Introducing Waitrose Cellar online

Jun 23, 14 Introducing Waitrose Cellar online

Posted by in All

Waitrose has totally revamped their online wine service and I was invited to find out  more about the  Waitrose Cellar as well as taste some of the range recently. The event was held  near King’s Cross at the London Canal Museum. The museum was a great setting as it was set next to Regent’s Canal and after a few speeches and getting to know you introductions, we  jumped onto a canal barge and had an impromptu wine tasting with two of Waitrose’s wine experts. Xenia Irwin, MW and buyer for the Waitrose Cellar was our wine expert on the barge. The cellar online has a full range of over 1,200 wine to choose from, many of them exclusive to Waitrose. They have also introduced 6 bottle cases as well as 12 bottles available to order and have free delivery within 3 working days. The sight is also fully interactive on iPad, we had a lot of fun messing around with it later during our wine “speed-dating” event, once we had finished our wine tastings on the canal. The wine “speed-dating” was all about us finding the perfect wine for us. We were split up into pairs and had 3 minutes to interview our wine partners on what would be the ideal wine for them. At the end of the evening, they tabulated our results and we were promised a case of wine with what was deemed the best wine choices for us based on our answers. I eagerly awaited my case and surprise, surprise, I got champagne, sherry and cremant de Loire amongst the bottles in my case. Of the wines we tasted, they were all of excellent quality. I don’t think there was a clunker in the range that was available that evening. Waitrose is working to find the best wines for its customers. To that end, to celebrate the new online service, they challenged 6 of their buyers to pick out their personal favourites from the 1,200 strong range. They call it...

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Brasserie Joel celebrates Eurostar’s 20th anniv. this May

May 06, 14 Brasserie Joel celebrates Eurostar’s 20th anniv. this May

Posted by in All, Food and Wine, London, restaurants

I love taking the Eurostar to Paris, I haven’t taken a plane to Paris since I don’t know when –  I always take the train. It’s just so much easier to go  via Eurostar and seems a more civilized way to travel, to me anyway. Eurostar is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year, hard to believe that it’s only been around for 20 years, it seems to fit in seamlessly at St. Pancras/Kings Cross as if it’s been there forever. Brasserie Joel in the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel has launched a special menu to celebrate the 20 years of Eurostar service between London and Paris. Chef Walter Ishizuka has created a menu that encompasses favourite dishes from both cities. Chef Walter has an interesting background – a French chef of Japanese descent, he came to London after working under Chef Paul Bocuse in France. His Japanese heritage has influenced his cooking in creating French cuisine with a lighter flavours. The special menu starts off with Feuillete d’Escargot and Pork Pie. I love escargot and these were garlicky and not too chewy served on a wonderfully light puff pastry. I usually try and avoid breads and pastries but these were just too good to pass up. The pork pie served alongside the escargot was also very good, very morish. I had to stop eating them because I would have had no room for the  mains. Each dish was paired with a wine, the escargot with a Beaujolais-Villages and the pork pie with a Macon-Villages. Both wines were uncomplicated but fit the bill, complementing the food well. For the mains we had a choice of Boeuf Bourguignon served with a Cotes du Rhone and traditional Fish and Chips paired with a Touraine Sauvignon Blanc. The Boeuf was very tender as it should be and full of flavour, served with gnocchi a la parisienne, I could have eaten the whole plate but saved room for the crispy fish and chips. Everyone around the table commented on...

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Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar and a dry Chenin blanc

Jan 20, 14 Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar and a dry Chenin blanc

Posted by in Food and Wine, France

A few years ago I visited the Barber Farmhouse on a press trip as part of a bigger trip to the West Country. I remember being impressed by the combination of modern technology within the traditions of cheesemaking that had been handed down through the generations. You can read about my visit here. I really enjoyed the 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar when I visited, so when they asked me if they could send me some cheese and make a dish, I was happy to do it. It also probably helps that I’ve recently changed to a wheat-free and sugar-free diet which means good cheese is a staple in my kitchen. They sent me a small recipe book which has some lovely recipes and a few of them are either wheat free or can be modified to be made without wheat.  They also sent me all the ingredients I would need to make a Spinach and Cheese souffle. Seeing as I didn’t want to use flour in my recipes, I decided to make a crustless Spinach and Cheddar cheese quiche instead. The quiche came out brilliantly, the 1833 Vintage cheddar was perfect in the dish, integrated into every mouthful. I’m not normally a big fan of mature cheddar cheese (the 1833 is aged 24 months) but Barber’s has a nutty, long flavour to it and I enjoyed every mouthful. I paired it with a chenin blanc from the Loire Valley, the Ch. de Fesles 2011 La Chapelle Vielles Vignes. What a stunner of a wine – dry but fresh with intense fruity notes of dried grapefruit, tangerine peel, and lemon zest. Rather weighty on the palate but perfectly balanced and delicious, a very good companion for the quiche. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work with the cheddar but happily, it did! I’ve still got half a block of cheese left so I think I might take a crack at the Croque Monsieur made with my home made gluten free foccacia You can...

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Paprika, Porcini, and Garlic Butter Kettle Chips for the winter

Nov 01, 13 Paprika, Porcini, and Garlic Butter Kettle Chips for the winter

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

Contributed by Anna Von Bertele A staple in my house, when the wine comes out the fridge, is a packet of Kettle Chips. Crisps and dip and a glass of wine can seem like the most delicious thing. So when the Wine Sleuth – asked if I wanted to cover the Kettle Chip launch of it’s new Winter flavour, I was very excited! Last Wednesday –  to the jealousy of my friends – I headed to the Soho Hotel in London to try the new flavour: Paprika, Porcini, and Garlic Butter. This was matched with dips and different wines – a delicious Californian Chardonnay was my favourite. It was great to meet Chris Barnard, who has been the chef at Kettle Chips since 1989 when the company moved from America to settle in Norwich. Leaving his own restaurant, he was excited at the prospect of experimenting with innovative crisp flavours, and accessing a much wider audience than just those that might have visited his restaurant. He explained the thinking behind this new, seasonal taste – porcini mushrooms add a rich earthy flavour and the garlic butter adds a savouriness, with the paprika adding sweet and smokey notes – together it makes a warming crisp that will brighten any evening. It was interesting to learn the history of Kettle Chips and the overall philosophy behind them. Though I knew Kettle Chips were the classic crisps, the ones that I indulge in with my family back home, I didn’t know how natural they were, with no artificial flavours. In my mind this makes them basically good for you, though Chris didn’t quite agree with this! Throughout the evening there were canapés as well, though with the bowls full of crisps, these were slightly overshadowed (okay maybe not the mini churros). The whole evening finished with a screening of Bridget Jones – as if Kettle Chips weren’t perfect enough on their own, this completed the package! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Chicken recipes for the Autumn

Oct 21, 13 Chicken recipes for the Autumn

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately at Winesleuth HQ and I have a few recipes here in association with Schwartz that I think are perfect for this Autumnal weather. Creating wonderful meals with chicken Chicken is often regarded as a rather boring fowl. If you use a free-range bird and create a recipe with wine and fresh herbs, you may soon change your opinion about this humble farmyard animal. A variety of recipe ideas One of the best things about chicken is that you can just poach it with a few herbs and have a tasty, low-fat meal served with salad or you can elevate it to the gastronomic heights so beloved of Escoffier and other maestros. You could even use a chicken recipe that includes champagne among its ingredients for a truly festive occasion and you know how I adore champagne! The important point to remember is that chicken recipes can be as plain or diverse as you wish. Coq au vin This family favourite originates from France and the recipe has altered over the years. The original calls for a rooster from Bresse with the addition of a good red wine from Burgundy. Don’t worry if roosters are thin on the ground in your neighbourhood; a good plump chicken that you can divide into portions will suffice. The most important thing to do is to allow two days for the preparation of this meal. A nice Coteaux de Bourgogne rouge would be a good choice for this dish. You don’t have to break the bank for a bottle of Coteaux and it’s tasty, too! Method for success Take a bottle of good red wine, (cheap wine will taste bitter and will not enhance the dish) and prepare a marinade with carrots, garlic and peppercorns and simmer for a short while. Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and cover. Once you’ve allowed the mixture to rest for at least a day, remove the chicken. Now take bacon, shallots and the flour coated chicken pieces and fry them in a heavy casserole dish. Season well and add...

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