2011 CARM Casa Agricola Roboredo Madeira, Douro, Portugal

Carm, Douro Valley

Carm, Douro Valley

A delightful, affordable red table wine from the Douro Valley – CARM 2011 red is permanently on the menu at O Cantinho, one of the many family-run Portuguese restaurants along Stockwell Road – also known as little Portugal and a regular bolthole we visit when we miss the summer holidays… Continue reading

Recipe: Spaghetti con Zucchine

Pasta con zucchine

Spaghetti con zucchine

A quick, simple, colourful and tasty spring treat, this easy Spaghetti con Zucchine is best enjoyed al dente and with a glass of dry, fruity young wine, red or white. Look out for varieties of yellow or stripey zucchini for added colour.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 1 large courgette
  • 160g of dried spaghetti (try De Cecco or Garolfalo)
  • 1 large glug of Olive Oil
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1 pinch of dried birds eye chilli flakes
  • 1 fistful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano

Bring a large, deep pot of salted water to the boil. Whilst you wait for it to boil, thinly slice the courgette and season. Heat the oil in a sautee pan, sweat the chopped garlic, chilli flakes and parsley, then drop in the courgette slices. Fry until the courgettes have started to brown, lower the heat. Drop the spaghetti into the boiling water. Cook to a minute less than indicated on the packet for al dente pasta. Add a spoonful of cooking water to the courgette pan as they cook to soften them.

Drain the pasta when cooked, tip the spaghetti into the cooked courgettes and toss to coat with the flavoured oil and courgettes. Serve with grated Parmesan.

My version of Persian Khoresh – Stew recipe

IMG_20150207_190536There’s been a glut of new recipe books focusing on the flavours and spices of Persian cuisine recently, and who could fail to be bowled over by the brilliant “Persiana” by Sabrina Ghayour ?

I claim no expertise on the region, nor it’s cuisine, beyond a love of discovering it and eating it. So this is my humble, easy-to-make and relatively loose interpretation of a Persian Khoresh – or stew. Continue reading

A Torre – Portuguese Restaurant in Crystal Palace

Espetada a Porto

Espetada a Porto

In the dead of winter, when the wind and rain lashes at your face like so many serrated knives and you immediately ditch all tentative plans to become a running/kick-boxing/Yoga-loving beach body babe that your brandy-fuggled mind thought was a good idea on New Year’s Eve, your mind veers straight to holidays. Balmy summers, cold beers, and in our case – usually – a trip to Portugal’s Algarve coast, where the other half’s amazing cook Mother resides. Continue reading

Kavaklidere Çankaya – Turkish Wine from Anatolia

Cankaya - KavaklidereI came across this wine at Sofra Turkish restaurant on St. Christopher’s Place (there are several other branches of Sofra in Mayfair and Covent Garden) – a delicious and great value for money eatery with a menu focused on colourful fresh vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, nuts and spices and the flavours of the Eastern Med – in the spirit of it’s renowned Turkish owner Hüseyin Özer. Continue reading

Chix & Buck Wine Parlour – Brixton

Chix & Buck BrixtonA relatively new and very welcome addition to Brixton’s bustling Atlantic Road is Chix & Buck’s Wine Parlour. Run by a charming duo who also manage Chix & Buck’s niche wine importing and distribution business, The Wine Parlour is both a shop, a tasting room and an “Enoteca-style” hangout open every day except Tuesdays. Continue reading

Wine Bar – The 10 Cases, London

The 10 Cases - Covent GardenLocated in rather an unassuming corner of Covent Garden, tucked at the Freemason’s Hall end on leafy Endell Street is the 10 Cases – effectively two locations; a Bistrot a Vin, where you can eat a full dinner (in tiny but cosy surrounds) and enjoy a myriad wines by the glass and the Cave a Vin – which showcases a range of wines which have proved most popular from the menu next door or are simply carefully selected and which include a good choice under the £10 bracket. Continue reading