Wine Review – Central England Co-Operative – Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay & Pinot Noir

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This month for the Central England Co-Operative We Like Wine Blog, I’ve chosen to go for something with a little bit of fizz to celebrate what is finally summer; a Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Australia.  Sparkling wines tend to be fermented twice, as opposed to once for still wines, where the second fermentation produces the bubbles that we all love!image

Britain first started to become aware of the emerging wine growers of Australia in the 1990s, and by 2008 we were consuming more Australian wines than we were French and that love of Australian wines continues to grow today. With the diverse terrain and temperature range that can be found in Australia, you will find many varieties of grapes being grown and therefore a diverse amount of flavours being available to you.

Champagne tends to be made from the Chardonnay and Pinor Noir grapes from the ‘Champagne’ region of France.  The Chardonnay grapes introduce a crisp, citrus flavour whilst the Pinot Noir grape tends to produce a lightly coloured, medium bodied, low tannin wine. This wine from Jacob’s Creek incorporates both of these grapes and all of the flavours of ‘champagne’ without the associated price tag.

Sitting in the garden as the sun was going down on a Saturday evening, whilst enjoying a delicious dinner of roast and sweet potato wedges, chicken breasts stuffed with basil and haggis then wrapped with proscuito along with a serving of roasted onions and peppers, was the perfect accompaniment to this beautifully chilled bottle of wine.

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I was sent a voucher with which to purchase this bottle of wine, which retails at £7.99. (Price as at 04/07/2015).

My Perfect Barbecue

It’s getting to that time of year, when the evenings are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and we’re all realising that we can cook and enjoy the outdoors again.  With this in mind, and in association with the Central England Co-Operative, I’ve come up with some delicious ideas that you can use to cook yourself a tasty meal to enjoy outdoors with a cheeky glass of wine (or two).

Beef Burgers:
500g Lean minced beef
1 medium red onion
¼ Red pepper
¼ Orange pepper
Bunch coriander
Salt and Pepper to season
30ml Double Cream

1. Finely chop the onion and the peppers.
2. Chop the coriander.
3. Place the mince, chopped onions, pepper and coriander into a large bowl.
4. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.

5. Mix together thoroughly and shape into 6 burgers.

6. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge.
7. Cook on the barbecue until thoroughly cooked through.

Sausage Wheel:
1 Pack of Cumberland Sausages
3 long metal skewers (or use wooden ones that you’ve soaked in water)

1. Untwist the individual sausages and distribute the meat evenly throughout the skin.
2. Roll gently into a spiral.
3. Skewer through from one side, through the centre and back through the other side, evenly using your three skewers.

4. Brush the surfaces with oil and barbecue until cooked through.

Chicken, Pepper & Red Onion Skewers

1 Chicken breast, cubed
1 Red onion
¼ Red pepper
¼ Orange pepper

1. Cut the top and bottom off the onion, then stand it on one of the flat edges.
2. Slice vertically through the onion into 6 wedges.
3. Cut the peppers into pieces the approximate size of your onion wedges.
4. Thread the pieces of chicken, onion and pepper alternately onto the skewers.
5. Brush with a little oil and barbecue until the chicken is cooked.

Pineapple Salsa:
175 Pineapple in natural juice
4 Spring onions
50g Red pepper
15ml Cider vinegar
15ml Dark brown sugar
60ml BBQ sauce
5mm Root Ginger.

1. Chop the pineapple, onions and pepper.
2. Grate the ginger.
3. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat through for 10 minutes.

4. Serve hot or cold with your cooked burgers and sausage wheel.

Soured Cream Mint Dressing:
100ml Soured cream
15ml Concentrated mint sauce

1. Mix the soured cream and the mint sauce together thoroughly.
2. Serve with your cooked meats and salad.

I served my burgers in warmed pitta breads, which I spread with the soured cream mint dressing and stuffed with salad.

I was provided with vouchers from the Central England Co-Operative to purchase ingredients to make my BBQ meal.

Chocolate Cake for Easter

The most indulgent chocolate cake to grace my table is this one that I made in collaboration with the Central England Co-Operative.  Unlike most chocolate cakes, it’s not dry as it has evaporated milk in the recipe.  It’s slathered in a rich and creamy chocolate ganache and is decorated with rather a lot of chocolate mini eggs along with some decadent praline animals.

 

It’s certainly not a cake you’d make every week, but for special occasions and a little indulgent treat, this is the cake sure to be a hit with any chocolate lover.
All of my ingredients were sourced from my local Co-Operative, and where possible, FairTrade ingredients were used.

 

Cake:
300g Self raising flour
340g Caster sugar
40g Cocoa
150g Butter (room temp)
3 Large eggs
110g Evaporated Milk
80g Water
5ml Vanilla extract
Ganache:
200g Dark chocolate
100g Milk chocolate
250ml Double cream
Decoration:
Cadbury Mini eggs (my cake took 9 bags)
Box of Co-Operative Spring praline chocolates
1. Heat the oven to 180℃.
2. Grease and line two 20cm/8″ cake tins.
3. In a large bowl place all the cake ingredients.
4. Mix together for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

 

5. Divide equally between the two cake tins.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
7. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out into a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cakes are cooling, now is the time to get your ganache ready.
8. In a saucepan, break the chocolate into squares and add the cream.
9. Heat very gently until the chocolate has melted, stirring frequently.
10. Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl, then set aside to cool and set.
11. When the cakes are cold and the ganache has set, use ¼ of the ganache to sandwich the cakes together.
12. Place the cakes onto a serving plate and use the other ¾ of the ganache to thickly coat the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about it being perfectly smooth and pretty as you’re going to decorate the sides and top with lots and lots of mini eggs.
13. Starting at the bottom, place a row of mini eggs all around the cake, adding extra layers until you either run out of mini eggs, or you’ve covered the sides completely.
14. Decorate the top of the cakes with the spring praline chocolates.
You won’t want a large slice of this cake unless you’re a raving chocoholic with the sweetest tooth known to man, so this cake will certainly go a very, very long way indeed!  You could even (perish the thought!) share it with friends and neighbours, as I did!
Happy Easter, enjoy my recipe xx
I was sent a voucher from the Central England Co-Operative to buy ingredients with which to create a recipe for them.

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.