roast duck on top. Serve the potatoes and sauce alongside.
Who doesn’t love a delicious chicken drumstick? The perfect mid-week meal to keep the kiddos happy or even a starter when entertaining friends and family in the lead up to Christmas.
This recipe is sure to delight on any night.
What you’ll need:
8 chicken drumsticks
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
20g green onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp rice wine (mirin)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
A few sprinkles of ground black pepper
Put the chicken into a large zipper-lock bag and add the sauce. Seal the bag and vigorously shake the bag and massage the chicken so that the sauce smears well onto the chicken.
Marinate it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge or overnight.
Preheat an oven at 240 C. Take the chicken out from the fridge. Lay down some baking paper on the oven tray or ovenproof dish and line up the chicken. Make sure they are not stacked up on top of each other.
Put the tray/pot into the oven and bake it at 240 C for 12 mins. Take the tray/pot out and turn the chicken over and put it back into the oven. Bake it a further 12 mins or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Garnish with the sesame seeds and green onion. Serve.
It is nearly the season of giving and you might be looking to shop locally and support local businesses this year, but you may also be looking to be a bit more sustainable and get all DIY and make your Christmas gifts at home this year.
Making gifts can be a great way to show your loved ones just how much you care, and you can re-purpose items from around the home and support local business owners with all the bits and bobs you need to buy so it can be a win-win.
Here are some DIY ideas to get you started.
Homemade Christmas gifts - a DIY doormat
Use a stencil and spray paint to make a unique and personalised doormat.
Then every time your loved ones walk into the house, they can think of you and smile.
Homemade Christmas gifts - Cookie mix in a jar
Give the budding Bake-Off contestant in your life a new recipe for their repertoire.
Put all the ingredients in a jar and add instructions on how to make the delicious cookies.
Homegrown veggies or herbs
If you have a budding green thumb why not pot up some of your favourite herbs or veggies to give as a gift to your loved ones.
Pick up some fancy coloured pots from your local nursery, or better yet paint some old ones you may have laying around and get potting.
You could also get creative with some potted succulents.
Homemade Christmas decorations
Get crafty with the kids and make some homemade Christmas decorations.
Look at what you can use around the house, old fabrics, string, wood and coloured paint and make up some ornaments for this year’s Christmas tree.
Homemade Gingerbread cookies
Another one to make with the kids. Why not get creative and make some homemade gingerbread cookies, bag them up and give them to your loved ones.
This dish is an absolute party starter!
As we head into the silly season of pre-Christmas catch-ups and office get-togethers you might be looking for some delicious dishes to share with your friends.
No doubt the usual end of year celebrations might look a bit different depending on where you live, but these Crispy Pork Belly Bao Buns are sure to put a smile on your guest’s dials.
Serve these babies with our Cheeky Goat Pinot Gris or PG Project Oak.
What you’ll need:
600g piece slow-cooked pork belly
300g packet frozen gua bao buns (10)
¼ cup char siu sauce
1 Lebanese cucumber, trimmed, cut into matchsticks
2 green spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve (optional)
Cook pork belly according to packet directions for about 30 minutes, or until pork is cooked and crackling is crisp. Remove.
Stand for 10 minutes. Slice pork into pieces.
Meanwhile, line a bamboo steamer with a sheet of baking paper. Pierce holes over the paper to allow steam to escape. Place bao buns in a single layer over paper. Steam according to packet directions, until soft and spongy.
Combine char siu sauce with 1 tablespoon water in a heatproof jug. Microwave on High (100%) for about 30 seconds, or until warm.
Serve buns filled with pork, cucumber and onions. Drizzle with sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander sprigs.
Who doesn't love a delicious pizza fresh out of a wood-fired pizza oven whilst sipping on a glass of wine in the sunshine?
As the weather starts to warm and the days get that little bit longer it’s time to think about getting out of the city and enjoying all that regional South Australia has to offer. We are looking at you, Adelaide! And hopefully Melbourne soon too.
And the Coonawarra is the destination to enjoy, relax and unwind for a couple of days.
Why not put the kids, the dog and your friends in the car and head down to the Coonawarra for a weekend of Spring or Summer adventure?
We have pizza and tunes at the cellar door for select dates in late November and over the summer months of January and February, so there is plenty of reason to get down here for a visit.
So, why not book that trip in over the coming months, you can do a tasting at the Cellar Door, enjoy a platter in the sunshine or join us for a pizza whilst you listen to some music in the sun.
Grab some takeaways and enjoy the fresh country air or head over to one of the gorgeous seaside town such as Beachport or Robe. You will be getting some travel fun in, supporting local businesses like ours and having a bunch of fun whilst you do so.
Our next pizza event is Saturday the 21st of November, from 12 pm.
We hope to see you then.
Book on our website NOW.
See you this summer.
Warm weather and Rosé are the best of friends and we are delighted to launch our new Rosé into the world.
This wine is a cracker and perfect for fun in the sun.
This year while making the Red Project, Stevo decided to do a little experiment with Saignée (“sohn-yay”). Saignée means “to bleed,” and it also describes a method of rosé winemaking that involves “bleeding” off a portion of red wine juice after it’s been in contact with the skins and seeds) just to see what would happen.
And we are tickled pink with the result.
So we’ve paired it with a delicious Strawberry and goat cheese tart to enjoy.
What you’ll need:
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ cup baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup of Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cream
150gms plain goat cheese room temperature
2 cups of fresh strawberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift together flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Chill dry ingredients in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Pour olive oil into cold dry ingredients and make clumps with your hands. Add ice water and continue working the ingredients until dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Remove dough from the fridge, divide into four sections, and roll them out into circular shapes about ¼ inch thick on a floured surface. Then transfer to a baking sheet.
Spread goat cheese over the dough, leaving some space at the edges. Slice strawberries and cover the goat cheese evenly. Fold the edge of the crust up and slightly over the strawberry and goat cheese filling. Press down to hold the shape.
Combine honey and cream and brush crusts and tops of the tarts evenly.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is a light golden brown. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Top with small sprigs of rosemary and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Serve and enjoy!
Something is ready to pop at Raidis Estate as we welcome to the line-up our new drop - Emma Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Gris.
This delicious drop is now available and ready to share with those you love and it’s only fair that we share with you a few ways to enjoy it.
This Sparkling can be taken from cheese platter party to the main affair and can simply just go with a gooey camembert or shoestring fries.
It’s also the perfect drop to go with this delicious and lighter style baked mushroom dish.
These mushrooms are delicious, scrumptious and decadent and are the things that dreams are made of.
Add some crispy pancetta to the top of these babies to really set them on fire!
We hope you enjoy both.
What you’ll need:
4 large portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for coating the mushrooms
1 large sweet onion diced
2 medium zucchinis diced
1 roasted red pepper diced
4 – 6 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
2 – 3 cloves garlic minced
1 large handful of spinach
1 pinch dried oregano crushed between your fingers
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a sided baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a small spoon, gently scoop the gills out of the inside of the mushroom. With a small knife, remove the stalk.
Rub each mushroom with a bit of olive oil and set them on the prepared baking sheet, stalk side up.
In a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil then the onions. Sauté for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the zucchini and continue to cook as the zucchini begins to soften.
Next, add the red pepper and tomatoes. Cook for another few minutes. When the onions have become translucent and soft, add the garlic. Cook for one minute and add the spinach.
Once the spinach wilts, remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, up to and including the Parmesan. Stir to combine.
Divide the mixture in four; I spread the mixture out evenly in the pan and using my spoon, just slice through like a pie to divide equally. Stuff each mushroom with a quarter of the mixture.
Bake in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. Top each mushroom with about 1 tablespoon of the mozzarella and continue baking for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is just beginning to get golden on top.
Emma Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Gris $35
Being enthusiastic sparkling drinkers, Emma & Stevo have wanted to make a sparkling wine for years. Passionate about chardonnay based sparkling wines they sourced some exceptional fruit and for a bit of a twist blended it with some barrel-fermented Pinot Gris. Delicious, crisp, sherbety goodness with a clean dry finish - this fizz is a party in your mouth!
Shop our Sparkling - HERE
Do you have grand plans to start your own at home wine cellar?
Collecting wine can seem daunting at first, where do you start, what will keep, etc., etc., but like most things, the best thing you can do is start. Collect what you like and go from there.
Here are our top tips for starting your own wine cellar.
Storage is key
Storing your wine correctly will ensure you get the most out of your wine when you want to drink it. To begin with, ensure your cellar - or wherever you store your wine - is dark as sunlight is a wine’s worst enemy.
So, keep your precious wine away from windows and direct sunlight. Think the coolest and darkest room in your house.
It’s all in the Balance
A balanced cellar will contain wines to suit any occasion. This should include whites and reds, young and mature wines, everyday wines and the more special occasion bottles as well.
These wines can mostly be sourced from good retailers or obtained directly from wineries.
Buy wines you love in a six-pack or dozen
Fallen in love with a bottle of wine? Check with your retailer if you can buy it in a 6-pack or dozen. This will mean two things. The first being that you will be able to drink a few bottles without feeling guilty and the second being, you can drink a bottle at different stages of the ageing process.
This allows you to compare and reflect on what each year brings to the wine.
Have fun with it
Wine shouldn’t be serious; it should be fun. Pick wines that you like and that you intend to drink.
You don't need to pick what you think you should have in there, instead pick things that you enjoy. Life is short, and you should be planning to drink your way through your cellar over time.
Screwcap vs cork
Screwcap wines will retain freshness for longer, than wines under cork. You might want to pick a balance of wine under cork and under screwcap to give you options.
Wine under screw cap may keep better and develop quicker than those under cork, but there still is a particular type of romance that comes with cork and opening an old bottle of wine.