Friday, August 26, 2005

German Wine Festival

scheurebe kabinett Posted by Picasa

Sally and I met up with Liz and Ethan in Victoria Square for the German Wine Festival, which I think must be run by the same people as the Christmas Market. The wines were delicious, we tatsed one from each of the 'huts' and also sampled the flaam, sausages and crepes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Maison Blanc

honfleur Posted by Picasa

It's been a little quiet at Hecticium and Laughing Snail over the last couple of weeks as I have been on my holidays in Norway. There are lots of photos waiting in the wings but while I prep them for their debut here is the last of the fabulously delicious cakes - a honfleur from Maison Blanc in Cobham!

Now the norwegian trip has its own blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

WBW Denbies Wine Estate

denbies Posted by Picasa

This month on wine blogging Wednesday Lenn challenged us to sample wine from our nearest winery. I happen to be down at Mum and Dad's house this evening so I am very lucky to be drinking from the Denbies Estate. Having forwarned them that it was WBW they excelled themselves, tasting wine last night and tonight.

The vineyard (billed as the largest in England) boasts 11 wines. From on the list Mum and Dad had tried the Yew Tree Pinot Noir previously, and the Coopers Brook (chardonnay blend) and the Greenfields Cuvee last night. There was a little Coopers Brook left, so I got to try that and we had the Redlands red with five spice stir fried pork and vegies, this evening.

Tasting notes:
Greenfields Cuvee 2003, 12% - "a premium sparkling fermented using traditional methods and grapes". This was full of fizz and had a sherberty/ Grannie Smith apple dry taste with a slightly sherried apply bouquet. Crisp with acidity and length.

Coopers Brook 2003,11.5% - Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Ortega blend. We all picked out this as having a gooseberry bouquet with a well rounded buttery or olivey flavour, and I thought a hint of liquorice.

Redlands 2003, 12% - Dornfelder and Pinot Noir blend. Our final bottle was full of sour cherries and 'wet wool'. It was dry and light, and I thought had a hint of leather.

All in all a fantastic vineyard, and you can even visit it!

Sunday, August 07, 2005


brambles Posted by Picasa

Sunday morning - the sun is up and the neighbourhood is quiet before the kids and dogs get up. So I have been for a run down the canal, I came across a whole running club sprinting and walking but, with great excitement, I have found that the brambles are ready for picking! I went back armed with long trousers and a box to fill with the fabulous shiny black fruit, I was soon back at the house leafing through my cookery books again. I had some apples from last years crop in the freezer still so I made an apple and bramble compote - very yummy, and also tried out my new purchase - Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess, making bramble and orange muffins (after raspberry and lemon muffins).

fennel fritters Posted by Picasa

And to continue on in a cookery mode I have just made fennel flower fritters - I simply dipped the inflorescences in a beery tempura batter and shallow fried, dusted with icing sugar and ate whilst still hot and crispy! Yummy!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Oyster mushroom and redcurrant spaghetti

oyster mushroom and redcurrant spaghetti Posted by Picasa

This was inspired by something Mum cooked for Christmas several years ago. In that recipe the tang was supplied by cranberries but as its summer I thought redcurrants would do the job!

75g spaghetti
75g oyster mushrooms, sliced
75g boursin cheese
75g redcurrants
2 spring onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

I cooked the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile I sauteed the spring onions in the olive oil for 2min before adding the mushrooms. I let these brown for about 5min and then melted in the cheese. To make a fluid sauce I added a little of the pasta cooking liquid and then threw in the redcurrants. Finally I stirred in the cooked (and drained) pasta and gave the dish a twist of black pepper.
i'm ready for cooking Posted by Picasa

I found this T-shirt whilst pottering about the Bull Ring and thought it was a highly appropriate item to blog - it even had a recipe on the back!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Anouchka's Chocolate Cake with Raspberries

chocolate and raspberry cake Posted by Picasa

Last night I was seized by an urge to make chocolate cake, which I plant firmly at Susan's door as she gave me half of her chocolate and raspberry brownie that Julian had made for his birthday. So I routed through lots of cookery books and then went on a mini expedition to purchase ingredients. I chose Anouchka's Chocolate Cake from Joanne Harris's My French Kitchen but thought that adding a few raspberries in would be fabulous! So here is the slightly modified recipe:

For the cake:
180g butter
180g soft dark brown sugar
40g dark chocolate melted (70% cocoa)
50g ground almonds
130g self raising flour
3 eggs
15 raspberries

For the icing:
190g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
25g butter
70ml hot milk

Cream the butter and sugar together from the cake ingredients (if you haven't got a mixer, like me, and have sore arms from going climbing, this may take a while and sitting half watching something mindless on the telly will help!). Then add the eggs one at a time to get a slightly split batter. Add the almonds and chocolate and finally add the flour to make a smooth batter. Put this into a 20cm cake tin and press the raspberries into the mixture. Mine were frozen but I think fresh should work just as well. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C. The recipe suggested 35min but it took me 45min so just keep checking. Cool and then smother in the icing.

To make the icing pour the milk onto the cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Cream the sugar and butter and then add the cocoa mix and beat until smooth.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Gloria is 60!

white horse inn, misson Posted by Picasa

On Friday Gloria was 60! So Sarah, Juul and I drove up to (not so sunny) Donny to celebrate with her and several other friends by going out to the White Horse Inn in Misson for dinner on Saturday night. The restaurant looked like a quiet country pub from the outside - white washed with black beams, but inside it was a hive of activity. Gloria had booked a couple of months ago to get a table! We started off sharing mushroom pepperpots and salads, and Bill had a mound of spare ribs. The mushrooms were tasty but rather peppery! Then I had a very delicious roasted asparagus and feta cheese salad, strewn with olives and roasted and sundried tomatoes. But the best was saved til last, Sarah, Juul and I shared a pineapple and ginger cheesecake! Fantastic!! (Really I do eat things other than pudding!!)

And last night Mum and Dad came up to Brum. And before heading back home we all went to Loch Fyne, in Knowle, for tea. How fantastic - the wild dorade with braised fennel was perfect and the cranachan devine, not to mention the unoaked chardonnay from Carmen vineyards in the Maipo valley, Chile!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...