her food his wine

Cooking for a wine fanatic

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Hey Mango……


……mango cambodia, not italiano.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love asian green mango and green papaya salads however they’re hard to get hold of unless I go to Chinatown in London. They’re also relatively expensive compared to their ripe counterparts; a papaya over £6 and manago £4. Having the urge for some green mango salad I thought i’d  try to make it with an unripe mango from the supermarket. Good old Tesco – fruit lasts longer on the shelves when it is unripe and I found the perfect unripe specimen in an unopened box at the bottom of the display and at £1.50 – bargain.

This is an unusual salad that comes from Cambodia and usually uses flaked dried fish. Rick Stein makes a version with smoked mackerel which sounds like it is going to be an acquired taste however it is pretty amazing.

SPICY GREEN MANGO SALAD WITH SMOKED MACKEREL (Njham svay trey heu) adapted from Rick Stein Far East Odyssey

Serves 2 as a main course of 4 as a starter

  • 275g smoked mackerel fillets
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 green mango (about 450g)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 30g shallots very thinly sliced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilli finely chopped
  • 25g roasted peanuts roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 15g thai sweet basil (or mint if you can’t find it)
  1. Skin the mackerel fillets and break the meat into small flakes. Pour 2cm oil into a pan and heat to 190c. Sprinkle the fish into the oil and fry for 1 minute until crispy . Lift out and drain well on kitchen paper and break into small pieces.
  2. Peel the mango and carrot and julienne into 3mm wide strips. Put into a large bowl with the shallots, chilli, peanuts and fried fish and toss together.
  3. Mix the sugar with the fish sauce and lime, and add to the salad with the thai basil and toss again.
  4. Pile into the centre of 2 bowls and serve straight away.


Unlike most Alsace wines, they contain residual sugar which gives high viscosity and a honeyed quality. However their great richness is balanced by fresh fruity acidity which does not only confers exceptional length on the palate but also prevents the wines from being cloying. This wine is made from botrytised noble Gewurztraminer, hand-selected and from the best vineyards. It is made in only exceptional years and has natural residual sugar (over 80g) which harmonises perfectly with the fresh and acidic character.

One whiff of the Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive and your sense of smell is instantly pervaded with ham hock, celery root, brown spices, mint and honey.

Primary juices include rose petals and spice and a dusty botrytis character to follow. This is a lusciously sweet and complex wine.

This wine speaks for itself and makes a great aperitif. It goes well with foie gras or fruity rich desserts such as a peach tarte tatin or a steamed syrup pudding. The wine can also be paired with blue cheeses and rich, spicy asian dishes.

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HIS WINE: Leoville Barton St. Julien 2001, 2nd growth

2001 Chateau Leoville Bartton

I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Barton at a trade tasting of the 2006 en primeur at Lords in London and I was very impressed with his charming laid back demeanor. I bought the 2001 en primeur back in the day when 1st growths were £1,000 per case of 12 and not for a bottle.

My readiness guideline for decent claret is now 12-15 years and I prefer not to be reminded that I broached my 2001 Mouton-Rothschild for the first time in about 2008 – infanticide of the first order. Don’t get me started on the fact I sold a case of Haut-Brion 2001 when in hindsight I didn’t need the money. I did double my money but I have since promised myself I will never sell wine for profit again.

Just back from a weekend in Bolgheri where we had a great private tour of Ca’Marcanda. Angelo Gaja turned up and was as chatty as you like. On our return to the UK I thought it was time to return to the original inspiration for the Super Tuscan; Claret. We took a bottle of the Leoville Barton to our local pub; the Rose and Crown which does excellent 35 day aged Dedham Vale beef. When you are in the coldest spring in 50 years then no time to mess about.

I do find a good claret is hit and miss but every now and then there is a redefining moment of wow! This was such a moment.

Clear in the glass with medium (+) ruby appearance. Just a few legs were evident. The nose was clean, medium intensity with text book notes of cheese, cigar box, leather, graphite, blackcurrant, mint – truly an exotic array of secondary aromas morphing into more tertiary territory. The wine was still developing with potentially another 15 years ahead. Given about 15 minutes to breath (no decanter available) the palate was breathtaking. Medium alcohol, medium(-) acidity, medium tannins which were fine grained. The medium body supported wonderful flavours of sweet but very subtle oak, the fruit was well integrated but the black elements of the fruit sat well with the cedar, gentle cupboard spice and each sip demanded more coaxing of the moreish aromas. Length was medium(+). This wine was one of the most pleasurable wines I have had this year. One was compelled to simply stare at the inky depths within the glass  in utter wonderment.

Cheers Angelo, this is what it is all about.

A taste of things to come

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I meant it when I said he is passionate about his wine
This rather nice bottle accompanied another great lunch at the Sportsman in Seasalter