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Kitchen Secrets Food Tips & Recipes.

  • Use the right knife for the right job. Keep knives sharp. “work safely”!
  • Use a mat or wet cloth under your chopping board to make sure it does not slip or move when cutting.
  • Gently whisk in a little warm water to your Hollandaise Sauce if it separates, to bring it back to life.
  • When buying products always read the label carefully. The First ingredient should always be the main one. If you are purchasing processed sliced meats, Chicken, Turkey, etc, always check the ingredients list, water content and additives.
  • Always check the price per 100gm for all foods in the supermarket as buying in larger quantities is not necessarily cheaper.
  • Tahini Dressing (Sesame Seed Paste): Use cold water to thin a Tahini Dressing as Warm water will just thicken it.
  • Open tins of Baked Beans upside down all the contents will come out in one go.
  • Steaks and Lamb fillet: Always season and oil the meat first, then heat the pan dry when cooking steaks and lamb. To much oil and not enough heat will only boil the meat in the fat. Leave the meat out of the fridge until it reaches room temperature before frying. Leave to rest for five Minutes before serving.
  • Mushroom Soup: Use a mix of wild mushrooms with ordinary button or chestnut mushrooms and add tarragon and truffle oil to finish for a very special soup and a flavour to remember.
  • Roast Potatoes in Beef / Duck Fat for a crisp potato. (I use Reds and occasionally Maris Piper Potatoes, boil potatoes in salted water until they become floury drain well and coat with Fat. Season and Roast.
  • The Perfect Chip: Maris Piper potatoes. Cut potatoes into thick fingers, boil in salted water and part cook. (Approx15- 20 Mins) Drain & pat dry. Keep in fridge. Reheat in vegetable oil @ 120 Degrees Centigrade until cooked and lightly coloured . Pat dry and refrigerate. Heat oil (Duck fat for the best Chips!) to 180 – 190 Degrees Centigrade. Serve.
  • Making Tartare Sauce: Add chopped gherkins, capers, onion, and parsley to ready made mayonnaise for an easy and simple version, that works.
  • Avoid Vanilla Essence. Use Fresh Vanilla Pods for a better result every time.
  • Split a whole garlic bulb across the middle and roast flesh side down with butter, olive oil, sea salt, Bayleaf and thyme. Serve warm with freshly baked breads, (Yum) serve with baked “boxed” camembert for a great sharing platter with a friend. Serve with a New World Sauvignon Blanc.

List of Foods and flavours that work well Together
Some obvious and some not so.

Mushrooms/Chicken and Tarragon. (Cream Sauce)
Tomato and Basil
Melted Stilton on toast with Honey (Try it!) with a glass of German Riesling.
Simple Grilled Pork Loin steaks with lemon Peel (Garlic, Sea Salt, Olive Oil)
Grilled Chicken with Pesto
Pea and Mint, with prawns (Risotto)
Bacon and Cabbage
Avocado /Crab/ Prawn
Bacon & Tomato
Cheese and Onion (Mash) with Butter and Cream.
Carrot and Coriander
Bread and Butter Very Versatile (think about all the options)
Salmon and Asparagus (Hollandaise Sauce)
Oak Smoked Garlic Butter. WOW!
Honey and Mustard “Gammon”
Strawberry’s and Cream
Chocolate & Raspberry’s
Lemon & lime
Smoked Haddock & Poached egg

Wine & Food Matches

Cabernet Sauvignon :
Young wines: lightly grilled red meats,
Older wines : Roast meats, Roast beef, Lamb with a simple jus, or aged cheeses.

Merlot :
Young wines, Wood grilled meats, full flavoured fish stews,
Older wines: Roast veal, roast duck, or goose.

Pinot Noir :
Roast duck, veal, grilled salmon, oysters.

Syrah/Shiraz :
Steaks, big hearty stews, Spicy foods pizzas, venison.

Chardonnay :
Many styles of wine to go with many foods, Lighter wines, seafood pasta, chicken, fish. More complex wines, salmon, veal, creamy pastas and sauces, Roast chicken.

Gewurztraminer :
Grilled sausages, Asian & spicy foods, Hot Thai chillies, Indian curries, also a perfect aperitif wine. Riesling : A wide range of styles, a perfect food wine, Crab, Smoked salmon. Dessert style wines, try a blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort.

Semillon :
Creamy pasta dishes, oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel. It has the strength to stand up to curries, it works with mushrooms and omelettes.

Sauvignon Blanc :
Goat’s cheese, grilled shellfish.

Interesting Wine Facts

  • The colour in red wine comes from the skin. All noble black grapes have white juice.
  • A few have red juice, they are called teinturiers or dyers and are usually of poorer quality.
  • Red wines lose colour as they age and white wines gain in colour, in theory they might meet in the middle. But in practice all but a few quality sweet wines such as sauternes would be dead by then.
  • The Yield of wine at Chateau d’Yquem is one of the most expensive in the world. One glass per vine. Average production volumes for most wines can be calculated at approx 1 Kilo of grapes to make 1 litre of wine.
  • In 1961 three old German wines were tasted a 1857 Rudesheimer and a 1820 Schloss Johannisberger were both dead, but a 1540 Steinwein made in a hot vintage 24 years before the birth of Shakespeare was brown but alive and briefly kicking.
  • France is still the biggest consumer of wine in the world. In 1991 it polished off 429 million cases compared with 139 million in the USA and 61 million in the UK.
  • In 1991 in the UK we consumed 1360 thousand cases of champagne, compared to the USA’s 865 thousand, They were both put into the shade by the French they consumed 11,565 thousand cases.
  • In Portugal port intended for vintage is still trodden by foot, in age old granite troughs called lagars.
  • The Average speed of a champagne cork leaving the bottle is 42 feet per second.
  • In the 15th Century patients in German hospitals were allowed 7 litres of wine a day. Professional wine tasters spit out each wine after each tasting the record spit is 11 feet 6 inches.
  • Chateauneuf du pape is made using up to 13 permitted grape varieties. The word means: The Pope’s new castle.
  • Only 5% of Chateauneuf du pape produced is white.
  • Chateau le Pin is one of the worlds most expensive wines made from 100% merlot. The vineyard is a tiny 5 acre site. The first vintage was in 1979.
  • Chateau d'Yquem is matured for over 3 and a half years in new oak and can last for over 50 years.