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Wine Talk

Recipe: Butternut squash and chicken soup (Spain)


A real central heater for the colder months – autumnal, earthy veg, succulent chicken and warming spice.

Great as a starter or hearty enough to make a meal on its own – enjoy with a glass or two of organic Parés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Butternut squash and chicken soup



1 x medium sized butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cubed)

4 x free-range chicken thighs

1 x small onion (finely chopped)

2 x tbsp olive oil

1 x litre of chicken or vegetable stock

1 x large pinch of ground cumin

1 x large pinch of ground coriander

1/4-1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (to taste)

1-2 x tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper


  1. Pre- heat oven to 220°C and toss chicken thighs, squash, onion and oil together in a roasting dish to ensure an evenly coated layer.
  2. Put in oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken and squash are cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken and set aside to cool and add remaining roasted ingredients to a large pan with stock, cumin and coriander, then bring to a simmer.
  4. Using the back of a spoon break up veg to make a thick and chunky soup.
  5. Skin and de-bone chicken, chop and add to soup along with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

That's it – all you need to make it perfect is good quality crusty bread and a bottle or two oParés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Vegan recipe: Spanish style garlic mushrooms (Spain)


This simple meat-free starter or supper showcases earthy autumnal mushrooms with a touch of Spanish heat.

Simple, tasty and a superb match with a beautiful bottle of vegan certified Parés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Vegan garlic mushrooms



10 x large Paris or white mushrooms (cleaned and cut into quarters)

5 x garlic cloves (crushed)

3 x tbsp olive oil

2 x tbsp dry sherry

1 x tbsp lemon juice

1 x tsp pimenton picante or hot paprika

1/4-1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (to taste)

Salt and pepper

1 x tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley (to garnish)


  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan over a moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add mushrooms and stir for a few minutes to ensure the oil has coated them completely.
  3. Add all other ingredients except parsley, cook for five minutes and taste to check seasoning and spice – adjust accordingly as desired.
  4. Remove from heat, stir through parsley and serve.

Enjoy in the knowledge that your wine is as clean as your food, with a bottle oParés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Vegetarian recipe: Pastry-free spinach tarts with porcini sauce (Italy)


This isn’t a tart in the traditional sense – more like a light mousse that simply melts in the mouth.

I first fell in love with it in a small restaurant in Alba in Italy's Piedmont region.

The establishment is sadly no longer there but I still make this for friends and it never fails to delight.

And as a veggie dish, it means everyone can enjoy the same thing – no need to have too many plates spinning.

TIP: This porcini sauce is just as delicious as a standalone sauce for pasta or gnocchi. 

Spinach tart recipe




600g cooked or frozen spinach (with all water squeezed out)

25g unsalted butter

1 x tbsp onion (finely chopped)

2 x eggs

100g parmesan (finely grated)

200ml double cream

3 x tbsp fresh orange juice

Grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

1 x handful of fresh breadcrumbs 


25g dried porcini mushrooms

50g unsalted butter

2 x tbsp flatleaf parsley (chopped)

1 x garlic clove (finely chopped)

Salt and pepper

150ml single cream


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C and heat butter in a pan, gently sautéeing the onion until soft.
  2. Add the spinach and saute for 5 more minutes, then blend to coarse puree in a food processor.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs with the parmesan, then add the cream, orange juice, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper before mixing thoroughly with the spinach mixture.
  4. Generously grease 8 ramekins with butter, making sure the bottoms are well covered, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs – shaking out any excess.
  5. Fill with the spinach mixture and place in a bain marie with the very hot water coming 2/3rds of the way up, then bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Turn out onto heated plates and serve with the porcini sauce on the side.
  7. For the sauce, soak the dried porcini in 250 ml of hot water for 30 minutes, then strain while reserving the liquid.
  8. Gently fry the parsley and garlic in the butter until soft, then add roughly chopped porcini, frying for a further 10 minutes.
  9. Adding 3-4 tablespoons of the soaking liquid and season with salt and black pepper, before adding the cream to the sauce and serving (If the sauce seems a bit dry, just add a little more of the reserved soaking liquid from the porcini).

Enjoy with some quality cereal bread and plenty of good white wine.

Two excellent partners are Ciabot Berton’s Favorita and Astoria’s Pinot Grigio Alisia.

Recipe: 'Jambon Persillé' ham hock terrine (France)


As the nights are drawing in and the barbecue is put away for the year, it's time for a perfect dinner party dish that can be made a day in advance.

This ham hock terrine is a true taste of the Maconnais region and something we never miss when we visit.

It matches perfectly with the beautiful burgundy Domaine Du Bicheron Mâcon-Péronne – a world-class white at an everyday price.

A hearty starter (or excellent light lunch), this dish takes some preparation but the result is well worth it.

Plus, preparing in advance leaves you plenty of time to enjoy with your guests.

Jambon Persillé recipe


3 x ham hocks (unsmoked) – 500g each approx.

1 x large carrot (roughly chopped)

1 x large leek (white part only, cut into rounds)

2 x celery sticks (roughly chopped)

1 x large onion (roughly chopped)

1 x bunch thyme

3 x bunch parsley

5 x gelatine leaves

METHOD (prepare day before serving)

  1. Place ham hocks in a pan large enough to allow them to move when boiling, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Discard liquid, remove hocks and wash them in cold water.
  3. Return them to the cleaned pan along with all the vegetables and thyme and enough cold water to cover
  4. Bring to a simmer, cover and leave for 3.5 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
  5. Strain the ham hocks, reserving the cooking liquid, and place them in a plastic container with a lid to allow them too cool.
  6. Pass the reserved liquid through a fine sieve, reserving 1 litre.
  7. Soak the gelatine in plenty of cold water until it is very soft and pliable.
  8. Reduce the reserved stock by half and taste it (the ham hocks could be salty) and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  9. Stir in the gelatine making sure it is well dissolved in the reduced stock.
  10. Finely chop the parsley leaves only.
  11. Line a terrine with clingfilm, with the edges overlapping the top sufficiently to cover the surface of the finished
  12. Take the meat and the fat from the cooled ham hocks and separate them, chopping the meat into large chunks and the fat into small dice.
  13. Layer the bottom of the terrine with about 2/3rds of the parsley, put a layer of the cooked ham on top and dot with a few of the diced pieces of fat.
  14. Sprinkle with some parsley then repeat this a few times finishing with a layer of ham (Don't push the ham too tightly into the terrine, to allow the gelatine mixture to run through).
  15. Pour over the gelatine mixture then cover with the clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.
  16. When ready to serve, turn out onto a large plate and remove clingfilm.

Enjoy hearty slices with good rustic bread, tangy cornichons (small pickled gherkins) and plenty of Domaine Du Bicheron Mâcon-Péronne.

Autumn food and wine – a season of good taste


Cep mushrooms


A new season means exciting new produce crying out to be paired with wonderful wines.

September heralds the end of British summer and yet is often quite a warm month with good weather.

With the harvesting of many crops, there’s an abundance of delicious foods for our tables, ready to be enjoyed with great wines.

Over on the continent, truffles start to appear but will be much better from October onwards.

Porcini mushrooms or ‘ceps’ are available both here and abroad, with vegetables like aubergines, fennel and squashes also on on offer.

In terms of fruit, succulent English apples, plums and damsons should be in their best form.

Game-wise – grouse, partridge and wild duck are all available, while the sea serves up superb scallops and cold water seabass.

There’s no excuse to not eat well in Autumn, which is why we’ll be sharing some great recipe ideas – with wines to match of course...