Easter in Jamieson is busy. Our house is always full of guests; the town is full of visitors. When the weather is good, our north-facing courtyard is great for entertaining. In autumn the bright yellow leaves of the golden ash, basket willows and ginkgos silhouette beautifully against the blue eucalypt covered ranges in the background. Years ago I planted grape vines from cuttings given to me by my friend Coonawarra vigneron Malcolm Redman, and they have now completely covered the pergola, providing the perfect summer shade in the courtyard. Great to have vines with a heritage. They are shiraz, their relatives back in Coonawarra produce fruit for the once fabulous Rouge Homme shiraz. Originally the name was a joke, putting a French touch on the name Redman, but it came to be recognized as one of Australia’s great reds before it was bought out by big business and given corporate anonymity. What a shame so many great wines end up that way. Fortunately there are still plenty that retain their mojo, one sitting in the courtyard ready to crack is the wonderful Gods Hill Road Neighbours from Dutschke, who were named Barossa Valley Winemakers of the Year in 2010. Traditionally Dutschke only pressed grape from their own St. Jakobi Block, but when they moved to Gods Hill Road, they took grape from four of their neighbors who grew in red dirt over clay and Biscay soils. These guys really know how to produce great shiraz – rich berry, perfect oak balance. I have just put together a wonderful Misko, Radicchio and Fennel salad tossed in a pomegranate dressing. The sweet tart of the dressing and the sharp bitterness of the greens sits perfectly with the Misko, which I will serve as a side to some magnificent Italian pork and fennel sausages from the legendary Donati’s Butchers in Lygon Street.
Misko is a Greek rice shaped pasta (AKA Risoni) made from top quality durum wheat semolina. You can buy it in European specialty shops. Get the salad recipe here.