And the wines that match them perfectly. By Kate
Yesterday was perhaps the least productive Friday of my life. A combination of working from early till late too many days in a row combined with residual resentment at the fact that my long holiday in February has had to contract down to a long weekend off meant that for most of it my to do list – majestic in its scope at the moment – remained largely unaltered.
I did spend quite a lot of time talking on Twitter to a lovely lady at an Organic Farm Shop in East Sussex about dancing to African music. We were both doing so – she in between customers and me in between staring at a screen trying to find the will to achieve something. ANYTHING. Cutting a rug on Twitter doesn’t really qualify.
And then dinner came along and saved the day. Katie and Mr P came round for a feast and two of the food and wine combinations were so astonishingly good, I convinced myself that the very fact of the discovery of them made the 27th of January a hugely constructive day after all.
Crab Pate, home made soda bread and herb and onion salad with 2010 Canta Manana Rose.
One medium onion
2 small cloves of garlic
Teaspoon of mustard seeds
Heaped teaspoon of hazelnut paste
200g brown crab meat from Seafood and Eat it
Slice onion and garlic and fry with the mustard seeds and the hazelnut paste (from my beloved Gelupo Gelato in Soho) till the onion is soft and translucent. Remove from the heat and add crab meat. Whizz in food processor and refrigerate. I made this two days before so that all the flavours would have time to meld and express themselves and it was completely delicious. The hint of nuttiness was evident and gave a richer undertone.
This was served with a herb and onion salad taken from my favourite book of the moment – Sally Butcher’s Veggistan. Utterly simple, sliced onion with fresh mint, parsley and coriander ; this worked amazingly well with the crab and with the wine which emphasised the mint.
The wine of course is a perennial favourite of ours and one which I am constantly trying to find excuses to drink. We had this at around 13 – 14 degrees which was perfect, served in the glass vase I am currently using as a carafe at home.
The bread was from a recipe from Dan Lepard who is, I have decided, the GOD of baked goods. I love him.
(I haven’t actually met him, but based on how all his recipes work like magic perfection, I feel big love none the less).
Incidentally, the wine also went amazingly well with the beetroot and orange salad (another Veggistan wonder) which we had with the main course.
Quinoa and hazelnut cake with 1999 Domaine Fontanel Rivesaltes Ambre (£16.75 - a brand new addition and not on the web site quite yet).
I think that this is also a Dan Lepard recipe but as it is one I cut out of a paper a while ago, I am not positive. I did modify it slightly, avoiding butter and sucrose and it is gluten free as well. I also didn’t realise till later that there was a distinctly hazelnutty bent to the menu but I do seem to have a bit of a thing for them at the moment.
150g Hazlenuts (I actually only had about 100g to hand and so used almonds to make up the difference. This worked amazingly well – giving almost a slightly bakewell tart-ish character to the finished article)
25g coconut oil
60g Fruit sugar
4 separated eggs (I used organic duck, as always)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornflour
Most of a jar of St Dalfour black cherry jam
(these are the amazing jams made only with fruit sugar.)
Put the quinoa and hazlenuts on separate trays and bake in a 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes until lightly browned. Put the quinoa in a pan and cover with 400ml cold water. Cover and bring to the boil and then cook till the water has disappeared and the grains have softened and expanded. Cool.
Grind the nuts and melt the coconut oil.
Beat the egg yolks with the honey. In a separate bowl, beat the whites with the fruit sugar and baking powder until thick. Fold the quinoa, hazlenuts, cinnamon and cornflour into the yolks and then fold in the egg white mixture. Pour the mixture into a spring form cake tin and bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.
When cool, spread the top with the cherry jam and then drink with this amazing wine. By the time we got round to this course, it was past midnight and the evening had acquired its own special haze. Our glasses were still full of Philippe Pacalet’s Bel Air (tasting extraordinary), so I have to confess to serving this in shot glasses which is all I had polished and ready to go.
Not the best format for this wine, but it worked none the less. This is probably the bargain of our dessert wine section at the moment - over £10 years old, beautifully complex and nutty and £16.75 for a full bottle. BUY SOME NOW.