Event Review: Elwood Wines Tasting at The Chimney House, Brighton

Here are some snaps from one of the fabulous tutored tastings by Karl Elwood from Elwood Wines at The Chimney House in Brighton.

Karl runs these tastings monthly, so if you fancy going along to one click here for upcoming dates. Or you can sign up to the Elwood Wines newsletter, Tales from the Vineyard, here.

The seven wines from Bordeaux on the tasting menu

Attempting to be a bit 'arty' with my camera

Flight 1: Quail's Eggs and Crayfish Tails with Rocket

Flight 3: Cheese, Biscuits and Olives

My copious notes, which began to tail off towards the 7th wine

I liked the chandelier in The Chimney House function room

Karl tells us about the wines

Great turnout, lovely atmosphere

Karl chatting about the wines

Advertisements

Recipe Review: BBC Good Food’s Red Thai Salmon Curry

My first attempt - easy peasy and delicious!

This recipe is one of the easiest things I have ever cooked in my life. If you’re often pushed for time but like eating great food or if you’re entertaining guests but aren’t the best chef in the world then this recipe will become a lifesaver. It tastes far more impressive than you’d think given how quick and effortless it is to make.

The only thing that might catch you out is that you may need to experiment a few times with the amount of curry paste you put in. The first time I made this I didn’t put enough in, but the next time I doubled the amount and it was perfect. Red curry pastes vary hugely in how spicy they are so I’d recommend finding a brand you like and getting used to how much to add. I bought Gang Ped Red Curry Paste from Taj in Brighton which isn’t particularly hot – I found about 4-5 teaspoons was enough, without being blow-your-head off spicy.

Another tip is to steam the green beans for a couple of minutes before adding them to the sauce as I’ve found that the salmon ends up overcooking before the beans are tender enough.

Now, I’m no expert, but if you’re looking to pair this dish with a wine, I thought it went very well with one of my personal favourites – the Kiwi Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc which is available at ASDA and Sainsbury’s for about £5.99.

Qype Guru Event: a meal at Giraffe in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurants

Living in Brighton, it’s very easy to develop an aversion to chain restaurants as there are so many fabulous, quirky, independent places to eat. I usually find chains horrendously overpriced and poor value for money by comparison. For this reason, I had avoided going to Giraffe until I was invited there for a Qype Guru event. So, with an open mind and an empty belly, along I went.

On entrance, we were greeted by a wonderfully smiley and enthusiastic waitress who offered us a seat and had no hesitation in suggesting to us the best wine on the menu – a Sauvignon Blanc which I must say was absolutely delicious. Their wine list is good, but rather expensive by the glass so I would recommend getting a bottle with your meal.

Sitting down and perusing the menu I was surprised as there really is no way to classify what type of food Giraffe offers – the menu had everything from burgers to Mexican food to Oriental influenced dishes. Picking a starter that complemented the main was a bit of a challenge.

In the end I went for the chicken wings sharing starter, which was about the same price as the individual ones (around the £5 mark). The size of the starter was impressive – six enormous chicken wings coated in a tasty Asian-style marinade. Probably a bit too much for one person as an appetizer, but hey, I was feeling greedy.

For the main I went for the teriyaki salmon and wasabi rice because I thought it sounded like the most intriguing thing on the menu. The salmon fillet was beautiful and cooked to perfection – and for £12.95 it wasn’t bad value either. As for the rice, I’m still undecided. A brave and interesting idea but one I’m not sure quite worked the way I thought it would.

As far as chain restaurants go, Giraffe really isn’t half bad. The staff are great, the feel of the place is fun (even if the music was a bit loud) and the menu, wherever possible, is locally sourced in Kent and Sussex. The quality of the food is good and there are several deals on food and drink available throughout the week which make it even better value for money. Definitely worth a visit.

Check out my review of giraffe – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: In Vino Veritas in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurants

This place is absolutely fantastic. If you’ve got a fair bit of cash to splash and are after a really top-notch meal then you’ve got to get yourself to In Vino Veritas. I came here for the first time last month with my friends from Elwood Wines and had what was probably the best meal I have ever eaten in Brighton.

Determined to stuff ourselves silly, we started in the bar area with the Tapas/Canape menu which included the most delicious charcuterie plate, king prawns and deep fried mozzarella (£3.95 each) along with our first bottle of wine – I think it was the Hoher Rain, Gruner Veltliner, Geyerhof (£34). Not usually to my taste (a little oaky), but a great accompaniment to the cured meats and seafood.

After this fabulous appetizer, we moved up the spiral staircase to the restaurant area. I started with the Seared Scallops (£7.85) – which were deliciously buttery and cooked to absolute perfection – before moving onto one of my favourite dishes: Rib Eye Steak with Pommes Frites and Green Peppercorn Sauce (£16.75). Divine.

Far too full for real dessert, we ended the meal in the most perfect way – with a strong, creamy liqueur coffee. After four courses and as many bottles of wine (not all to myself, I hasten to add) I felt thoroughly satisfied. Although it would take months, perhaps even years, to work through their incredibly extensive wine list I can’t wait to go back again and start trying.

Check out my review of In Vino Veritas – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Recipe Review: Elwood Wines Olive Cake (a Recipe from Bordeaux)

Olive cake, fresh from the oven and smelling gorgeous

When Elwood Wines held their Wine Challenge at the Blaker’s Park Picnic in June this year, they were serving their wines alongside the most delicious looking bread which, being wheat intolerant, I wasn’t able to sample on the day. So, on discovering that they had uploaded the recipe to their website I absolutely had to give it a go – gluten-free style.

More like a “savoury cake” than a loaf of bread, there’s no kneading, no leaving to rise and no fiddling about with yeast and hot water necessary – my favourite kind of baking. And the end result? A delicious, savoury, cheesy, crumbly delight that makes the ideal late-night self-indulgent supper. So here it is: the Elwood Wines Olive Cake.

First, measure out 250g self raising flour (I tend to use Dove’s Farm Gluten & Wheat Free Self Raising White Flour) and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in 4 free-range eggs (use large ones – medium ones don’t give you quite enough liquid). Once the flour and eggs are thoroughly blended together, add a 175ml glass of dry white wine and half a glass of extra virgin olive oil. Using a whisk, beat into the egg and flour mix until you get rid of all the lumps.

Next add to the mixture 200g pitted sliced black olives (you can buy them already sliced – which saves a LOT of time), 200g cubed ham or lardons (cooked, not raw – I fried the lardons in a small amount of olive oil) and 200g grated cheese (make sure you use a hard cheese like gruyere, edam, cheddar or emmental).

Stir these in quickly and poor all of the mixture into a lined loaf tin. A word of warning though – I used a 1lb loaf tin greased with olive oil, but the loaf didn’t hold together too well. I’m not sure if it was because of the depth of the tin, or because of the lack of gluten in the flour, but I think that a flatter tin (perhaps roasting tin) lined with greased baking parchment would be better. That’s what I’ll be using next time.

Anyway, back to the recipe. Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven (200°c/400°F/Gas mark 6) and cook for 60 minutes.

Freshly baked Olive Cake #nomnomnom

Once cooked, cut into cubes or slices and serve with red or white wine. I would recommend the Cotes du Rhone 1er Cote 2007, La Ferme du Mont (£9 per bottle/£54 per case) or the Fairtrade Thandi Sauvignon/Semillon 2009, Thandi, South Africa (£6.75 per bottle/£40.50 per case) – both are available from Elwood Wines.

Qype: Fiveways Fruits in Brighton

Brighton

Fiveways Fruits is a fantastic, independent local greengrocer’s just two minutes from my front door. The fresh fruit and veg it stocks always looks bigger, better and fresher than the stuff you’ll find in your average supermarket. It’s also tastier and MUCH better quality.

What I find really special about this place though is that not only does it stock a delicious range of local preserves and organic dried fruit and nuts (the same brand sold in Infinity Foods), but they also stock gluten-free pastas (Dove’s Farm – the best) and things like vegan-friendly ‘cheese’. Not what you’d expect from your traditional little local grocery shop, is it?

It just goes to show that despite its traditional appearance, this great little place is really keeping up with the times and staying in tune with what the people of Brighton want and need. Well, what I want and need anyway…

I’m guilty of not shopping in here as much as I should, seeing as getting everything in one go at Sainsbury’s is incredibly convenient. But I’m going to start really making the effort to shop local and keeping places like this in business.

Check out my review of Fiveways Fruits – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: COOK in Brighton

BrightonChildrenChildren & Baby FashionShoppingFood & DrinkDelicatessen

Cook describes itself as “the alternative to home cooking” and I completely agree. This is WAY better than home cooking: amazingly flavoured dishes, no preparation, no washing up, no fiddling around with complicated recipes trying to get them right. As much as I love cooking, sometimes it’s just far too much effort after a long day at work. Cook, halfway between a (very high class) ready meal and a takeaway, seems like the perfect solution.

Every season, Cook publish “The Cook Book” which is a beautifully presented menu of all the dishes they have on offer: traditional English dishes, curries, party food, puddings, immense-looking salads… all looking to incredibly delicious you’ll want to eat everything. In one go.

We popped in here yesterday and sampled their ‘daily taster’ Chicken Laksa, an amazing Thai-style lemony, coconutty, creamy curry, which was so completely delicious that I can’t wait to go back and grab myself an entire portion. At £3.75 for a one-person portion and £6.75 for a two-person sized meal, this offers way better value (and much better taste) than your average takeaway and is also far healthier and tastier. A massive double portion of rice to go with it will only set you back £1.95.

Another great thing about this place is that all the dishes are clearly labelled with a ‘V’ for vegetarian or a ‘GF’ for gluten-free. The shop assistant was also incredibly helpful, she even printed off a list for me of all the gluten-free meals on offer.

If you love delicious food but don’t have the time to put in the required effort at home, then this place may well be a life-saver.

Check out my review of COOK – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype