her food his wine

Cooking for a wine fanatic

Leave a comment

Jamon Jamon

Jack by the Hedge

I made a long overdue trip to Borough Market in London last weekend. I used to work close by and spent most of what I earned there, however now only get to go after board meetings when I’m normally feeling so beaten up I can’t get out of Dodge quick enough.  Fortunately this time was a non board day so I could take my time. It gets more touristy every time I go however it is still a great experience. I always find something new and this time I discovered that the large annoying patch of weeds growing in my garden that I have spent the last couple of  weeks trying to Roundup outta town are actually Jack by the Hedge AKA garlic mustard and were being sold as if they were the new wild garlic. I’ve got a few ideas for what to do with them but they’re for another day.

One of the things I bought were razor clams from Furness Fish. They always have a great selection of fish and shellfish. I love razor clams despite them being time consuming to clean. One of my favourite ways of cooking them is with Jamon and broad beans. We served them with a nice chilled glass of the recently released Tio Pepe Fino En Rama.


Razor clams with jamon and broad beans

(Serves four)


  • 1kg fresh broad beans (weight before shelling), shelled and peeled
  • 8tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g Ibérico or Serrano ham, cut in strips
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 small razor clams, blanched for 30 seconds,  cleaned and returned to shells
  • 75ml good quality olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped with tablespoon of parsley and mixed with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. Bring a large pan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the beans and blanch them for 1 minute, then drain them and plunge them into iced water for 2 minutes. Drain the beans and pat dry. Heat 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan or heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat. Add the ham and cook gently for 30 seconds. Add the shallots and cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the garlic and cook for a couple of seconds more.
  2. Add another 4 tablespoons of oil and the stock, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the broad beans, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Heat a grill to high. Put the razor clams on a tray flesh side up and cook for 1 minute, until the flesh is golden brown. Divide the clams between serving plates and spoon the broad beans and ham over the top and into the shells. Drizzle with the garlic and parsley mixture and serve.




It’s a super-fresh fino sherry made by Gonzalez Byass in Jerez, Spain. It’s bottled in limited quantities and available for just a few months every spring. It’s as close as you can get to tasting the wines straight from the barrels in Andalucia.

Tio Pepe En Rama is an unfiltered, unclarified, fino sherry bottled on 8th April in its most natural state. At the end of 2012, winemaker Antonio Flores selected around one hundred barrels from two of the Tio Pepe soleras. (A solera is a method of maturing wines in barrels by fractional blending). From these, 67 barrels were identified for their quality and particularly thick surface covering of ‘flor’ yeast. Flor* imparts fino’s distinctive nutty, bready aromas and flavours, and is vital to the production of Fino sherry.

It is intense and complex on the nose with aromas of bread dough, old oak barrels, dried crystalline fruits (kumquats) and fresh almonds. It’s full, dry, and intense on the palate but with a fresh citrus burst. Enjoy served well-chilled as an apéritif with salted almonds or cashews,air-cured meats, or Razor clams with broad beans and Jamon as we did.

Leave a comment

Here comes the sun

Tomato, onion and blue cheese salad

The bank holiday brought some long awaited sun to our corner of Essex. The garden furniture was dusted off, the grass cut and the weeds rounded up in preparation for the first al fresco meal of the year. I picked up half a boned shoulder of lamb from my local butcher Holts of Witham and set to work on the long slow preparation of the dish in my sous vide supreme. We served it with a 2006 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Rouge.


Sous vide shoulder of lamb 2

  • 800g shoulder of lamb, deboned and rolled
  • Large sprig of thyme and rosemary
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Lamb jus
  • Peas and podded broad beans
  • Pea shoots to serve

Preheat the water bath to 63°C.

Rub the salt and pepper into the lamb shoulder.

Place the shoulder of lamb in a clean vacuum bag, thyme, rosemary and crush the garlic with the palm of your hand.

Seal the vacuum bag and cook the lamb for 24 hours.

When ready to serve, open the bag, remove the shoulder of lamb and pat dry. Pass the remaining liquid juices in the bag through a fine sieve into a small saucepan with the lamb jus and heat through.

Heat a heavy based frying pan over a high heat and fry the lamb briefly on all sides until browned all over.

Remove the string from the lamb and cut into slices and serve with the broad beans and peas and garnish with pea shoots.



Coudoulet, as Beaucastel, owes its ability to age to the high proportion of Mourvedre – about 30% – that makes up the final cuvée. This provides a tannic backbone and resistance to oxidation that ensures long life. In addition, Mourvedre introduces aromas of leather, tobacco, and spice to the blend. One should note also that the Beaucastel and Coudoulet vineyards are at the northern limit for growing Mourvedre, and it is well known that the best expressions of any varietal come from the cooler parts of their growing areas.

The other main variety, Grenache, gives Coudoulet the rounded fullness and intense fruit that is typical of Côtes du Rhône. Syrah and Cinsault represent about 20% each and bring tannins and aromatic complexity to Coudoulet.

After careful hand harvesting, the grapes are transferred to the winery. Maceration takes place in enamel tiled vats over about 12 days before the free-run wine is taken off and a light pneumatic pressing applied.

Each grape variety is kept separately until after malo-lactic fermentation, when the final blend is decided. The young wine continues to mature for about six months in large oak barrels or “foudres”.
In March following the vintage, the wine is fined with egg whites and bottled.


A delicious way of keeping vampires at bay!

Wild Garlic

It has been a long time coming however the wild garlic is out with a vengeance in the garden. It’s a travesty to waste it so when in season I am always looking for new ways to cook it. I got some snails courtesy of Dorset snails so thought i’d do a twist on traditional Escargot a la Bourguignonne and replace the garlic with wild garlic. I have to say it was a great success and went really well with a bottle of Pieropan La Rocca.

Dorset escargot


  • 12 prepared snails
  • 12 snail shells


  • 4oz unsalted butter, softened
  • handful wild garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 200°c.
  2. Mix all the filling ingredients together well.
  3. Divide half the butter among snail shells. Stuff with snails (1 per shell) and remaining garlic butter.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.


Lemon sole

This recipe is adapted from a Jason Atherton recipe where he uses sea bream fillets. I picked up some freshly caught Lemon Sole from the Little Fish Company so decided to try it – while it didn’t look as refined as Jason’s version, the flavours were great. We served it with a Greywacke Chardonnay 2010.

Serves 2

  • 2 Lemon sole gutted and scaled and skirt removed
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 50ml olive oil plus extra to drizzle
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed
  • Dill sprigs
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 50g stoned marinated black olives, stoned and quartered lengthways
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Segment one orange. Squeeze the juice from the membrane into a small pan
  2. Grate the zest from the other orange into a bowl and squeeze the juice into the pan. Heat over a low flame until reduced by 2/3. Pour over zest and add the orange segments and chill. Once chilled add the vinegar and olive oil and a tablespoon of chopped dill and gently combine
  3. Slice the fennel and onion finely into ribbons using a mandoline or sharp knife. Plunge into a bowl of iced water and leave for 10 minutes or so until crisp
  4. Drain the fennel and onion slices and pat dry. Add the chopped olives, a tablespoon of chopped dill, a large splash of olive oil, a splash of vinegar and generous pinch of salt and toss together
  5. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and when hot, season the fish with salt and pepper and pan fry the fish for about 4 minutes per side.
  6. Drizzle the orange sauce around a serving plate and place the fish on top. Pile the fennel salad on top of the fish or in a separate bowl.

Lemon sole in orange sauce with fennel salad


Pink peppercorn meringue with lemon and lime curd and passion fruit

Serves 4

Pink peppercorn syrup

  • 1 tsp pink peppercorn cracked
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla syrup


  • 100g egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g icing sugar sifted

Passion fruit syrup

  • 2 passion fruit
  • 20g granulated sugar

Lemon and Lime curd

  • juice of 2 lemons (save zest)
  • juice of 2 limes (save zest)
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g eggs beaten
  • 80g egg yolks
  • 80g butter diced

Vanilla Syrup

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod


For the Vanilla syrup

  1. Put the sugar and 200ml in a small saucepan over a low heat. When the sugar has dissolved increase the heat and bring to the oil. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and add to the sugar syrup.
  2. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Store in a jar in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of weeks.

For the meringue

  1. Preheat the oven to 90c and line a baking sheet with baking parchment
  2. For the peppercorn syrup, mix the cracked pink peppercorns with the vanilla syrup in a small bowl and set aside
  3. To make the meringues, whisk the egg whites using an electric mixer with 2 tbsp caster sugar on a high speed until thickened. Whisk in the remaining caster sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Keep mixing until the meringue is stiff, shiny and holding firm peaks. With a large spatula carefully fold in the icing sugar a quarter at a time
  4. Spoon the meringues into 4 mounds on the lined baking sheet. Dry in the oven for 40 minutes or until the outer shell has just hardened
  5. Take the meringues out of the oven and brush with the peppercorn syrup and return to the oven for 1-1.5 hours until they are dry
  6. For the passion fruit syrup, scoop out the flesh and seeds from the fruit into a small pan and mix in the sugar. Simmer over a medium low heat to dissolve the sugar. Set aside
  7. To make the lemon and lime curd, put the citrus juices in a heavy pan with the sugar. Dissolve over a medium heat, bring to the boil then take off the heat. In a bowl whisk the whole eggs and yolks together then pour into the hot citrus syrup in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Return to the pan and place over a low heat. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time then stir until the curd thickens. Pour into a bowl cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming.
  8. Carefully split the meringues. Spoon some curd onto the bottom shell and drizzle over some passion fruit syrup and around the meringue and replace the top. Sprinkle with pink peppercorns and serve with a bowl of curd on the side.


2009 Pieropan La Rocca – Soave – 100% Garganega

A clear deep lemon appearance with some legs. The nose is clean with medium intensity, muted aromas include yellow stone fruits, apple, bread and a hint of lanolin. The wine is developing.

The palate is dry with medium alcohol, intensity, acidity and length. In addition the medium body and finish suggest a rather anonymous wine but you need to go looking for the subtle flavours – the wine opens up gradually in the glass. Aromas of melon, peach and honey eventually unfold.

In conclusion this Soave comes from limestone and clay soils, is of a good quality with an understated balance of subtle oak, fruit and acidity. Time to throw in good minerality?  We could if we were agreed on what it means! Can drink now but will improve, this wine  it is in the high price category.

Greywacke Chardonnay 2010

In the glass the wine has a clear medium(-)  lemon appearance with a few legs. The nose is clean with medium intensity of primary fruit aromas of a tropical nature including mango,pineapple and white stone fruit. The wine is more or less fully developed but may benefit from a few years in the bottle but no more. The palate brings  a dry wine with medium (+) intensity, medium acidity, medium alcohol, medium (+) length and flavours of mango, passion fruit, pineapple and white peach. Overall this a well made pretty wine with integrated components especially within the acidity and alcohol. Kevin Judd, ex Cloudy Bay, has many fans with this and his Sauvignon Blanc. Matthew Jukes in particular waxes lyrical in his usual OTT style. For around GBP18 this is not bad and certainly more subdued than some of the competition.