Friday, April 27, 2007

Combinations 12: ham salad

Sun 22 April 2007

Another combinations exercise that we just managed to sneak in! This month, Andrew at Spittoon chose a ham salad. OK, it's not quite a ham salad ... it's culatello with melon and pecorino. We had to sneak in a few alterations, substituting in both parma ham and parmesan. We used honeydew melon.

It's a very easy dish to put together. Slice some honeydew melon, top with curls of the parma ham and shave some parmesan cheese over the top. Sprinkle with some finely sliced basil. The dressing was olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some chilli oil (it turned out we did actually have some fresh chillis after we had made this little substitution!). Sprinkle this over the salad and sit down with a drink.

In our case, the drink was a lightly chilled bottle of Brown Brothers 2005 Tarrango (£6.99 from Hoults). A delicate nose with a hint of berries, it had more of them on the palate. Good structure and a nice long palate, with a hint of residual sweetness. A very nice wine indeed!

After the lipsmacking of the wine tasting was done - how did it go with the food? Very well. It was a very good match, although we both felt that the wine was perhaps a little too strong for the dressing: if we'd used fresh chilli the dressing would have had more strength and stood up better to the wine. I would definitely both drink the wine again, and match it to this dish, though I'd also be happy to experiment with roses, or maybe even other light reds.

To be honest, I'd probably be a little reluctant to make the salad again. Not because I didn't enjoy it and not because it's not a classic Italian combination - but because I'd be worried my guests thought I'd been raiding the Jamie Oliver cookbooks!! So maybe I'll reserve it for an emergency late afternoon snack type of dish! I think that I'd also be tempted to cube the melon and macerate it, maybe just in a bit of vinegar and basil. Obviously I'd also use fresh chilli in preference to chilli oil!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Waiter, there's something in my ... bread

Tues 24 April 2007

I am a carbohydrate junkie, so while my Easter biscuits just missed the Easter Basket extravaganza, I was determined to hit the bread (dead) line. Andrew, over at Spittoon Extra is hosting (in between wine tasting in Spain and prosecco dinners at L'Ortolan).

Now, because of various hosting commitments, this has been a pretty busy month and I didn't really have time for a baking extravaganza - which was a shame. But I did decide to have a go at making one of my favourite breads: paratha. I judge curry houses by their paratha and as far as I'm concerned, a good dahl and a good paratha makes one of the ultimate comfort meals.

As it was a mid-week cooking session, I consulted Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India. This is a fantastic, practical book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Paratha are sinfully simple to make: 1 cup of wholemeal flour is mixed with 165mL of warm water. When partially combined add 2 teaspoons of oil (ideally, this would be melted ghee, but I only had oil to hand). If you wish, add some finely chopped mint or coriander leaves, maybe a bit of chilli - whatever is to hand. Or, as I did, you can leave the mix plain. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes: until it is nice and elastic. Panjabi recommends leaving the dough to rest for an hour.

Paratha in Indian restaurants are always multi-layered and I was wondering how they achieved this. After dividing the dough in six, Panjabi says to roll out each portion into a 20 cm long oval (I couldn't quite roll out the dough that thinly) and then pinch the oval in the middle to form a figure-eight. You then fold the dough back on itself to make a multilayered pancake. I have to confess I didn't quite master this.

To cook the paratha heat some oil (ghee) in a pan, and cook the paratha on one side. Before turning, brush the uncooked side with melted ghee. They're done in a jiffy and ready to be eaten with a bowl of dahl (in this case, yellow split peas cooked and finished off with turmeric, garam masala and some of the hot oil from the paratha pan). The paratha weren't really like those found in curry houses: they tend to be thicker, a lot larger and I suspect they're made from a mixture of white and wholemeal flour. And while the greasiness of a restaurant paratha is part of its appeal, it's not something that's entirely easy to reproduce at home! But, as a quick, simple adjunct to any curry, making my own paratha is definitely an option I'll be pursuing in future. It will also be a good way to help use up any mint or coriander you have left over!

So actually - waiter - there's nothing in my bread, not even yeast and what are these hippy bean-lentil things doing on the side?!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Bar t'at

Sat 21 April 2007

The weather is firming up and I thought it would be a good idea to get out of Leeds and go for a walk. Because Andy is less enthusiastic about these things than me I thought I'd bribe him with pubs and purchased Pocket Pub Walks West Yorkshire.

So, we set off to Ilkley on the train and found the start of our walk quite easily. Up a massive hill. Someone at work has informed me that he always drives up to the first car park. It would have been nice to know that in advance! So the walk was somewhat curtailed but we still managed to work up a bit of an appetite before we landed at the Bar T'At. It's run by the same group as Arcadia in Headingley, so we knew if nothing else we'd get a good pint of beer!

The Bar T'At serves lunch from midday to 2:30 - and they do actually stick to this: we walked in at about 2:25 and our order was the kitchen's last! Andy opted for a Moroccan sausage sandwich with lime and chilli mayonnaise and I chose the felafel salad. The food is all around the £6-7 mark with the main courses costing slightly more. It was a pint of Warsteiner for Andy and, for me, a Moorland George's Cross, which was absolutely delicious. There was a fair bit of chaos behind the bar: I think one of the staff was new and every time she touched the register something went 'bing'!, but our order went to the kitchen and we got our beers. We managed to get a table outside, a big pile of newspapers and we enjoyed our beers before the food arrived.

Andy felt his sandwich could have done with something additional to the sausage. While the brown bread came in huge slabs and there was a bit of side salad, the sandwich itself was a bit lacking. The mayonnaise had a good flavour but was a bit on the runny side. My felafel salad was much more of a success. The felafels had a good flavour and a nice, coarse texture, rather than being pasty. The mint dressing was a bit indifferent but the warm felafels hidden in amongst the salad worked really well.

For £17 for two generous lunches and 2 beers we were more than happy. If you've been out wandering the moors, or simply dodging the 4x4s in the town centre, Bar T'At provides good beers with sensibly priced food.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wed 18 April 2007

The Yorkshire Evening Post recently ran a promotion from which readers could have a free, 2 month trial Hi-Life Card. The card entitles you to 2 for 1 meals at various participating restaurants. Given that the card combines the ideas of 'food' and 'free' I had to have one and last night we took it out for its first foray in Leeds.

Andy chose the new(ish) Aagrah in the BBC building on St Peter's Square and, after a preparatory half pint in the Wardrobe, we headed over, to be greeted by a very formally dressed doorman. I was a bit worried we might be a bit casual, but while the restaurant is very slickly decorated, and the staff are beautifully dressed, the customer base is quite diverse, and I imagine it would be hard not to have a good time.

We started off with a couple of large Cobra beers, pappadums and chutnies (chilli, onion, mint and mango - all very good, but especially the mint and the chilli) and spent quite a while inspecting the very lengthy menu. We opted not to have starters, and headed straight into the mains: lamb nihari for me, and shahi lamb tandoori for Andy. We also ordered a paratha, a pilau rice and a side of dal piaz. For a moment it looked like we'd order a spinach based side dish too but common sense prevailed and we ended up with just the right amount of food.

My lamb nihari was delicious. The gravy was thick and smoky and there were big, juicy pieces of ginger which were very refreshing. The paratha was fantastic (and, dare I say it, at least as good, if not better, than those at Shabab!) but the REAL star of the show was the dal piaz. I love dal. I really, really love dal, and I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a dal main course dish on the menu. But this more than made up for it. The dal is made from chana dal (yellow split lentils) and has a lovely chunky consistency. It's good and spicy, with plenty of onion and really delicious! Next time I'll be ordering a main course sized version!

Andy's lamb came on a sizzler plate with sauce on the side and was equally as tasty, with big chunks of peppers, and plenty of sauce to be soaked up by the rice.

The bill came to around £34 (three large beers, 2 main courses, 1 side, 1 rice, 1 bread, pappadums and chutnies), and our Hi-Life discount knocked this down to about £27. It's worth noting that Aagrah does also offer an early bird deal: if you order by 7pm and order 2 starters and 2 mains you will get the cheapest main free. However, even at full price, we both thought this was a fantastic meal. On a week night it was great because it was also very efficient, but this might be less than ideal on a weekend or for a less functional meal. The menu has plenty on it which is familiar, but also a lot of interesting and less common dishes. All put together, this means that Aagrah gets a very big thumbs up!

1. Aagrah, St Peter's Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS9 8AH, phone: 0113 245 5667
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Sat 14 April 2007

This month's Australian Gourmet Traveller has arrived and features a huge feature on chocolate recipes. The chocolate and caramel tart looked stunning and since I had some dinner guests and I wasn't experimenting on them in any of the other courses I thought ... why not?

The recipe is to serve 16, and kindly the recipe suggests halving the mix if you don't need to feed that many. Quite how I was supposed to halve the three eggs in the ganache we'll get to later.

The pastry is a basic short short crust which turned out really quite well. It got a good long rest in the fridge (over night) and I was able to roll it out very thinly and it made a lovely, biscuity crust. More biscuit than short pastry but delicious none the less. My recipe was not exactly half the given recipe - I ended up using about 200g of plain flour, 50g of icing sugar, 50g butter and 1 egg. I was tempted to add some vanilla essence but the mixture definitely didn't need any extra liquid. The pastry case (23 cm) was baked blind for 10 minutes with baking beans and 10 minutes without in a 180C oven. Allow to cool.

About a year ago I made millionaire shortbread, which, for some reason I didn't write about, but which used evaporated milk in the caramel. This recipe doesn't, is very easy and tasted just fine. Take 150g (ish - 275g is pretty hard to halve!) of caster sugar and mix with 1/6 of a cup of water (I know - some of the halved values were just ridiculous!) over a low heat. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat, bring to the boil and allow to caramelise. The AGT recipe didn't specify to wash the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallisation and I forgot about that trick until it was too late! When the sugar is a lovely caramel colour, remove from the heat and beat in one egg, 50mL of cream and 65g of unsalted butter. Return to the heat and beat until smooth (harder work if you haven't been careful with the crystallising sugar to start off with!). Pour the caramel into the pastry tart and allow to set in the fridge.

Once set, make the ganache. Melt 100g of dark chocolate (I used Green and Blacks, and I'm really sorry, but I think this is incredibly overrated chocolate) with 1/2 cup of cream, over a double boiler. Stir to ensure the cream and chocolate are well combined. Then, also over a double boiler, whisk together 10g of caster sugar and one egg yolk, until light and foamy, and then add this to the chocolate and cream, beating all the time (you don't want chocolate ganache with scrambled egg!). Beat until cool.

Remove the set caramel tart base from the fridge and top with the ganache. You can prepare this ahead, just make sure you serve with lots of cream, coffee and grappa!

I appreciate that a lot of people might find this all a bit fiddly (try making that ganache after a couple of glasses of wine!), but if you're a competent dessert cook it's not that much hassle. Having said that, the end result is a kind of glorified millionaire shortbread and I'm not sure I'd serve it at a dinner party again. I think this would be a brilliant dessert for some kind of casual lunch, where you're laying on a lot of dishes and people can pick and choose. And it would be a great hit at a BBQ or picnic. However, I did really like both the biscuit like pastry and the caramel, and I'm sure I'll be using them again. Andy felt the final dish could have been improved by using a smaller tart dish and having a deeper fill. In short- absolutely nothing wrong with this recipe, but nothing outstanding either!

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Many thanks to Housemate for the full photo of the finished tart!
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Monday, April 16, 2007

Hansa's Restaurant

Fri 13 April 2007

A couple of months ago we were supposed to be heading to Hansa's, but missed our slot when our dining companion arrived in Leeds a good two hours plus later than expected. Maybe it was tempting fate to try again, on Friday the thirteenth, when the dining companions were arriving by train ... but fortunately it all worked out and at 10pm we were taking our seats ready for our meal - on time and rather hungry!

Hansa's is a Gujerati restaurant and all the dishes are vegetarian (quite a lot are also vegan friendly). There's no 'vegetarian-pretending-to-be-meat' dishes and there's no meat curries with the meat left out (both of these quite annoy me, especially the former!). These are all dishes that are vegetarian from the ground up and you need to leave any preconceptions about 'curries' at the door: no vegetarian tikka masala for you!

We started our meal with beers all round: including a very spectacular King Cobra, in a 750mL champagne-style bottle and tipping the scales at 8%ABV. There were some very spicy crisp-like nibbles (I suspect made from some root vegetable), and we also tucked into a big pile of pappadums and chutnies.

Food wise, we opted to share 2 of the larger starters: a mixed platter and the masala dhosa. The mixed platter contains a range of bhajis and the dhosa was crispy, stuffed full with vegetables and served with a chutney and a sambar. Once we'd ploughed our way through all of this, we were feeling rather full: the dhosa in particular (listed as a 'larger starter or side dish') was huge and I suspect most people could manage on that alone.

For main courses we chose makai-ne-marcha (a sweetcorn and pepper curry), bhaji paneer (spinach and cheese), chevti dal (dal made from five different pulses), and ful cobi (cauliflower, potatoes, peas and carrot). I have to confess that as I don't like sweetcorn, I don't really like paneer and I particularly don't like peas I didn't eat as much of everyone else's curry as I should have! However, I did try some of the bhaji paneer and it was tasty (paneer aside!) and my dal was delicious. We ordered pilau rice and baturas (deep fried breads ... mmm) to go with our food. Needless to say, after all of this we were too full for desserts!

Not only did we have a good size meal, we came out having spent only £20-25 a head. The service at Hansa's is friendly and efficient (if you can be friendly at 10pm on a Friday night I think you're doing a fantastic job) and the food is lovely. There's not really a lot more you can ask for. I'm sure some people may have issues with it being 'vegetarian', but think of it more as food that just doesn't have meat in it. As you're unlikely to find too many dishes on the menu with which you're familiar, go along with an open mind and you will have a great meal!

1. Hansa's, 72/74 North Street Leeds, LS2 7PN, phone: 0113 2444408
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Friday, April 13, 2007

Round Up

Fri 13 April 2007

Another week has gone by without a post. This is partly Easter's fault, and also partly because our third assignment for the Gastronomy course was due on Thursday. We had to write about a fermented beverage: outlining the history, production and social role. We only had 1000 words to play with and I chose (somewhat predictably!) English beer (that's beer, not lager) so it was quite a big editing task.

As research, I've been reading Pete Brown's Man Walks into a Pub, which is a really entertaining read if you want to know an AWFUL lot about beer in Britain!

I finally got a chance to try out Boutique and not just once but twice! First of all Andy and I popped in for a Good Friday afternoon beer, to see if we should take some friends there. Given that Boutique is a cocktail bar, the bottled beer selection is good (8 in total) and includes Tiger, Quilmes, Modelo Especial and Krombacher. They are all priced at £3.50 which is a bit steep, but also not outrageous given that it's a trendy cocktail bar (but let's not talk about the prices at North!). Most importantly, my glass was clean - a basic which some bars manage to get wrong.

We returned with cocktail loving friends in tow on Saturday night. The cocktail list is long and very unique. I was more than happy drinking Pimm's and Pomegranate (incidentally, this will definitely be my drink for summer!) whereas the more adventurous tried a range of novel drinks which ranged in price from £6 to .. um ... £250! The general consensus was that Boutique ticked a lot of the right boxes. We had been sitting upstairs, receiving table service and having a conversation but by the time we left downstairs was very busy, so on a Saturday night I'd suggest making it your first stop, rather than your last.

From Boutique we headed across town to the Spice Bar. I just can't get my head around this place or make up my mind whether I like it. I used to go for the cheap beer, but I've been put off recently by price rises and the (I think) annoying shishas. We were there for cocktails and not just any cocktails, but ice cream cocktails. While the cocktails at Spice Bar are quite cheap, they take an age to arrive and the ice cream ones really just don't cut it when you've enjoyed the dessert like confections at Suburban. Next time, I think I'll aim for comfy seats at Boutique and stay put with my P&P.

Finally, another meal at Citrus in Headingley - and another venue about which I'm increasingly ambivalent. It's such a noisy place that, even on a relatively quiet late Sunday morning, it was tricky to hold a conversation. The food was really only so-so although it did have the advantage of being cheap. I ordered meat lasagne which was a very generous portion, very hot but also quite sweet. The vegetarian lasagne (also insanely hot) had some large, whole tinned tomatoes in it (please cook your sauce down properly!), the bowl of chilli was ... not chilli and the advertised salsa had to be requested, and the roast dinners (beef, which was actually not overcooked) came out on cold plates, and so turned into lukewarm before you could take a knife to them. I think there are some things Citrus does well (their sandwiches are pretty good), but it seems to be very hit and miss.

Blog of the week: Living to Eat. The lead article at the moment is a pigeon recipe so how could I NOT choose it this week?! I grew up eating far too many pigeons (my father bred them), and at one stage I thought I'd be happy never to eat them again (there are only so many weekends in a row you can eat roast anything, in my opinion), but for some reason I'm always on the look out for new pigeon recipes and the caramelised onions do look good!

And finally, you may not be aware the DK publishing and the Fairtrade Foundation are running a competition for amateur cooks. By 30 April you need to send off a family friendly recipe containing at least one Fairtrade ingredient and, if yours is one of the 150 best submissions, your recipe will appear in The Fairtrade Everyday Cookbook, which is due to be published next year. Apart from the glory of being published, winners also receive a copy of the book, an invitation to the launch party AND be entered into the draw to win a KitchenAid Artisan mixer. More details are available on the Fairtrade website. Obviously, my name is on the KitchenAid!

1. Boutique, 11-13 Hirsts Yard, Leeds, LS1 6NJ, phone: 0113 245 6595
2. Spice Quarter,
2 Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD, phone: 0113 246 9241
Suburban Bar, 27 Hartfield Road Wimbledon, SW19 3SG phone: 020 8543 9788
4. Citrus, 13a North Lane, Headingley, LS6 3HG, phone: 0113 274 9002
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter Biscuits

Tues 3 April 2007

I was too late for this month's WTSIM Easter Basket hosted by the Passionate Cook, but it didn't put me off making something a little Easter themed myself. I'll be engaging in some hot cross bun making this evening, but it will be the same recipe as last year, so I wanted to come up with something else.

As usual, I wanted to choose something traditional, regional and English, which was surprisingly tricky. I ended up making some Easter Biscuits. There are loads of recipes for these all over the web, and I used the one from the Biscuit Appreciation Society. Their recipe wasn't a huge departure from any of the other similar recipes around. These biscuits allegedly originate in Shrewsbury and I can't work out why there aren't more regional recipes to be found on the web. I guess I need to get my hands on some old books ...

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cream 100g butter with 75g of caster sugar, before adding the yolk of one egg. Add 200g plain flour, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Combine well before adding 50g currants, a generous tablespoon of mixed peel and 2 generous tablespoons of rum (I used rum because I didn't have brandy ... well, I had grappa, but I figured that didnt' have a sufficiently English feel). Obviously I was doing all of this in the food processor and the mixture was quite crumbly. However, once I'd tipped it out and started kneading it together it came together well.

Roll the mix out to about 5mm thick before cutting into biscuits. Back for about 7 minutes, before removing the biscuits from the oven and glazing them with the egg white and dusting with caster sugar. Next time, I think I'll actually whisk the egg white and caster sugar together, rather than trying to dust the biscuits with the sugar. Bake for another 5 or so minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.

These are tasty crisp little biscuits, with a good, spicy flavour. The currants add a lovely caramel like effect. They were very popular and I ate far too many.

And now I have to wait until next year ... though at least I can use the left over mixed spice in my hot cross buns!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Round Up

Wed 3 April 2007

First round up for April and I must start by apologising for being a bit slow out of the blocks the last week or so ...

A few bouquets and brickbats ... bouquets first.

Thai Cottage (Great George Street) serves some very mean Thai food and low prices! It's not glamorous (more Jino's in Headingley, than Thai Edge or Chaophraya) but it's cheap, portions generous and my, the laab is HOT. It only receives 2 out of 3 chillis on the menu, but it utterly defeated Andy and, while I scoffed it all, it made everything else seem even hotter. Andy's verdict that was my home-made laab was 'bloody hot but not this bloody hot'. If you know someone who needs some machismo beaten out of them this might be the place to go! We came out spending around £30 (including the requisite Singha beers).

Another hit, and less spicy, was Fuji Hiro, in the Merrion Centre. Again, huge portions of fresh, tasty noodles for around £7 a go. Between us we only needed one plate of noodles and one serve of gyoza! It's great for lunchtime or later at night because the service is efficient. The Asahi is cold and the miso has loads of soft tofu in it. Again - it's not glamorous but I'd much rather eat at Fuji Hiro than at any of the trendier, chain noodle bars you'll find around Greek Street.

Brickbats now ... and a big boo-hiss to Ha!Ha! Bar and Canteen on Millenium Square. The Yorkshire Evening Post recently published a voucher for 2-for-1 meals. We thought we'd take advantage - which is saying something because my previous HaHa experiences haven't been great (I found the one in Guildford the smokiest and most expensive bar in the town, and I've been unimpressed price-wise by the one in Leeds), and I wasn't overly excited by the menu. However, when we turned up last Thursday night it was closed for a private function - and looked more than three-quarters empty. I wouldn't have minded if it had been heaving but it wasn't - so surely the private party could have been accommodated in a private room or area? Their loss, my gain - as it was that disappointment that led me to Fuji Hiro.

A smaller boo-hiss to The Spice Bar, also in Millenium Square. Previously, I've been impressed by how ludicrously cheap the beer is ... but prices have risen, there are more people in the bar, and we waited a silly amount of time to be served while one of the staff was engaged serving shishas. They do seem to have introduced a reasonably priced cocktail list, and it does have slightly more buzz, so perhaps better for a night out rather than a quiet drink after work.

Easter is almost upon us ... so you should have done all your egg purchasing by now, but perhaps you haven't thought of how to entertain the kids. In which case, Hotel Chocolat will not only sell you any last minute purchases but also give you some ideas to entertain the children: the Niblingtons Easter Guide. I particularly like the idea of doing a chocolate tasting with any surplus eggs!

And finally ... a quick blog of the week ... Silverbrow on Food. More wordy than me and almost no pictures (hmmm, maybe a technique I should adopt). Enough said!

1. Thai Cottage, 39 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BB, phone: 0113 245 9224
2. Fuji Hiro,
Merrion Centre, 45, Wade Lane, Leeds, LS2 8NJ, phone: 0113 243 9184
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Monday, April 02, 2007

Combinations 11: Roast Garlic Soup

30 March 2007

I chose the roast garlic soup for Combinations 11 because I thought it would be a tough match. And I was half right: in terms of agonising over what to drink with it, it kept both Claire at Hoults and me occupied for a good 20 minutes to half an hour. I'd done some research that suggested wines like a big shiraz or a big cab sav - but this was always in the context of garlic with something else (invariably lamb or beef). I figured a big red would totally over power what was, in essence, a very simple soup.

I already knew that Andrew, over at Spittoon, had chosen a rose, so I was keen not to go the same route. Claire dug out a food and wine matching book and that was no help (maybe the soup was a bit too left of centre), and, as she was veering towards dry, aromatic whites I was more than happy to be led towards a Pinot Blanc from Alsace (Cave de Turckheim, Turckheim reserve 2004 Pinot Blanc). Both Andy and I tend to enjoy Alsatian whites so I figured that if it clashed horribly with the soup, we could eat quickly and enjoy the wine at leisure.

The soup making was a successful exercise. As usual, I departed from the recipe and roasted two heads of garlic but only used one onion and a generous pint of stock. I roasted the garlic for about 40 minutes, drizzled in olive oil, in a 180C oven. The coarsely chopped one onion was sauteed in a generous knob of butter, before I added about 2 tbsp of plain flour and very gently cooked it. The flour received a very generous cooking, partly because I was anxious not to end up with soup that tasted of raw flour, but also because getting the roasted cloves of garlic out of their papery skins proved a little more time consuming (and sticky!) than I expected. I added in the garlic and stock and brought the mix to a simmer and let it cook for a while. Finally, I took the stab mixer to it and blitzed it.

To serve, I sprinkled over grated applewood smoked cheddar and, as there was some pancetta in the fridge, I cooked that til crispy and sprinkled that over the top too.

So ... to the wine. A beautiful gold colour, with a powerfully floral nose, with hints of stone fruit. On the palate the wine was slightly honeyed, with dried fruit (in particular apricot) flavours and a good acidic structure. It went very well with the soup. The soup was very delicate in flavour and a lovely creamy consistency (I guess thanks to the sticky roast garlic and the flour). The wine complemented the flavours of the soup, and it's slightly tart finish cleansed the palate and left you ready for the next mouthful of soup.

It was a really lovely wine though, so if the soup sounds like too much bother, you could just indulge in a glass or two as an aperitif!

As an aside, I found an interesting site, Terroir France, which looks like it provides a solid overview of French wines (styles and grapes). Although it does recommend cheeses to go with the different wines, it won't necessarily help with food matching though!

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