We tried a couple of Beef Wellingtons from Bakers of Nailsea, our local butcher and we watched them being prepared in the shop.
A fillet steak is placed on a sheet of pastry and pâté with duxelles is spread over it. The steak is then wrapped in the pastry. OK not the most sophisticated Wellington, but all we needed to do was pop them in the oven for an easy meal. We served with sautéed potatoes and green beans tossed in garlic butter and lemon juice.
Our wine choice was a bottle of H. Valrasque Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014, a full-bodied French red blend from Tesco.
We detected black fruits on the nose, with red and black fruits on the palate and a hint of spice and chocolate on the finish. Probably not the best example of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but still a very good match with the Beef Wellington.
We tried Beef Carbonnade from the Slow Cook Book. Cubed beef is slow-cooked in a mixture of shallots, seasoning, garlic, sugar, nutmeg, bouquet garni and beer. We used a can of Hobgoblin.
Slices of French bread spread with Dijon mustard are added halfway through the cooking time. These soak into the pot and enhance the gravy. Parsley is sprinkled over the top at the end and we served the carbonnade with a jacket potato. A very enjoyable meal.
We opened a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines. There were blackberry fruits on the nose and the palate delivered a creamy vanilla sweetness and rich, smooth black fruits. The wine was a very good match with the meal.
We enjoyed the leftovers of this carbonnade with a bottle of Reserve de Pierre 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red also from Naked Wines. This blend of Grenache and Syrah displayed nice legs in the glass, a red berry creamy sweetness and a smooth finish with a hint of spice. Another very good match.
We visited Jamaica a few months ago and brought back with us some Island Spice Jerk Pork rub. The rub contains corn starch, crushed pepper, Jamaican pimento, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, black pepper, salt, sugar, cumin and Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper.
We coated some pork chops in the rub, grilled them on the barbecue and served them with a mixed green salad.
We thought the pork was reasonably tasty, but didn’t think it was especially hot as indicated on the packet.
We paired the food with a bottle of Fetzer Crimson 2010, a medium-bodied Californian red blend from Tesco made from Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Durif and Petit Verdot. An enjoyable, easy drinking wine that delivered mixed red and black fruits, with a warm spiciness. It was a good match with the pork.
We bought some Wolf Berner Sausages from Costco. These are frankfurter-style sausages stuffed with Emmental cheese and wrapped in bacon. We decided to grill them on the barbecue and serve with a potato salad, corn on the cob and pickled gherkins.
The sausages were alright, but a bit salty for us. We also didn’t detect much cheese.
We paired the meal with a bottle of La Rectorie Côtes du Vivarais 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red blend from Waitrose.
The wine had a perfumed nose, with red fruit flavours and a slightly spicy finish. An easy drinking wine that was a good match with the food.
We enjoyed a home-made warming beef stew that was perfect for a November evening.
We cooked minced beef with carrots, turnip, swedes, potatoes, onion, beef stock , bouquet garni, bay leaves and basil.
Lighter stews like this often pair well with medium-bodied French reds and so we opened a bottle of Benjamin Darnault Minervois 2012, a southern French red blend of Grenache and Syrah from Naked Wines.
We enjoyed the wine’s red fruits and a slight sweetness that had an affinity with the root vegetables. There was also a little spiciness on the finish.
We thought the wine was a very good match with the stew.
We tried a Spanish recipe from Supercook – Huevos a la Flamenca, which is eggs baked with chorizo, onions and pepper.
The eggs are baked in the oven with sliced chorizo sausage, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, sliced green pepper, pimiento and oregano.
For us this taste of Spain demanded a Spanish wine and we opened a bottle of Drac Magic Tempranillo-Garnaxta-Syrah, Catalunya 2011, a full-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society.
We tasted red fruits, especially strawberries, black cherries, spiciness and a dark chocolate and vanilla sweetness. The finish was smooth and rounded. This lovely wine was a perfect match with the food.
Nautical Stew from Supercook might sound like a fish recipe, but it’s a simply-prepared beef stew ideal for those cooking in a yachting galley, or people like me who wanted to cook something with minimal preparation while the wife was away.
Stewing beef is simmered on the hob with onions, paprika, canned tomatoes, baked beans, brandy and fresh sliced red pepper, not tinned as in the recipe. I served it with garlic bread.
I opened a bottle of Lidl Minervois 2012, a medium-bodied French red blend of Syrah and Grenache. It was juicy with raspberry and blackcurrant fruits and some spiciness. A good match with the meal.
The steaks were pan-fried with a reduced fresh beef stock, Cognac, crushed black peppercorns and crème fraîche. As suggested by Delia, we served with a jacket potato and a leafy salad. This superb recipe deserved a decent bottle of wine.
We opened our bottle of Tesco’s Finest Gigondas 2009, a full-bodied French red from the Southern Rhône and a blend of Syrah and Grenache. We savoured its berry fruits, pepperiness and smooth vanilla spiciness with the steak and thought this lovely wine was an excellent match with the meal.
We cooked Supercook’s Coq au Vin (Chicken Cooked in Red Wine), the world-famous traditional French casserole. The chicken is casseroled with bacon, Cognac, red wine, chicken stock, tomato puree, garlic, bouquet garni, mushrooms and onions. We served this with mashed potatoes and green beans.
Last time we cooked this recipe we used chorizo instead of the bacon prescribed and the chorizo dominated the flavours. We much prefer the original.
This deserves a decent red wine to accompany it and we opened a bottle of Domaine Baillat Rouge – Corbières 2010, a southern French red from the Wine Society. This rich and full wine is a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache and we found it to be spicy, peppery, with red and black fruits, although the latter predominated. It had a smooth finish and was a very good match with the meal.
We entertained guests with a Fondue Bourguignonne on the weekend and one of the dipping sauces was a Mojo Picon – a spicy sauce from the Canaries. We had some sauce leftover and decided to use it as the basis of a Chilli Con Carne. The sauce is made from small pieces of toast, water, white wine vinegar, garlic, chillies, cumin, paprika and olive oil. We added this to minced beef, fresh red chilli, cumin, coriander, tomato puree, tinned chopped tomatoes, a red pepper and kidney beans. The result was a very tasty Chilli.
We drank a bottle of El Campeador Jumilla 2011, a full bodied Spanish red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. The wine is a blend of Syrah, Monastrell and Petit Verdot. It was smooth, with flavours of mocha and black cherries with a slight sweetness. A good wine, but not an exceptional match with the meal.