It all started innocently enough as a joke at the pub after a London blogging event. What to eat when it’s cold and miserable outside? Well, I was hanging with a bunch of food bloggers, what other topic of conversation would you expect? When I mentioned my cheesy sausage biscuits that were so good you’d want to “slap yo’ mamma” or “slap your mum” as Lizzie so charmingly put it ( I can’t imagine slapping anyones mum but yo’ mamma – now that’s a whole other ball of wax), the challenge was on to bring the tastiest, most comforting food for a cold winter’s nite.
So, one cold February eve, Eatlikeagirl (Niamh), FoodStories (Helen), Cheeseandbiscuits (Chris), Hollowlegs (Lizzie), BibendumDan, and me, TheWinesleuth had a little get-together at my house. We started off with mojitos and straight-up gin martinis before heading off into the food and wine tasting.
I think we all reverted to childhood for this one. On the menu we had Mac and Cheese with bits of bacony goodness(Niamh), Marmite sandwiches with cucumbers (Helen) – note, add the cucumbers just before eating otherwise the sandwiches get soggy, Bovril on toast (Chris)but not any old toast, make sure you use artisanal sourdough bread, spread on orangic butter first and THEN spread on the Bovril, my Cheesy sausage biscuits (me), and Ramen noodles with…get ready for it…..SPAM!! (Lizzie) Yup, fried spam and it was the biggest hit of the evening, although I think my biscuits were a close runner up (the secret ingredient is Bisquik). I, however, have discovered a new love of all things made from beef or yeast extracts and was reminded of my childhood breakfast companion- Spam.
Rather then bring a guilty pleasure to eat, Dan decided to do a bit of blind winetasting and brought a selection of Bibendum wines for us to taste and vote on. His theme was everyday wines you’ll probably like’ vs. ‘posher wines you should like but might not’. I have these cool wine bags that I got for Christmas and last night was their inaugural performance. They worked like a charm.
We had 3 sets of wines. First up were two whites. Wine #1 we all agreed was quite alcoholic and buttery but drinkable. Wine #2, I thought had a much more subtle nose, more balanced fruit, well integrated oak and lovely acidity. The foodies didn’t really care for it until they tried it with a cheesy biscuit, then it started winning converts, the acidity cutting through the fat and complementing the cheesiness. When the vote came down, you can guess which one I preferred. Wine #2 which was a 1er cru ’03 Meursault. I think it was a tie. Wine #1 was Katnook Founders Block ’07 Chardonnay.
Next set were rosés. Wine #3 was a candy apple red, strawberry cheesecake scented concoction. It was rather sweet for a rose and quite a few people thought it could’ve been a dessert wine, even though it wasn’t. Wine #4, pale, salmon coloured, slight red fruit nose, nice and dry, a bit zippy with more red fruits on the palate. Very quaffable. When the votes came down, Wine #4, the Provençal from Chateau des Sarrins Cotes de Provence ’07 Rose was the big vote getter. Wine #3 was a California white zin, the ’07 Delicato.
The last pairing of the evening were the big guns. 2 reds going head to head. By this time, it was apparent that it was Old World vs. New and that’s exactly what we got. Wine #5, big and heavy, loads of stewed blackcurrants and black plums, black fruits, hints of oak, as I recall. Wine #6, blackcurrants, leather, very earthy, graphite perhaps and cigar box/cedary flavours and aromas with a lovely tannic backbone to support it all. Another great food wine. This one lost out to Wine #5, Los Alamos 06 Cabernet Sauvignon but Dan and I preferred Wine #6, the Les Tourelles de Longueville 2003, Pauillac.
Chris also brought a couple of ales and stouts but I’m no expert on those, although the Meantime Stout was a chocolate bomb, don’t think I could drink more than half a pint of that!
All in all, a lot of fun and of course we twittered the evening. Check out the foodies sites (see above) for recipes – c’mon Lizzie give up the recipe for spammy ramen noodles, you know you want to!
Recipe for Cheesy Sausage Biscuits:
2 cups Bisquik (must be Bisquik, plain flour won’t do)
1 pound of sausage- I used Sainsbury’s herby sausages, taking off the casing, but if you can get spicy sausage, even better
10 oz grated mature cheddar cheese
Combine all ingredients until they form a nice round ball. I find you really need to just get in there with your hands to get the job done. Don’t add any water just keep kneading. Roll into golf ball sized balls and bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 mins or until they turn golden brown. And then….Watch out, mamma!