Thursday, 31 May 2012

Blog Love 3 - Girl with the Golden Touch

In the third installment of blogs I love to read is the first non-food blog - Girl with the Golden Touch.  I've been reading Carla's blog for a couple of years, there's something for everyone on there - make up, nails, reading, food, life....

I love her posts with iphone pics on, I'm very nosey so love seeing what other people are getting up to.

You can also find Carla on Twitter - @Carlito86

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Guest post - Wine of the week - Yalumba Unwooded Chardonnay

This is a lovely guest post written by the marvellous @beccymorby.

Well, when I saw that Rachel was looking for a guest blog for her “wine of the week” slot I must admit it seemed a little intimidating. Sommelier I am NOT! However, I do like my wine and if the decision to allow someone to blog was based on the frequency and quantity of consumption then I was definitely the woman for the job.
Interestingly, whilst I was thinking what I wanted to write about and was reading Rachel’s blog I noticed that she had said she despises Chardonnay. SNAP I would have said a few years ago. In fact my only stipulation for a wine order in a bar used to be ‘large and ABC’ – Anything But Chardonnay! Then on a holiday to the States a few years ago I went on a wine tour day of the Napa Valley (a beautiful place and if you ever have the opportunity to go I can’t recommend it highly enough)…anyway I digress. Whilst at one of the vineyards the wine maker explained the process of oaking wine (I’m sure this isn’t the technical term but it’s what I took away!). I then tried a Chardonnay which had been oaked and one that was unoaked – a revelation! Although I do think that to the more educated palate you were supposed to prefer the oaked, I thought the unoaked one was delicious. I remember it being one of the nicest wines I had ever tasted. Perhaps the memory is enhanced by the beautiful surroundings and the slight alcohol haze but it was delicious and needless to say I then paid through the nose for two bottles which I promptly guzzled as I returned to my hostel that evening - classy!
So just for Rachel and as a bit of a blast from the past for me, I thought I might try and locate a reasonably priced, quaffable and most definitely unoaked chardonnay. To see if I could tempt any other ABC drinkers to give it a try off I trotted to Rhythm and Booze on the Main St. I found one I thought looked quite nice, noted to be ‘unwooded’. (Oops, perhaps that’s what I meant all along.) It was a Yalumba Unwooded Chardonnay (2010) from South Australia and at £8.25 a bottle it certainly didn’t enter to cheap bottle category, but for a Friday night in I don’t think that was too bad.
It turned out to be really quite drinkable. Although I can now see why perhaps some people prefer not to drink Chardonnay as whilst I enjoyed drinking it, it wasn’t the most refreshing drink and was markedly improved when I was drinking it with dinner (ham gratin with chard, asparagus and jersey royals in case you asked!). It is dry with fruity elements but not as crisp as other types of white wine I tend to drink usually. So whilst I would buy another bottle it would only be to drink with a meal and if I wanted something chilled and refreshing to sit outside and enjoy the weather I would probably revert to type to a Sauvignon Blanc or a Dry Riesling. It was definitely worth a try and if you fancy something a bit different tonight you won’t go far wrong with a bottle of this. Plus – an additional nice marketing touch - part of the label peels off so that you can remember the name of the wine and the producer for future reference!
I’d be really interested to hear what others think of this wine and if it would tempt them away from their usual tipple!?
PS. HID doesn’t do white wine so decided to get a bottle of the Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon (2008) from South Australia instead – he reckons it was tasty and full bodied although I think the highest recommendation was that he had polished the bottle off by the end of the evening!

Massive thanks to Beccy for this - I may be tempted to give Chardonnay a go after reading this - I hooted when I saw the ABC comment - I remember reading it in a book and thinking that's so like me, Anything But Chardonnay!  I absolutely love the little peel off sticker too!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Meal Planning Monday (on a Tuesday)

Morning everyone, I'm back from holidays feeling recharged, refreshed and my interest in food has reawakened (well for now at least!).  We did our weekly shop yesterday evening, I usually do a meal plan on a Sunday and we umm and ahhh together about what we want to eat - it's hard to decide!

Monday - we had salad, mine with fish goujons, Phil's with chicken
Tuesday -  Mushroom risotto, I have shitake mushrooms and some good old chestnut ones
Wednesday -  I'm meeting a friend for tea, I'd quite like to go to Little Tokyo in Leeds, and Phil and the boys are having Sausage and Mash
Thursday - Edit - remembered: Pasta and Pesto, with chicken for Phil.  Quick easy tea because we're going swimming that evening!
Friday - Chicken curry, rice and naan breads - I'll be picking the chicken out of mine
Saturday - Fish Pie and peas
Sunday - Roast pork, dauphinoise potatoes, asparagus, peas, carrots

I'll be getting the pork from the butchers and need to pop to one of the local asian supermarkets near my work for some coconut milk - all I could find in Morrisons at Wetherby last night was the Blue Dragon coconut milk for £1.88! Shocking price!

Pop on over to Mrs M's blog for the rest of the meal plans.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Blog Love 2 - Exploits of a Food Nut

I love Gary's blog Exploit of a Food Nut, there's recipes for all on there.  He's an excellent baker, and keen attendee of Clandestine Cake Club, but over all just a massive lover of all things food.

I was really impressed recently with him home curing Bacon - I'd never have thought to have a go myself, but I'll definitely be giving it a go for Christmas (I hope to feel like eating meat again by then, and will want a lovely bacon sarnie on Christmas day!).

Go check his blog out!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Hot and Sweet Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup

I've had half a roasted butternut squash hiding in the freezer for a few weeks now, feeling in a soupy kinda mood I decided to use it tonight with some parnsips that were crying out to be used up.

I roasted the parsnips in honey for 30 mins while I defrosted the butternut squash, chopped and cooked half an onion with some garlic, dried chilli and cumin seeds.

When the squash was defrosted I added that to the pan then turned the heat off till the parsnips were done in the oven and then added those and returned the pan to the heat.  I was cautious with the amount of vegetable stock so poured in 500ml then blended.  The soup began to look a bit too gloopy so I added another 250ml of stock and then some sour cream.

The result - well it was hot, spicy and very sweet - but far too parsnipy - if I cook this soup again I'd reduce the number of parsnips by half and double the amount of butternut squash.  I wasn't all that keen on it, but it was comforting and edible.

You can't get it right every time though - eh!