Burgundy is all about Terroir

Burgundy (Bourgogne) is a region in France that is famous for its wine and its food. Three years ago we went there for a few days to discover the wine region and purchased some nice wines. Most Burgundian wines are at their best between 5 and 10 years from the harvest, and since the wines we purchased were mostly from the vintages 2007 and 2008 it is time to start drinking them. And that’s all the excuse I needed to organize some Burgundian evenings to share the wines with our friends and enjoy them with some good Burgundian food. Continue reading “Burgundy is all about Terroir”

Pairing Wine and Cheese

Wine and cheese are a great match. But not just any wine with any cheese. Restaurants still offer a mix of very different cheeses with a glass of port. However in cases that different styles of cheeses are served together, they should be paired with different styles of wine as well. Last night we tasted 12 different wines with 12 different cheeses with a group of friends. We combined 7 types of cheese with 7 types of wine and tasted which combinations worked best. We had the cheese and wine for dinner, augmented with home-baked Italian bread and vegetable antipasti (sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, … Continue reading Pairing Wine and Cheese

Good Lambrusco exists

Lambrusco is a light bubbly red wine from Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia in Italy that does not have a good reputation at all. It is usually cheap plonk that is frowned upon by many connoisseurs. However just like almost any other wine, it is possible to make good quality Lambrusco. Over the last few years, Italy’s famous wine guide Gambero Rosso has awarded it’s tre bicchieri (3 glasses) award to dry Lambrusco. When I ordered some wine and saw the same webshop also sold this Lambrusco for less than 8 euros per bottle, I decided to try a bottle. The 2010 Lambrusco … Continue reading Good Lambrusco exists

Hyperdecanting wine à la “Modernist Cuisine”

There are two reasons for decanting wine: separating the sediment from the wine (only needed for all wines that have sediment in the bottle, usually older wines) and letting the wine ‘breathe’ (oxygenation and outgassing; this may improve most wines but especially young red wines of which the tannins haven’t yet softened). Dutch wine connoisseurs use two different words to differentiate between these two purposes: decanting (decanteren) for separating the sediment and ‘carafing’ (karafferen) for letting the wine breathe. The amazing book (well, actually set of books) “Modernist Cuisine” by Nathan Myhrvold et al. claims that using a blender to … Continue reading Hyperdecanting wine à la “Modernist Cuisine”

Tiramisù

Not very original, but this remains one of my favorite desserts. “Tira mi su” literally means “pull me up”, and that refers to the lightness of this dessert. Yes, lightness. Although it will of course never be low in calories, it is possible to make a ‘fluffy’ version of Tiramisu that is not extremely dense. Best results are obtained when you make this one day in advance and if you do not transport it too much (after an hour-long ride in a car the mousse tends to separate). Please note that this recipe requires the use of raw eggs. So … Continue reading Tiramisù

Sous-vide pigeon with smoky pigeon jus

This was the secondo for our X-mas dinner this year. Pigeon is often overcooked and then has a strong livery taste and is dry. By cooking the breast sous-vide, it has a delicious flavor and is very tender.  The pigeon jus is delicious and very flavorful because it is reduced to an almost syrupy consistency and because part of the pigeon bones are smoked. This dish is quite a bit of work, but definitely worth it! Ingredients For 4 servings 2 pigeons (wild or farmed, NOT frozen!) 250 grams (1/2 pound) chopped celery, carrot, onion 1 glass of red wine 1 shallot … Continue reading Sous-vide pigeon with smoky pigeon jus

Ravioli with scallops and parsnip

As primo for our X-mas dinner this year I made these wonderful ravioli stuffed with scallops and parsnip. The inspiration for this recipe came from Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus. The combination of parsnip puree and scallops works really well, and to enhance the flavor I also added chopped tarragon. If you can obtain fresh scallops in the shell, consider using those for the seared scallop that is served with the dish. Fresh scallops in the shell are more expensive, but taste better and will also sear more easily. The recipe will work well with scallops sold out of the shell … Continue reading Ravioli with scallops and parsnip

Bounet sous-vide

Bounet, bunet or bonet is a traditional festive dessert from Piemonte. The name is thought to be derived from “bonnet” (hat), since the dessert is the ‘hat’ of the meal. Bounet is delicious and very good with any dessert wine that goes well with chocolate, including Barolo Chinato and Pedro Ximenez. This recipe is adapted for sous-vide from the great Italian cooking site GialloZafferano. So if you don’t have a sous-vide, you can find the recipe for an oven there (also in English). Contrary to GialloZafferano, I prefer to make individual portions because you don’t have to cut and therefore it … Continue reading Bounet sous-vide

Amsterdam dining: Utrechtsedwarstafel

Even though are favorite way of dining is to let the chef decide what to cook and the sommelier which wines to serve with it, we had never yet tried Utrechtsedwarstafel because of the pricetag (between 65 euros for 3 course with basic wines and 125 euros for 5 courses with premium wines) and mixed reviews on Dutch leading restaurant review site Iens. But since their formula is exactly the way we like it, we decided to give it a try and go for the full treatment (5 courses with premium wines). We had high expectations of the wine pairings, … Continue reading Amsterdam dining: Utrechtsedwarstafel

Ravioli al Radicchio (witlof/chicory/belgian endive) e Gorgonzola

I had some left-over gorgonzola and had bought some witlof (chicory, belgian endive) and decided to try something new: ravioli with a filling of gorgonzola and witlof. It turned out great and is definitely a keeper! The Italian version of witlof is radicchio and red instead of white, but they are related to each other and the taste is very similar. The wine pairing with the 2009 Orsolani Erbaluce di Caluso La Rustìa was also excellent: this dish needs a dry white wine with a light bitter tone (preferably mineral like this erbaluce di caluso) to go with the witlof … Continue reading Ravioli al Radicchio (witlof/chicory/belgian endive) e Gorgonzola

Sous-vide rack of lamb

As a secondo after the primo of gnocchi al gorgonzola, we had another favorite: rack of lamb! The Dutch lamb from my local butcher is still very tender even though it’s almost December. Ingredients for 2 servings 1 rack of lamb with 6-8 ribs 3 sprigs rosemay salt, freshly ground black pepper olive oil 75 ml (1/3 cup) red wine 75 ml (1/3 cup) lamb stock Preparation Preheat water bath to 54.5C/130F. Rub the rack of lamb with salt, freshly ground black pepper and some olive oil and seal in a bag with the rosemary sprigs (one on each side). … Continue reading Sous-vide rack of lamb

Why a blog?

I’ve always enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for cooking, good food and wine with others. It gives me a big thrill when my sharing leads to someone trying something new or developing an interest for wine or cooking. I’ve had a home page on the internet since 1995, where I’ve shared some of my recipes almost from the start. Back in those days the ‘easiest’ way to create a page was to write HTML code using Notepad, so it was quite laborious to share stuff and that is part of the reason why I did not post regular updates. The other reason … Continue reading Why a blog?