Supper

Jan. 30th, 2009 07:51 pm
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I nearly had a culinary disaster tonight; well, a disappointment, at least. I was planning to cook myself a beef stew. I put the cooker on, set the heavy pan on the hob, poured in some olive oil... And then I realised I didn't have the tin of tomatoes that habitually sits in my cupboard.

My beef stew – for which I don't have a recipe - needs a tin of tomatoes.

I then looked in the freezer, sure that I had a piece of salmon that would suffice (if not replace). I was wrong about that, too.

This put me in a bit of a quandry; all I could think of was some pasta – my usual stand-by – or risotto. And pasta, for me, usually needs a tin of tomatoes... (Not always: pasta and garlic is delicious; and pasta and mushrooms; but neither of these felt like they would hit the Friday night with a few glasses of wine mark.)

So I went with risotto. This is actually a curious choice. I often cook risotto – but almost always on days when I have decided not to drink alcohol. (I have for a while been thinking about writing about my attitude to alcohol – almost uniformly positive, except that after some article I read many, many years ago, I make sure I don't drink alcohol at least two days in every seven; well, let's face it, I only ever don't drink alcohol two days out of seven – it is only if I have been ill or away somewhere dry that I exceed that!) For some reason, I will happily not drink wine with risotto, whilst I feel most meals are improved greatly by a glass or three of wine.

I cooked my risotto – sauteeing a shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic, adding sliced jerusalem artichoke (because it was there and needed eating), simmering some mushrooms in a mixture of (cheap) white wine and water since I really can't be arsed with stock (all the alcohol evaporates off; I see no inconsistency about cooking with alcohol when I am not drinking the stuff) – and many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] coughingbear for that tip. Adding a healthy grating of parmesan and fresh basil from my very own herb farm (aka a pot in the window).

It was delicious.

I mean, it was really, really delicious.

I ate it with a couple of glasses of Chilean pinot noir, reckoning the mushroomy flavours of the grape would match the food. (Matching wine and risotto not normally a decision I have.)

It was lovely.

Now I am sitting here with a glass of Talisker and a couple of bits of chocolate, listening to the radio and feeling that all is very right with the world.

And I really must remember to get some tins of tomatoes in!

Supper

Jan. 30th, 2009 07:51 pm
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I nearly had a culinary disaster tonight; well, a disappointment, at least. I was planning to cook myself a beef stew. I put the cooker on, set the heavy pan on the hob, poured in some olive oil... And then I realised I didn't have the tin of tomatoes that habitually sits in my cupboard.

My beef stew – for which I don't have a recipe - needs a tin of tomatoes.

I then looked in the freezer, sure that I had a piece of salmon that would suffice (if not replace). I was wrong about that, too.

This put me in a bit of a quandry; all I could think of was some pasta – my usual stand-by – or risotto. And pasta, for me, usually needs a tin of tomatoes... (Not always: pasta and garlic is delicious; and pasta and mushrooms; but neither of these felt like they would hit the Friday night with a few glasses of wine mark.)

So I went with risotto. This is actually a curious choice. I often cook risotto – but almost always on days when I have decided not to drink alcohol. (I have for a while been thinking about writing about my attitude to alcohol – almost uniformly positive, except that after some article I read many, many years ago, I make sure I don't drink alcohol at least two days in every seven; well, let's face it, I only ever don't drink alcohol two days out of seven – it is only if I have been ill or away somewhere dry that I exceed that!) For some reason, I will happily not drink wine with risotto, whilst I feel most meals are improved greatly by a glass or three of wine.

I cooked my risotto – sauteeing a shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic, adding sliced jerusalem artichoke (because it was there and needed eating), simmering some mushrooms in a mixture of (cheap) white wine and water since I really can't be arsed with stock (all the alcohol evaporates off; I see no inconsistency about cooking with alcohol when I am not drinking the stuff) – and many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] coughingbear for that tip. Adding a healthy grating of parmesan and fresh basil from my very own herb farm (aka a pot in the window).

It was delicious.

I mean, it was really, really delicious.

I ate it with a couple of glasses of Chilean pinot noir, reckoning the mushroomy flavours of the grape would match the food. (Matching wine and risotto not normally a decision I have.)

It was lovely.

Now I am sitting here with a glass of Talisker and a couple of bits of chocolate, listening to the radio and feeling that all is very right with the world.

And I really must remember to get some tins of tomatoes in!
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I was in a deli a few minutes ago. They were selling red wine from a region of South Africa called Meerlust. I couldn't help thinking they could make a bomb marketing that in the run up to St Valentine's Day.

Whilst I'm at it, Kate Winslett and two Golden Globes - is it just my puerile sense of humour that finds this juxtaposition funny?
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I was in a deli a few minutes ago. They were selling red wine from a region of South Africa called Meerlust. I couldn't help thinking they could make a bomb marketing that in the run up to St Valentine's Day.

Whilst I'm at it, Kate Winslett and two Golden Globes - is it just my puerile sense of humour that finds this juxtaposition funny?

Tonight...

Mar. 7th, 2008 10:17 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
Stopping at my wonderful local cheesemonger on my way home, I bought some parmesan, some cheddar and a bit of strathdon blue, from Speyside, which I haven’t had before (I wonder how it goes with whisky?).

As I was leaving, the guy behind the counter said, “If you want some bread, just help yourself.” I must have given him a quizzical look, because he explained, “I’m closing in a minute so it’ll be thrown out, so just help yourself – you’ll be doing me a favour.”

I took a loaf, reckoning that I would buy a copy of the Big Issue (“bigger shoes!” he shouted as he walked across the Artic snows) or give a quid or so to the next homeless guy I see.

Only later did I think I should have taken a couple of loaves, and stuck them in the freezer.

* * *



My small bit of bread and cheese when I got in was lovely.

I had a glass of rather good claret with it - Chateau Dutruch Grand Poujeaux. It was really good with the cheese.

I then switched to a glass of Italian nero d’avola – finishing off a bottle – before, later, having another glass of the claret with a steak for supper. This time, though, it tasted completely different: strongly floral – a whole field of violets. I don’t know if it was the cheese, the nero d’avola, the steak or the salad I had with it – or maybe just the time since I had opened the bottle - but the change was remarkable.

* * *



On the radio, Petroc Trelawny was introducing a concert by CBSO, featuring works by Arvo Pärt and Shostakovich.

The piece by Pärt was “Fratres”. I like this music – I have a couple of versions of it: it builds in intensity.

I had always assumed that the name was Latin; Pärt tends to write somewhat religious pieces – “sacred minimalism”, wikipedia calls it – and I thought this was reflected by his use of Latin phrases to name his pieces.

So I always thought this piece was pronounced “fra-tres”; or even “frat-res”. But what Trelawny said was “frarts”. Twice.

Perhaps that is how it is pronounced in Estonia (Pärt is Estonian); or maybe Twelawny knows how the Romans actually pronounce the word!

Tonight...

Mar. 7th, 2008 10:17 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
Stopping at my wonderful local cheesemonger on my way home, I bought some parmesan, some cheddar and a bit of strathdon blue, from Speyside, which I haven’t had before (I wonder how it goes with whisky?).

As I was leaving, the guy behind the counter said, “If you want some bread, just help yourself.” I must have given him a quizzical look, because he explained, “I’m closing in a minute so it’ll be thrown out, so just help yourself – you’ll be doing me a favour.”

I took a loaf, reckoning that I would buy a copy of the Big Issue (“bigger shoes!” he shouted as he walked across the Artic snows) or give a quid or so to the next homeless guy I see.

Only later did I think I should have taken a couple of loaves, and stuck them in the freezer.

* * *



My small bit of bread and cheese when I got in was lovely.

I had a glass of rather good claret with it - Chateau Dutruch Grand Poujeaux. It was really good with the cheese.

I then switched to a glass of Italian nero d’avola – finishing off a bottle – before, later, having another glass of the claret with a steak for supper. This time, though, it tasted completely different: strongly floral – a whole field of violets. I don’t know if it was the cheese, the nero d’avola, the steak or the salad I had with it – or maybe just the time since I had opened the bottle - but the change was remarkable.

* * *



On the radio, Petroc Trelawny was introducing a concert by CBSO, featuring works by Arvo Pärt and Shostakovich.

The piece by Pärt was “Fratres”. I like this music – I have a couple of versions of it: it builds in intensity.

I had always assumed that the name was Latin; Pärt tends to write somewhat religious pieces – “sacred minimalism”, wikipedia calls it – and I thought this was reflected by his use of Latin phrases to name his pieces.

So I always thought this piece was pronounced “fra-tres”; or even “frat-res”. But what Trelawny said was “frarts”. Twice.

Perhaps that is how it is pronounced in Estonia (Pärt is Estonian); or maybe Twelawny knows how the Romans actually pronounce the word!

Wine...

Feb. 4th, 2007 05:40 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
Probably because they have been hit by everyone not drinking in January, Tesco's is offering wines from Isla Negra (Chile) at "half price" - £2.99 a bottle for reserva cabernet and chardonnay.

These wines are pretty good value at that price - they are very drinkable.

I think the offer is on until 18 February or thereabouts.

Wine...

Feb. 4th, 2007 05:40 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
Probably because they have been hit by everyone not drinking in January, Tesco's is offering wines from Isla Negra (Chile) at "half price" - £2.99 a bottle for reserva cabernet and chardonnay.

These wines are pretty good value at that price - they are very drinkable.

I think the offer is on until 18 February or thereabouts.
rhythmaning: (cat)
Someone on my f-list has just posted about olive oils, which I had been thinking of doing for a couple of days, when I went to the local, famous Italian deli, V&C’s, earlier this week. Primarily, I wanted to see if they had wines on sale. (They did, but normally they have a whole room full of fine wine at discount prices; this time, they had only a couple of lines on offer.) But I also needed some olive oil: we were completely out.

The more I use olive oil, the more refined my tastes get. It is a long time since I was happy with supermarket olive oil; generally, I now buy single-estate Italian olive oil, often from Tuscany, but sometimes from Puglia or Sicily. If I am feel cheapskate, I may settle for V&C’s own brand (which I think is Puglian or Sicilian).

One of the interesting things about single-estate oils is that the olives are grown in the vineyards; so you can buy the oil, and you can buy the wine. (Hence so many of the single-estate oils being Tuscan.)

One of my favourite estates is Selvapiana. They do some delicious wines, and their oil is great too.

Looking at the shelf of oils the other day, I ummed and ahhed as I tried to make up my mind: seeing what they had, comparing prices, and deciding how poncey I was feeling. (They Poggio Lamentano – a delicious oil – bottled from a single vineyard, and from a single olive variety. At a price.)

I plumped for a bottle of Selvapiana, which is boxed.

At home, I was cooking; I opened the box. To find it contained a bottle of wine.

Rather nice wine – Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. (In Tuscany, it is often served with biscotti for dipping in the wine.) This was a surprise – Vin Santo wasn’t what I expected at all, nice as it is. You can’t really cook with it…

On the other hand, I had paid for oil, and I got wine. This could be a good deal. Their website didn’t list Selvapiana Vin Santo, so I called them up. I had indeed got a bargain; so I let them know that they had bottles of wine in the boxes for olive oil (both to help them – I like the shop – and to help anyone who is after oil rather than wine!).

But I am keeping hold of the wine, too.

I back to the shop later, since of course I did still need oil. Only this time, I opened the box, just to make sure.
rhythmaning: (cat)
Someone on my f-list has just posted about olive oils, which I had been thinking of doing for a couple of days, when I went to the local, famous Italian deli, V&C’s, earlier this week. Primarily, I wanted to see if they had wines on sale. (They did, but normally they have a whole room full of fine wine at discount prices; this time, they had only a couple of lines on offer.) But I also needed some olive oil: we were completely out.

The more I use olive oil, the more refined my tastes get. It is a long time since I was happy with supermarket olive oil; generally, I now buy single-estate Italian olive oil, often from Tuscany, but sometimes from Puglia or Sicily. If I am feel cheapskate, I may settle for V&C’s own brand (which I think is Puglian or Sicilian).

One of the interesting things about single-estate oils is that the olives are grown in the vineyards; so you can buy the oil, and you can buy the wine. (Hence so many of the single-estate oils being Tuscan.)

One of my favourite estates is Selvapiana. They do some delicious wines, and their oil is great too.

Looking at the shelf of oils the other day, I ummed and ahhed as I tried to make up my mind: seeing what they had, comparing prices, and deciding how poncey I was feeling. (They Poggio Lamentano – a delicious oil – bottled from a single vineyard, and from a single olive variety. At a price.)

I plumped for a bottle of Selvapiana, which is boxed.

At home, I was cooking; I opened the box. To find it contained a bottle of wine.

Rather nice wine – Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. (In Tuscany, it is often served with biscotti for dipping in the wine.) This was a surprise – Vin Santo wasn’t what I expected at all, nice as it is. You can’t really cook with it…

On the other hand, I had paid for oil, and I got wine. This could be a good deal. Their website didn’t list Selvapiana Vin Santo, so I called them up. I had indeed got a bargain; so I let them know that they had bottles of wine in the boxes for olive oil (both to help them – I like the shop – and to help anyone who is after oil rather than wine!).

But I am keeping hold of the wine, too.

I back to the shop later, since of course I did still need oil. Only this time, I opened the box, just to make sure.

Bubbles!

Nov. 30th, 2006 12:20 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
There is an article in today's Independent about a comparative tasting of champagnes by a panel of experts (nice job if you can get it!).

Many supermarket own-brand wines came out better than the major marques.

The bit I really liked was that "the £24 Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial was inferior to a £3.99 cava from the Co-op and - how embarrassing is this? - a £3.29 Castell Llord Cava Brut from Netto." The £3.29 bottle from Netto was below the price range requested by Which?, who carried out the tasting, "but was included because the discount chain was unable to supply a more expensive bottle."

Bubbles!

Nov. 30th, 2006 12:20 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
There is an article in today's Independent about a comparative tasting of champagnes by a panel of experts (nice job if you can get it!).

Many supermarket own-brand wines came out better than the major marques.

The bit I really liked was that "the £24 Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial was inferior to a £3.99 cava from the Co-op and - how embarrassing is this? - a £3.29 Castell Llord Cava Brut from Netto." The £3.29 bottle from Netto was below the price range requested by Which?, who carried out the tasting, "but was included because the discount chain was unable to supply a more expensive bottle."
rhythmaning: (cat)
F. and K. come to supper )
rhythmaning: (cat)
F. and K. come to supper )

Champange

Mar. 31st, 2006 07:12 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
We are sitting drinking champagne to celebrate the start of my wife’s holidays (she is a teacher) and me making a decision about the rest of my life.

It is very good champagne!

And I am very lucky.

Champange

Mar. 31st, 2006 07:12 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
We are sitting drinking champagne to celebrate the start of my wife’s holidays (she is a teacher) and me making a decision about the rest of my life.

It is very good champagne!

And I am very lucky.

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