Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

Another spaghetti dish but the full fat version this time – lot’s of double cream and cheese. This is a mysterious Italian dish from Jamie’s Italy which he claims is an old Italian recipe. We’ve looked in all of our Italian cookbooks and cannot find a reference to it anywhere. We even asked a real live Italian and he’d never heard of it either. So we’ll explain what it is – a super-indulgent chicken and mushroom pasta bake. We like it.

Spaghetti tetrazzini – chicken and mushroom pasta bake – to serve 6

  • 20g of dried porcini mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 350g of mixed fresh mushrooms, wiped and torn
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 500g dried spaghetti
  • 500ml double cream
  • 200g Parmesan, grated
  • a sprig of basil, leaves picked

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover (about 150ml). Set aside to soak for a few minutes. Heat a large saucepan, and pour in a splash of olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown gently in the oil. Strain the porcini, keeping the liquid, and add to the pan with the garlic and fresh mushrooms. Add the wine, with the strained porcini soaking water, and turn the heat down. Simmer gently until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the wine has reduced a little.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water according to the pack instructions, then drain well. Add the cream to the chicken, bring to the boil and then turn off the heat. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the creamy chicken sauce and toss well. Add three-quarters of the Parmesan and all the basil and stir well. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish, sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese and bake in the oven until brown, bubbling and crispy on the top (about 10-15 minutes). Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese.

Wine Suggestion: We cooked this dish to match an unusual wine that has been sitting in our rack for some time now. A Chardonnay and Savignin (not Sauvignon) blend from the Jura, in Eastern France. This wine has earthy flavours and is a slightly oxidised style – oxidation is normally what destroys wines when they’ve been open too long so this is a bit unusual. At 13 years old (vintage 1998) it showed beautifully with lovely yellow apple flavours and a fresh acidity. Still we loved it and it was a perfect match for this creamy chicken and mushrooms dish. If you can’t find a wine from the Jura we suggest a cool climate Chardonnay that has weight but maintained its acidity – a Pouilly-Fuisse or Meursault  would be perfect.

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A very eye-catching wine label and a delightful wine to drink as well. This was brought over by our friend Jennifer from one of our local wine shops: The Wine Boutique in Ringsend, Dublin.

Being from Rueda in central Spain this wine is dominated by Verdejo, but interestingly it also has some Albillo,  a little known grape. Albillo has very little flavour characteristics, but has been cleverly used by the winemaker because it is quite glycerous and smooths acidity in wines. Because Verdejo is fresh, aromatic and typically acidic this is a clever trick and has worked very well as the wine is fresh, fruity and smooth, so very easy to drink.

Well recommended by Jen and well enjoyed by all – worth checking out and great value at €11.00

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Reserve du Reverend, Corbières 2009, €9.95 from Mitchell & Son, Dublin

Jules and I regularly drink wines from the south of France, we find them reliable and usually good value; the Reserve du Reverend is no exception.

Corbières is the largest appellation in the Languedoc, southern France. As such it has the advantage of good, warm weather and plenty of sunshine. It also has cooling breezes sweeping up from the Mediterranean into the Pyrenees. This breeze helps keep the grapes from getting too hot and then becoming jammy and alcoholic.

Like many wines from this area the Reserve du Reverend is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah; these grapes give a juiciness without any hard edges. The joy here is the balance of brambly, dark berried fruit and the easy, velvety and slightly herbal spices. A wine that doesn’t try to be any more than enjoyable and drinkable. Because it succeeds at this there is a big cheers from me.

A wine that is as easy to drink on its own, or with rustic French fare: grilled meats, roast duck, lamb or ratatouille.

After a long week at work and on a rainy Friday night in the middle of our Irish summer it was good to get home, cook a simple pasta and open something uncomplicated but well made, balanced and enjoyable.

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We opened this as a a birthday on a week night treat. We wanted bubbles, but also liked the idea of lower alcohol, and it hit the spot very nicely!

Antech, Doux Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale NV (£8.95 form the Wine Society, UK)

This wine is a bit of a throw back and is made in a more rustic way than the sophisticated Champagne method. The grapes are grown to extra ripeness and partially fermented to about 5% alcohol. The wine is then transferred to bottle where it ferments a little more, giving the fizz. Made from Mauzac, the result is an apple pie of a wine; in fact we’re going to serve an apple pie or tarte tatin next time we open a bottle! It has a real creaminess with soft and mouth-filling bubbles. Though not completely elegant and sophisticated this nonetheless oozes charm and playfulness. The flavours are dominated by apples, but we also got rich double cream, poached pears and a touch of quince plus hints of caramelisation (like you get when cooking a tarte tatin). Delicious!

In contrast to Champagne and many traditional sparkling wines this has bags of fruitiness. It is comparable with the very fruity Moscato d’Asti, which like this has naturally low alcohol. The Blanquette however has a good dollop of acidity, which comes from the Mauzac grape, to make it all the more refreshing and attractive.


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Jono picked up this Whiting for just over €3 for 500g – the challenge then was finding a recipe to use it with. This one is from “I Know How to Cook” (the French Silver Spoon) which we got at Christmas but hadn’t used yet. The sauce is delicious and the fish cooks just right. Next time you see some bargain whiting, grab it!

Whiting  to serve 6 (we only used half the amount of fish but kept the quantities for the sauce)

  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 3-4 shallots, chopped
  • small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 250g tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and torn up small
  • six fillets of whiting (or whole whiting, scaled and cleaned)
  • 400ml white wine
  • 50g butter, plus a bit more to grease the dish
  • 30g flour
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 220C and grease a flameproof dish with butter.

Mix onion, shallot, parsley and tomatoes together in a bowl and season. Spoon into your greased dish.

Put the fish on top and pour the wine over everything.

Bring to the boil over a high heat and then cover with buttered greaseproof paper.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, soften the butter slightly (if its come straight from the fridge) and mix to a paste with the flour.

Transfer the fish to a serving dish and keep warm (but don’t put it back in your hot oven at this stage or it will over cook).

Boil the juices in the pan and reduce.

Gradually stir in the paste, making sure each bit is fully blended in before you add more.

Stir in lemon juice to taste, add the creme fraiche and adjust seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the fish and put some more parsley over the top.

Serve with some steamed baby spuds.

Wine suggestion: Kelly from the wine shop in Harvey Nichols (Dundrum) suggested La Griffe Bernard Chéreau, Muscadet Sevre et Maine (€15)  and it was a great match: honeyed, minerally and rounded. I know we always suggest Muscadet with white fish but it goes!

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