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Welcome to Wine With Food!

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About memandyedit0083

HI! I am Mandy and I was born in Devon, England. I grew up, learning to cook with my mother who, now in her 80s, likes to try out new recipes and find new and interesting dishes to eat! I remember perusing her Margeurite Patten ‘Cookery in Color’ cook book and The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year, admiring the pictures and wanting to re-create the food. Luckily, I had  willing parents who would try my culinary creations. My father introduced me to wine and we would always have wine on a Sunday with supper, often salad and Riesling.

However, my dream job was to be a beauty therapist (after the number one choice of fighter pilot). So I went to college and qualified as a therapist and set my heart on working onboard cruise ships.

As soon as I was able to, I got on a plane to Florida and preceded to travel the world, both on cruise ships and independently. I visited many, many countries and one of my favourite pastimes was to go out to eat with friends, trying the local cuisine. On board ships, we generally ate the same food as the passengers and I was introduced to new and exciting flavors, with Italian nights, Norwegian nights and many other themes. Cruise ships were highly competitive with their food, employing the best chefs. They also had extensive wine lists as well as fine wines available in the gift shops at tax free prices, so snuggling up with a movie and a bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pape was just a normal day!

Another passion has been trying coffee around the world, as I visited countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala and Jamaica!

Much time spent in Greece, meant a whole education in Mediterranean food, hanging out in kitchens, with people who have a national pride in their food and happy to answer the thousands of questions that I had about techniques and recipes! I also had an amazing experience in Italy, staying on a volcanic island where the world’s best capers are produced and the most amazing tomatoes are grown.

I decided on a more settled life, so moved to Nantucket Massachusetts to work. I hit gold, living in a billionaires paradise, with many gourmet restaurants all located in one small town!! Nantucket also had some excellent wine stores with knowledgeable people running them, giving advice on wine to match the food that I was cooking! Eventually, I met my husband there and we would often attend cookery classes with the wonderful chefs of Nantucket and  wine classes with highly qualified wine experts. I even attended a tequila class with a tequila connoisseur, but apart from Margaritas, really don’t drink it!

After the crash of 2008, life ground to a halt in Nantucket and we made the decision to move to England. I then qualified as a lecturer teaching beauty therapy. While teaching, I have been gaining my wine qualifications and the past several years keeping a diary of culinary and wine experiences sharing recipes and wine matches. I still explore cuisine from around the world, recreating dishes that I tried in countries around the world, from the former USSR through to China, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia!!

I have now left teaching and am working in the wine industry. My husband and I are residing in a cosy cottage in the Berkshire countryside.

I enjoy the whole experience of  good food paired with a wine that completely enhances the food as well as the food enhancing the flavor of the wine!!! So with nearly every recipe I record, I try to match the wine with it for a sublime experience!!!

I share it so that you can enjoy too!!

We are not chefs by any means, just home cooks and wine lovers. We share recipes that we know are easy to make and have been tested in  our home kitchen.

Minute steak with tomato gravy and Aleppo chilli butter

We saw this on Saturday Kitchen and just knew it was our kind of food. For some reason this year, much of our summer grilling was revolving around Turk, Greek & Middle Eastern food. I yearned for the bread that I had with Souvlaki from a small takeout restaurant in Peristeri,  Athens, Greece. 
So this year, I went on the search for a good recipe for Greek flatbread and found a great one that turns out perfect every time! I have blogged it before and will add it to the end of this post.

So we had our usual date with our favourite cooking show and one of the guest chef’s made this recipe. It included Turkish flavours and spices, which is a cuisine that I have always loved and have so many wonderful memories of lunches in Instanbul and nights out at the Sultan Han in Kushadasi (& the song about the town always sang after much wine and hubbly bubbly at the end of dinner). Then the flatbreads were just the final enticement.

So several weeks later -due to going away a couple of long weekends and ingredient gathering, my husband Jeff finally made them and I made my now famous flatbreads! I can’t begin to tell you how much we both enjoyed them! This is such a great recipe, we can’t wait to make it again! 

If you struggle to find the ingredients, they are available online. We are lucky to live near a town that has diverse cultures and the available food items and ingredients! 

So click on the link and get cooking! You won’t regret it! Josh Katz cook book will be on my Christmas list for sure!!!!

WINE NOTE: The wine expert on Saturday Kitchen recommended Malbec, so we stayed with that and it worked beautifully. It stands up to the vibrant flavours of the dish without clashing.  

https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/minute_steak_with_tomato_49796

FLATBREADS

2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup (167ml) warm water , 110 degrees
1/2 cup (125ml)  + 2 Tbsp milk , heated to 110 degrees
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil , plus more for bowl
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 cups (420g)  bread flour (can add up to 1/4 cup more flour as needed)In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together yeast, sugar and warm water until yeast has dissolved then let rest 5 minutes. Add in warm milk, olive oil, salt 

and 1 1/2 cups bread flour and fit mixer with whisk attachment and blend mixture until well combined.Switch attachment to hook attachment, add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed until blended, then increase to medium-low and allow to knead about 5 minutes longer until smooth an elastic (dough should not stick to sides of the bowl, so add more flour if necessary).Transfer dough to bowl lightly coated with oil, cover with a damp towel and allow to rest in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.Press dough down and divide dough into 6 – 8 equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough out into a round (I made 6 large 8-inch pitas) on a lightly floured surface. Heat a large non-stick skillet slightly over medium heat.

Once hot, add flatbread and cook until bubbles begin to appear on surface and bottom is golden brown, then flip and cook opposite side until golden brown. Transfer to a large plate, cover with foil leaving a small opening for excess moisture to escape.

Exciting Sides

Splashing out on expensive meat and not paying attention to the sides, is to me the same as buying an expensive dress or suit and wearing old worn out shoes.

Here are a couple of sides that I made to accompany the Thanksgiving turkey. I liked them so much, I will certainly have them again and definitely serve them with prime rib.

But I will keep them here to refer to next November

The shallots can be made ahead and then gently reheated on the stove or microwaved

Glazed Shallots With Chillies & Thyme

    • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
      1½ lb. medium shallots, peeled, halved if large
      Kosher salt
      3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
      3 large sprigs thyme, plus 1 tsp. thyme leaves for serving
      2 red Fresno chillies, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
      1 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 400° 200C. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium, swirling until foaming subsides. Arrange shallots in a single layer in skillet, flat or cut side down where possible. Season well with salt and cook, undisturbed, until deep golden brown underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until deep golden brown on the other side, about 5 minutes.

Add vinegar and 1 cup water, then add thyme sprigs, chiles, and sugar and swirl skillet to combine. Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat so liquid is at a simmer.

Transfer skillet to oven and roast shallots, turning halfway through, until sauce is reduced to a glaze and a paring knife easily slides through centers, 35–40 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Spoon shallots and glaze into a serving dish and top with thyme leaves.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients

2 medium acorn squashes (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (65g)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 425° F/ 220C 

  • After trimming the ends, slice the squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and slice each half into quarters.

Place the squash slices in a roasting pan and dot with the butter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Scatter on the thyme. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and roast 10 minutes more or until the squash is tender. Serve warm or at room temperature

Pork Loin & Pears With Cider & Cream

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I always look forward to seasonal food, when flavour is at its maximum and the food is local! Sometimes very local! I am lucky to live in a village surrounded by farms, so can often obtain  fresh locally grown ingredients in their prime and have special dishes to make the most of the flavours.

This is one of those dishes that I make every fall, when pears step into the spotlight! For what the dish lacks in color, it makes up for in flavor! Seasonal pears cooked with  tender pork loin in cider or white wine. This dish is a total winner as it is also easy & fast to make! Its so nice to come home to after work and cosy up for the evening. It’s warming, satisfying but on the table in no time at all!

WINE NOTE:  Chenin Blanc is always a classic with this, but get the highest quality that you can afford from South Africa. We paired Whie River Anniversary Chenin Blanc which has pear and orchard flavors, so of course  blended very well with this dish, with enough freshness and acidity to cut through the wine.

 

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 14oz/ 400g pork loin cut into strips
  • 2 medium onions  sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • handful of sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 cups/ 500ml bottle cider
  • 2 medium pears, cored and each cut into 8 slices
  • 100ml double cream

 

Heat half the oil in a medium dutch oven over a high heat. Season the pork and saute for 3-4 mins, then transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil and onion. Soften for 8 mins, then add the garlic and fry for another 2 mins.

Add the sage and flour, stir and cook for 1 min. Increase the heat, then pour in the cider and bubble for 4 mins. Return the pork and juices to the pan, season, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 mins.

Add the pear slices, stir and cook for another 10 mins. Stir through the cream, season, then divide between bowls and serve with slices of French bread.

CHEERS!!! Enjoy!!

Thrilling Grilling -Keep Summer Alive With Greek Style Grilled Chicken

img_2926The flavours of Greece remind me of so many summers spent there, travelling by motorbike on ferries around the island, or steaming up by yacht. The Greeks take so much pride in their food and most dishes have deep cultural roots, with everyone’s mother making the best version! The ingredients that epitomise those flavours are lemon, olive oil and oregano! The trio that is used on most meat and food.

This succulent grilled marinated chicken really sums up the relaxed style of eating. So many of my friends have visited Greek islands this summer, so I thought it would be fun for them to keep the summer feeling going with this recipe!

WINE NOTE: Always Retsina! If any thing could remind me of warm summer evenings in Greece, it’s Retsina! This wonderful wine contains tree resin which gives it its deep woody flavour that works so well with oregano and kalamata olive oil.

START THE DAY BEFORE AS IT REQUIRES OVERNIGHT MARINATING!

Serves 6

12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, zested & juiced
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
4 tbsp olive oil
small bunch of finely chopped fresh parsley

To serve, Greek flat breads recipe (scroll down) or pitta bread, Greek salad & yogurt.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc freezer bag and place the chicken in. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

Thread the chicken onto skewers.
Light the grill and let the flames die down. Push the coals to one side of the grill.
Place the skewers of chicken on the side of the grill that doesn’t have coals. Place the lid of the grill on and cook the chicken for 45-55 minutes and turn regularly every 10-15 minutes. When cooked through, remove from the skewers and rest it for 20 minutes.

(If it rains, these can go in the oven on a wire rack over a pan, 400F/200C/180C Fan/Gas6.

Slice the chicken into strips and serve in the flatbreads with salad and yogurt.

FLATBREADS

2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup (167ml) warm water , 110 degrees
1/2 cup (125ml)  + 2 Tbsp milk , heated to 110 degrees
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil , plus more for bowl
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 cups (420g)  bread flour (can add up to 1/4 cup more flour as needed)

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together yeast, sugar and warm water until yeast has dissolved then let rest 5 minutes. Add in warm milk, olive oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups bread flour and fit mixer with whisk attachment and blend mixture until well combined.

Switch attachment to hook attachment, add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed until blended, then increase to medium-low and allow to knead about 5 minutes longer until smooth an elastic (dough should not stick to sides of the bowl, so add more flour if necessary).

Transfer dough to bowl lightly coated with oil, cover with a damp towel and allow to rest in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Press dough down and divide dough into 6 – 8 equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough out into a round (I made 6 large 8-inch pitas) on a lightly floured surface. Heat a large non-stick skillet slightly over medium heat.

Once hot, add flatbread and cook until bubbles begin to appear on surface and bottom is golden brown, then flip and cook opposite side until golden brown. Transfer to a large plate, cover with foil leaving a small opening for excess moisture to escape.

Repeat process with remaining flatbread.

ENJOY! CHEERS!

Sri Lankan Fish Curry

IMG_E2893[1]

I have been to Africa, Asia, India and North Africa, but never to Sri Lanka, but my husband has visited and loved the food there, so wanted to introduce me to it, knowing I would love it.

This is one of the dishes we tried and I love it for many reasons.  For one it has fish in it, coconut milk and it is also fast to make, meaning really good food on a weeknight, without too much effort! It looks like a long list of ingredients, but that’s mostly spices.

We recently purchased a smaller wok, that is non stick and is great for making food like this. (our old wok is huge).

WINE NOTE: I chose Vermentino to go with this, as it has a creamy flavour with a lovely lime zippiness to complement the food. It doesn’t overwhelm with acidity, like a Sauvignon  Blanc would. Instead, it complements the sweetness of the shrimp and coconut, while pleasantly cutting through with the pears and lime.

Serve over steamed rice.

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large shallot
2 garlic cloves- minced
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
1-2 green chillies roughly chopped
small handful curry leave
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper freshly ground
75ml water
400ml can coconut milk
180g / 6oz Large Shrimp /Jumbo prawns
260g / 9oz white fish such as Cod or Basa cut into large pieces
1/2 lime
Cilantro leaves (coriander) for garnish

Melt the coconut oil in the wok or skillet and place the first 10 ingredients in and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the water and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and simmer another 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp and fish and cook at a gentle simmer for 5 minutes until just cooked.
Season with the juice of the lime and serve over the rice garnished with the cilantro leaves.

CHEERS! ENJOY!!

 

 

 

 

Seafood Heaven; Seared Scallops With Crab Fritters

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This is the final result of my first attempt at the recipe.

I love seafood, scallops being a favourite. A chef on my favourite cooking show put this recipe together and I usually love cooking his recipes and the scallops and crab fritters ticked all the boxes! You can’t have lived in New England and not love fried seafood or scallops!

I couldn’t find the ingredient ‘sev’ in time, so googled it and blended the spices usually used in sev and blended them with breadcrumbs. The result was good. I used 1 part chilli powder, 1/2 part cayenne and 1/2part turmeric powder.

I must admit, when I got all of the ingredients out, I wondered if I had been a little ambitious, but when I got started, it went smoothly and I enjoyed it!

The wine expert Olly Smith suggested a South African Sauvignon Blanc, which we tried and it went beautifully! We will also be purchasing more of it as we enjoyed it so much. If you are in the UK, the wine is called The Project Sauvignon Blanc from Aldi. It’s a little over £5 but has the balance and flavour of a more expensive one!

So here is the link to Matt Tebbutt’s recipe;

https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/seared_scallops_with_53675Seared Scallops With Crab Fritters Recipe

 

A Côte Du Rhône Bargain!

Occasionally, I find an absolute bargain of a wine and when I do, I share it, because that’s what friends do! Friends don’t let friends drink bad wine!

Well this is a little stunner and is a penny short of £5. It blew my socks off the first time I tried it, realising that I had been missing out for some time!

The aromas and flavour are very similar. Blueberry velvet jam with a clean hint of cherry give a smooth ride with high performance suspension! This is a beautiful structured wine with more balance than the Flamingo!

The retro label gives a bistro feel. The  wine pairs great with a burger!

Shout out to the Aldi wine buyer who discovered this and brought it to us.

I stock this every time I go to Aldi and have dropped my favourite that was £10 like a bad date!