Saturday, 26 October 2013

You can teach an old trout new tricks

My trout-skin bowls with fresh avo, grilled haloumi and pine nuts
Sorry, I'm having a bit of a thing with fish skins at the moment.
  • take 1 lightly-smoked trout fillet
  • fry for around 2 minutes, skin-side down in a pan with a little butter
  • pop under the grill after squeezing over a little lemon
  • keep fish warm after removing skin
  • sprinkle with a little salt both sides and pop skin back under the grill to crisp
  • take skin out and mould into a little ramekin
  • a great little side dish to trout and salad or whatever takes your fancy

Naughty cork

This little collection of relatively old South African wines provided a few surprises, some absolute (and probably expected) shockers and a huge amount of conversation.  The risk with cellaring wines is that by the time you surgically extricate pop the cork, the wine may have already crested it's particular 'hill', free-wheeled rapidly down the other side and settled into the harsh, but ultimately guaranteed, oblivion of vinegar and nothingness.

The wines tasted were:
  1. Nederburg Cabernet 1970
  2. Zonnebloem Cabernet 1970
  3. Backsberg Cabernet 1980
  4. Zonnebloem Merlot 1997
  5. Laborie Estate Blend 1980
  6. HC Collisen Cabernet 1983
  7. Backsberg Pinotage 1987
  8. Rustenberg Pinot Noir 1982
  9. Fairview Shiraz 1980
  10. Rust en Vrede Tinta Barocca 1987
  11. Glen Carlou Le Trois 1997
  12. Drostdy Hof Merlot 1998
  13. Fairview Cabernet 1979
  14. Bertrams Zinfandel 1980 (?)
  15. Bertrams Shiraz 1980 (?)
  16. Alto Estate Blend 1994
The 1987 Backsberg Pinotage was deep purple, full of fruit, well balanced and quite a surprise to the 12 tasters.

The Bertrams Zinfandel (from the early 80's) was complex with a lovely lingering finish.

The 1983 HC Collisen was the most impressive Cabernet, with lively blackcurrant.

The 1998 Drostdy Hof Merlot was possibly the most enjoyable, easy-drinking, uncomplicated and still quite young.

The 1982 Rustenberg Pinot Noir was highly drinkable with a great earthy nose and elegant fruit on the palate.

Lessons learned:
  1. Wines, including Cab's, don't always get better with age.
  2. Corks can be stubborn.
  3. Too much wine = headache.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A spicy but fresh prawn salad

  1. a packet of prawns, peeled and de-veined
  2. half a tub of creme fraiche
  3. a little hot peri-peri sauce
  4. a few celery stalks, chopped
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  7. a few basil leaves, chopped
  8. 2 tsp turmeric
  9. a knob of butter
  10. a dash of lemon juice
  • season prawns in a bowl with salt, pepper and turmeric, shake to mix well
  • fry prawns quickly in a hot pan with butter and a little squeeze of lemon juice
  • drain prawns, retaining the liquid
  • mix creme fraiche with peri-peri, a bit at a time until you have the heat you're looking for
  • add celery, basil, prawns, tomatoes and a little of the retained prawn and turmeric liquid
  • mix well and serve