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Wine Talk

Summer is over but apple season is here

By the end of summer, you’ve probably had your fill of bright red berries so it’s good to know that the best of the season is upon us for apples!

Recipe: French Apple Tart

If you have apple trees, you’ll have loads of apples at this time of years. So why not try this French apple tart? It’s really quick to make and fantastic to eat with cream or ice-cream.



1 roll of puff pastry

3 dessertspoons of caster sugar

20 g unsalted butter

A little powdered cinnamon

5/6 dessert apples depending on their size

Juice of a lemon



Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius

Butter a shallow rectangular baking tin, then line with the puff pastry. Alternatively line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and then prick the base with a fork.

Peel and core the apples then roll them in the lemon juice so they don’t discolour.

Finely slice them into half-moons and layer them on the pastry leaving a 1cm border of pastry.

Evenly sprinkle the sugar over them, sprinkle also a little powdered cinnamon, splash the lemon juice over them and then dot with the butter.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven or until golden.

Serve hot or warm with some cream or ice-cream.

Recipe: Roasted peppers with a garlic cream

Here’s a beautiful recipe for roasted peppers with a garlic cream sauce. It goes perfectly with a glass of our Ciabot Berton Alissa Langhe Favorita, which currently has an extra 10% discount.



8 peppers - a mixture of red and yellow

150g of anchovies in oil

8 cloves of garlic - peeled, with the heart removed

150ml of single cream

1 tbsp olive oil

75ml of milk



Put the peppers in a grill tin and place under a hot grill, turning occasionally, until blackened and blistered. Put them in a plastic bag to steam and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, cut into sections and discard the seeds and ribs.


Put the anchovies with their oil in a pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook over a medium heat until the anchovies have melted into the oil. Turn off the heat.


In another pan, cover the garlic with milk and simmer until the garlic has become tender. Blitz with a hand-held food processor then add to the anchovy mixture. Add the cream and stir.


Serve the peppers with a spoonful of the anchovy and garlic cream.


Our pick for some back to school September wines

September has arrived, the holidays are finished, the new uniforms for school have been purchased. Is there enough left in the piggy bank for some decent wine to help us through the coming month?


Well, we’ve been looking at what’s going to be good to eat this month and have come up with a couple of offers for you that really fit in with September eating.


The first is Verdejo from Rueda made by Pedro Escudero at Valdelainos. Before he allowed fermentation to start, he left the pressed juice in with the skins for a few hours to extract more fruity aromas.


The result is evident when you drink it. It’s got notes of tropical fruit mixed in with some hints of fennel. On the palate it is fresh, vibrant and really fruity.


It’s wonderful to drink by itself but will partner well with the shellfish that’s just back in season and it’s great with white fish too.


A red to go alongside this offer is from the Indaba Estate in South Africa. Bruwer Raats is well known as a genius with white wines especially Chenin Blanc but he’s terrific at making reds too.


This Mosaic Red is a blend of 5 different red varieties but Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant. It’s almost a Bordeaux but with more sunshine to give riper flavours.


Both the aromas and flavours are dominated by blackcurrant but there are other dark fruit notes there too and let’s not forget some spice and chocolate in the mix.


It’s got some structure yet the tannins are fine and ripe and don’t interfere with the enjoyment of drinking. Put it with some lamb which is now more mature than when first available and it will work superbly.


It’s good with many other red meats too and if you want to hold a few bottles back until game is more plentiful, it will be lots of fun to drink with some duck or pheasant as well.


Plenty of amazing choice and value to make September a month to remember for more than just the return of the school routine.

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. 

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.

Recipe: Fish cakes with chermoula paste (South Africa)


South Africans tend to love a bit of spice in their food and some years ago, we enjoyed this dish as a light lunch after a tasting at Catherine Marshall's in Stellenbosch.

Chermoula paste is middle eastern in origin and available from good supermarkets but it's definitely worth making your own.

Not only is it great with these fish cakes, it also works wonderfully as a topping for grilled fish.

Enjoy these with a bottle of two of Cathy's fresh and zesty sauvignon blanc, now with 12.5% off!

 Fish cakes with chermoula paste



1 x half bunch of coriander, chopped

1 x half bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

3 x garlic cloves, crushed

1 x tsp toasted ground cumin

1 x tsp sweet paprika

1 x pinch of cayenne pepper

4 x tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


800g hake fillets (or sustainable white fish alternative)

4 x potatoes, peeled and boiled

15ml chermoula paste

2 x eggs

80g breadcrumbs

Seasoned plain flour for coating

Vegetable oil for frying.


  1. Blend the chermoula ingredients in food processor and taste, adjusting seasoning to suit.
  2. Grill or poach the fish, then flake with a fork, being careful to remove any skin and bones.
  3. Mash potatoes and add to fish, mixing with 15ml of chermoula paste and enough breadcrumbs to bind.
  4. Shape into fish cakes about 2cm thick.
  5. Dip in the seasoned flour and pan fry in hot oil until golden for about 5 minutes on either side.
  6. Serve with a simple green salad (Cathy added mint and basil leaves to hers for extra delicious freshness).

Enjoy with Catherine Marshall sauvignon blanc, for tropical fruits and minerality that matches brilliantly with the zingy fich cakes.

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: Simple sea bass with fennel (France)


To celebrate Domaine de la Croix Cru Classé Irresistible Rosé, here's what we ate when we first fell in love with this bottle.

Being truthful, it was more like three bottles – but any number will go wonderfully well with this simple and satisfying fish dish.

It's almost as good as Monica's sea bream (don't tell her) and very easy to prepare, leaving you free to enjoy a glass as cool as an ocean breeze.

TIP: While we recommend using whole fish on the bone for superior flavour, you can use four small fillets or sea bass instead if you're squeamish.

 Sea bass with fennel recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

2 x small whole sea bass (gutted and scaled – ask your fishmonger)

1 x lemon, sliced

1 x fennel bulb, sliced

1 x small handful of black olives, stoned

1 tbsp olive oil

1 x small handful basil

Salt and pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200.
  2. Wash and dry fish, then season liberally and fill cavities with lemon and fennel slices, plus some basil.
  3. Spread the rest, plus olives in a roasting tin and lay fish on top.
  4. Drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. 

While the fish is cooking, savour the amazing smell and get stuck into some Domaine De La Croix Cru Classé Irresistible Rosé.

Recipe: Parmesan bites (match with Spanish Cava)


Fizz and nibbles – bliss for a dinner party or day in the sun.

Recreate special holiday memories with these ludicrously easy cheesey bites and a popped bottle or two or refreshing cava.

We recommend this wonderful Paco Molina Brut, a perfect partner at under £10 a bottle! 

TIP: For flavour variation, replace cayenne pepper with smoked paprika, dried thyme or mild chilli powder.

 Parmesan biscuits recipe

INGREDIENTS (20-30 bites)

125g plain flour

125g cubed unsalted butter

25g freshly grated parmesan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x pinch cayenne pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180.
  2. Rub butter into flour or use a food processor until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients.
  4. Form together into a ball, then knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until dough is smooth.
  5. Cut dough in half (to allow for rolled out surface area) then roll out first piece between two pieces of cling film to 0.5cm thickness.
  6. Remove top piece of cling film, cut out as many 5cm round biscuits as you can and place on a greased baking tray.
  7. Repeat with second piece of dough and any trimmings.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden, then cool on a wire rack. 

Serve alongside something sparkling like Paco Molina Cava Brut but make sure you've got plenty of both for everyone!

Recipe: Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan steak – Italy)


It's officially summer, even the weather agrees, so it's time for a holiday inspired recipe.

Think barbecue and big glasses of Chianti Classico, like San Giorgio a Lapi.

It has to be the Tuscan classic, 'Bistecca alla Fiorentina' – succulent, simple and superb paired with the region's most famous red. 

TIP: If you're not in the mood to fire up the barbie, a grill pre-heated and set to high will work.

 Bistecca alla Fiorentina recipe


1kg T-bone steaks

6 x lemon wedges

3 tbsp Italian olive oil

4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Chop rosemary and spread over both sides of steaks, pressing in before leaving for an hour to marinate at room temperature.
  2. Light barbecue and wait until coals are white.
  3. Brush oil onto steaks and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook over hottest part of barbecue for around five minutes on each side, then remove and leave to rest for ten minutes before adding a final sprinkle of salt and oil if required.

Serve with nothing more complex than a very simple salad and of course, Chianti Classico.

Recipe: Barbecued lamb chops (New Zealand)


Technically it's Summer, so even in this green and pleasant land there will be some days soon where you can get the barbecue out.

Think beyond boring burgers and try these easy lamb chops, beautiful with a glass or three of fruity Pinot Noir – we recommend this aromatic number by Bladen.

TIP: If desired, wrap exposed ends of bones in foil before cooking to avoid charring.

 Barbecued lamb chops


1kg lamb chops

Half tsp of black pepper

3 x garlic cloves (chopped)

1 x onion (thinly sliced)

4 x tbsp white wine vinegar

2 x tbsp olive oil

1 x tsp salt


  1. Mix all ingredients except the lamb in a bowl until the salt has dissolved.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large seal-able plastic bag, add lamb chops and toss until well coated.
  3. Seal and transfer to fridge to marinate for 3 hours.
  4. Stoke up the barbecue until at a moderate to high heat.
  5. Cook lamb for three minutes per side, for medium (reduce or lengthen according to preferred taste).

Savour with stunning Bladen Marlborough Pinot Noir – enough to keep the colour in your cheeks regardless of whether the sun's out or not.

Recipe: Rabbit or chicken with basil and parsley (New Zealand)


We know lots of people don't like the idea of eating rabbit, so don't worry – this dish works just as well with chicken (it just needs cooking a little longer).

So simple to make but requires some quick preparation the day before – well worth the effort though.

Try this with a bottle or two of Waipara Springs Pinot Gris – perfectly balanced acidity to complement the food.

TIP: Ask your butcher to joint the meat into eight pieces to save you the work and mess at home.

 Chicken with basil and parsley


1 x rabbit or chicken (around 1.5kg), jointed into 8 pieces

4 x garlic cloves

1 x handful of fresh basil

1 x small bunch of fresh parsley

3 x tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD (prepare day before eating)

  1. Wash and dry the meat, then add to a large casserole dish with a lid and cook dry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, turning once, until sealed.
  2. Remove from heat, allow to cool and discard any liquid that comes out.
  3. Finely chop garlic, basil and parsley and combine with salt, pepper and oil.
  4. Mix and coat the cooled meat with the oil and herbs, then cover and refrigerate, ideally for 24 hours or overnight.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and cook for around half an hour for rabbit (or until chicken is cooked through).
  6. Serve with boiled new potatoes and green veg.

Enjoy with Waipara Springs Pinot Gris, a rich and complex bottle with vibrant floral undertones.

Recipe: Asparagus and mint risotto (New Zealand)


A delicious and satisfying dish doesn't have to mean meat or fish.

This fresh and flavoursome risotto, with tender asparagus and fragrant mint would fuel even the heartiest eater weighing on them.

That includes the tropical Tin Cottage Sauvignon Blanc we used to flavour the food (we drank the rest) – try it yourself, even better with 10 percent off selected sauvignon blancs currently!

 Asparagus and mint risotto recipe


175g asparagus (trimmed and sliced into 1.5cm lengths)

1.5 litres chicken stock

4 x mint sprigs

2 x tbsp chopped mint leaves

2 x tsp fennel seeds

2 x tbsp olive oil

1 x small onion (finely chopped)

1 x stick of celery (finely chopped)

500g risotto rice (carnaroli if possible)

125ml Sauvignon Blanc

30g unsalted butter

90g freshly grated parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put chicken stock, asparagus ends and mint sprigs into a saucepan and bring to boil, before reducing heat to low, covering and keeping hot.
  2. In a large saucepan, toast the fennel seeds over a high heat, stirring for around one minute or until fragrant.
  3. Transfer seeds to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, then – once cool – roughly grind.
  4. In the same saucepan, heat the olive oil then add the onion and the celery and cook over moderate heat for around five minutes until softened.
  5. Add rice and fennel seeds and stir until coated with oil, then add wine.
  6. Stir for a couple of minutes until absorbed, then add enough hot stock to just cover the rice.
  7. Cook and stir until stock is absorbed, then continue to add stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until rice is just tender – this should take about 20 minutes.
  8. Stir in the sliced asparagus and cook, adding more broth as necessary, until the asparagus is almost tender and the rice is al dente and bound in a creamy sauce.
  9. Stir in the butter, parmesan and chopped mint, then season with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve in warmed bowls, with more parmesan if desired.

Enjoy with the rest of your Tin Cottage Sauvignon Blanc while your veggie friends beg you for the recipe.

Recipe: Thai style prawns (match with New Zealand Gewurztraminer)


It's summer, so some zingy freshness and exotic heat is in order.

This Thai prawn dish is a stunning complement to Bladen Marlborough Gewurztraminer – a masterpiece of a wine that matches so well with Asian flavours it's scary.

Thai prawns with ginger and spring onion


200g peeled raw tiger prawns (or king prawns will do)

3 x garlic cloves (finely sliced or crushed)

A few chopped chillies (2-5 dependent on taste)

1 x bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated

1 x tbsp caster sugar

3 x tbsp fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp groundnut oil (peanut or sunflower can be used)

Small piece of ginger (grated or shredded)

8 x spring onions (finely sliced)

1 x red pepper (thinly sliced)

85g water chestnuts (sliced)

100g beansprouts

Black pepper

1 x tbsp soy sauce


  1. Using a small food processor or pestle and mortar, combine coriander stalks, chillies, garlic and caster sugar.
  2. Mix with fish sauce and lime juice, then pour over prawns and leave to marinate.
  3. Heat half the oil in a wok, add ginger and spring onions and fry for one minute.
  4. Add red pepper and fry until it starts to soften, then add water chestnuts and beansprouts.
  5. Add soy sauce, a generous grind of pepper then remove to a serving dish.
  6. Heat the remaining half of the oil in the wok, add the prawns and toss for a couple of minutes until just pink.
  7. Add in the marinade, stir until coated, then tip over the veg.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and another squeeze of lime juice.
  9. Enjoy with rice noodles or jasmine rice. 

Enjoy with an aromatic bottle or two of Bladen Marlborough Gewurztraminer and you'll have no problem ignoring the underwhelming British summertime. 

Recipe: Smoked salmon paté (New Zealand)


Have you noticed that when Wimbledon's on, you suddenly want strawberries and cream, whether you like tennis or not?

Well we've decided that even if you're not into rugby, you can still celebrate the British & Irish Lions tour with some delicious food and New Zealand wine.

This flavoursome smoked salmon is ridiculously quick and easy and a perfect pink partner to Bladen Pinot Noir Rose 2016.

TIP: Smoked salmon trimmings can be bought cheaply from supermarkets and taste just as good as higher priced larger slices.

 Smoked salmon pate recipe

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4 as a starter)

150g smoked salmon trimmings

200g cream cheese

1 tbsp creme fraiche (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

Black pepper

Small bunch of dill or chives, chopped

Granary toast and lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Chop salmon into small pieces.
  2. Put salmon, cream cheese and creme fraiche (if using) into a food processor, season generously with black pepper and blitz.
  3. Add smoked salmon and pulse a few times for a rougher, rustic consistency or continue processing for longer if you want the pate pink and smooth.
  4. Stir in herbs and transfer to four small bowls before serving with toast and lemon wedges.

Enjoy with Bladen Pinot Noir Rose 2016 in front of the rugby – yes, most of the matches will be kicking off around 8am, you'll just have to power through.

Recipe: Patatas Riojanas (Spain)

This quick and delicious supper or lunch is easy to make and even easier on the wallet, which means you can enjoy it with a decent Rioja – it really is worth it. 

I first fell in love with it four years ago having enjoyed it at our hotel in Haro.

When I make it myself nowadays, I use an aromatic white Rioja like Señorío De Espiga for cooking and a well-rounded red like Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza for drinking.

TIP: If you don't have white Rioja for cooking, another white wine can be used as long as it's not an oaked variety.

Patatas Riojanas recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 adults)

1kg potatoes

250g cooking chorizo

1 x large onion

2 x garlic cloves

4-5 x tablespoons of olive oil

500ml chicken stock

1 x quarter bottle of white Rioja

1 x tablespoon of paprika


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into one inch chunks.
  2. Chop chorizo into one inch pieces.
  3. Peel and chop onion and garlic.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry onion and chorizo until onion is translucent.
  5. Add garlic and fry for further minute.
  6. Remove from heat and add all other ingredients.
  7. Stir and return to heat, bringing to the boil.
  8. Cover and simmer on lower heat for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked.

Enjoy with a glass or three of ruby red Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza.



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: Toasted goats cheese salad (France)

This simple starter is just the thing with a cool glass of Sancerre – it pairs particularly well with Domaine Hubert Brochard Sancerre, 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.

Recipe: South African Bobotie

Pronounced 'ba-boor-tee', this protein-packed panful pairs well with robust reds like the Curator Red and is a national favourite in South Africa.

And with 12.5% off all South African wines, don't whip up this meaty treat without having a bottle or two to enjoy with it.

Bobotie from South Africa


1 x fairly thick slice of crusty bread (white or brown is fine)

375ml milk

25ml oil

10ml melted or softened butter

1 x clove of garlic (crushed)

2 x onions (sliced)

1.5 x tablespoons curry powder

Sea salt

25ml chutney

15ml smooth apricot jam

15ml Worcestershire sauce

1 x teaspoon turmeric

25ml brown vinegar

1kg raw beef mince

5 x tablespoons sultanas

3 x eggs

Bay leaves

METHOD (serves 8)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F and set bread to one side, soaking in milk.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic until soft.
  3. Add curry powder, pinch of salt, chutney, jam, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric and vinegar and mix well.
  4. Drain and mash the bread, reserving the milk.
  5. Add bread to pan together with mince and sultanas. and stir over a low heat until meat loses its pinkness.
  6. Remove from stove, add one beaten egg, mix well and spoon into a greased baking dish (28 x 16cm), levelling the top.
  7. Beat remaining eggs with reserved milk (you should have around 300ml), a further pinch of salt and pinch of turmeric, then pour over the meat mixture.
  8. Add a few bay leaves on top and stand the dish in a larger pan of water (important to prevent drying out), then bake, uncovered for 1 hour, or until set.

It's traditionally enjoyed with rice but we'd recommend also accompanying with coconut, chutney, nuts, bananas and (of course) a few glasses of Curator red.

Top tip: Get ahead by making the meat sauce up to a day in advance and chilling it in the fridge until you are ready to finish the dish off.

Recipe: Sea Bream alla Monica (Italy)

Monica's recipe is fresh, simple and delicious – and the perfect partner to fruity dry whites, like the stunning Fiano di Avellino 'Refiano' D.O.C.G 2015 by Tenuta Cavalier Pepe.