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Category: Wine

Wine Soup

Wine Soup

“O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.”—William Shakespeare (it should be noted that dear old Bill was not talking about this soup, which should serve 2 with no ill effects). 3 egg yolks 1 tsp plain flour 1 tsp sugar 175ml (1/3 pint) water 350ml (½ a bottle) white wine Beat 3 yolks of quite fresh eggs to a froth with a whisk over the fire adding…

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Moules à la Marinière

Moules à la Marinière

The best use of bad wine is to drive away poor relations, they say. Well, this serves 4, so get out the good stuff. 1.8kg (4 lbs) mussels 4 shallots, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp plain flour 2 big handfuls fresh parsley, roughly chopped 6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces 500ml (1 pint) dry white wine Fry the shallots and garlic gently with some parsley stalks until soft, then add the flour and stir well. Pour…

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Huîtres au Champagne

Huîtres au Champagne

This recipe was allegedly created at the Hôtel de la Côte d’Or in Saulieu, near Dijon, by the legendary chef-patron Monsieur François Minot. I cannot add any more—except more champagne. Serves 6-8. 48 flat, round oysters 1 shallot, chopped 4 large egg yolks 225g (8 oz) butter 250ml (½ pint) thick, whipped cream ½ bottle champagne Shuck the oysters and put them with their liquid in a large pan, arranging the shells on a baking tray. Boil the wine and…

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Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is the granddaddy of boozy dishes. A whole bottle of wine. Do it right, and this is probably the best recipe in the book. Serves 4 hungry people, and fills them right up. 1 large chicken whole black pepper 150g (5 oz) bacon, cut into thin strips butter 2 medium onions, roughly chopped 1 large carrot, roughly chopped 2 cloves of garlic 2 tbsps plain flour 4 or 5 small sprigs of thyme 3 bay leaves 80g…

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All-in-one Guineafowl

All-in-one Guineafowl

This fantastic dish includes everything you need for a full roast dinner in one pan, so it’s not much work, and the gamey guineafowl gives it plenty of flavour. Serves several hungry people. 1 guineafowl 3-4 large sprigs rosemary, chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 fennel bulbs, quartered, 2 large red onions, quartered 450g (1 lb) small new potatoes 3 tbsp pancetta, cubed 2 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper large glass white wine Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas…

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Odd days

Odd days

Last week was the final day of trading at Oddbins Camden High Street, the finest wine merchants in North London, where I spent five years – on and off – drinking learning about wine, and other beverages. It’s hard to express what an impact this place – and the culture of Oddbins in general – had on me. Before I worked there I knew nothing about wine, and no particular interest in it. By the time I left, I was…

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Vin Santo and Prosciutto

Vin Santo and Prosciutto

Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine, got its name from a Siennese legend which tells of a Franciscan friar who in 1348 cured plague victims with the wine normally used by the brothers to celebrate the mass; the conviction that this wine had miraculous properties spread, leading to the epithet santo (‘holy’). This dish is pretty blessed too. 250g (9 oz) risotto rice 8 slices prosciutto 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 celery head, chopped 100g (4 oz) parmesan, grated…

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Ribs braised in wine

Ribs braised in wine

“If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?”—Cardinal Richelieu 8 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp plain flour 10 cloves garlic, peeled 8 large shallots, peeled and split 2 medium carrots, peeled and quartered 2 stalks celery, peeled, and cut into small pieces 1 medium leek, washed and roughly chopped 6 sprigs parsley 2 sprigs thyme 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp tomato paste 2.8l (3 quarts) stock Freshly ground white pepper…

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Patatas a la Riojana

Patatas a la Riojana

To make this spicy tapas dish truly authentic, use a good white Rioja, although any good quality dry white will do. 650g (1 ½ lbs) small potatoes 175ml (1/3 cup) olive oil 1 large onion, sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 red peppers, chopped 1 tbsp paprika 1 tsp salt 225g (½ lb) chorizo, sliced water 2-3 guindillas or other small mildly hot pickled chile peppers 125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine Cut the potatoes halfway through, and…

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King Prawns in Sake

King Prawns in Sake

The first sake, Japanese rice wine, was made by people chewing rice, chestnuts, millet and acorn and spitting the mixture into a tub. Luckily, production has moved on somewhat since those times, and the only mouth this lot is going in will be yours. Serves 4. 650g (1 ½ lb) king prawns 2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped 125ml (½ cup) sweet chilli sauce noodles Marinade the prawns in the sake for several hours, and preferably overnight. Fry the pears…

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