Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Lidl wine reviews

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

In the run-up to turning forty last week and the unlikely event that I may have to entertain a few dozen people in Messy Towers I have been studying Frank’s excellent series on Lidl wine. Frank has kindly reviewed the NZ Pinot Noir (€9.99), Rose Champagne (€19.99), Fleurie (€6.99), and Chateauneuf de Pape (€14.99).  Take a look if you are interested what Lidl have to offer in the wine department. Excellent series Frank, thanks.

Concha y Toro – Casillero Del Diablo

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Casillero Del Diablo

All this week Dunnes Stores are doing the Casillero Del Diablo (‘Cellar of the Devil’ to you and I) Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc reduced from €10.49 to €6.49. Not a bad deal for a decent enough wine, hard to get better value at this price point.

Parma Ham, Goats Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Salad

Thursday, February 5th, 2009
Parma Ham, Goat's Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Salad

Feb 5th 2009: I’ve updated this to include the wine recommendation below. Apologies for the rehash of an old post but I thought Lar had a great idea to match wines with recipes from different food blogs. It’s a fun way to navigate the different food blogs out there.

Jan 14th 2009: Work has been a bit mental since the new year so I’ve been short on blog time. Aside from trying to figure out how best to cook roast beef I’ve also been pretty short on cook time. The roast beef results will follow, I finally nailed the Yorkshire puddings which is a post and a series of photos in itself, but for now here’s a salad you can fling together in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t have to be long and complicated to be good. Adiós muchachos, vaya con Dios.

Ingredients (for two)
1 Bag of Supermarket mixed leaves
10 fresh sun-dried tomato segments.
6 slices of Parma Ham
1 small pack of crumbly goats cheese. Cabridoux is widely available in Irish supermarkets, anything really, doesn’t even have to be goat’s cheese.
Extra virgin olive oil or Balsamic vinegar

Place a pile of leaves on each plate. Arrange the sun dried tomato segments around the outside. Tear up the Parma Ham and add onto the leaves. Crumble the cheese on top. Sprinkle with a little olive oil or Balsamic vinegar. Serve with crusty bread etc.

For a wine to go with this check out this post from, excellent idea Lar and thanks!

2008 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc

That’s all

2007 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie

Saturday, January 17th, 2009
2007 Georges Duboeuf Felurie

Time for a quickie wine review, had this a few weeks back and thought it was really nice. The Gamay grape, which accounts for the majority of grape varieties grown in Beaujolais region, gives it a light and very fruity taste. Not a robust red by any means, which I guess is typical of a Beaujolais, but smooth and loads of taste. This is a really nice, elegant, red.

For detailed wine reviews and more check out Robert Francis Wine based in Galway or Curious Wines from Cork.

Mulled Wine

Friday, January 2nd, 2009
Mulled Wine

Here is the first low-fat recipe for 2009. Mulled wine. I know I should have posted this before Christmas but it had been a year since I made it at that stage and I couldn’t remember my recipe. After a week of practice and hard work tasting I have honed a recipe so thought it wise to record it now so we have it for next year.

2 Clementines (2 mandarin oranges or a regular orange will do)
1 Lemon
1 Stick of Cinnamon
1 inch piece of Ginger, peeled and sliced in two.
150g Sugar
500ml Water
2 bottles of Red Wine. Cheap stuff will do just fine.

Get a large pot and add the zest of the two Clementines. Peel one and add the slices to the pot. Stick about 15 cloves into the other and add. Zest the Lemon into the pot, slice the body in two and add. Add your stick of cinnamon and ginger. Boil the 500ml water and dissolve the sugar in it. Add to the pot. Add the wine. Cover and put on a very low heat. Do not boil it, just heat it gently. To serve either sieve the whole lot into a fresh pot or sieve by the glass.

Pasta with Bacon and Cabbage in a Creme Fraiche sauce

Thursday, December 4th, 2008
Bacon and Cabbage

Last week’s recession-proof bacon recipe reminded me of another. This time a quick and easy pasta dish. For me, the recipe has the added bonus of using locally sourced bacon from the family run Gubbeen Farmhouse in West Cork. I love that you can find these sort of cheese makers and meat smokers on your doorstep all over Ireland, and even better that large retailers like SuperValu support them by stocking their products. I frequently mention Ryan’s SuperValu in Grange as a great place to shop and this is exactly why. Local produce that was once the domain of the markets only is now far more accessible. Great to see, I hope it lasts.

Pasta and cabbage is an unusual mix but you’d be surprised. The slightly bitter taste of the cabbage mixes well with the salty bacon and creamy pasta. Cook the cabbage for as long as you like your veg cooked, 5 minutes will still produce a good flavour so adjust accordingly for less flavour if you wish.

I have also added a few spoons of Creme Fraiche to loosen it up a little, you could go further and make a Carbonara sauce by beating two eggs into about 120g of Creme Fraiche and you’d have a Bacon and Cabbage Carbonara.

1 Head of Savoy Cabbage, chopped finely.
Fresh pasta for 2
1 pack of Rashers, Lardons or Streaky Bacon.
3 Heaped teaspoons of Creme Fraiche
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of Thyme.
Pinch of Cinnamon
1/2 clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
Olive Oil

Fry the bacon in a little olive oil along with the garlic, thyme and a pinch of cinnamon. When golden, lower the heat, add the chopped cabbage, cover and cook slowly for five minutes or to taste. When the cabbage is cooked to your liking loosen with the creme fraiche and mix well. Cook the pasta, drain, and add the mix to it. Stir well, season, add some Parmesan and serve.

Chateau Fonfroide Bordeaux 2007

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Chateau Fonfroide Bordeaux

Here’s a quick wine review done in my “I like wine but don’t know anything about it” style. Dunnes Stores have been flogging this on the cheap for quite a while now, I think they advertise it as €14.99 reduced to €7.99 and there is a good reason. Lacks depth, nose and body. Fails to mention on the label what type of grapes were used in the blend preferring to say “Its unique character (!) comes from a combination of various types of grapes and the sea”. First wine I’ve had that cites its flavour from the sea. Arrrgh maties! I drank it anyway.

Hardys Arrival Cabernet Sauvignon

Monday, September 8th, 2008
Hardys Wine

I don’t like to do long wine reviews, primarily because I can’t! Although I drink a fair bit of wine at home my vocabulary is pretty limited: nice; not nice; drinkable; dry; fruity; feck. I need to take a night class. In any event there are some excellent Irish wine blogs out there (, Bubble Bros) so I’ll leave them do the real talking while I give a quick paragraph.

Like most other New World Cab Sauvs Hardy’s “Arrival” Cabernet Sauvignon (2006) is a rich and heavy wine. It’s heavy on the tannins and had a pretty sharp, alcohol, after taste. Volume is 13.5% which is typical of such a wine but there are far better sub €10 New World reds out there. As a true measure of it’s greatness we ended up by using it to make a red wine sauce for last night’s roast beef. Fin.


Monday, July 21st, 2008
Serein river, Chablis, Burgundy, FRANCE

Stocked up on some wine this weekend. Our local Super Valu, Ryans in Frankfield, are doing Jacob’s Creek Semillon Chardonnay (2007) for €8.99 a bottle which seemed like good value.

For those who dislike regular Chardonnay, of which there are many, is a less oaked alternative. Slightly creamy taste with good body, a more robust alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, very drinkable.