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This post is in no small part an excuse to post a photo of my parents on here. It is also a review (of sorts).
Apparently people normally only drink Chablis at Christmas. I’m not enough of a wine buff to have known that but when approached to try Chablis in a summer setting, I thought it sounded like a rather good plan. So I took one bottle to dinner at Mum and Dad’s and left the other bottle with them so that they could take it to their friends in Gloucester.
I’ve spent may happy summers in France and sitting out on the patio on a warm summer’s evening with a glass of this wine, eating good food and setting the world to rights with Mr B, Mum and Dad was perfect. Also, it made me REALLY want to go and visit the town of Chablis and the burgundy area.
As I say, I don’t know that much about wine but it tasted light, refreshing and just sweet enough for me. It seemed to me to be a great accompaniment to Dad’s BBQ selection, a fresh salad, wedges and some pine nut pasta salad from Sainbury’s. All eaten at a very leisurely pace on the parental patio.
Here’s mum and her friend Irene standing in their garden with the second bottle (a petit Chablis). The weather wasn’t so good by then so they made an extra attempt to find a summery spot. Thanks! They also really enjoyed the bottle and agreed that it worked well as a summer drink.
I’ve noted down the name of the bottle tried, as I try to keep an idea of the ones I like so that I can buy them in the future. It was ‘Domaine Vocoret et Fils Montmains, Chablis Premier Cru 2012′ and costs about £14 normally. That’s more than I’d typically spend on wine (yes I know – heathen!) but I do start to understand why people pay a bit more. Also, given that I’d never just buy to drink on my own it makes it more reasonable as it’s an occasional thing.
I was sent the two bottles by www.chablis-wines.com and Sopexa as I was unable to take part in their summer challenge. I wasn’t paid (except in wine) or required to say nice things.
Mr B and I went on our summer holiday last week. Three days in Lisbon and a couple inland near the Spanish border. I can thoroughly recommend it for sunshine, great scenery, lovely people, good food and a slower pace. If are planning on going to Portugal, do get in touch and I’ll write you a list.
Before we’d even left the Metro station from the Airport I’d spotted two stalls selling the famous Pasteis de Nata. A patisserie in Belem, just up the coast from Lisbon, started making these cinnamon flavoured custard tarts back 1837. The recipe is reported to have been developed by monks in order to use up leftover egg yolks. That particular recipe is a closely guarded secret but very close approximations have become a staple around the country.
This is how it should look if you eat it with an espresso in 27 degrees and sunshine:
We all know that even if you buy the exact same bottle of wine that tasted so wonderful on the veranda of your French gate, it’s never going to taste as good back home when you’ve got work looming on Monday morning. So, this is an easy-make homage to Pasteis de Nata. It will evoke the memories, without undoing all that relaxation from the holiday!
You can find the recipe over on my other home – the Rangemaster.co.uk blog:
This is a bit late, but with good reason as my parcel this month came from Marina in Switzerland but posted from Germany because it’s cheaper. It’s a brilliant box including savoury, sweet, eating, snacking and drinking all while showcasing Switzerland. These boxes always outdo the last. It even came with a printoff that said “a balanced diet is a piece of cake in each hand”.
So what was in there? Käserösti Le Gruyere – a cheesy potato roti in a packet which is a Swiss standard apparently. It looks like you cook it just my putting it all in a frying pan. Great for a speedy dinner one night – hurrah. Stedy HärdöpfelGwürz (aka Potatospice mix) – For fries, wedges, baked potatoes etc. Mr B will love having an excuse for more potato eating and we’ve just had a bag full delivered in our veg box. They also suggest using it on salads, corn on the cob etc. It says use it instead of salt. Gallen Biber cake – No. Not Bieber. This is traditional cake from the Marina’s area of Switzerland. It is a very dense, almost biscuity gingerbread made from a honey dough and filled with a white marzipan-type almond filling. Chocolate, Fruit & Nut mix – Salty nuts, chocolate covered raisins and dried mango. AMAZING! And a really big pot of it too.
David Rio Toucan Mango Chai - A hot drink mix of mango, black tea and spices. Their whole range looks interesting such as Vanilla Chai and Maple Moose Chai. I’m not sure how I feel about fruity chai but I’m looking forward to trying it. Green Tea Latte mix – I know it’s sacrilege to green tea, but I had a S*Bucks green tea latte in Hong Kong and loved it. I’m just not hardcore enough for the real thing. Turkish apple teabags – they smell really good. Swiss milk chocolate with hazelnuts – a huuuuuge slab of it. Yum. Lindt White chocolate with apricot and hazelnut – I’ve not seen this flavour over here. I like white chocolate , though for entirely different cravings to dark chocolate so I will enjoy this. Ragusa Noir 60%- I made some espresso with my beans from Caravan Kings Cross and had it with a bit of this. Wow. Its a really rich praline truffle bar with bits of hazelnut in it. Mon Cheri - Kirsh coaked cherrys in chocolate. Hic! .
More about Foodie Penpals
Started by The Lean Green Bean, Foodie penpals is a way for food bloggers and blog readers to get to know each other, via a lovely parcel in the mail every month. This is Rock Salt has brought it to the UK and Europe. Here’s the rough outline of how it works:
- All interested parties in the UK and Europe – bloggers and blog readers alike – sign up by the form available at the bottom of the Terms and Conditions post
- Participants are matched on the 5th of the month
- Penpals send thoughtful, food related parcels, on or before the 20th of the month. The parcels can include home baked treats, shop bought treats (especially local or unusual things), cake cases or decorations – use your imagination. The parcel must include something hand written – a note explaining the box’s contents, a recipe card, whatever you like. The price limit for the boxes is £10 – this is a limit, the point is not the cost, but the thought (no, really!)
- Penpals open their boxes and rejoice!
- At the end of the month, everyone blogs about their box, or writes a guest blog post if they are usually a blog reader and not writer. Everyone reads one another’s posts and rejoices some more. Posts are made available on Lindsay’s blog so we can all find each other easily
I made these back in May 2011 for my Mum’s Cake Mountainous Birthday celebrations. I never got around to posting the recipe, obviously. Predictable.
Mr B and I went to visit Aunty Carol & Uncle David shortly after and took a selection of the aforementioned mountain. I remember that these biscuits were a favourite so when we extremely cheekily asked them for a lift to and from Stanstead to aid us in our trip to Portugal I thought it was a great excuse to get baking some thankyou biscuits. I also made a batch for next door neighbour John who was celebrating his 60th and looking after our cats!
Typically I can’t locate the original recipe, which came from a Sainsbury’s Cakes and Cookies magazine. But this one from Tesco worked just as well I think. If you look at the recipe on the Tesco site it also includes a custard buttercream filling. I was too busy packing and being excited to make it, but I imagine it would be very nice.
Chocolate Melting Moments
from Tesco Real Food
60g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla bean paste / extract if you must
150g plain flour – I used a gluten free mix from Doves Farm, which makes them extra crumbly.
25g cocoa powder
Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla together until pale and fluffy
Add the flour, cornflour and cocoa.
Mix until smooth.
Ideally, chill the dough while you preheat oven to 180c / 160c fan.
It’s not essentially but will make things less messy.
Make little balls of the dough – about pingpong ball sized. You should get about 30.
Place on a line tray or baking mat and press a fork into the top of them to squash them down a little.
They won’t spread much at all but leave a bit of space.
Bake for 12 mins. Leave to cool before trying to move them.
Slide a slice or palette knife under them when moving to avoid them crumbling.
Chocolate milk by the beach
Driving from Lisbon to our middle-of-nowhere second stop…
Particularly the tomatoes. Ice cream later at the beach….and McDonalds on the train back. Can’t be classy all the time!
Ps.horrible photo clearly doesn’t do the salad, or me, justice