Food Yard Friday at The Artworks Elephant

Jul 18, 15 Food Yard Friday at The Artworks Elephant

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

Last night I went to a great new food venue. Actually, it’s not a food venue more a food destination. It’s called The Artworks Elephant and it is a loose conglomeration of food entrepreneurs and artists. The Artworks itself is a box park made up of old shipping containers.  The food and drink on offer at The Artworks Elephant has been on the radar of South London foodies and locals but now they want to get the word out beyond Elephant.  The tenant list includes up-and-coming names such as Marcel & Sons, The Frenchie, Elephant Shack, Love Fresh Vietnamese and Black Acorn. There are 10 food and drink entrepreneurs in total. I was invited to join in on one of their Food Yard Friday events. The night started out with drinks and then we popped into Elephant Snack for lamb wraps. The ‘Shack specializes in organic flatbreads and burger buns. The food was delicious and was paired up with some great Portuguese wine, Altano made by the Symingtons. Catherine, one of the owners, fell in love with these wines. I tried all 3 they had on offer, the white was crisp and juicy, the red full of red fruit and the Reserva, rich and lush. But, I like Portuguese wines anyway!   Marcel & Sons is Mauritian food. It’s great to see different cuisines being featured. Mauritian food is a blend of Asian cuisines with a Mauritian twist. The Bol Renverse is a bowl of rice served upside down filled with chicken, shitake mushrooms, choi sum, Mauritian sausage and topped with a fried egg. Delicious. Our next stop was my favourite, the Iberico Burger. Made by Black Acorn, it had to be one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. It’s a blend of Iberico chorizo and ham minced with biodynamic, organic beef, topped with roasted peppers, crispy onion & homemade spicy sauce. I opted to have mine topped with Mature Cheddar cheese but other choices were Goat’s Cheese, Stilton and Good Old American Cheese....

read more

Summer is Coming: The Best Wines for Summer Evenings

Jun 09, 15 Summer is Coming: The Best Wines for Summer Evenings

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

We’ve had a heatwave (sort of ) and so it’s official. Summer is on the way! This means long evenings out in the garden and barbecues. It also means a whole different load of wine to drink. Yes, even more different than the spring wines. After all, nobody really wants to sit inside nursing a bottle of red when the sun is out to play. To celebrate the imminent summer, here are the best wines for those warm evenings. Chateau Sainte Marguerite Organic Rose There’s something so refreshing about rose wine on a summer evening. Try to avoid the dark and rich looking wines, these are reserved for chilly, winter nights. Instead, opt for a rose that is pale in colour. The Chateau Sainte Marguerite sums up all that is right with the world of summer wine. It’s crisp and refreshing, a bit like taking a bite into a strawberry. This French wine is a must-have for dinners on the patio. Hunter Valley Chardonnay Looking for a dry white to accompany your fishy supper? This is the perfect wine to serve with prawn, salmon, lobster… Or even fish and chips if you fancy. The Hunter Valley is a prime example of Australian Chardonnay, which has become very up and coming in the wine world. It has all of the oakey undertones you would expect from a good Chardonnay too. Aglianico 2012 For those who refuse to put down their red, even when the sun is shining, this is the wine for you. After all, who can say no to a dark and fruity Italian wine? Although this may have an everyday price tag on it, you’ll find it tastes quite out of the ordinary. Serve this with some real Italian favourites – anything with tomato and basil in it, basically. It will go down a treat. Mount Bluff Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc NV Everyone has to have a bit of fizz in their life! Plus, summer is the perfect excuse to pop open a bottle....

read more

Sake Flights of Fancy at CUT

Apr 17, 15 Sake Flights of Fancy at CUT

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

The more sake I taste, the more I realize what a great food wine it is. Most people start out drinking hot sake in their local Japanese restaurant but there is so much more to sake then gulping it down with sushi. Sommelier Vanessa Cinti of  45 Park Lane wants has always been fascinated by Japanese culture was introduced to sake by her love of the cuisine. She recently qualified as a Sake Sommelier, being certified by the world recognised organization, The Sake Sommelier Association and has now created a unique sake experience called Shini-Tai. Shini-Tai will be offered in Bar 45 and at American steak restaurant CUT at 45 Park Lane. Both the bar and restaurant will be offering flights of sake comprising 3 sakes from small producers, chosen for their quality, flavour and array of style. We tasted the inaugural flight which consists of …’Amabuki Marigold brewed with yeast from the blossoms of marigold following a traditional Yamahai method, Kirin Vintage 2013, vintage sake with a rich sherry like taste and Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo a special sake aged in barrels of Domaine Ramonet (renowned Burgundy producer) will all be served at a chilled temperature…’ As Vanessa explained to us, sake is all about the purity of the water used, that’s what gives sake it’s distinctiveness. She also told us that like wine, there are many different varieties of rice used to make sake, as a matter of fact, there are about 80 different varieties in use today. During the tasting, we had both sweet and savoury food pairings. I was really surprised by how well the sake went with the pastries designed by CUT Pastry Chef, Niamh Larkin. The pastries were subtle and delicate, my favourite pairing being an orange madeleine with the sakes. CUT Executive Chef  David McIntyre has introduced new Asian influenced dishes on the menu this spring. Examples include Scallop ceviche, spring onions, shiso, wasabi-kosho ponzu, Tuna tartar cones, ginger, wasabi, sesame-miso tuille, and Steamed sea bass “Hong Kong” style, chili oil, garlic, ginger. We had...

read more

Pairing Food with Wine in Spring

Apr 13, 15 Pairing Food with Wine in Spring

Posted by in Featured Post, Food and Wine

I am currently in the middle of organising a spring party for friends. It’s not a party for any particular occasion. It is simply an opportunity for me to catch up and to experiment with some of the many wonderful ingredients that this season has to offer.   I have just completed the “food and wine pairing” item on my party planning checklist. And, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of my notes on what wines work best with some of the classic spring ingredients. I hope you find this post helpful for your own springtime merrymaking!   If you are pulling out all the stops for your soiree and treating your guests to some sparkling wine, I think the best time to serve this is at the start of your party. Dry Champagne and Cava make an excellent match with salty foods. So, serving them with some nibbles, like homemade roasted and salted almonds or little anchovy toasts, will really go down a treat. Salmon is at its best in spring. This fish makes a wonderful main ingredient in a number of seasonal starter recipes. For example, asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon with vinaigrette, salmon mousse or pâté. If you are serving salmon with a citrusy sauce or dressing, a Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice as it won’t be overpowered by the tartness of the sauce. For a creamier and richer salmon starter, a smooth Chardonnay will make an excellent match. As everyone knows, lamb is the king of spring meats. It is a very strong flavoured meat and so  requires an equally robust tasting wine to accompany it. If you are splashing out on a really good bottle, make sure your meat matches the quality. Donald Russell is an online butcher with a sound reputation and is an example of a good business to source your lamb from. One of my favourite bottles to open when eating roast lamb is a Cabernet Sauvignon. The...

read more

My Top 5 Favourite Tapas Bars in Barcelona

Feb 18, 15 My Top 5 Favourite Tapas Bars in Barcelona

Posted by in Food and Wine, Travel

I spent most of last Autumn hanging out in Barcelona and while I was there, I discovered plenty of little tapas bars around the well worn tourist path. There are SO many crap tapas bars in Barcelona. I hope my little list will at least give you brief glimpse into what you can find if you scratch the surface and get away from the tourist ghetto of Las Ramblas and Carrer de Ferran. As Barcelona is full of tapas bars, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one, the ones that I found were, for the most part, recommended to me by friends who live there or colleagues who visit often. So without further ado, here they are in no particular order: Bar del Pla (Born):  I found this place one night after we had visited a few other tapas bars in the area. The Born is part of the Barrio Gotic and Tourist Central but there are still great places to be found. Bar del Pla, while not exactly hidden, is not on a main street in the Born but off one of  its little alleyways and from the outside doesn’t look like much, although it always seemed to be packed with a mix of locals and tourists. Don’t let the tourists put you off, the menu features fresh and modern tapas with a twist and traditional foods as well as fresh salads. I remember ordering grilled calamares with chickpeas – so delicious, we ordered a second round! We also had a sardines on toast combo with mango and rocket, another inspired combination. The wine list is a mix of Spanish and foreign wines as well as house vermouth – which I love! The prices are a bit more expensive than the usual tapas bars but worth it and the staff was very helpful in making recommendations. I’ve been told the staff speak English, although as we all spoke Spanish, we didn’t put them to the test. Carrer Montcada, num. 2, 08003 Barcelona,...

read more

“Extreme” Inniskillin or winter in Canada

Jan 21, 15 “Extreme” Inniskillin or winter in Canada

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

Earlier this month I jetted off to Ontario, Canada to check out their Ice Wine Festival and while I was there, we visited one of the legendary wineries of Canada, Inniskillin. The winery was founded in Niagara-on-theLake over 35 years ago by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser. Their goal being to produce premium wine from the Niagara Peninsula. This they did but not without a few bumps along the way.  In 1983, they attempted their first harvest of ice wine made from the Vidal grape. It was a great year for ice wine but unfortunately the birds thought so too and ate all the berries from the vines before they could be harvested. Lesson learned, the next year the winery put nets up around the vines so that the birds would not be able to eat 1984’s harvest and thus was Inniskillin’s first ice wine harvest. In 1991, Inniskillin was awarded the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo for their 1989 Ice wine. Since then, Inniskillin has been world renowned for their ice wine which they make from Vidal, Riesling and Cabernet Franc. They also produce still table wines from Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Merlot. As we were in Canada in the middle of winter, we were just in time to participate in a little bit of ice wine harvesting. Inniskillin offers a myriad of wine tastings, wine and food matching sessions and events at the winery. Check out their website for more info. Anyway, back to harvesting. Most harvesting is done at night so that the berries are still frozen solid. This is done because if the grapes warm up and get mushy, it will affect the concentration and flavour of the wine. One of the main criteria for ice wine harvest is that the temperature must be below -8C for at least 3 or 4 days in a row before picking can commence. Although we arrived mid-day, they still let us pick a few grapes from the vines and believe me, at...

read more
%d bloggers like this: