This time of year, there are so many reasons to celebrate. Last Saturday night was the annual Mooloolaba Christmas Boat Parade. Usually there is a party at home but this year I was invited to Jan and David’s – they’re the friends I test out new restaurants with. Both are food and wine lovers who enjoy entertaining
When I heard about the Penfolds ‘Numbers Can Be Extraordinary’ campaign, I wanted to be a part of it. In October, Penfolds – whose heritage dates back over 170 years – unveiled The Penfolds Collection 2015. The Penfolds Collection has a number for every type of gift.
Ages ago, when John and I were married, we gave each other bottles of Grange to be opened on our 10th wedding anniversary. When year ten came around, we had a fantastic party and enjoyed every bit of that wine. I was ready to get married again just so we could buy more Grange but John said I didn’t need a big occasion to buy great wine. Sadly my wallet no longer appears to have enough cash for Grange.
I took a bottle of 2013 Bin 389 to the Boat Parade party. This wine is often referred to as ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. The wine has the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the intensity and richness of Shiraz.
There are a few wines on the annual release list that I’m not familiar with. I have a reputation for buying wines with interesting names and Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay is calling my name to try it. Tumbarumba is a small country town in New South Wales that is a cool climate grape growing region but for me, it’s a great name.
On Saturday night, Jan and David invited their neighbours and friends and it was a lovely mix of interesting people. The appetisers were first class starting with this rolled smoked salmon served with a rich dressing and caviar and then bruschetta with tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, basil, olive oil, plus a hint of guava finishing vinegar.
As you can tell from the photos, it was a rainy Saturday but that didn’t deter the festivities.
Then there were bruschetta with caramelised onions, roasted butternut pumpkin, and goats cheese drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. This is one of my favourites that I first enjoyed when out for a meal with our neighbours.
We opened our Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz and toasted a hearty Merry Christmas to all our friends, sampled all the appetisers and waited for the boat parade to begin.
These tangy Asian meatballs were coated in sauce, then rolled in toasted sesame seeds then served in spoons or toothpicks. It wasn’t long before the entire tray was empty and headed to the kitchen for washing.
- ¼ Cup milk
- 1 Large egg
- ¾ Cup cubed white bread, crusts removed
- 250 Grams (1/2 pound) ground pork
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- ⅛ Teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ Teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ Teaspoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 250 Grams (1/2 pound) lean ground beef
- 25 ml Tamari (or use soy sauce)
- 25 ml Soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- Pinch of salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
- This is a Cooks Illustrated method that gives a lovely texture to the meatballs.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up and place an ovenproof baking/cooling rack over top; spray rack generously with nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk the egg and milk together in a medium bowl. Stir in the bread and mash until no large bread chunks remain. Set aside.
- In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the ground pork, garlic, allspice, pepper, salt, and baking powder and beat on high speed until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. (I know this seems weird but try it)
- Add the egg-bread mixture to the mixing bowl and beat on high until smooth and and well combined. It should take about a minute. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Next, add the beef and mix on medium-low speed until the beef is just incorporated, about 20 seconds.
- Wet your hands and form round meatballs and place on the prepared rack. The mixture is sticky so keep wetting your hands.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until just done.
- In a dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until they just begin to brown, set aside to cool.
- In a screw top jar, shake together the tamari, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and salt.
- Coat the meatballs and roll in sesame seeds.
- Serve them drizzled with sauce and topped with fresh coriander (cilantro)
Once the appetisers were nearly gone, it began to get dark and the annual Mooloolaba Christmas Parade began. On parade night, nearly every house along the canal has a party and because sound carries so well over the water, it’s like one big celebration.
Here’s David wishing us a Merry Christmas!
Liz (Good Things) says
I can think of no better way to celebrate the festive season than to be on your deck overlooking the water, nibble on those little Asian morsels and toasting with a glass of Penfolds.
Emma @ Bake Then Eat says
It looks like it was a fantastic party. I remember the last time I was in Australia being impressed a lot by the Australian reds and actually bringing a couple of bottles back to the UK and I’m a real old world wine fan but the Aussies sure know how to make a good red!
Amanda (@lambsearshoney) says
We’re a wee bit proud of our wines here in South Australia and Penfolds is certainly the flagship. I’m so glad to see you sharing the love – and the food, which all looks spectacular.
Me too Amanda! We lived for many years in Adelaide just 3 streets from the Penfolds Winery . Have fond memories of rising at the crack of dawn to be first in line when the new Grange was being released for sale. Got my box of 6, hunted down the winemaker for a signature & made it to work on time! Yes Penfolds is an icon!!
Wonderful post Maureen. Lovely Penfolds memories!
Debbie Russell says
Thank you for sharing that fabulous party, the food and the wine with us! I am cheering myself up through this health crisis by looking at upbeat and cheerful stories and this was one. Merry Christmas, Y’all from Alabama, USA!
Krista Bjorn says
How fun and festive!! Look like such a jolly and delicious day. 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Those meatballs look scrumptious! We enjoyed a very bottle of Penfolds last year. It was from 1984 ad we had it with a great steak-it was still fantastic!
i was actually anxiously waiting for your post on the Boat Party, which I find incredibly beautiful! To me Christmas during summer is pure Brazil and childhood and fond memories – clearly not the case right now, we might get snow on the 27tj, for Phil’s Birthday 😉
great post, wonderful celebration, from friends to food to wine..
Your Christmases must seem odd to you too, even after all the years you’ve been away from Brazil. I still hanker for walking on new snow on Christmas Eve hearing it go crunch, crunch, crunch under my boots. 🙂
This is our first Christmas without snow. On the 25th, we are usually around 10F, with a high of 15F. Today it will be 49F, and we are all enjoying it. I can’t wait until we are able to quit our jobs and move South.
Delicious meatballs, a glass or three of wine, friends, lovely weather and the sight of boats cruising past. That’s the life. 🙂
It’s always a treat to visit here for a gander at the boat parade. The wine sounds fabulous, and the party spread is first rate, but what makes me smitten are the Asian flavors so wonderfully depicted in this recipe. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Your lighted boat parade looks a lot like ours. They are so much fun. I’m a real meatball fan and your look delicious .
Melanie @ Melanie Cooks says
What a great idea for a wedding gift to give wine to be opened on 10th anniversary! Why didn’t I think of it? Our 15th anniversary is coming up next year – time flies!
I love the annual Christmas Boat Parade . I think that is the neatest idea ever. I wish we did one down the Scioto River here in Columbus. Love your pictures.
The wine looks and sounds so superb! The food looks so delicious.
Sounds like a great evening.
The Ninja Baker says
Happy Christmas, Maureen! Haute cuisine, culture and vino have been captured by your camera lens. Very impressed with your knowledge of wine. And very grateful for the yummy Asian meatball recipe =)
Dorothy Dunton says
Hi Maureen! What a fabulous post – the party, the parade of boats and, of course, all the wonderful food and people! AND you did not have to do it all and could enjoy yourself! We splurged at the liquor store the other day, Gary got himself an aged brandy and a good Scotch and I got Godiva dark chocolate liqueur. And some nice wine for Christmas dinner to go with the beef wellington I’m making. Have a wonderful holiday! 🙂
If you haven’t tried a Penfolds wine, you’re missing out. It’s the first thing I learned to love when I moved to Australia. 🙂
Such a great and quintessential Australian pre-Christmas party! Oh-oh – have to reacquaint myself with my Penfolds bin numbers!! And in my house those meatballs would not have lasted more than a 60 second hand-around 🙂 ! Hope you have a peaceful Yule and a good beginning to 2016 . . . the last year brought enough problems . . . my thoughts and hopes are with and for your husband . . . may it all come good . . .
Thank you, Eha, you’re very kind. I should have saved you a few meatballs. 🙂
Nancy | Plus Ate Six says
In the old days when I had a cooking school for kids I used to get them to lift and ‘throw’ the meatball mixture back into the bowl and it always produces the softest and light meatballs so I understand totally using the paddle on a mixer would do the same thing. No wonder they all disappeared so quickly 🙂
How is John going? I hope his operation went well xx
Such a fun event—and I love the snaps again this year of the boat parade! The appetizers look magnificent—and I know I’d be going back for more meatballs! Thanks for sharing!! xo
Kelly - A Side of Sweet says
AWESOME! My husband and I actually nailed shut a box of wine on our wedding day that is to be enjoyed at our 10 year too! Only seven more years to go! Love all of these photos – the event looked amazing!
If I had to pick a favourite post for 2015, this would be it. I remember reading about the board parade LAST year and I looked forward to reading about this years’!!! What a fun party, for the time I was reading this post I felt like I was there with you 🙂 Of course, the appetisers made me DROOL so I’m darn happy you finished with the recipe for those meatballs which were my pick!!! N x
Glamorous Glutton says
That looks like a fun party with fab wine. We get ape folds here so I’ll have to look out for your numbers. The boats look wonderful. GG
Bam's Kitchen says
Now this looks like one fun gathering! Loved seeing all of you in your short sleeves and flip flops celebrating the holiday season. Your Asian meatballs looks so delicious and I am sure they were a hit at the gathering. I remember the boat parade party from last year. Perfect view from your place. Beautiful photos Maureen!
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Never can resist a meat ball! Love those things, and these look terrific. Particularly if washed down with some Penfolds. They do really great wine, don’t they? Always love hearing about your boat parade. Wonderful pictures! Thanks.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
That salmon looks wonderful and the wine – perfect! Merry Christmas Maureen!
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile says
What a beautiful place you live!!!! I love that you’ve got great friends next door too – how handy! Wow those meatballs sound delicious (as does the bruschetta!). Have a wonderful Christmas xx
Chris Scheuer says
What an amazing way to celebrate Christmas! I love that each area of the world has it’s unique traditions. That boat parade is incredibly beautiful. I know you must really look forward to it each year.
Chris Scheuer says
The meatballs look wonderful! I can see why they disappeared!
Kate @ Babaganosh.org says
What a delicious looking and classy party! Caviar! <3
Meatballs are always a huge hit at parties, these look delicious.
What a fun tradition!!! Water and Christmas lights are such a beautiful combination! lovely table of appetizers and those meatballs look very yummy!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season Maureen!!! It’s been fun visiting your site over the years and looking forward to what you dish up in 2016.
Have fun as you always do. 🙂
What a perfect evening that is. I always look forward to your boat pics, feels so festive. All the pictures are so wonderful Maureen and all that yumm food. The flavors are all so good.
Happy Holidays my dear.
Hotly Spiced says
In this house we are huge fans of Penfolds. On special occasions we always buy ourselves a really good bottle to take out for dinner. I love these annual boat parades; what a great way to bring the neighbours together to enjoy good company, great food and wine, and see the spectacular parade xx
Veronica (Roni) says
Hey Maureen, that all looks spectacular!
As exotic as mine is on the other side of the world, there’s certainly something to be missed about our Australian Christmases….& all the lead-up!
A very Merry Christmas to you & your precious family.
PS one of my oldest girlfriends comes from Tumbarumba :)) And here’s to Penfolds. xx
My Kitchen Stories says
The food looked so good Maureen. I would love to get together with friends and neighbours each year, it would be such fun. love your photos here Maureen. Very nice, they do make that bottle of Penfolds look inviting
Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says
What a lovely Christmas celebration. We had a white Christmas, but I’d much prefer your warm weather party. Wishing you a new year filled with great things.
Christina at Christina's Cucina says
What a great post! I love all the nibbles and good wine! The boat parade is similar to our Newport Beach Boat Parade here in California. Lovely evening!
Gourmet Getaways says
I love all at the food you served, looks amazing! I could do with the pumpkin bruschetta and a Penfolds bin 389 now!
Thanks for sharing,