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Wine Talk

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.

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...

Vegetarian recipe: Mushroom and lentil moussaka (South Africa)


This hearty vegetarian dish was first served to us by Ardi Bardenhorst back when he was head winemaker at Rustenberg.

Now he has his own estate out in the Swartland and his sumptuous 'The Curator Red' is just the ticket to accompany it.

And with 12.5% off South African wines currently, you couldn't choose a better time to try this winning combination.

TIP: This dish can be made in advance and refrigerated once it has cooled after the 30 minutes cooking at 180 degrees. Remove from the fridge an hour before you need to reheat and put in the oven at 160 degrees for a further 30 minutes before serving.

Mushroom and lentil moussaka


600g aubergine

250g brown lentils, rinsed

300g mushrooms, sliced

400g tomatoes, skinned and chopped

10g brown sugar

2g ground cinnamon

2g salt

100g fresh parsley, chopped

500ml salted water

25ml olive oil

1 x large onion, chopped

1 x green pepper, de-seeded and diced

2 x garlic cloves, crushed

1 x bay leaf

Vegetable oil for frying


50g butter

50g plain flour

375g grated cheese

2g grated nutmeg

500ml milk

2 x eggs, separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. After removing and discarding the ends, slice aubergines into 5cm rings and add these to a colander – salting them as you go along – and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing and patting dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Fry them in veg oil on a moderately low heat, using a large, heavy frying pan – keeping partly covered to prevent from absorbing too much oil.
  3. Meanwhile, boil lentils in the salted water for 50 minutes until soft, with most of it absorbed.
  4. Once aubergine slices are done, remove and set aside and use the pan to soften the onion, green pepper and garlic in the olive oil, before adding the mushrooms.
  5. When softened, add tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaf, salt and parsley before covering and simmering for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaf and stir in the cooked lentils for a thick but moist mixture.
  7. In another pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and cook for one minute before removing from the heat and very gradually adding the milk.
  8. Return to the stove and cook while stirring until thickened to make a white sauce.
  9. Beat eggs and add a small amount of the sauce to the eggs, whisking together.
  10. Add the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly until combined before seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  11. Stiffly whisk the egg whites and fold these into the sauce as well.
  12. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  13. Cover the base of a 20cm x 30cm oven dish with the aubergine slices, then spoon in some of the lentil mixture, then repeat this layering until used, before covering with the sauce and finally topping with the grated cheese.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven while leaving in the oven for a further 15 minutes (unless preparing in advance, as above).
  15. Serve with a simple green salad.

Enjoy with AA Badenhorst Family Wines The Curator Red, an unpretentious easy drinking bottle.

Recipe: Coq au Riesling (France)

This delicious and simple-to-make dish is the Alsatian version of the French classic 'Coq au Vin' – no dogs involved, it's still chicken. Try it yourself!

Recipe: Monkfish with mushrooms in cream sauce (South Africa)

We last enjoyed this delicious fish dish in restaurant overlooking the ocean in beautiful Jacob's Bay in the Western Cape, with a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer.

And with 12.5% off all South African wines, you should select a similarly fragrant fruity white to cut through the luxurious indulgence of this seafood feast.

South African monkfish with mushrooms in cream sauce


800g monkfish fillet

125ml dry white wine

250ml water

1 x bay leaf

Small handful of parsley

Half a small onion

6 x peppercorns

Half a teaspoon of salt

200g mushrooms (sliced)

25ml softened butter

25ml sherry

50ml double cream

1.5 x dessertspoon French mustard

2 x medium potatoes (mashed and creamed)

Grated parmesan or gruyere cheese


3 x level tablespoons of softened butter

60g flour

250ml warm milk

375ml fish stock

METHOD (serves 6)

1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C/320°F.

2. Put monkfish, wine, water, bay leaf, parsley, onion, peppercorns and salt in saucepan and poach until the fish is just just cooked through.

3. Remove and drain the fish, cube and set aside.

4. Fry mushrooms lightly in butter and drain on a paper towel.

5. Make the white sauce by heating the butter and flour together, stirring to make a 'roux'.

6. Whisk in the milk and stock to complete the sauce, taking care not to burn.

7. Season to taste, then add the fish, mushrooms, sherry, cream and mustard.

8. Spoon into individual dishes and surround the top with a border of creamed potato.

9. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Despite the number of strong flavours, the monkfish is tough enough to stand up for itself and really shines when complemented with a few glasses of Blanc de Mer.

Top tip: For added wow factor at the table, serve in individual scallop shells (available from most fishmongers) instead of dishes.