Wednesday 18 February 2009

Bread Alert !

Ok, it's not wine. But it goes brilliantly. Especially with a nice hard cheese.
It looks like an artisanal bread from a farmer's market. One of those loaves claiming lineage... baked from an ancient Etruscan grain, in a Moroccan mud oven, probably organic and costing £5! The stalls are always surrounded by lifestyle couples with more money than sense and more children than an old lady living in a shoe.
Well, it's not. I made it. What's more it's dead easy, tastes delicious and requires NO kneading!! Hate to sound evangelical but everyone should try this. It uses about 20 pence worth of flour. Credit Crunch Tastic!
The recipe comes from the New York Times, click on those words for a link to the article. There's a link to the recipe half way down the page. The genius who invented this method uses a lidded pot, like a Le Creuset, to recreate the fierce heat associated with wood fired and industrial ovens. I used a cast iron pot and it worked a treat. One word of advice, don't be tempted to oil it first, my kitchen still whiffs. There are probably endless things you could add to it, I tried a few black cumin seeds and some olive oil yesterday, mmm.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Puppies Make Prizes !

Forget turning water into wine, that's old hat, look what this puppy turned into!

Well, more accurately look what Archie the 9 month old fox terrier's very generous owner Gordon gave us for looking after the wee scamp. Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle. A stunning champagne. Could babble on about toasted brioche and hazelnuts but wouldn't do it justice. One thing worth mentioning though is it's incredible refreshing quality, positively thirst quenching! I'm reminded of that famous quote from the grand dame of champagne, Madame Lily Bollinger:

"I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty."

Think I'd have liked Lily!
Gordon has a new restaurant on the south-side of Glasgow. The Merrylee Road Bar and Kitchen. Haven't been yet but it looks incredible value and the Daily Record's Tam Cowan likes it, and he used to do a lot of eating before becoming strangely thin.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Yum-yum bubble gum

Mmm, like visiting an aunt in the 1950s, whose husband did something unspeakable in the war.  He spends all his time tending impossibly coloured roses. She gets over excited by visitors.  The welcoming kiss is a heady mix... lipstick, rouge, redcurrant... and, wait, what's that? a tobacco scented tongue?
You can get this wine from FINGAL-ROCK.  You should.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Red Wine Bargain

Top glugger!  It was recommended by someone called 'wine expert' on those tags they attach to most supermarket wines now. No matter how lowly the wine, someone, somewhere, will have recommended it.... and the supermarkets love recommendations.
Anyhow Mr Expert is on the money.  The label says cherries and wild berries.....I'd say blackberries and cherries squished in the dusty pockets of an old boiler suit, mixed with a bit of fag ash and a soupcon of phlegm. In a good way.  Think you might notice drinking too much of this one..... in the interests of research I'll experiment asap and post the results.  Anyway, at £3.99 from Sainsbury's you can't complain.

Friday 6 February 2009

Wine Society Price Hike

Just received my latest Wine Society catalogue. Now, I'm a really big fan of the WS - a mutual organisation set up in Victorian times to make sure it's members got good wine at a fair price. BUT, there has been a walloping price increase across the range and what really annoyed me was that it's barely mentioned.
There's a lot of guff in the newsletter from the Chairman about the 'mutual benefit' and how the crisis in the financial industry highlights just that..... well, thanks but I know all that.  It's why I joined the WS in the first place.  Then the Chief Exec talks about rising costs and how spending just a little a bit more on wine massively increases the quality of the wine you get. (Because packaging, shipping, duty are fixed costs, the same for all wine).
But at no point does it say.... "Oh, and by the way, you'll probably notice prices have gone up". Which you will!  Do they imagine by ignoring it members won't notice?  Let's take a couple of wines, some of which I've really enjoyed in the past.  Two prices, the first before January 31st; the second is the price now.

WS Cotes du Rhone: £5.50 / £6.75
Lirac 2006: £7.50 / £ 8.95
Gorrebusto Rioja 2004: £7.95 / £9.50
WS Exhibition Gigondas 2005: £10.95 / £13.95

Sadly I'm not often in the market for Chave's wines, but even if I was, this price hike would make my eyes water:

Chave Hermitage 2002: £65.00 / £85.00 !!!!! 
That's a whopping £240 a case more.

Latest bargain!

Marks and Spencer are dumping their Christmas Claret just now. Down from £7.99 to £3.99 in my local branch. Guess it's hard to shift something associated with Xmas in bleak cold February. Anyway, it's a lovely claret for the money.....and, if you buy 6 you'll get another 10% off too.  It's pretty fruity but still has that lovely Bordeaux dryness that suits food so well.  That said,we  managed to polish off a couple of bottles last night while just nibbling some cheese.  On the cork it says this wine is actually from Chateau D'Argadens, Bordeaux Superieur 2004.