wine Archives - the little lioness


I received the beer as a sample

Time for Friday Drinks!

Zeven Lemon Strawberry Blonde

Last week we got to try the new Strawberry Blonde from Zeven Lemon. When the parcel arrived from the PR company, I declared it the girliest beer alive!

Zavan Lemon strawberry blonde

It smelt like beer, but didn’t have a beery taste – nor could I really taste anything “Strawberry”, but Bruce claims to have tasted lemon in it. I don’t even know what is in it – aside from natural fruit flavours. He finished off the 4 pack and declared it a success.

Taylors Shiraz

The other good tastes from last week came in the form of this very smooth Taylors’ shiraz… a little splurge for us, a bit of spoiling for me.

Hunter Belle Cheese Blue Moon

And this delightful Hunter Belle Cheese Blue Moon from the local IGA.

What are you drinking tonight?


So, I won a trip to the QT Gold Coast, with air fares and stays in the “Hinterland View” (not beach) room with a awesome King bed from a “Mardi Gras recovery” weekend comp from Star Observer – obviously I’m queer enough and gave the right answer as to my NEED for such a trip!!

Where do I start?

Oh, the trip there!

rain rain go away

Did you know that Virgin Australia now gives you a little snack and drink on their flights? (you can still buy booze and cheese if you choose to of course!). They also have an app to download before your flight so you can access “free” entertainment. Warning : Take VERY good headphones, because the drone of the 737 is insane and will drown out anything you try to listen to.

holiday grin

So what were the snacks there and back?

OJ or water was offered both ways – tea and coffee is dependant on turbulence, which that was a crapload of on the way up

macadamia short bread
Yummy bikkies at morning tea

almonds and soy rice crackers
Not so yummy crackers and nuts in the evening.

Alright so we got there, with a bumpy landing due to the storms….

storm landing gold coast

Got the bus and the (very new) tram, and arrived to check in at the QT Gold Coast.

lemonade qt gold coast
Lemonade in the lobby on arrival

cute girls in the lift
Cute swimsuit girls in the lifts.

1106 gt gold coast
1106 – Hinterland views, King bed

So, the room…..


Let’s start with the bed. The bed that sucked us in for early nights….

king bed qt gold coast

Oh my, what a comfy bed. No wonder Bruce was out by 8pm after good food and drinks! King Bed (two singles together, so that ridge in the middle) with hard and soft pillows, a bolster and a perfectly weighted cover for sleeping under an air conditioned sky.

They made it up the second day and placed my bunny, Costy, right in the middle for me :D

So… the rest of the furnishings…

There was a lot of keeping with the 60s beach theme

beach door bathroom
beach towels and bathroom doors

cane chairs
cane chairs

pinapple candles
Pineapple Candles and tealights

hello cocky light
hmmm the nightlight is a cocky, that I can buy for $100 from the gift shop!

mirrors qt gold coast

Mirrors are a theme, I’m told. Mirrors and glass are abundant, and there was a lighting guy associated with the original design of the building. It really shows throughout – the space seems expansive… in an enjoyable way!


The minibar is stocked with essentials…. vodka, gin, underwater camera, condoms…


and thongs!

thongs in string bags

hair bands

AND a hairband with your shower cap!!!

For sure.

Everything came with a price if you wanted to take it home. $110 for the robes, $10 for the hair dryer’s bag…

beach shower room

tied up doorhangert
Much loved DND hanger

So, we spent much time listening and watching MAX, discussing religion and politics, and having sexy times…


We managed to make it to the pool once, though we stayed for not so long

pool bar QT

Didn’t drink in the swim up bar though…

But what about the food, Fiona??????

OMG we had some AWESOME food while there

First up? Cocktails and pizza at the Stingray Bar

stingray rain

So, while we were rained in on the first day, we went for some cocktails, wine and beer at the Stingray bar. We were sheltered, and watching the rain as you see above, which only got worse, to the point of calling off international rugby league games…




pollo chicken pizza qt stingray

And a delish chicken pizza

So, What about the included breakfast?

The breakfast at Bazaar is $29/head and SOOOOOO worth it!!!

There are selections from all over the world: Congee and rice for Asian palates, cold meats and cheese for Euros, cereal, yoghurt and so forth, an bacon, eggs, and MADE TO ORDER omelletes for those wanting to endulges.

There is also coffee, tee, and a selection of juices, smoothies, milks and so forth!



european breakfast QT hotel

my selection

yoghurt, bircher muesli, cranberry juice

euro selection

yoghurt, croissant

DIY omelette
My made to order omelette

What else did we do?

well, we drank a lot, made use of the HOT water in the shower,

Got Room Service:

fish taco $7
$7 fish taco

caesar salar


And had this amazing cheese platter

cheese platter QT

bruce octopussy

Gawd I love getting away!!!


This post is for Product Talk by Nuffnang

meat pie with fountain good choices tomato sauce

There’s nothing like a meat pie with tomato sauce. And I’m always happy to try new sauces on my pies and in my dishes, so when it was suggested I try the new Good Choice sauce range from Fountain, I was more than keen. Products with no “added” sugar are all the rage now, and the Fountain Good Choices sauces either have no sugar – like the Gluten free Soy sauce which has 50% less salt than Fountain’s regular soy sauce – or are sweetened by the apple puree and Natvia (which I’m not usually a fan of to sweeten things like drinks or baking, but I couldn’t taste it in these sauces).

Fountain Good Choice Sauces Range

The range includes a Tomato Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Sweet Chili, “Hot” Chili (which wasn’t as scary as I thought….) and the Soy Sauce. All are naturally gluten free, and on their own taste quite like their equivalent “normal” range sauces.

So, let’s use them in something!

beef chow mein

A few weeks ago, I made a Beef Chow Mein from my Hello Fresh box, so I thought I’d tweak their recipe a little and use a few of the sauces I was sent, along with what veges were on special at Woolies (which, incidentally, is where you can buy these Fountain sauces online or in store)

Beef chow mein

As pictured, the ingredients are (roughly) as follows – this will serve about 6 people. I went overboard, but the leftovers were appreciated by all, including my cat – see the picture at the bottom of this post!)

200g rice vermicelli noodles
500g lean beef mince
1 red onion – diced
1/4 red cabbage – roughly chopped
1/4 green cabbage – roughly chopped
handful green beans – ends cut off and halved
bunch broccolini – cut into 2 cm pieces
1/2 bunch spring onions – thinly sliced
lashings of canola oil
2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 tablespoons Fountain Good Choices soy sauce
1 tablespoon Fountain Good Choices Hot Chili Sauce (it needed more…. probably 2 for me, 3 for most other people!)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Fountain Good Choices Sweet chili sauce and soy sauce, to serve

1. Place noodles in a heat-proof bowl with boiled water and some salt for 5 minutes. Drain, rince with cold water, then chop roughly with scissors – set aside for later.

2. Heat a splash of oil over high heat in a large frypan or wok. Add the red onion and begin to fry. Once it starts to soften, add the beef mince, and keep poking with a spatula to separate it out into crumbly bits and it is cooked through. Stir through the 5-spice with a tablespoon of water. Remove the mince mixture from the pan and set aside for later (to save space on the bench and washing up, I just dumped this on top of my resting noodles, along with the chopped spring onions – that way I mixed those three all together before re-adding them to the stir-fried veges later!)

3. Combine the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, hot chili sauce and soy sauce in a mug

4. Heat some more canola oil over mid-high heat (about 7-8) and add in the cabbage, broccolini and beans, toss around a bit in the oil, then pour the sauce mixture from #3 over it. Keep tossing for about5 minutes until the veges are cooked to your liking. Re-add the beef, noodles, and the spring onions and stir to combine.

5. Divide the yummy noodles and veges into serving bowls (be wary, this stuff is filling and you can ALWAYS go beak for more). Serve to your guests with spoon and fork, and offer sweet chili sauce and extra soy sauce for them to add to taste (+/- the hot chili sauce, depending on your audience!)

Enjoy with a lovely glass of red, or a local ale!

Parson's Paddock ShirazMurray's Angry Man Pale Ale

cat eating noodles

Oh, and share with your cat!

Edit: ooooooo so Mum just told me she loves the BBQ sauce – she and Dad had it with Kanga Bangers (Kangeroo Sausages) and she loved it!


smirnoff wine coolers

These drinks do taste nice, the passionfruit is just like an alcoholic tasting passiona, but I’m a little bit cynical about the reasons to not use vodka in your drinks and instead make a wine based cooler, ESPECIALLY if you are, like, an international vodka company like Smirnoff. When the federal government raised the “alcopops” tax to try to stop teenagers getting wasted on stolli lemon ruskies, a bunch of wine based, and thus less tasty, but cheaper and still prone to be drunk by teens, came onto the market. And kids learned to drink wine other than Passion Pop, in order to still get drunk under or just on age without breaking the bank. And they kept buying UDLs, because they like them.

… but there needed to be an acknowledgment that that simply raising taxes on pre-mixed alcohol products was a ridiculous strategy to try and cure society‚Äôs inebriated ills. In isolation, it was a cynical measure that insulted those who do not have an issue with alcohol consumption, particularly the consumption of pre-mixed products, and one which was simply shifting the focus of binge-drinkers onto straight spirits and wine-based products.

Bradley Woods
CEO Australian Hotels Association (WA), May 2013

So, I’m pleased that these drinks have evolved now to a point where they’re drinkable .. ie no weird taste or aftertaste, and just taste like their vodka and mixer equivalents, like Passiona, Lemon lime solo and something berry sweet… and I quite like these ones. But I’m still a little cynical about the whole idea of “taxing” the kids out of the drinking game by just upping the mixed drinks tax.

Oh, and they’re pretty potent for their RRP of $14.99 for 4 (from small bottlos only)

smirnoff electric citrus wine cooler standard drinks

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pork scotch fillets

Picked up some free range pork scotch fillets at Woolies, and wondered what to marinate them in. I ended up deciding on a garlic, ginger, sweet chili and soy sauce mix. It turned out wonderfully with the roast veg and a bed of baby spinach.

pork marinade

What would you use?

pork and veges

And this new Yellow Tail “Big Bold Red” ($9.99)

yellow tail big bold red


Bestest $5 wine ever #aldi

A photo posted by Fiona Moore (@phonakins) on

I’ve been saying it all year, the Aldi El Toro Macho Tempranillo is the best $5 wine ever, and beats out soooooo many $15 wines on taste and drinkability.

And now the critics agree. Six Aldi wines, including this one, were ranked in the top 280 available in Australia. And there’s a damn lot of wines available here!

El Toro Macho Tempranillo Aldi Wine

So, buy it! You won’t be disappointed!


Assorted Shiraz

November 8, 2014 · 0 comments

Who wants to see the Shiraz I’ve been drinking? You? Yay!!!

Zilzie Shiraz

First up we have a 2012 Zilzie, picked up on a 2-for-1 deal at First Choice Liquor, normally $11/bottle. Very easy to drink, not too heavy table wine :)

Rooks lane shiraz

This Rook’s Lane 2013 was in a mix dozen of reds I got from via a Groupon deal. It has a cool bird on the label! He looks mean. And tough. Like a shiraz drinker! :p

Crackerjack shiraz

Also from that box, the Crackerjack shiraz. This one also looks serious. A woody.

Malindi Vintners

Malindi Vitners from the Clare Valley. Pretty much can’t go wrong with the Clare Valley, though my go-to from that region is a dry Riesling :)

Eaglehawk Wolf Blass Shiraz

For years I was scared of drinking Wolf Blass. The story goes, I was on a lunch cruise on the Tuggerah Lakes with my boyfriend, and a bottle of Wolf Blass sparkling white was included. They mustn’t have washed out glasses properly, because the wine tasted soapy, and I couldn’t detatch that from the thought of Wolf Blass. But, I’ve moved on. And this Eaglahawk was delish!

CR01 Clean Skin from Dan Murphy's

And Ol’ faithful. The “Clean Skins” CR01 Shiraz from Dan Murphy’s / BWS. Not the DM04. The DM04 is cheaper, and you do notice the 50c difference on a $4.99 bottle :p


Wine tasting @ Inner City Winemakers

We used a Groupon deal (still available as of writing this) to go to Inner City Winemakers in Wickham for a (private, because there was noone else there and it was cold and miserable outside) wine tasting that came with cheese and a couple of discounted bottles to take home (and are sitting waiting for an excuse to drink them, like, you know, I get a job or something!)

Wine tasting @ Inner City Winemakers

We went through the progression from sparking, to white, red and then finished with a WONDERFUL Tokay (grapes from Rutherglen, which I’ve decided is a MUST for an Australian Tokay) straight from the barrel that I will be purchasing for Christmas.

Wine tasting @ Inner City Winemakers

Some wonderful wines, with the reds made onsite, the whites in the Hunter, from grapes sources from the Hunter, Orange and New England (Tenterfield!)

Wine tasting @ Inner City Winemakers

The Street Art Series wines are both wonderfully full of flavour and have such delightful labels – again, great gifts for fathers day or Christmas!

Inner City Winemakers

We went home with the Cabernet Merlot and the Sangiovese Shiraz, though if finances allowed there would have been a bubbly and a Tokay in there!!

Inner City Winemakers
28 Church Street
Wickham, NSW 2293
Phone: 02 4962 3545


Maitland Aroma Festival

August 17, 2014 · 5 comments

Maitland Aroma Festival
Minion Cake-Pops, by the local TAFE

Went up to the Maitland Aroma Festival yesterday to wander and sample some coffee, chocolate, wine and other delicious local yums.

The Wine

Maitland Aroma Festival

It was one of those occasions where you buy your sampling plastic glass ($5) and then pay $2 for a 50mL sample, or $5 for a full glass. I don’t mine buying the cup, because they make a really handy addition to my non-breakable wine glass stash!

We sampled wine from three wineries – Tulloch Wines, Macquariedale Organic Wines, and Peppertree Wines.

Maitland Aroma Festival

The Tulloch Shiraz went down well, as is to be expected ;)

Maitland Aroma Festival

We then tried a Shiraz and a Merlot from Macquariedale Organic Wines… Again, two delicious drops – we’re not normally Merlot drinkers, so this we a nice smooth surprise :)

Maitland Aroma Festival

Which we enjoyed with cumin and cayenne squid with lime aioli ($15) from the Twine Restaurant stall.

Maitland Aroma Festival

The final drop of the day was one more Shiraz, this time from Peppertree wines.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Other Drink Samples

Maitland Aroma Festival

This was supposedly also a coffee and chocolate fest, but I only sampled coffee from Peaberrys (all the rest were simply stalls selling coffee and hot choc) – but they had three sorts on offer!

Maitland Aroma Festival

The pour over hot filter was my favourite, it was really smooth and not at all harsh.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Cold filter was just STRANGE. I don’t understand it. it wasn’t bad or anything, but I think my palate isn’t wanky enough to appreciate it :p

Maitland Aroma Festival

And the traditional espresso (with or without milk). Certainly Peaberrys is on my list of “yes I’ll go to that cafe” coffees. (Like Sprocket, Campos and Toby’s Estate.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Energy drinks were the next order of the day. XS Energy had their low calorie drinks and protein products to try….

The Berry drink was sickly sweet, the citrus nice enough, and the original just tasted like RedBull. Their choc protein bars had that strange texture of all protein bars, as did their protein drinks (I tried the latte flavour).

Maitland Aroma Festival

Then it was Ginger Beer time. The Grumpy’s Ginger Beer has a nice bite to it, with a hint of chili apparently that I couldn’t taste. It was certainly a cold drink that can warm up your insides!

Maitland Aroma Festival

Speaking of warming – the Kiss O Fire chili butterscotch liqueur was at the festival too. I’ve tried the plain butterscotch before – I love it and think it was be great over icecream ;) I left the chili one for the others, who liked it :) Something different for the Christmas hamper?

And What Else Did We Try?

Maitland Aroma Festival

Well, following on from the ideas for Xmas… I tried a the Pudding Lane Macadamia and Brndy pudding log. I’ve not thought to put macadamias into a Xmas pudding or cake, but maybe… I DO love macadamias!

Maitland Aroma Festival

The peanut brittle cookie from Cookie Bazaar had just the right amount of chew :)

Maitland Aroma Festival

I’m told the Cake Pops the TAFE was making were worth the wait. They’re certainly cute!!

Maitland Aroma Festival

We each had our favourite nougats from Nougat Limar…but mine was the pistachio and cranberry :)

Maitland Aroma Festival

Olives were sampled from The Really Stuffed Olive Co.… I did like the garlic, and the others liked the chili…but they can’t beat my favourite garlic olives from Mr Cheese at The Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Simply Stirred had sooo many things to try I can’t remember them all – except this Raspberry and Vanilla Balsamic. Wow! Certainly something different!

Maitland Aroma Festival

Tar10’s chutneys and marmalades were varied and delish – I liked this blood orange one, and there was also a lime marmalade that mmmmmm!

It was a great day out – but it didn’t stop me from making mulled wine and eating blue cheese when we got home!!

Mulled Wine

(The Festival is still on til 4pm today in Maitland if you’re keen!)


Road tripped to Tamworth for the weekend, and included an impromptu (as in “Look! Cheese Shop!”) stopover at the Hunter Belle Cheese shop on the New England Highway just outside Muswellbrook.

Hunter Belle Cheese

Hunter Belle Cheese

We picked up their three cheese pack with fig compote and wafer biscuits ($17), and continued on the road til we pulled over at Burning Mountain for wine (brought from Newcastle) and cheeses.

Burning Mountain rest stop

Improvising with a blade out of the toolbox, we nommed down those cheeses, while looking out over the view.

Hunter Belle Cheese

The blue was nice and hard and sharp. Perfect with the Poet’s Corner Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon we were drinking straight from the bottle.

Hunter Belle Cheese

Next up was the herbed cheese – thyme was the major flavour – reminding me of Bruce’s garlic and herb bread. It had a crumbly texture reminiscent of a sharp Mersey Valley cheese.

Hunter Belle Cheese

The brie by itself was underwhelming, but teamed with the fig compote, omg! Yum!

How good is cheese? Who makes your favourite?