Category Archives: General

A Worker’s Reward – 12th December 2014

rec_lamb_in_winterAngela has been working hard lately – her ‘day job’ is owning a soft furnishing business (see Her current project involves transforming an old night club into an elegant wedding venue, by means of a tented ceiling – a huge undertaking. There has been much burning of the midnight oil.

I decided to give her a treat on Friday – a lovely slow braised lamb shoulder with red cabbage and a velvety Rioja. I braised the lamb shoulder at a low temperature, cooking the cabbage at the same time. The lamb was falling apart and the red cabbage had that spicy, sweet/sour taste that goes so well with winter faire.

For me, roast potatoes are the perfect choice for a flavoursome winter dish. I was lucky enough to pick up some Mayan Gold potatoes at our local supermarket. Cooked in goose fat, they were crispy and tasty with delightfully light fluffy centres. To complete the dish we steamed a few broccoli florets – just for a few minutes to keep them tasty and crunchy. 

rec_LIW_riojaThe wine we picked to accompany the dish was the 2005 Viña Arana by La Rioja Alta – a perfectly balanced, velvety, vanilla Rioja in the traditional style.

Angela loved it. A very well deserved treat to finish a hard-working week.

I’ve added it to our recipes list. See Lamb in Winter.

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A Mid-Week Salmon Treat – 4th December 2014

When Angela and I visited the local supermarket we noticed that salmon side fillets were half price. Normally we don’t eat fish in the week, because my 17 year old daughter, Anna, is a fussy eater and doesn’t like fish. But as we had some of Angela’s Winter Warmer left over from the night before for Anna, we decided to take advantage of the salmon offer.

rec_salmon_crispy_skinWe already had some red pepper, spinach, tarragon and coriander in the fridge. I like spicy white sauces with Salmon, so I decided to improvise and the dish I came up with was Ian’s Crispy Skin Salmon with Spicy Red Pepper and Spinach.

Angela loves to poach salmon gently, so I thought a fried crispy skin would make a nice change, with the creamy sauce making a good contrast. To accompany, we had a glass of Menetou-Salon Morogues, Domaine Pellé 2013, an understated, elegant Sauvignon Blanc, less aromatic than its Loire neighbours, but a perfect match for the salmon.

We chose to have it with some new potatoes – simply halved and thrown in the steamer for 22 minutes – sprinkled with plenty of seasoning and a few slices of butter on top to run over the spuds as they are steaming.

We found the meal simply delicious!

To see the full recipe click here.

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Angela Finds Comfort in the Cold – 3rd December 2014

It was cold outside and I just wanted a bowl of something comforting and warm, so I looked in the fridge to see what I could come up with. A good rummage produced onions, mincemeat some vegetables, red chillies and herbs.

I fried the onions, added the mince to brown, then added my spice mix, some red wine and beef stock. After adding the vegetables and simmering for a while I tasted the dish and found it ‘OK’.

But I really needed some comfort on this cold night and ‘OK’ just didn’t seem to fit the bill. So I turned to Ian for inspiration, and just as I did so the ‘phone rang, and never needing a second invitation to interfere, he started fiddling with the dish while I chatted to my daughter.

rec_ang_winter_warmerWhen I eventually got off the phone, Ian appeared with an outstretched tasting spoon, and, I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. The dish now had more body and the taste had been given a real lift. Ian had added extra beef flavouring (‘stock pot’), some redcurrant jelly, red wine vinegar, additional seasoning, additional Worcester sauce and the real star – literally in this case – a large whole star anise, which gave the dish a lovely overtone, complimenting the beef perfectly.

We thoroughly enjoyed the spicy warmth with the perfect accompaniment – a generous glass of Argentinian Malbec.

You can see the detailed recipe here.


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