her food his wine

Cooking for a wine fanatic


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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

ESCARGOT WITH WILD GARLIC

  • 12 prepared snails
  • 12 snail shells

Filling

  • 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 WITH FENNEL SALAD AND ORANGE DRESSING (Adapted from food for a fiver)

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

METHOD

  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 MERINGUES WITH LEMON AND LIME CURD (Adapted from Food for a Fiver)

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

Meringues

  • 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

METHOD

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.

HIS WINE

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.

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Thank god it’s Thursday!

Thursday is a weekly milestone for us – for a number of reasons we stay off of the booze Monday to Wednesday but Thursday evening is the official soft start to the weekend (except on a bad week when in exceptional circumstances (usually someone being a tosser at work, so for both of us it can be a regular event!) we allow ourselves a drink for restorative purposes).

Last night was no exception. Mark started a new job so I thought i’d cook him something special to celebrate as well as giving us the opportunity to open something nice. After attending an Ottolenghi cookery class with the great man himself last year at Leiths School of Cookery, we’ve both had a real love of his food. Up until that point i’d only cooked one or two dishes from  Ottolenghi and Plenty so got away with bringing my own books for him to sign as they still looked new. A dish many people have been raving about is his cod cakes in tomato sauce from Jerusalem so it seemed the obvious choice given we’re both going through a period of being “meated” out.

We kicked off proceedings with a few glasses of Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from New Zealand. We met Kevin Judd for a private tasting and tour of his vineyards in December 2011 during a holiday in New Zealand. Kevin is the man responsible for making Cloudy Bay so popular, before deciding to go it alone under the Greywacke label. He’s also an amazing photographer, however with scenery like you find in New Zealand, everyone can come away feeling like a budding photographer.

Greywacke vineyard visit, Marlborough, New Zealand  -December 2011

Greywacke vineyard visit, Marlborough, New Zealand -December 2011

It was summer when we first got into Greywacke SB and we found it a perfect aperitif sitting in the garden on a sunny evening as well going really well with my rather well used and worn out recipe for beetroot and goats cheese salad with caramelised walnuts. Recreating that garden moment in the cold, draughty kitchen of our 450 year old listed farm house on what was meant to be the official first day of spring (spring my arse, when is this chuffing cold weather going to end?!?) just wasn’t going to happen, and the wine that usually slips down so easily without having to be accompanied by food struggled big time. Tastes change and I really hope that mine for SB isn’t going the same way as my love affair with Viognier in 2005 – just the smell of it now almost makes me gag.

So we needed to move on to something else for dinner. Mark suggested a red, maybe a Beaujolais – I guess it may have worked, however I thought that a Mas de Daumas Gassac white from south west france would work better with the spices in the dish (and yes, for the smart arses out there, I do realise that it is 25% viognier however that is about the limit of my viognier tolerance these days) . The first bottle we tried was a 2005, however as has been the case with around half of the bottles in that case, something was not right with it. A bottle of 2008 was spot on with fresh fruity flavours that develop sherry like qualities with bottle age and we decanted it as recommended. The cod cakes didn’t disappoint either. I served them with a herb couscous.

Moral of this story – wine fanatics occasionally know sweet FA about food and wine pairing – maybe I should have called this blog her food her wine!