Defining Zin

Zin is not just an abbreviation for David’s famous Zinfandel, in Dutch it also means Appetite; Desire; Intent.

Many of you will know that there’s been a bit of drama in and around The House during recent times. Happily community and human spirit overcame evil intent and we’re working towards just getting on with what we do best here, full of Zin.

During the peak of ‘the crisis’ I made a number of promises to myself, the usual stuff when life throws a massive curve ball full throttle at you. Live in the moment, appreciate and spend more time with friends and loved ones, absorb and be aware of the beauty of where we live. And another big one for me, remember that I love what I do for a living.

Of course cooking and Zin is not about ‘a living’, it is simply how I live. So when somewhat out of the blue that was threatened there were occasions when I had to think, what else would I do and where would I do it?

I tried to imagine myself in a little French village, strolling to the markets each day from our stone pension,  returning to cook ad hoc for the days guests.

I conjured up a rough black sand east coast fishing village in New Zealand where I met the fishing boats before trecking back up the bush to my white weatherboard pub and making scones and paua fritters.

Yet whatever scenario I created I just couldn’t remove myself, even in my imagination, from Tinja. It wasn’t just bloody mindedness nor age or being set in my ways. It was simply the realisation that we are attached to this place in a way that goes beyond the physical. It is simply love.

You can go anywhere and buy great food, you can live anywhere and make fancy dishes. But it is only when you grow, cook and connect with the land and its community that you imprint it with the energy of care.

So here I am in the kitchen at Zin, on the farm at Tinja, cooking from our garden. And all because enough people had enough Zin.

Thank you.

Thomas’s Lemon Curd Tart

Zest of four lemons and juice of 5

6 eggs

250 grams sugar

Whisk together in a pan over gentle heat until it thickens, add 60 grams of butter and remove from heat.

Put in a blind baked pastry shell and cook at 130 degrees c for 15 minutes.

Optionally top with Italian meringue, brown with a blow torch or pop under the grill.

Serve with rhubarb sauce to make it even better.



  1. Life...One Big Adventure

    Through a baptism of fire you have found your life’s purpose! Congratulations! People search a whole lifetime for this and never find it. Yes, it would have been nice to have had an easier journey, but life is not like that unfortunately! 🙂 Long live Zin and Tinja! Melx

  2. Vaughan Davies

    Eleven of us made a long, long weekend tour through Hollydene, Mudgee, Sofala and Orange before returning to Newcastle/Lake Macquarie. Several of us had enjoyed Kim’s delicious menus before and all were excited about the prospect of being spoilt by Kim and David.
    We chose the lunch set menu on June 1; many choosing the matching wines offering with the four drivers enjoying a gentle tipple. Four of our number have special dietary needs (no red meat or pork, lactose intolerant, celiac). Kim provided immaculate alternatives. We have all been blessed, experiencing outstanding dining in many parts of the world but all agreed that the Zin experience was not surpassed. It is the whole experience. Forget the time, have a break about mid-way for a wander in the garden, grounds, appreciating the sculptures and artifacts cleverly placed at every turn. Everyone found every aspect of every plate delicious and faultless. Much of the preparation and cooking is done in the restaurant by Kim who is happy the chat all the while. Satisfied vowels replaced conversations when each plate was begun after exchanging appreciative glances when Nelson placed it before us, explaining it with his delightful Chilean accent. And also to observe Kim wandering back from the veggie garden clutching a fistful of rhubarb that would appear in the next course.
    Having arrived at 1215 it was about four hours later that we wandered the 200m to the Lowe Family Wines barrel room to be greeted by David. His presentation was also outstanding; a great passionate communicator, innovator and winemaker whose heart soul and generational roots reach deeper than his ZINfandel’s.
    What a delightful experience it was.
    As Nike said,”Just do it.”

  3. David Nelson

    Hi Kim and David, so glad that we still have the opportunity to sample your wonderful food and great selection of wines. We will be back on one of those wonderful sunny days to sit and dine while enjoying the scenic sourounds.

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