Roast Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Pumpkin

 

Last year I cooked pumpkin soup, leaving it overnight to cool in the kitchen. The next morning the kitchen smelt of damp dog!

Using social media – Facebook and Twitter – I commented on my pongy problem. Almost immediately someone in the USA suggested that the pumpkin be roasted which would avoid the smell, and also make it easier to remove the flesh.

So this time I roasted the Halloween squash, saving the seeds to roast as well for the garnish, adding coconut milk to add an extra dimension to the flavour.

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Discover Tasting Wine

headerlogoFor the last few months I’ve been following a new initiative, Discover the Origin.

Discover the Origin is a campaign financed with aid from the European Union, Italy, France and Portugal to promote five key European products: Wines of Burgundy, Parma Ham, Douro Wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and Port.

All five of these products carry a guarantee of their provenance and quality: the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, AOC for Wines of Burgundy and DOC for Port and Douro Wines. The aim of this campaign is to enhance knowledge of the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) among consumers, distributors and food professionals across the UK and Ireland, and to educate on the benefits of the provenance indicator schemes, the relevant checks, controls and traceability systems that are put in place to ensure ongoing quality, and to differentiate the products and raise their profiles.

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Scallops with bacon

We love to see scallops at the fishmonger’s, glistening white with the pinky yellow coral. Easy to cook and easy to enjoy.

I’ve usually just fried them wrapped in bacon but this time I cooked these two ingredients separately, improving the dish with a little winey sauce.

A good crisp dry white would be a great match. On this occasion we drank an unusual wine from New Zealand which did the trick magnificently!

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Poulet au Vin Jaune

Snowy Jura vineyardThe Jura region in the east of France is blessed with beautiful scenery, idiosyncratic wines and delicious food, especially poultry raised in the AOC area of Bresse.

Henri IV of France is remembered for saying: “If God keeps me, I will make sure that there is no sharecropper in my kingdom who does not have the means to have a chicken in the pot every Sunday!”. You will find many recipes for casseroled chicken, especially Coq au Vin.

However, the Jura goes one better with a unique dish using Bresse chicken (or the majestic capon) cooked in Vin Jaune, made even better with morel wild mushrooms and, for this is a dairy region, cream!

Although not a classic dish (its ingredients can be very costly) by 1961 Poulet au Vin Jaune was well-enough established that the Michelin red guide named it as a specialty of all three of the starred restaurants in Arbois.

Although we have eaten this dish on a number of occasions I had not cooked it until last New Year’s Eve when we had good friends to stay and share in a relaxing evening of conversation, good wine and food.

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Gazpacho

It’s summer, it’s hot and the tomatoes are ripe! Gazpacho is delicious cold soup from Andalusia to enjoy al fresco. Our local market gardener has lots of ripe tomatoes which smell and taste of tomato so I made this soup easily and quickly.

Crushing toasted cumin seeds

Crushing toasted cumin seeds

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Toasting the cumin seeds and crushing them in a pestle and mortar adds a Moorish edge to this dish. And do try and use Sherry vinegar, Spain’s answer to balsamic vinegar. It’s assertive yet smooth.
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