Tuesday 28 April 2009

Potts Family Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

To accompany a lamb rump this evening we opened up a bottle of Potts Family Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Australia.

It is a lovely wine that is very easy to drink.  It has a beautiful leather aroma and a lovely deep red/purple colour.

It is a very fruit-filled wine that is well balanced with a medium to long tail, but would have been better matched with a meal with slightly more fat.  Berry fruit, Plum and Leather are the flavours shining through.

Drinking well now and should also keep for a while yet.

Friday 24 April 2009

Things to do

Mental note to self: when I'm bored and I don't know what to do this weekend, assuming I've already:
  • removed and planted out all the yucca babies and
  • cleaned up the tile to try and find a match,
  • organised birthday presents for 3 nieces
  • organised mothers day recognition for 2 mothers
  • buy some balloons and experiment with high-speed photography, because I can and it should be fun

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Wooing Tree Vineyard wine tasting

This evening the North Shore Wine and Food Society had Wooing Tree Vineyard along from Central Otago.

Wooing Tree predominantly has a range of Pinot Noir wines, including a white wine made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes.  The Sandstorm Reserve 2007 was also released this evening.

A short synopsis of our tasting this evening (in order of tasting):

Wine Comment
Blondie 2008 White wine made from 100% Pinot Noir.  Champagne Colour and to taste it was like Champagne without the bubbles.  Nice and could be paired with fish.
Rose 2008 A 100% Pinot Noir based Rose with a light nose.  Not fruity like the Hawkes Bay Rose’s we have recently been drinking.  In fact, I would even say it was not a Rose style I have encountered before.  It was okay, but not as a Rose.
Pinot Gris 2008 Light kerosene to the nose and a nice dry light lemon/lime flavour.  Very smooth and would probably go well with a Thai Duck Red Curry with Grapes.  Highly recommended.
Chardonnay 2007 This had an oaky nose, although it smelt a bit different than a standard french oak.  It was a big wine, however was not big on fruit or oak on the palate.
Beetle Juice 2007 This is Wooing Tree’s entry level Pinot Noir.  Raspberry to the nose, thin, very fruity and a sweet acidity (if there is such a thing).
Pinot Noir 2007 I was not overly keen on the leather nose characteristic of this wine and felt this big wine was too heavy in alcohol.
Pinot Noir 2005 A lovely big plum-dominated Pinot Noir, with a little bit of roughness.
Sandstorm Reserve 2007 This was an excellent big plum-filled wine and definitely the best of the Pinot Noirs this evening, although I felt it was probably overpriced at its normal price of $85.  Cropping on this grape is one bunch per vine.

Sunday 12 April 2009

Stir Fry Chicken and Veges

Simon has told me that I MUST blog what I just cooked for dinner, so that I can create it again. He didn't stop raving while he ate it, and then proceeded to slurp (yes slurp) the sauce off his plate with the odd glance at the neighbours house to check that I was the only one who saw. Although I was actively not looking and frankly I don't think he'd have cared if the neighbours did see! Either way, I'll take it as high praise and a seal of approval on what I thought was a quick easy meal.

Prepare everything before you start cooking anything. I used 8 separate bowls in the preparation! Admittedly they were all little rice bowls or smaller, so not as bigger deal as it sounds.

Thinly slice 2 cloves garlic.
Cut a thumb size piece of ginger into thin matchsticks. (Keep the ginger and garlic separate for now - they need to be cooked separately - seriously!)
Cube half a mammoth breast of chicken (I don't know what our grocer does to his chickens, but I think they genuinely have been crossed with a mammoth)
Squirt some honey and soy sauce over the chicken.
Cut the ends off a couple of heads of bok choy or similar (because I HATE having to cram a whole bok choy plant in my mouth - the leaves are fine, but not the the whole damn tree!)
Grab the left over broccoli (which I can never spell) out of the fridge and cut into small mouth size chunks.
Thinly diagonally slice a carrot or 2 - put in the same bowl as the broc.
Thinly slice a couple of courgettes on the diagonal.
Quarter or a halve a handful of mushrooms (depending on the size).
Thinly slice, end to end, about 1 capsicum - I used half a red and about a quarter of an orange one.

Ok, is that it? Hmm, prepare 2 cups of Chicken stock - but bear in mind you only used 50 ml this time, so maybe 100ml prepared would be sufficient!

Also required on the bench - soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, arrow root, oil. Wok on the gas element, both a slotted (or net) spoon and my favourite wok turner thingamy-doofer.

Ok, wok on, add a generous amount of vege oil. Before it smokes (in theory), add the garlic, this will take less than 1 minute to cook - remove with the slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel. Do the same with the ginger - they can now both be put in the same bowl for use later.

Now you should have quite a bit of oil in the wok - add the chicken and keep it moving until cooked through. Drain and remove to a bowl.

Now there is a brown soy-ey, honey-ey, oily puddle in the wok. Begin adding the veges in the order of slowest cooker to quickest cooker - brocolli (spelt differently!) and carrot first, then capsicum & courgette fairly close together, finally bok choy and mushrooms.

Throw a teaspoon of hoisin sauce over the chicken.

If the veges are taking too long (I'm a notoriously impatient cook), add a dollop of chicken stock to the pan to encourage more steaming!

Before adding the chicken back in, and once veges are suitably cooked (I like mine still a little crunchy), check the amount of liquid in the wok, keep it boiling and add up to 2 teaspoons of arrowroot mixed with a little of the chicken stock. Mix quickly. Yes, quickly - arrowroot goos up really fast if you're not careful!

Reintroduce the chicken to the pan and tell it to play nicely with the veges. Discover you didn't drain it so well and there's more juice in the pan again - no worries, it made a great sauce. Squirt over some soy sauce (because it was lacking a little bit of saltiness at this point), stir loads - like, don't stop, just keep stir-frying until everything is well mixed and the chicken heated through.

Serve and DO NOT forget to evenly sprinkle the ginger and garlic over each serve.

Apparently this was absolutely delicious and Simon would go back to a restaurant to have it again and would happily pay $30 for it. Nice.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Matariki Reserve 2005 Syrah Hawkes Bay

From the Gimblett Gravels in the Hawkes Bay, this wine is a very light Syrah with white pepper to the nose. It is a beautiful deep red colour and drinking well now.

I found this to be medium dry, with a medium body and medium tail. A very fruit filled wine with Plum and Berry characteristics.

Quite drinkable but I can't say it really wowed me.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Brookfields Rose 2008

Brookfields is the oldest vineyard in the Hawkes Bay and we had the pleasure of sampling their wines a few months ago at the vineyard. John who ran our sampling was quite a character and this made for a great experience.

Today is a lovely sunny day, so I chose to open Brookfields Rose 2008. This is a lovely Rose with a lot of flavour, predominantly Strawberry and Raspberry. It has a lovely pink/red colour, quite a bit of acidity and is in a Medium/Dry style.

A nice and easy drink with the acidity keeping it from being too dull.