Wine Review – Central England Co-Operative – Fair-trade Pinot Grigio

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One of two wines I’ve chosen to review for Central England Co-Op We Like Wine blog is from their Fairtrade range which comes from the Famatina Valley in Argentina.  The Famatina Valley is situated from the Velazco mountain ranges in the East to the Andes in the West and is produced by the La Riojana Wine Co-operative.  This Co-Operative helps ensure that farmers receive a better deal for their grapes, thus improving their standards of living.

Argentinian wines benefit from the grapes being grown in very sunny summers, which allows the grapes to ripen fully, whilst the melting winter snows provide ample water to irrigate the vines.  It’s a very reliable region, producing some very consistent wines. Argentina now produces some of the New World’s “oldest wines” following investment from the Dutch, the Spanish, the Italians and the Austrians.

This 2013 Pino Grigio is a vibrant and fruity dry white wine with delicate floral aromas, refreshing apple and citrus fruit flavours which goes perfectly well with creamy pasta dishes, grilled fish or even a Thai green curry.

I chose to pair this wine with my potato topped chicken and leek bake, the recipe for which you can find by clicking on the link.  I’m a strong believer that you should only cook with a wine that you’d be prepared to drink on it’s own.  So on that note, pour yourself a glass (or two), grab your ingredients and cook yourself a tasty dinner.  Cheers!

I was sent a voucher with which to purchase this bottle of wine, which currently retails at £6.99. (Price as at 08/02/2015).

Potato Topped Chicken and Leek Bake

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A delicious meal of chicken and leeks in a white wine and cream sauce topped with thinly sliced potatoes, sprinkled with cheese and baked until golden.  What more can I say?  Except sumptuous!

25g Butter
15ml Rapeseed Oil
2 Leeks, finely sliced
4 Chicken Breasts, cubed into bite sized pieces
15ml Chopped fresh parsley
30ml White Wine
60ml Single Cream
Salt and Pepper to season
4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (3-4mm)
25g Butter
50g Cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
2. Melt the butter and the oil in a large pan.
3. Gently sauté the leeks until softened.
4. Add the diced chicken and cook gently for 5 minutes.
5. Add the chopped parsley, wine and the cream
6. Season to taste.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
8. Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop the sliced potatoes in.
9. Boil for 4-5 minutes until starting to soften.
10. Pour the chicken and leek mixture into a large ovenproof dish.
11. Drain the potato slices and layer on top of the chicken and leek to cover completely.
12. Dot with the butter and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
13. Cook for 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbling on top.
14. Serve with steamed vegetables.
I cooked and paired this dish with a Central Co-Operative Fairtrade 2013 Pinot Grigio which I reviewed on my post {here}

Wine Review – Central England Co-Operative – Fairtrade Cabernet Sauvignon

One of two wines I’ve chosen to review for Central England Co-Op We Like Wine blog is from their Fairtrade range which comes from the Famatina Valley in Argentina.  The Famatina Valley is situated from the Velazco mountain ranges in the East to the Andes in the West and is produced by the La Riojana Wine Co-operative.  This Co-Operative helps ensure that farmers receive a better deal for their grapes, thus improving their standards of living.

Argentinian wines benefit from the grapes being grown in very sunny summers, which allows the grapes to ripen fully, whilst the melting winter snows provide ample water to irrigate the vines.  It’s a very reliable region, producing some very consistent wines. Argentina now produces some of the New World’s “oldest wines” following investment from the Dutch, the Spanish, the Italians and the Austrians.

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a sophisticated wine with oak barrel ageing and a wonderful, full bodied character.  Rich in fruits with slightly spicy overtones and deep with tannins, providing a perfect accompaniment to full flavoured meat dishes.  My husband declared this to be one of the nicest red wines he’s tasted in a while; so not only is it good to cook with, but it tastes fabulous to drink too!

For my meal pairing, I chose to cook a recipe from Gino D’Acampo Gino’s Pasta – Timballo Alla Torrese (Baked Pasta with Meat Sauce and Parmesan Cheese) which I served with a simple salad of mixed leaves.  The perfect dinner for a cold, blustery and wet evening when the promise of spring being just round the corner still seems a little too far away.  Cheers!

I was sent a voucher with which to purchase this bottle of wine, which currently retails at £6.99. (Price as at 08/02/2015).

My Perfect Valentine’s Day Meal – Fillet Steak in a Worcestershire Cream Sauce

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This recipe is some 20 odd years old.  I know this because it was from a meal I had way before my eldest was born and he’s now 19 and studying at University!  The story goes that my husband and I went out for dinner one night and I ordered a fillet steak in a Worcestershire Sauce from the menu.  It was sublime, so I asked for the recipe. Needless to say, Chef was more than a little reluctant to give away his recipe, but he did give me the list of ingredients, without the quantities, so I had to set about creating this myself.  I’ve ‘toned it down’ a little with the addition of cream it’s a bit tangy for my daughter without, but either way this is one delicious dish.

If the way to a person’s heart is really is via their stomach, then this surely is the way to get you there.

To create my Valentine’s dish for 2 is as simple at this….

15ml Rapeseed oil (I recommend locally produced Farrington’s Mellow Yellow)
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 Fillet steaks
50g Mushrooms, sliced
5ml Plain flour
1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot
125ml Boiling water
15ml Worcestershire Sauce
5ml Tomato puree
Salt and Pepper to taste
30ml Double cream

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan until it lightly shimmers.
2. Fry the onions until lightly golden in colour.
3. Add the fillet steak to the pan and braise the on both sides until cooked to your preference, then remove the steaks from the pan to rest.
4. Lightly fry the mushrooms until browned.
5. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water.
6. Add the flour to the frying pan and mix to absorb all of the oil.
7. Add the Worcestershire Sauce and tomato puree to the pan and mix.
8. Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed and no lumps are present.
9. Add the double cream and stir through.
10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
11. Return the steak to the pan and heat through.
12. Serve.

I chose to serve our dinner with Potato Dauphinoise, Sweet Potato Fondant and roasted mixed vegetables. (Click on the links to take you to my recipes for these dishes).

I created this meal for the Central England Co-Operative.  I was sent a voucher with which to purchase my ingredients. All of the ingredients above were sourced from my local Co-Op.