Monthly Archives: April 2011

Bottle 8 of 12- Marques De Vega Solana Crianza Tempranillo, 2006

Just a quick post today…

After a bad day yesterday in terms of dissertation- progress, the rich walnut and cherry flavours of this Spanish red really hit the spot! It went down a treat with the Cadburys Easter egg I demolished, although it didn’t go so well with the mini eggs…

I didn’t manage to take a picture of this one, and I have had trouble locating one online (sadly the case of 6 Spring Reds is no longer available from Tesco Wine- though I’m still reviewing them), but this wine is available for £9 per bottle from Tesco Wine, and it was rather tasty!

I’ll let you know when it’s on offer!


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Filed under Matching Wine with Food

Sherry trifle

A tad old- fashioned but a firm favourite in my house (if it ain’t broke…) is a sherry trifle. Not only is it great at this time of year when we’re all thinking about dusting off the barbeque (although today looks a bit cloudy!), it’s also a good way to make use of any leftover Christmas sherry, which as a fortified wine, is deserving of a place on this blog.

Here’s what you’ll need…
Quantities are dependent on what size bowl you use and how thick you like each layer:

Madeira sponge cake
Few glugs of good quality dry sherry (I usually go for Croft)
500g box of frozen fruit- fresh fruit works too but I don’t put jelly in this trifle and frozen fruit seems to ooze into the sponge and custard nicely
1 or 2 tins Ambrosia custard (there is a low fat version to make you feel less guilty)
1 large pot double cream (no low fat equal to this I’m afraid)
Small Cadburys flake bar for crumbling over the top

Here’s how…

1. Cut the sponge cake into 1cm pieces and layer across the bottom of the bowl
2. Pour a few tablespoons sherry over the cake
3. Put the fruit on top
4. Spoon over the custard and put the trifle into the fridge for a few hours to set -home made custard sets much better but I’m an Ambrosia fan
5. Whisk the cream with an electric whisk (if you’ve got one) to save your poor forearms, until it forms soft peaks
6. Carefully spoon the cream over the custard- this can take some time as the custard may still be wobbly
7. Crumble the flake over the top to decorate
8. You can then eat this straight away, or prepare it a day in advance to allow the layers to set and blend together


(picture to follow)

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A Good Friday Supper

Not wanting to break with tradition, last night’s dinner, a simple cod and salmon fish pie was inspired by that Good Friday feeling. Adapted from BBC Good Food’s 101 Fish and Seafood Dishes (I love that little book), this healthy, low fat dish went down a treat with my family…

450g new potatoes, finely sliced
200g broccoli, broken into very small florets
250g skinless cod fillet, cut into large chunks
250g skinless salmon fillet, cut into large chunks
50g plain flour
600ml milk
1 tsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Green salad to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C for a fan oven)
2. Place the new potato slices into a saucepan of salted boiling water for 5-6 minutes (until slightly softened), drain, return to the saucepan and pour over 1 tsp oil to prevent sticking. Put to one side
3. Plunge the broccoli into boiling water for 1 minute, drain and then run under cold water (the broccoli, not you). Put to one side
4. Pour the milk, flour and 1 tbsp olive oil into a saucepan and stir rapidly over a medium heat to thicken (you should end up with a thick white sauce- like a béchamel but without the butter)
5. Add the broccoli, fish chunks, parsley, and lemon zest to the sauce, then season with salt and pepper and pour into a deep casserole/ lasagne dish
6. Layer the potato slices over the mixture and season with black pepper
7. Put the dish into the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes (the actual recipe says 30 minutes but this wasn’t long enough for my oven)
8. Enjoy with a crisp green salad and a lemon wedge on the side

Since it was such a glorious day yesterday, we ate our dinner in the garden washed down with a cold, refreshing glass of Ogio Pinot Grigio Blush, on offer in Tesco for just under £5 a bottle(!)

This pale pink rose is not too sweet and is stuffed full of delicious strawberry flavours. A real easy drinking winner in this beautiful sunshine!

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Spoilt for choice

On my 21st birthday this year I was really spoilt! Amongst my fabulous presents, including these stunning Thomas Sabo starfish earrings…

…and this wonderful (hand- made!) book- bag…

…were three bottles of bubbly!

So, after a long day shopping and eating lunch up London with my mum, we popped open one that I had put in to chill that morning (it’s a hard life!)

With three bottles to choose from, it literally was a case of Ip Dip Doo, and the winner was…. this bottle of André Carpentier…

It was so beautifully wrapped by my cousins that I felt a tiny bit guilty breaking into it, but it was well worth the fun (almost as good as popping bubble wrap), and I have kept the pretty pink ribbon somewhere safe amongst all my birthday cards.

A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes, this French champagne was lovely and golden in colour, and gave a very satisfying pop when opened (I didn’t spill a drop thank you very much).

With gentle fizzy flavours of ripe melon and honey, and a deliciously dry finish, this bottle went down excellently with the Port Salut cheese I was eating at the time.

It really was the perfect end to a perfect birthday- thanks everyone!

Now I just need an excuse to crack open the other two bottles… one Italian Prosecco (always a winner) and one rather posh looking bottle of Nicolas Feuillate Champagne- hurry up graduation!

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Spend a little

Generally when ordering a glass of wine in a bar or pub up the City, I opt for the house Sauvignon Blanc. This is not purely because of price, but in Europe (France and Spain especially), the house wine is supposed to represent one of the nicer wines the venue has to offer (although how true this is of the UK, I’m not too sure).

Anyway, while out for pre- birthday- dinner drinks with my boyfriend Luke at All Bar One on Friday, I asked him to get me a glass of their house Sauvignon Blanc which, at £3.40 a glass, is reasonably priced and goes down pretty well with some of their small plates (the box baked camembert and tiger prawns are delicious!). When he returned from the bar, however, he plonked a glass of their more expensive Stopbanks Sauvignon Blanc down on the table in front of me with the statement ‘it is nearly your birthday!’ before I even had the chance to protest.

At just under £2 more expensive per glass than the house option, this New Zealand white is a little pricey for regular after work drinks, but with well rounded passion fruits flavours and a lingering citrus note in the finish, this was definitely worth the price.

While I’m not recommending spending above your means every time you fancy a glass of wine in London, my advice would be; take the time to peruse the menu for a wine that you will enjoy, and don’t be afraid to ask for a wine list or recommendation from the staff if no menu is out on display. After all, what’s the point of spending less on a glass of wine that you don’t enjoy, or that is only so- so?

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The final white- Bottle 7 of 12- McWilliams Hanwood Estate Riesling 2007, Australia

Riesling, like Chardonnay, can in my opinion, be somewhat changeable in flavour. To put it another way, it is rarely a wine that I would choose for myself. But, since it was in our Tesco case, my mum and I gave it a go alongside a chicken stir fry last week (the bottle recommended pairing it with Asian cuisine).

While we expected ‘rich, yet lively’ ‘delightful flavours of lime and melon’ from ‘this award- winning Riesling’, what we got were strong limey flavours and a distinct steely edge. After a couple of sips I was reminded of the scent that meets your nostrils when filling up at the petrol station. I know I am being a little harsh here, and to be fair it wasn’t unpleasant alongside the food (perhaps it would be nice with a curry and a couple of spicy samosas); but I wouldn’t recommend this one for easy drinking, or to go with anything light on the palate!

Maybe Rieslings aren’t for me, since I have yet to try one I like, but I welcome any suggestions!

This wine marked the end of our case of 6 whites from Tesco Wine, which have, in all, been a little disappointing. While on a budget (£27 for the lot), they have encouraged me to try wines I might otherwise have overlooked (like the Spencer Bay Chardonnay which I loved, and the Riesling, which I didn’t!), a couple, such as the La Capilla Sauvignon Blanc, and the Comté de Buzet, have really missed the spot!

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Marlborough Springs Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

Another quickie!

On offer at Sainsburys now- a delicious, ripe, fruity Sauvignon Blanc with full flavours of gooseberries. It is, in my opinion, comparable with Oyster Bay (previously reviewed) and a steal at £5.99.

Try it with an herby dish such as this easy cod bake from BBC Good Food’s ‘101 Fish and seafood dishes’

Herby cod bake (its low fat and less than 250 calories per portion!)
– serves 2
– takes just 5 minutes to prepare!

4tbsp low fat natural yogurt
2tbsp sun dried tomato pesto
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or dill (I prefer dill with this dish but it’s up to you!)
2 skinless cod or haddock fillets about 175g each (haddock is cheaper and more environmentally friendly)
Salad and crusty bread to serve

1. Preheat the grill to high
2. Mix the yoghurt, pesto and half of the parsley or dill
3. Place the fish in an ovenproof dish, season and pour over the yoghurt mixture
4. Grill for 10-12 minutes without turning until the fillets are cooked through (the recipe book actually says 4-5 minutes but for me this was nowhere near long enough)
5. Sprinkle the remaining parsley or dill over the fish and serve with salad and crusty bread


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