Limited Release : Calvet Merlot Bordeaux 2013

redwine

I’m not well known for drinking red wines … being a staunch dry white wine kinda gal … so I had to have a little help in telling you all about this wine Calvet Merlot Bordeux  …. which has been the wine of choice for the husband , brother in law and sister in law of late !  A mid range priced wine at £7.49 ( Derby prices ) it’s a weekend treat to wash down the morsels of good food placed on the table …!

The wine claims to  be a bright ruby red ( it is ! ) with purple reflections ( in some lights!) with an intense bouquet of red fruits with a hint of liquorice !! I know my husbands first sip illicited a ” ooooh ahhhhh mmmmm” so I’m imagining that’s a good thing ! ( It is !! )  The wine certainly delivered in what it promised.

This wine matched perfectly with a recent roast beef dinner that was served during a wonderful evening of wine and good friends ! Perfectly placed to enhance the intense flavours of the meat whilst bringing out the freshness and pure delight of the prepared vegetables . A splash ( and only a splash … too good to waste ) of this in the roast beef gravy was the absolute piece de resistance … amazingly rounding off the main meal with a hearty gravy of deliciousness .

This wine is also perfect to match with the wonderful cheese & cured meat board we decadently devoured …. fantastically balancing the flavours of the camembert with the tempting nutty flavour of the gouda and the tantalising saltiness of the prosciutto ! This Merlot was definitely a good all rounder and I imagine one that could quite easily be drank in a  drinks and nibbles situation with just a bowl of cashews and lots of great conversation to  wash it down with .

An absolute hit in this house !!

(Review courtesy of the husband )

This review is part of The Co-operatve’s #welikewine campaign that you can find more out about HERE

Chocolate & Marshmallow Tiffin

tiffin

The boys were on half term last week and I managed to get one day off with them ( which luckily turned out to be the one day Ted wasn’t ill after he came down with a bad case of flu the day after … and is still poorly now a week later :( !) Anyway …  the weather was remarkably mild so our full on day of making and baking became a few bits thrown together in between bike rides and games of tennis … but one thing we did make was this incredibly moreish and decadently dangerous Chocolate and Marshmallow tiffin  …  so easy to make and so delicious to eat ! Here’s our recipe

50 g butter

400g milk chocolate

150g digestive biscuits

50g dried apricots , chopped

50g raisins

50g mini marshmallows

3 nougat & caramel bars/nutty caramel bars  refrigerated and sliced in 2 cm chunks

Grease and line a 20 x20cm baking tin with greaseproof paper . place a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water ( make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and place the butter and chocolate into the bowl. Stir until completely melted then pop the bowl to one side to cool slightly.

Put the biscuits into a sealed sandwich bag and break into 2cm chunks ( Don’t completely obliterate into submission like the boys did !! ). Tip the biscuits , apricots , raisins and marshmallows into the melted chocolate and stir well , add the chocolate bar slices and stir well . Tip it all into your prepared tin , cover with cling film and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours. Now cut it into squares , pop the kettle on and enjoy xx

tiffinprep

(adapted from Holly Bell’s Award Winning Chocolate Tiffin : Recipes from a Normal Mum )

It’s an addiction …

I have an addiction !!  To some it may seem silly … to my husband it’s just plain annoying … to my kids … well it’s just Mum isn’t it? To my Mum it’s untidy and creating clutter … to me it’s just dandy !!! You see I’m addicted to BOOKS … cookery books to be precise … including Food History books , allotment books , dieting books , kids cookery books … you name it .. I’ll buy it ! I’m always seduced by a bargain … 1p for a tome of a book …. that’ll do for me … £1 for that book from the charity shop … yes  siree Bob that’s coming home with me ….

So now I have admitted it I will hereby solemnly declare to work my way through my 3 bookcases plus dotted around the house stacks of books and I promise to cook at least one .. if not two recipes from each book … with well over 300 books this should keep us going for a good while !!!

So my good people I urge you to kick my butt if I have not posted my take on a recipe … or indeed a recipe in its wholeness …in a while !

Now where to start ????

books

A not so shabby Chablis !

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It was my birthday last week … I turned 21 again .. for the 19th time .. ouch ! So I decided to soften the blow ( and blur the edges) and treat myself to a decent bottle of wine ! As I browsed the shelves I decide on the co-op Chablis . Why a Chablis ? Well it always evokes memories of lazy Saturday evenings with my husband in the early days of our relationship … we’d cook a meal and sit drinking Chablis chattering away about all or hopes and plans for the future …

The Chablis I chose was perfectly dry  with the expected underlying citrus flavours . It was a smooth easy drink which tasted of class . Definitely a wine to choose for your dinner table with friends . The wine itself lends itself to seafood perfectly but as you may know by now … I’m no seafood or fish eater !!!  I instead would drink this when eating a perfectly simple tricolore salad  although my version is slightly different to the original version ..

Slices of ripe juicy tomatoes , generous slices of the best buffalo mozzarella and chunky slices of the best avocado drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt  finished off with the freshest basil ! That’s all the recipe you need … this is a perfect accompaniment to this delicious wine . the tomatoes enhance the citrus hues of the Chablis  with the cheese and avocado offering a smooth and complimentary flavour to the distinct Chablis undertones .

chablis

You can sail away to the Mediterranean in one cool crisp glass of this fantastic Chablis by The Co-operative . At around £9.99 a bottle it is also an affordable  treat for the weekend  and perfect for sharing with friends . I would definitely be buying this again for our next dinner party . But for now it was just perfect for my birthday celebration … tricolore salad , a fine Chablis and my boys . Perfect !

This is part of the Co-operatives #welike wine campaign find out more HERE

Duerrs Rhubarb & Custard Jam Sponge Pudding

jam sponge

Have you ever just needed …like really needed a steaming bowl of sponge and custard like your Grandma used to make ?? Well when I remembered the jar of Duerr’s Rhubarb & Custard jam ( Yep a jam tasting of rhubarb and custard … I kid you not !)  in my cupboard … a sponge pud was quite literally all I could think of !! So after tea this evening I astounded the boys with my  amazing culinary skills and had a hot steaming bowl of jam sponge and custard sat in front of them within 10 minutes of me entering the kitchen … A great quick fix for a much loved pudding !!  How ? I hear you cry !! Well read on  and you shall find out …

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Jam Sponge Pudding

4oz Margarine or Butter ( I use Stork)

4oz caster sugar

2 med free range eggs

4oz Self raising Flour

3-4 tablespoons Jam

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.

2. Add the eggs and beat them in quickly before adding all the flour and combine until you have a nice smooth batter.

3. Grease your pudding bowl well then put the jam in the bottom of the bowl. Pour the cake batter on top of the jam and level it out with the back of a spoon or a spatula.

4. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film and place the bowl in the microwave. Cook on high for 6-8 minutes.

5. When cooked remove the cling film  and place a plate on top of the bowl and flip over. The jam may slip off so just spoon it back on top.

6. Now slice into 4-6 wedges … drench with custard .. and be transported back to your childhood !

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Can puddings get any easier ???

The Rhubarb & Custard Jam was very kindly sent to me from Duerr’s to use in my baking . Many Thanks .

Everything’s Ros(i)e ….

cava

Picture the scene … Christmas is over ( OK so it’s not quite yet but we’re imagining !!) … New Years Eve has been and gone … and you suddenly find yourself all partied out yet not quite ready to let the festivities go ! Well I have found the perfect solution for this … so pull on your  PJ’s  .. invite the girls over … and grab yourself a bottle of Rosada Brut cava from the Co-op ! Light and fruity … perfect for the ultimate girls night in !!  The bubbles evoke the joy of Christmas past and the decadent  ripe cherry & strawberry hues of the cava allows us to look towards the warmer days that are headed our way ( once we’ve weathered the winter ) …

The perfect accompaniment to this delicious wine is the greatest cheeseboard you could imagine … brie , stilton , wensleydale ( with cranberries …) , crumbly Cheshire cheese , even the humble cheddar ( extra mature I hasten to add)  .. add to that some salty Serrano ham , chorizo , salami and parma ham ….. then add to that the  plumpest sundried tomatoes and the most delicious peppers … and I think ladies and gents you can rest assured that the festivities may well continue …

You could also enhance the fresh and unique taste of this wine by bringing summer into your party and  have a go at making a delicious summery summer fruits pavlova ….

It Might be Winter but the Sun is shining Inside  Pavlova

4 egg whites

250g caster sugar

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1tsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla extract

500g strawberries hulled and halved ( Or any other fruit that floats your boat)

3 tbsp icing sugar

350ml double cream

  1. Heat oven to 150C/130C (fan)  . Using a pencil, mark out the circumference of a dinner plate on baking /greaseproof paper. Whisk the egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until the meringue looks glossy. Whisk in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla.
  2. Spread the meringue inside the circle, creating a crater by making the sides a little higher than the middle. Bake for 1 hr, then turn off the heat and let the Pavlova cool completely inside the oven.
  3. When the meringue is cool, chop the strawberries.. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and spread it over the meringue. Put the fruit on the cream and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar !
  4. Don’t feel limited to just strawberries … I have used kiwi fruit , figs , raspberries , redcurrants and blackberries !! Use what you’ve got and whatever makes you happy !!

fig pavlova

Then sit back and have fun with your friends and your Rosada Cava . I do believe we have just got ourselves a party ….. Enjoy ! Happy new year folks !!

This blog post is part of The Central England Co-operative’s #welikewine campaign which you can find out more about HERE .

Christmas Camembert Parcels & Prosecco

prosecco

Psssst !!!! Guess what ??  Christmas is coming …. ** ducks and runs for cover ** !! No seriously , we are 5 weeks away from the big man turning up  …5 weeks ! So that means I’ve got 5 weeks of Christmas food to bring you … and Christmas drinkies too !! I know … you’re very welcome !!

I was asked to review some fizzy wine for The Central England Co-operative #welikewine campaign … you can read more about that HERE … so I popped along to the local co-op  and bought myself a bottle of Prosecco ( and a cava!! Cheeky tipples I know)

This prosecco is made specifically for The co-operative  and is ” a pale straw yellow with delicate bubbles … it has an attractive floral and appley nose… it has well balanced acidity and the almond flavours traditionally typical of a prosecco ..” It goes on to state it would compliment seafood and fruity dishes ! However being a self confessed seafood hater … I found that it perfectly matched my camembert parcel and was in no way overpowered by the strong smooth baked cheese (see below)  the cranberry sauce worked fantastically well with the bubbles ! In fact I found the prosecco to be an absolute delight and one that will definitely be gracing our Christmas table !

I decided that to drink such a fine drink without a fine morsel would be a crying shame so I opted for our Christmas favourite of baked camembert and crusty bread with homemade cranberry sauce …. but this time I made it into a parcel !!! Very festive I know !! This complimented the fine sparkling wine and bought Christmas winging its way full throttle into our home !

campros

Christmas Camembert Parcels 

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry ( make your own if you like !!! )

250g camembert wheel

1 medium egg , beaten 

Unroll your pastry and cut a 1cm thick length off each side so you have 4 strips of pastry ready for decoration .

Place the cheese in the centre of the pastry square and bring the edges together to envelope the wheel. Cut off any excess – you don’t want big thick bits of pastry as this will be raw still after cooking ! 

Turn the parcel over .. now using 2 of the strips of pastry , lay them across the parcel to make it look like ribbon . next take the other strips and make a bow ! Place this on the parcel !!! I then cut out some holly leaves to place on top just to use up the extra bits ! To be honest you can decorate it how you like ! Whatever makes you happy ! 

Place your parcel in the fridge to chill for 15-30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees (200 degrees fan) .

Brush the parcel with the beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes !

Serve with the crusty bread & cranberry sauce … Pop the cork and let the festive season draw you in !!!