I learnt about the dinner with Maggie Beer hosted by Dymocks through the Eat Drink Perth 2012 website, and I was simply elated to know that she’d actually be around! Despite it being a book tour, we get to try Maggie’s very own dishes, and I knew that it was going to be such a grand affair! Or well, I’d imagine and dream it up to be that way.
So I asked around and Miss Anise was just as excited when I told her about this event, so YAY! I have company! Lovely. Her hubby JT came along, together with another of our work colleagues who happened to be a foodie too, let’s call him AH.
I tried making a booking for the Thursday event, but alas! It already fully booked! Then I was told in the same email that because the demand has been so great, they opened up another night of the same event. YES YES YES! We found ourselves in the list of people who would be attending this awesome event!
Days drew nearer, work got busier, and by the time it came to the Friday, I was excited. I realised that I haven’t been that excited for an event in a long long time, so this was definitely something I was subconsciously (and obviously consciously) looking forward to. Miss Anise shared my excitement, which definitely relieved me of feeling like a mental nut case (which I already know I am, but deceiving myself from time to time was just as nice).
Anyway, Miss Anise and myself started off with a drink at Terrace Lounge (don’t know if I’d be back there again for a drink but that’s not the point of this post). JT came to join us shortly after, and we all met AH at the pre-dinner drinks out at a lovely foyer like place on the level where the ballrooms were situated.
I honestly felt a bit underdressed after seeing how the other ladies who made up about 70% of the evening’s attendees were all so dressed up! It wasn’t long before we slowly made our way into the Swan ballroom where it was all going to happen! Yay!
We were seated at Table 5, which was the middle table right at the back – a tad disappointed, but that disappointment wasn’t going to last very long at all.
Miss Anise spotted Maggie Beer first and she was up at the front getting ready for the first session of the book signing before dinner started. We hurried over to get our copies of the book, but it wasn’t our turn to have the book signed then because dinner was too close. So we headed back and waited patiently for the entrée to be served.
As entrée was served, there were plenty of ‘oooh’ and ‘aahhh’, and rightly so because we were all given a generous serve of four scallops for entrée, each topped with a piece of preserved lemon and caper butter. The scallops were divine, fresh, and they were all so enjoyable. This was paired with a Chardonnay, which by my wine experience was one of the best Chardonnay’s I have come across – and I am not even a fan of Chardonnay! Kudos to Forest Hills for an awesome start! Oh, which reminds me, the Riesling also by Forest Hills was served at the pre-drinks, and it had such a nice refreshing crisp taste. Lovely.
Then the fun really started. One of the guests at our table decided that we all should get to know each other a little better, and we went around introducing ourselves to each other, and we soon found ourselves enjoying each company more and more (the wine definitely made it easier for everyone to loosen up faster than one would expect!). Plenty of jokes around the table, and it was such a delight to be part of a group of people who were un-pretentious and who loved their food as much as we did.
The mains were served, and the lamb looked as though it was big enough for 3 people to eat (to my mind). I am not the biggest fan of lamb (not because I do not like the meat, but more so because it leaves me a tad too ‘heaty’ and if I had too much, I’d actually fall sick), so this serving was really quite large for me. This lamb was paired with Forest Hills’ Shiraz. I started to realise as I cut into the lamb that whilst it was cooked to perfection in terms of having it nice and tender, there was a tad too much fat for my liking. My two pieces had about 60-65% of fat, and made my time cutting trying to find proper meat quite tiring. That said, the beetroot risotto was lovely, and wasn’t too overpowering. Would have loved more flavour with the lamb too. The highlight for mains was actually the wine. That Shiraz was such a smooth wine to drink that Miss Anise and I had 2 glasses each! And by this time, the bunch of us around the table was rather well acquainted, and after mentioning the food blogging half of my split personality, they assisted in rating the main for me… and the average this evening was a ‘6’ for the main.
Then it was book signing time! Miss Anise, myself, and some others at Table 5 moved upwards towards the front of the ballroom where Maggie Beer was already starting to sign some books. I was nervous, excited, and was anxiously piecing words together so that I didn’t get too star struck and not know what to say when it came to my turn. Miss Anise was first and I took a photo for her, then it came to my turn shortly after, with which Miss Anise was kind enough to take so many shots of me interacting with Maggie! Yay! Then the one final shot that would be ultimate proof of how close I was to THE Maggie Beer!!! I was on cloud 9.
We went back to the table, and then we had Maggie talk of where her love and passion for food came from, and it was so sweet to hear of her tribute to her hubby for being a huge part of the cook she’s become. She then went on to explain the beginnings of her use of Verjuice (which is the star ingredient of her new cookbook “Maggie’s Verjuice Cookbook”). It was such a delight to hear her speak! That down-to-earth nature that you’d see on TV, was what we saw this evening. Such a joy.
Dessert was served, and it was probably the highlight for most of us around the table – that verjuice was just such an awesome addition to the upside down pudding, and who would have thought that we could have EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) ice cream?! It was divine! Some around the table were cheeky too, in that they had asked for seconds! If only we knew. I want more of that EVOO ice cream! There was an average of ‘9’ around the table for this dish, with one giving a 12! And the wine? Another good one, a nice sweet Riesling. Mmmm.
With Maggie Beer retiring for the evening, Miss Anise, JT, AH and myself found ourselves hanging around with Table 5 and the awesome people whom we’ve gotten to know through the evening. It was quite amazing to think that we all hit it off so well, and we all had such a good time. We went for one more drink after at the Globe, with which we all decided to call a night at about 11.30pm.
Meeting Maggie Beer was nothing but a sheer delight, honour, and an absolute joy. And who would have thought that a potential dinner club in Table 5 would be born! My hope is that we were all sober enough that night to remember the great moments we shared (I know I did), and with an average score of an ‘8’ for overall experience from Table 5, the experience of dinner with Maggie Beer was simply awesome. (:
Special thanks to Dymocks for organising such a grand event! And a special shout out to all those who sat at Table 5 this evening! The experience wouldn’t have been the same without any of you fine people!
Narration by: S.T. a.k.a Miss Egg