Wine Review – Central Co-Operative – Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

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My wine review this month for the Central England Co-Operative We Like Wine blog is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Villa Maria.

The Villa Maria vineyard started in 1961 when George Fistonich, at the age of 21, leased 5 acres of land from his father in Auckland, New Zealand.  His first harvest of grapes the following year, in 1962, saw him produce his first wine under the Villa Maria name. In the 1980s, Villa Maria instigated the first grape grower bonus where grapes were no longer paid for based on quantity but on the quality of the grape. Export began in 1988 and the winery became an accredited member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) in 1995.  The new Marlborough winery opened in 2000 and the following year, Villa Maria decided to move 100% to screw caps and became a cork-free zone.  In 2009, George Fistonich was awarded the country’s first Knighthood for services to the New Zealand wine industry.  The brand has continued to evolve since that day in 1961, from that single handed business, to a company that operates from three sites in Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, employs over 250 personnel and exports wine to over 50 countries worldwide, whilst still remaining a family owned business.

This 2014 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc produced from grapes sourced from vineyards across the Marlborough region has a beautiful, very pale straw colour and an incredibly fresh smell.  Close your eyes and inhale the citrus undertones of the acidic fruits.  Raise the glass to your mouth and savour the sharpness of the gooseberries, the citrus notes and the balance of melon and passionfruit. It’s the perfect accompaniment to white meat and fish so we chose to serve it with my Chicken and Leek Stroganoff.  They say that you should never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink.  Well, in reply to that, I say buy two bottles of this so there’s plenty left to drink and enjoy before, during and after you’ve cooked and eaten.

I wish 2015 to be happy, healthy and prosperous for you all.  I raise my glass to you all. Cheers!

I was sent a voucher with which to purchase a bottle of white wine. I chose the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc currently priced at £11.25 (Price as at 15/12/2014).

Chicken and Leek Stroganoff

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I’ve previously reviewed Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food book that I bought for my husband.  There are several recipes in there that have become firm family favourites and that my husband often cooks for us; this recipe being one of them as it’s quick, tasty and very easy to prepare. Leeks give a wonderful flavour to a meal – coming from the Allium family which includes the onion and garlic, their flavour is much more subtle and delicate.

This recipe is based on Jamie’s from his book.

2 Large leeks
4 Chicken breasts
2tbs Olive oil
20g Butter
250ml White wine (if it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with)
100ml Water
15ml Wholegrain mustard
300g Basmati Rice
Bunch fresh, flat leaved parsley
300ml Single cream
1/2 Lemon
Salt & pepper

1. Put a large pan of lightly salted water on to boil.
2. Wash your leeks then cut them lengthways into quarters, from top to bottom, then slice across the stems (whites and greens) into 1cm thicknesses.

3. Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, approx. 1cm x 2cm .
4. Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil and butter.  Heat until melted.
5. Add the leeks, wine, water, mustard, salt and pepper.
6. Stir together then bring to the boil and cover loosely with a lid or foil.
7. Put your rice in your boiling water, stir once and return to the boil.  Simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes (according to packet instructions).
8. Chop the parsley, leaves and stalks, finely.
9. Add the chicken, parsley and the cream to the frying pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

10. Drain the cooked rice.
11. Add the juice of your lemon half to the stroganoff and stir just before serving.
12. Place a pile of rice on your plate and add a generous couple of spoons of the stroganoff.

Serve with a perfectly chilled glass of the white wine that you used to cook this dish with.

Book Giveaway – Holly Bell’s Recipes from a Normal Mum

The competition entry deadline has passed to win a copy of Holly Bell’s ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’ book.  Of the entries received, 25 had the correct answers to all three questions.

All correct entries were numbered in the order that they were received, between 1 and 25 and Holly was asked to pick a number in this range as the winner.

She chose number: 22
Which belonged to: Karen Moses from Ulverstone in Cumbria

The correct answers to the questions were:

1. What year was Holly a contestant and finalist on the Great British Bake Off? 2011
2. In Holly’s recipe for Sweet Potato Chips on her blog, how long do you need to bake them in the oven for? 35-40 minutes
3. In Holly’s recipe for Healthier Fish and Chips recipe on her blog, what fish does Holly recommend using? Coley


Congratulations to Karen, who wins a copy of Holly’s book ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’.  If you email your address to blog@freycob.co.uk I’ll get your book in the post in the next day or two.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter, sadly only one person could win, but every entry was greatly appreciated.

Rosie
xx

Book Review & Giveaway – Holly Bell’s Recipes from a Normal Mum

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I’m a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off and even applied to take part in the series a couple of years back.  Obviously, you haven’t seen me on it, as I didn’t get accepted onto the show!  Nevertheless, I still watch it and admit that I do cringe at some of the ‘creations’ and mistakes that are made at times.

Holly Bell was a finalist on the Great British Bake off and runs her very successful blog Recipes from a Normal Mum.  Being relatively locally based to Holly in neighbouring counties, I attended one of her cupcake decorating classes a couple of years back, followed by her bread class too.  Being so local and getting on so well (same cheeky sense of humour), I also popped over to help her out and ease her burden by being her ‘sous chef’ on a few classes too.  I feel very lucky to have kept in contact with this lovely lady since that time as Holly is one of the most genuine (& naughtily funny) ladies that I know.

Based on the roaring success of Holly’s blog and being a finalist on the Great British Bake Off, she has written a book of the same name as her blog that’s jam pack full of fabulous recipes, amazing photographs and little snippets of stories telling where the recipes have come from and hints on how to demystify and simplify the art of baking ‘Holly Style’.

I was recently invited to receive a copy of Holly’s book to review.  Along with my review copy, I was kindly sent an additional copy that I could offer as a giveaway on my blog.

There’s recipes in chapters such as ‘The More the Merrier’, ‘Feeding Goldilocks and Baby Bear Too’ as well as ‘Recipes for Chefs in the Making’ and ‘Presents from the Heart’. The simplicity of some of Holly’s recipes, along with the tasty, tried and tested recipes makes this every good cookery bookcase’s staple addition.

With the busy Christmas season upon us and the New Year of 2015 only days behind, what better time to choose than now to win yourself a copy of Holly’s book. Come January, you too could be baking like one of the best bakers that the Great British Bake Off has introduced us to, with the aid of Holly’s fabulous book.

In order to win this copy of Holly’s book, simply email me at blog@freycob.co.uk with the answers to the following questions.

1. What year was Holly a contestant and finalist on the Great British Bake Off?
2. In Holly’s recipe for Sweet Potato Chips on her blog, how long do you need to bake them in the oven for?
3. In Holly’s recipe for Healthier Fish and Chips recipe on her blog, what fish does Holly recommend using?

All answers can be found on Holly’s blog Recipes from a Normal Mum. The closing date for this giveaway is 6pm on Sunday 28th December 2014.  I will announce the winner shortly afterwards and will post out the winning book to reach the lucky recipient that week.  Due to the weight of the book, postage will be to the UK only.

I’m off to the kitchen to try out Holly’s Hex Family Stollen recipe. Catch you later!

I was sent a review copy and an additional copy of Holly’s to give away book free of charge.