All My Friends: celebrating the songs and voice of Gregg Allman

GREGG Allman is one of rock’s most acclaimed and beloved icons, both as leader of the legendary Allman Brothers Band and for his superb solo recordings.
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This new double CD and single DVD set serves as the perfect tribute to the man and his songs.

Recorded live on January 10 this year at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, it features a multi-generational assortment of musicians from the worlds of rock, blues and country performing a swag of Allman staples.

Notable guest performers include Eric Church, Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Zac Brown and Brantley Gilbert.

Also included is performances by Taj Mahal and Gregg’s one time former roommate Jackson Browne.

While each interpretation is masterful in delivery an obvious standout of the set is the current Allman Brothers Band lineup – with Gregg singing – running through Dreams and a scorching rendition of Whipping Post.

The album will be available locally on May 2 through Rounder Records.

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Rubbish provokes outrage

Filthy: Hamilton Road residents are sick of rubbish lining their street.FAIRFIELD residents are outraged with the amount of rubbish they say is regularly dumped on their street.
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Hamilton Road resident Andrew Nicholson said the most recent pile of rubbish had been on the footpath for more than a week before the council came to remove it.

He said this was a regular occurrence.

“To make matters worse, there seems to be a broken sewerage pipe, which leaks waste across the footpath and into the roadside gutter,” Mr Nicholson said.

“This is utterly unacceptable and a danger to human health. Why do people on Hamilton Road have to put up with constant barricades of rubbish or push their children in strollers into oncoming traffic to try and escape an open sewer leaking across the council footpath?”

A Fairfield council spokeswoman said action had been taken.

“The council has dealt with the sewer overflow issue and an emergency order was issued last Friday to the managing agent to have the lines repaired in the coming days,” she said. “The occupier made arrangements last Thursday with waste enforcement to have the rubbish removed off the footpath.”

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Coca-Cola Amatil plays down ratings downgrades

Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola Amatil has played down the impact of credit rating downgrades by ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s in the wake of Friday’s shock profit warning.
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CCA says the credit downgrades will have no impact on its interest costs or ability to refinance debt in the short to medium term.

The ratings agencies cut their credit ratings or downgraded the credit outlook for CCA after the bottler shocked investors on Friday by warning that June-half earnings were expected to fall by 15 per cent.

Moody’s long term A3 rating has been maintained, but the outlook has changed from stable to negative. Standard & Poor’s reduced its long-term rating from A- to BBB+ but affirmed CCA’s short-term rating at A-2.

CCA said on Tuesday it has maintained an investment grade credit rating with both agencies and the changes to its credit rating are not expected to have any short to medium term impact on the company.

CCA has pre-funded maturing debt for approximately two years. All of the debt maturing in 2014 and 2015 has already been refinanced with cash held on term deposits at margins above associated borrowing costs.

According to CCA’s annual report, the bottler had $3.1 billion of interest-bearing debt at the end of 2013 but cash on hand and short term deposits totalling $1.4 billion.

The report also showed that former chief executive Terry Davis, who stepped down in March, took a 53 per cent pay cut last year after CCA’s underlying earnings fell 10 per cent.

Mr Davis’s base pay rose from $2.3 million to $2.7 million, but he received no short term bonus (vs $2.42 million in 2012) and superannuation benefits on short term incentives fell from $947,562 to $338,351.

In addition, long term incentives were reversed by $99,282 (vs long term incentives worth $1.14 million in 2012) after performance hurdles were not achieved.

Mr Davis’s total remuneration fell from $7.9 million to $3.7 million.

None of CCA’s senior management team, with the exception of NZ managing director Barry O’Connell, received their short term bonus.

CCA’s new chief executive, Alison Watkins, has launched a broad-based strategic review and flagged a “step-change” in CCA’s fixed costs and productivity in the wake of the profit decline.

CCA has been unable to recover higher costs in Australia because of aggressive pricing in supermarkets and weaker sales in the higher-margin route trade.

Earnings in Indonesia are also expected to fall this year because of increased competition from new rivals such as Big Cola, rising labour and fuel costs and currency depreciation.

Broker CIMB says CCA could cut costs by more than $100 million a year by culling excess stock keeping units or SKUs, closing bottling plants and reducing its merchandise field force.

Brokers such as Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley believe CCA needs to cut prices to better compete against Schweppes, which bottles Pepsi, and come up with new products to satisfy changing consumer tastes.

Standard & Poor’s says CCA’s operating expertise should enable it to arrest the volume and earnings decline in its Australian business in the next two years.

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NRL star David Williams could be squeezed out as Manly Sea Eagles look for way to keep Glenn Stewart

Former NSW and Australia representative David Williams could be squeezed out of Manly as the club struggles to balance the books for next year.
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Williams was dumped to the NSW Cup on Sunday following the return of winger Jorge Taufua from injury. The other wing spot went to Peta Hiku, who is poised to sign a three-year extension this week despite a more lucrative offer from the Warriors.

Williams recently signed a two-year extension but it’s understood Manly management will not stand in his way should he request a release. The “Wolfman” could dig his heels in but he is rated the third-choice winger for the Sea Eagles and faces the prospect of seeing out his contract in the NSW Cup unless injuries or form conspire against the incumbents. It’s understood Manly powerbrokers plan to discuss the matter with Williams’ management this week.

The Sea Eagles are keen to retain Glenn Stewart but don’t have room under the salary cap to table him an offer. Officials have spoken to his management about the possibility of keeping him should other players be released. However, the grand finalists are already over the cap for next year and, even if Williams departed, those funds alone wouldn’t be available for Stewart’s retention.

Manly have been arguably the most dominant club of the past decade, a constant finalist and winner of two grand finals. Former coach Des Hasler was able to retain the nucleus of the squad by back-ending contracts. The practice has proven successful but has left the current management with a problem as it tries to strike a balance between rewarding those responsible for past success while retaining enough talented youngsters to ensure the good times continue.

Other Sea Eagles off contract this year include Jamie Buhrer and Tom Symonds. Players becoming free agents the following season include Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Justin Horo and Steve Matai.

For Stewart to be made an offer, the club would most likely need to move on at least three players. Even then, the NRL could deem the contract does not reflect his status and refuse to register it.

The good news for Manly is Hiku is close to a deal. A big step towards agreement came when Hiku was preferred to Williams against Cronulla, outlining a clear career path for a man who has done a fine job at fullback covering Brett Stewart’s injuries.

“It’d be really good to stay and play at Manly,” Hiku told Sky Sports Radio.

“Everyone there has brought me in well, it’d be tough to leave. My manager called me last night, hopefully we can get something sorted this week. We’ll just see what happens there.”

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I’m In The Money aims to cash in at Randwick

CHANCE: Jeff Englebrecht with I’m In The Money at his Wyong stables. Picture: Max Mason-HubersA RACE won by his best horse almost a decade ago again looms large for former Muswellbrook trainer Jeff Englebrecht if I’m In The Money runs well at Randwick this afternoon.
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I’m In The Money is being aimed at the Tamworth Cup, and a winning return to city racing will confirm a start in the $80,000 race on April 27.

The mare, a Hugh Bowman mount, will be one of the main chances in the Theraces南京夜网.au Handicap after surprising her trainer with a placing over 1000 metres at Wyong.

“She sprinted a bit better than I thought she would,” Englebrecht, who is now based at Wyong, said.

“Blake Shinn rode her and he had never been on her before, but he came back and said she is in for a good prep.”

Englebrecht trained Newton’s Rings to win the 2006 Tamworth Cup among the grand galloper’s 22 victories during a career also notable for a near miss against one of Australia’s glamour gallopers.

A few months after his Tamworth win, Newton’s Rings was beaten a nose by the Australian Derby winner Eremein in the Chelmsford Stakes.

“It was probably just as well he did get beaten that day because he probably would have been weighted out of all those country cups that he won,” Englebrecht said.

I’m In The Money returns today to the Kensington track, the scene of her only city victory when she made her own luck on the way to beating Candy Tuft in a 1400-metre race in January.

“She seems to like the surface. It’s a little bit forgiving for her,” Englebrecht said.

The Kensington track has been lauded for its recuperative powers since it was reopened last year, and it’s unlikely to let officials down today.

It was rated in the dead range while the course proper was still heavy after an inspection yesterday morning.

● A 4000m flat race at Sandown today will not only be a distance test for stayer Luck’s A Fortune, but also his jockey.

Apprentice Harry Coffey has ridden the Pat Carey-trained Luck’s A Fortune to back-to-back wins in both heats of the Marathon Series at Sandown over 3200m and 3600m and has the job again in today’s final.

“He actually was a bit keener last start than the start before, so it was actually a bit more tiring,” Coffey said.

“So hopefully I’m fit enough for the 4000 metres. That’s my only worry, if I can get the trip. Because he’ll definitely get it.”

Coffey suffers from cystic fibrosis but hasn’t let that stop him from achieving on the racetrack during his apprenticeship.

He has ridden 50 winners this season in Victoria, including 17 in town, and has notched metropolitan doubles twice in the past month.

Luck’s A Fortune, winner by more than four lengths last start, is one of six rides for Coffey at Sandown.

“He has improved the further he has gone, so hopefully he improves again,” Coffey said.

“I think I’m on the right horse.”

Riding over a long distance will be a new experience for some of the jockeys.

Three-time Melbourne Cup winner Glen Boss rides By His Design, while Craig Newitt, who has won a Sydney Cup over 3200m, partners Hawkesinthesky in the nine-horse field.

Coffey sits third in the Melbourne apprentices’ premiership, one win behind Katelyn Mallyon and six behind Patrick Moloney, who is sidelined for about three months with ankle injuries after a fall. AAP

Knee injury rules Aku Uate out of Knights team to play Broncos

FORMER NSW and Australian winger Aku Uate will miss Newcastle’s game against Brisbane at Hunter Stadium on Friday night due to a knee injury he suffered in the Knights’ 26-12 victory over the Raiders in Canberra last Saturday.
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The Knights did not divulge details of Uate’s injury but said he had scans and would be sidelined for three weeks.

Italian World Cup winger Josh Mantellato has been named to replace Uate on the right wing for the game against the Broncos.

Captain Kurt Gidley and prop Kade Snowden, who both suffered head knocks and were replaced during the second half against the Raiders, were named but are still being monitored for post-concussion symptoms and will need medical clearances before being allowed to play.

Aku Uate. Pic: Dean Osland

Former skipper Sam Thaiday has been cleared to take his place in the Brisbane pack after pleading guilty to a grade-one dangerous contact charge arising from Brisbane’s 12-8 loss to Gold Coast Titans at Robina last Friday night.

Thaiday pleaded guilty to placing unnecessary pressure to the head or neck of an opponent, Queensland Origin team-mate Nate Myles, in the 16th minute of the game but he did not incur enough demerit points to warrant suspension.

Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Josh Mantellato, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Kurt Gidley (c), Willie Mason, Beau Scott, Chris Houston, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Adam Clydsdale, Korbin Sims, Robbie Rochow, Zane Tetevano.

Broncos: Ben Barba, Daniel Vidot, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges (c), Dale Copley, Josh Hoffman, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker (c), Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett. Interchange: Martin Kennedy, Todd Lowrie, Ben Hannant, Corey Oates, Jarrod Wallace (one to be omitted).

Referees: Ashley Klein, Adam Gee

Animal activists claim footage shows abuse of Australian animals in Gaza

Andrew Wilkie Photo: Phil ThomsonAnimal welfare activists have released new video footage documenting alleged abuse of Australian cattle in Gaza.
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Animals Australia says videos taken between February and last week [warning, graphic footage] show that live export regulations continue to be ignored with horrific consequences for Australian animals.

The organisation says it has reported six incidents in Gaza to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry since the start of this year and that mistreatment is occurring on a nightly basis.

The department confirmed on Tuesday it was investigating complaints made in February and said it had suspended the use of Gaza municipal abattoir for the slaughter of Australian animals while it verified the footage.

But the advocacy group is calling for tougher action against the Australian exporter whose animals are the subject of the claims, Livestock Shipping Services.

The footage shows cattle with ear tags consistent with Australian livestock, but Fairfax has been unable to confirm independently that the animals were exported from Australia by Livestock Shipping Services.

The graphic footage shows cattle tied up and bleeding as workers struggle to subdue the animals.

One piece of footage shows a bull being stabbed in the eye after staff struggle to secure it in a restraint box.

Animals Australia says investigators shot the videos at the one government-approved slaughterhouse in Gaza, as well as a number of unauthorised abattoirs.

Lisa Chalk, a spokeswoman for Animals Australia, said that as a result of a complaint the organisation made in November, the department had not granted any new export permits for consignments that included the Gaza supply chain.

But Ms Chalk said Australian animals remained in the market in Gaza and a further shipment had recently arrived in Israel.

“No action has been taken to stop cruelty to animals that were already in Gaza,” she said.

“They’ve not taken any responsibility for the animals that are still there.”

The managing director of Livestock Shipping Services, Ahmad Ghosheh, said the company had voluntarily suspended supply to Gaza last October, but was aware of the recent complaints involving animals already there.

“Recent political difficulties in the region have made access to the supply chain facilities extremely difficult for LSS, however, specialist consultants have been on site in the past week to carry out the necessary remediation strategies required to ensure compliance with ESCAS for the processing of remaining cattle from this final shipment,” he said.

A department spokesman said “the exporter is working to ensure that no further animals are slaughtered until the abattoir can operate in a manner consistent with international animal welfare standards.”

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Bill Shorten farewells mother, Ann, at private funeral in Melbourne

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and two of his children outside the funeral service held for his mother Ann at the Xavier College Chapel, Melbourne. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his brother were among the pallbearers at his mother Ann’s funeral. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
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Bill Shorten and his mother Ann in 2005. Photo: John Donegan

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has farewelled his mother, Ann Rosemary, at a moving private ceremony in Melbourne’s east.

Held in the stunning sandstone structure that is the Xavier College Chapel, in Kew, Mr Shorten and his twin, Robert, delivered a joint emotional eulogy on Tuesday honouring their mother’s life-long commitment to the pursuit of education.

Among Mr Shorten’s federal Labor colleagues who attended were Anthony Albanese, Tony Burke, former Speaker Anna Burke, Kelvin Thomson, David Feeney, Mark Dreyfus and Warren Snowdon.

Mr Shorten’s mother-in-law, former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce, did not attend the service.

A devastated Mr Shorten – shouldering the load as a pallbearer, along with his twin and other male relatives – was comforted by his wife Chloe, their daughter Clementine, and Ms Shorten’s two children Georgette and Rupert.

Leading names among Victoria’s political, academic, corporate and social circles gathered after the service on the chapel steps, its views of Melbourne soaring beyond the expansive grounds.

Ann Shorten, 79, died on Sunday, April 6, her loss described as “a shock to me and my family” by the Opposition Leader.

Xavier resonates with the Shorten family. Credited as the driving force behind her family’s academic and political success, Ann Shorten was determined her sons would receive an education under the guidance of the Jesuits. She was not religious, but as a cultural Catholic and an educator she respected Jesuit education. She sent her boys to Xavier and went back to work as a teacher to help pay the fees.

The predominantly Catholic service was also ministered by an Anglican reverend, a reflection of the family’s mixed faiths.

Ann Shorten – nee McGrath – was, by all accounts, an extraordinary woman.

The daughter of a Ballarat-born printer – and union leader – she tested the conventions of the day by putting her education and then career ahead of marriage and motherhood until she was in her 30s – a move almost unheard of for working-class young women at the time.

She was awarded a teaching scholarship after matriculation, received an arts and an education diploma in the 1950s,and then a doctorate from Melbourne University.

It was the first of many academic milestones.

Most notably, much later in her life, she won the Supreme Court prize in 1985. Her twin boys – Bill and Robert (both named for their late father, William Robert) were by then in their first year at the same university as their mother, Monash. ”I was a very embarrassing mother,” she told Fairfax Media in a 2009 profile on her son, Bill.

Ann met her husband William Robert Shorten on a cruise to Japan in late 1965.

Bill snr, from Tyneside, was the ship’s second engineer. After the church wedding in East Malvern, where her parents lived, the Shortens held the festivities on the ship.

Mr Shorten said in a statement his mother’s death had come as a great shock to him and his family.

‘‘I was very close to my mum,” Mr Shorten said.

“My family and I have received many kind messages of support from friends, colleagues and members of the community for which we are very grateful.”

Mr Shorten has been on leave since receiving news of his mother’s unexpected death but is expected to return to official duties this week.

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Hunter Valley wine: Cracker vintage for 2014

TOP SCORE: Suzanne Little of the Little Wine Co is upbeat about this year’s wine quality.
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TEN out of 10, that’s how the red wines from the 2014 vintage are rated by some of the Hunter Valley’s leading producers.

Last week, as the first of this year’s whites were being bottled and the reds were quietly maturing in oak barrels, I sought the views of 10 wine men and women on Harvest 2014.

They responded by rating their whites at between 7.5 and 9 out of 10.

And the reds? None of the 10 rated their 2014s below 9.

Suzanne Little, who forms the Broke-based The Little Wine Co winemaking team with her husband Ian, rated her reds at 11 out of 10 and her whites at 9 out of 10. Bruce Tyrrell, Ian Scarborough, Mike De Iuliis and Jim Chatto all came up with 10 out of 10 scores for their reds. Liz Jackson and Rhys Eather each gave their reds 9.5 out of 10 scores and Andrew Thomas, Mark Woods and Peter Hall hit upon 9 out of 10.

Jim Chatto, the Hunter Valley Wine Show chairman of judges and McWilliam’s chief winemaker in charge of the group’s Australia-wide portfolio, said he had never seen better reds in his 21-year experience with Hunter wine.

Peter Hall, McGuigan Wines’ Pokolbin-based senior winemaker, has more than 35 years of winemaking experience and has presided over 33 Hunter Valley vintages and told me 2014 was the easiest he had experienced.

Peter, who was 2013 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year, rated his whites at 8 out of 10. It had been a very good white year, with grape tonnages average. Red tonnages were down because of smaller berries, but the quality promised to be only exceeded by the 2000s, he said.

Hunter vignerons and winemakers are used to vintages plagued by rain. Red grape harvests, such as the wipeouts of 2008 and 2012, are especially vulnerable.

The Hunter produced superb shiraz reds in 2011 and great whites in 2013 and this year the quality and quantity of both reds and whites have delighted winemakers.

The first of 2014’s whites, from the verdelho variety, have already gone on sale and new semillons will begin hitting the market from next month.

The 2014 shiraz wines, which probably will weigh in at around 14 per cent alcohol compared with the 13 to 13.5 per cent of 2011s, won’t be released until 2015 at the earliest.

Tyrrell’s managing director Bruce Tyrrell said he could not remember such a quick and trouble-free vintage.

His company’s 2014 white grape crush was 33 per cent above 2013 and red grape tonnages were about the same.

The 2014 reds were “fantastic”, showing great intensity and structure and deep colour – which had been presaged by the black hands of vintage cellar workers.

Mark Woods, senior winemaker for Bill and Vicki Widin’s Leogate Estate in Broke Road, Pokolbin, said his 2014 vintage was “the best you could hope for”, with all picking completed in four weeks.

Mark, who made the Leogate Estate 2011 Western Slopes Reserve Shiraz that I chose as my 2013 wine of the year, said it was too early to judge if the 2014 reds would match those of 2011.

The 2014s, however, would be of excellent quality, although of fuller body and higher alcohol than the 2011s.

Scarborough Wines’ father-and-son winemaking team Ian and Jeremy Scarborough were delighted by the quality of both shiraz and pinot noir grapes from 2014.

“The vintage was as good as we have seen in the Hunter,” Ian said.

He was particularly pleased with the 2014 harvest of chardonnay and vermentino from the former Rosemount Roxburgh vineyard at Denman.

The vineyard, now reduced to 36 hectares and renamed Ogilvie’s View, was bought by BHP Billiton in October 2009 and has now been contracted out to the Scarboroughs.

Andrew Thomas, proprietor and chief winemaker of Thomas Wines and contract maker of such acclaimed boutique brands as McLeish Estate and Pokolbin Estate, rated the overall quality of 2014 whites at 8.5, but gave semillons 9.5 out of 10.

It had been a fine vintage all-round for reds, which had great structure and showed more muscular character than the acclaimed 2011s, he said.

Meerea Park chief winemaker Rhys Eather rated his 2014 semillon grapes as “good, but variable” and his chardonnay crush as “fantastic and the best since 2000”.

Meerea Park’s white yield was up 20 per cent on average and the red harvest was up 25 to 30 per cent.

Rating the 2014 reds at 9.5 out of 10, Rhys said the wines promised to be outstanding, if not quite equal to those of 2007, 2009 and 2011.

The De Iuliis family wine company’s chief winemaker, Mike De Iuliis, reported 2014 semillon tonnages up and chardonnay down, while the shiraz crush was above average.

He rated this year’s reds at 10 out of 10 and better than 2011.

THE Hunter may have had a bumper 2014 vintage, but the same can’t be said for South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley and NSW’s Southern Tablelands areas.

The Adelaide Hills grape yields are expected to be down by as much as 80 per cent because of poor fruit set resulting from cool conditions during flowering at the end of last year.

Chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot grigio have been particularly hard-hit, although the big-volume sauvignon blanc crush has been close to normal, as have red varieties.

The saving grace for sauvignon blanc has been its later flowering, allowing the fruit to set quite well.

In the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, rain during spring has been blamed for cutting yields by up to 70 per cent. Pinot noir and chardonnay have been particularly affected.

Recent rain on the NSW Southern Tablelands has caused outbreaks of botrytis cinerea parasitic fungus in some vineyards, spoiling up to half of some red wine grape crops.

TWELVE downloadable music tracks are the latest promotional tool for Grant Burge’s Barossa-based wine brands.

Under the Savour The Sound banner, the Burge company has matched 12 original music performances by South Australian musicians to nine Grant Burge Vineyard Series wines plus the Burge Moscato, Non-Vintage Sparkling Pinot Noir-Chardonnay and Aged Tawny fortified.

According to the PR blurb: “For centuries wine has been keenly matched to the senses of sight, taste and smell, and this winter Grant Burge enhances the senses further by launching the Savour The Sound campaign, bringing music to the ears of fine wine drinkers”.

The 12 tracks can be listened to or downloaded at savourthesound南京夜网.au/.

Lovedale Long Lunch: The mother of all feasts

Muse Restaurant’s white chocolate and yoghurt mousse with smashed meringue and berries. Pic: Flashme Web Design and Photography.AFTER more than two decades the Lovedale Long Lunch isn’t resting on its laurels. Instead, this year marks a series of firsts for the May event.
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For the first time in the event’s 21-year history, hatted Muse Restaurant (at Sandalyn Estate) and The Deck Cafe at Gartelmann Wines will join a host of wineries and restaurants for the two-day celebration.

Allandale Winery will also launch its new sparkling red wine and Saltire will open its Barrel Room to punters for the first time. The event has a long history of selling out, so get in quick for tickets to the May 17 and 18 Lovedale Long Lunch.

An arguable icon of Hunter Valley dining, Muse Restaurant has earned accolades including hats for the past four years in the prestigious Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Sister establishment Muse Kitchen has earned two hats to boot.

Chef Troy Rhoades-Brown told GT the decision to join the Long Lunch came after an approach from family-owned Sandalyn Winery, one of the venues which helped establish Lovedale’s signature event.

“We are constantly working with wineries, restaurants and local producers the entire calendar year. It’s so important to be involved in events that show the assets of our region,” Rhoades-Brown said.

“We have created two successful restaurants through showcasing what the Hunter Valley can offer – great wine, food and service. We just consolidate it into our two dining rooms.”

The focus on seasonal ingredients and produce for which his restaurants are renowned will be replicated at this year’s Lovedale event, despite the huge volume of punters expected on the day. Think 3200 serves of lamb shoulder, 2400 serves of prawns and cod salad, 2000 serves of mousse and 1800 serves of whipped ricotta.

“Although the number of customers for the Lovedale Long Lunch are huge, we have really focused on serving seasonal ingredients and produce that we use at the restaurants,” Rhoades-Brown said.

“We are slow braising these beautiful award-winning Milly Hill Lamb shoulders, cooking them really slow for about 10 to 12 hours and serving it with a puree of chargrilled eggplant and Binnorie marinated feta with a rich tomato, baby caper, black olive and autumn vegetable sauce.”

The second main on offer is lightly fried North Queensland prawns and Coffs Harbour blue-eye cod marinated in fresh ginger and coriander root before being served on a “tasty, tasty” salad of shaved wombok cabbage, celeriac, spanish onion and pickled ginger. It is finished off with an aioli made with organic New Zealand wasabi root, local lime and avocados.

Rhoades-Brown is putting a sweet twist on the traditionally savoury cheese course.

“I am making a vanilla bean-scented ricotta that will be served smooth, warm and whipped,” he said.

“We are ordering in 600 litres of local jersey cow milk to make our own ricotta cheese with and will serve it with some fresh local honeycomb from Mudgee, and house-made brioche fried in brown butter and cinnamon.”

If your mouth isn’t watering yet, it will with dessert: a white chocolate and yoghurt mousse finished with smashed berries, meringue and garden sorrel from a bath of liquid nitrogen, which the chef says “promises to be tasty, textural and fun”.

The Muse team has been planning for the Long Lunch for four to six months to ensure smooth service throughout the weekend. Both Muse Restaurant and Muse Kitchen will be closed for lunch, taking all 30 of their staff to assist in the running of the Lovedale event.

“It’s definitely a new type of challenge but we are all looking forward to it. See you there,” Rhoades-Brown said.

Meanwhile, Matt Dillow’s The Deck Cafe at Gartelmann Wines will also take part in the Lovedale Long Lunch for the first time, following the chef’s previous appearance at the event in 2010. Dillow, also of The Verandah Restaurant at Calais Estate and Twine Restaurant at Wynwood Estate, will be returning to tempt diners at Gartelmann for this year’s event with a menu including slow-braised pulled and pressed pork shoulder with crackle dust, caramelised onion, root vegetable puree and broccolini.

Allandale Wines will launch its first sparkling red wine, along with its 2014 Pinot Gris, on the weekend of May 17 and 18 alongside a menu from The Cellar Restaurant. With the vintage winding down for the year, Allandale’s chief winemaker Bill Sneddon said what has set 2014 apart is that it has been “excellent across all varietals . . . it is certainly the best year for Hunter Valley reds and chardonnay for a long time”.

All seven venues in the lunch will also have new release wines available for tasting at the event.

In another first, Saltire Wines will open its Barrel Room for long lunchers to enjoy a meal by Wandin Hunter Valley, along with Hunter wine. Otherwise, diners can tuck into their food and drink outside on the new viewing deck.

There are also plenty of tried-and-tested favourites returning to the 2014 Lovedale Long Lunch.

As well as its events arm presenting a menu at Saltire Wines, Wandin Hunter Valley will offer a menu from its Wine Bar & Diner including saganaki king prawns in a rich tomato sauce with feta and chunks of crusty sourdough bread, and spicy Moroccan lamb cutlets with cashew and raisin rice.

Tatler Wines takes an in-house approach to the weekend with food from its Tapas Cafe, including a dish of 200-gram grass-fed scotch fillet and tatler chipolatas served with herbed butter, tomato chutney and a rocket, pear and walnut salad.

Fellow noted name Amanda’s On The Edge will present a menu at Emma’s Cottage, with dishes such as baked ocean trout fillet with avocado and creme fraiche salsa on roasted sweet potato with snow pea sprouts; and seared prime beef eye fillet with peppercorn sauce.

Lovedale Long Lunch is on May 17 and 18 across seven wineries in the Lovedale region.

Tickets, accommodation and transport packages can be found at lovedalelonglunch南京夜网.au.

Side Pocket Espresso, Mayfield: Try This

Amy Baldwin, owner/manager of Sidepocket Espresso, Mayfield. Pic: JONATHAN CARROLLAFTER a decade as a barista, Amy Baldwin expects nothing less than perfection for every coffee served at Side Pocket Espresso.
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Whether you prefer a long black or espresso made with a changing single origin from Botany’s Single Origin Roasters, or a flat white, macchiato or – for the non-coffee drinkers – chai latte or hot chocolate, Baldwin will be at the Pocket making sure your drink meets her high standards.

Side Pocket Espresso opened in March with Baldwin and partner Jaime Picken at the helm, drawing on Baldwin’s extensive barista experience, which started when she made coffees at a Kotara cafe as a teen. She’s also had stints at Newcastle’s Estabar, Belmont’s Double Shot and Islington’s Suspension.

In addition to coffee, Side Pocket Espresso also offers an all-day food menu.

“I just wanted to serve fresh food, healthy food and really good coffee,” Baldwin said.

Produce is sourced from the weekend’s farmers’ markets, delicious baked goods including fruit loaf, muffins, cakes and slices from Islington’s Uprising, as well as free-range eggs from chickens kept nearby at the duo’s Mayfield home.

Choose from the chalkboard menu or a changing selection of specials such as free-range eggs with ham, cheese and baby spinach on Turkish bread; roasted pumpkin soup with a dollop of cream and kale chips served with toasted sourdough; herbed smashed eggs with prosciutto on toasted sourdough and golden corn and zucchini fritters with slow-roasted tomatoes, avocado salsa and lemon with sourdough.

Check Instagram or Facebook for the day’s special.

All-day food menu: Toasted Turkish with ham and cheese, with tomato or pineapple $7; toasted Turkish with shaved chicken, sun-dried tomato, baby spinach and cheese $8; eggplant, sun-dried tomato, zucchini and cheese $8; toasted sourdough with vegemite, jam or honey $5; fruit loaf with butter $5; banana bread with butter $5; croissant with ham or jam $4.50; croissant with ham and cheese $5; toasted muesli with yoghurt, honey and berries $9; breakfast smoothie with banana, acai berries, mixed berries, coconut water and a dash of milk $5.

OFFCUTS: Table is for meals

A table setup styled by Bright Young Things at Campbell Point House on the Bellarine Peninsula. The “Water MasterClass” will be held at Campbell Point House during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.Photograph Paul JeffersThe Age NewspaperJan 17th 2014.
Nanjing Night Net

GROWING up, we always sat at the dining table for dinner. Sometimes the kitchen table, but generally that was for lunch and breakfast.

Dinner was eaten in the official dining room at the official dining table.

It was someone’s chore to set the table and then to clear it after the meal.

It wasn’t anything fancy, it was just the view of my parents that meal times were for eating and conversation, a chance to talk and reflect over the day’s events and to discover what was coming up in each other’s lives.

I can count the number of times on one hand when we sat in front of the television eating. It was either because there was only one or two of us there for dinner, or because something really important was on television at that time.

Years later and now I am in a household of my own. For quite a while I tried to maintain the tradition instilled in me by my parents.

But somehow, at some point, things have slackened and the evening meal is now inevitably eaten on the couch.

The conversation is still there, but perhaps not the attention given to each other and not enough given to the food we are eating.

I noticed this the other day as we watched something mind-numbingly entertaining.

The sense of occasion and ceremony in preparing a table and enjoying the act of eating a meal together shouldn’t just be reserved for dining out or for occasions.

It’s a chance to learn more about the people you see every day, to taste your food and to give a sense of special to the everyday.

I’ll be heading back to the dining table next time dinner comes around.

Nibbles: Rouge passes the acid test

Hunter Valley Verjuice and Hunter Valley Verjuice Rouge pic credit Liz Burgmann Babbingtons Bar and Grill crispy hoi sin and five spice duck wings, served with cucumber and shallot salad and chilli pear relish.
Nanjing Night Net

HUNTER Valley Verjuice is positively blushing about its new addition: a rouge variety of the non-alcoholic and mildly acidic juice used in French, Middle Eastern and European cooking. The original white verjuice was awarded a bronze medal at the 2013 Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

Verjuice, which has been made in the Hunter Valley since 2012, is an alternative to lemon juice or vinegar. It is popular for salad dressings, marinades, granitas and desserts. It can even be enjoyed as a drink, poured over ice or topped up with lemonade or soda.

Hunter Valley Verjuice producer Bob Leonard, who ran East Maitland’s Hunter River Hotel for 36 years, told GT the rouge variety was made with whole bunches of Hunter Valley merlot grapes to produce a more delicate drop than the original white verjuice.

“It is a little bit softer and gentler, it has a sweetness on the front of the palate,” Leonard said. “It also has soft cherry-fruit flavours.”

Leonard recommends using the rouge verjuice in place of red wine vinegar in salad dressings; in place of balsamic vinegar on strawberry salads; on warm roasted beetroot; as a glaze on a duck breast or duck Maryland; or even reduced down as a sauce for quail.

Limited to production of just three pallets a year, Hunter Valley Verjuice is available at a number of stockists including Soul Foods, Newcastle; Charlestown’s Hunter Valley Growers Market; The Essential Ingredient Newcastle, Cooks Hill; Frank Frasca’s Growers Best at Newcastle West; Jesmond Fruit Barn; and Darby St Quality Meats.

Visit huntervalleyverjuice南京夜网.au for more information and recipes or email [email protected]南京夜网 for stockists.

See Free Lunch on the opposite page for your chance to win a twin pack of Hunter Valley Verjuice.

CHARLESTOWN’S Apollo International Hotel has taken out the title of Australian Pear Month Restaurant of the Year 2014.

To celebrate Australian Pear Month last month, eateries were challenged to add a pear creation to their menu to compete for the title.

Beating more than 200 Australian restaurants and cafes across the nation, the Charlestown hotel’s Babbingtons Bar and Grill won the title for its innovative pear creation of crispy hoisin and five-spice duck wings, served with cucumber and shallot salad and chilli pear relish.

“All the ingredients in this dish marry perfectly,” said Babbingtons head chef David Cross.

“Balancing textures and flavours, the sweetness of the pear, sour and heat from a touch of chilli, brought this dish together. I was very excited to hear the news about winning Australian Pear Month Restaurant of the Year 2014. There was stiff competition with some great pear recipes but we believed in our dish all along.”

SUCHAI Sushi Train has opened at Westfield Kotara on the level one fresh-food precinct outside Woolworths.

The sushi train joins others in the Hunter Region – Sushi Bay, Charlestown Square and Sushi Revolution, which has stores at Darby Street, Cooks Hill and Beaumont Street, Hamilton.