A pithering night of food and wine.

March 25, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Ouch, my head hurts a little today. I’ve suffered again my repeated offence of drinking too much wine. I’m starting to wonder if I’m one of those people that never learn.

Oh well nevermind. Yesterday my chef’s outfit got another outing as we cooked up a beef Wellington for Kath’s father and his wife, in a night that also developed into something of a wine tasting. Having trialled this meal a week earlier, and it being somewhat of a disaster, I didn’t really have too many reasons to feel confident about it this time round. Last time I was taken aback by the width of the fillet we’d got, and as a result the stuff (mushroom-mashup) in between the meat and the pasty got spread too thinly. Also I assaulted such a wonderful cut of beef with an overdose of English mustard. And to add insult to injury, I didn’t cook the thing for long enough or give it a decent rest either. So all in all, it was a bit of a disappointment. Mind you, it made for very pleasant sandwiches the next day. In retrospect (in an Agile fashion I’ve starting having impromptu retrospectives on many different things), I suppose I was distracted by a Terry Wogan hosted competition on TV to see which candidate the UK public would put forward to enter the Eurovision song contest. I think the Eurovision’s great, it’s sheer entertainment.

This time though, the Wellington came out a lot better. By deviously combining the good bits of two or three better recipes on the web, the meal came to much more of a satisfying conclusion. I used a tea-towel to wring the moisture out of the flat mushrooms, as oppose to cooking them for an eternity. As an insurance policy against not having enough of the mushroom paste to provide a filling, we combined the mushrooms with a lovely chicken pate, which I think gave the desired effect. To wrap things up literally, we cunningly used parma ham, a nuance from Gordon Ramsay. All in all I thought it was very nice. I could probably have used a sharper knife the slice the entity up, and it was rareish again, but I declare myself chuffed. I feel obliged to report on this blog how wonderful I think the butcher ‘Eastwoods’ is from Berkhamstead. Sure, a little more expensive, but this award winning place is a mecca for meat enthusiasts.

So I come to the wine. We chirpy contingent of diners split into two factions: the ladies favouring a bottle of Laurent-Perrier pink champagne, and us world-wise hearty gents opting for an action packed Pernand-Vergelesses En Caradeux. The latter is a white Burgundy, originating from a village living slyly close to the soils of Aloxe Corton, Burgundy’s most special wine. This wine in particular, the Pernand-Vergelesse, is one that would be a challenge to find in the UK. Being a lesser known and hence a much cheaper village wine, it is great value for money. In my humble opinion I think of it being slightly similar to a good Saint Aubin. Lovely and jammy, a little peary.

Our two factions continued along separate paths. One strode forward and ripped into a Chablis premier cru Vallions, and the other steered us into Saint Aubin premier cru. I enjoyed the Saint Aubin, although both chaps were in agreement that the former wine of our choice was the victor. It was fun to be able to compare the two. It must be pointed out though, as inconceivable as it may be, that my faculties as a supreme judge of all wine may have been beginning to recede.

Our two factions shook hands and ended a self imposed separation, rejoining in a graceful yet savoury harmony, embellishing the flavours of the main accompaniment to the Wellington. As part of a thankyou to our guests for helping with the wedding, I sourced a Grand Cru Corton, a ‘Clos Des Cortons Faiveley’ from Berry Brothers. Mmm. Absolutely smooth, that lovely liquorice flavour, gorgeous. We all murmured in contentment as we swished it down. Lovely.

Well, it may have been sensible to end on a high, especially for me personally with my resented attachment to abhorrent hangovers, but we did not. We continued, the four of us proceeding ahead as a single unit. The same wine that I had raved about on this blog that had been consumed at Christmas, had coincidentally made its way here in the back of our guests’ car. Since Corton was on the brain, I suppose it was inevitable that was cracked open. This is a lovely wine, the Corton Pouget Grand Cru, and has such presence it felt like there were five of us at the table, plus the cheese. There was however a smidgen of unanimious opinion that it was beaten by the former. Thinking about it today, I wonder if this was because the Berry Brothers one, a 2001 vintage, had a couple of years on the Pouget.

Well, did it end here? Not quite. Making a special appearance, and gracing our table was a Vosne-Romanee, another Burgundian big-gun. We’d picked this up as a present to our guests in Burgundy last year, as part of our wedding wine-buying excursion. It was different, fantastic. Although I am ready to admit my pre-mentioned faculties of a wine taster extraordinaire were pretty much compromised.

Phew! It’s made my stomach twist and turn just recounting! A wonderful and wickedley indulgant night of food and wine. I’m sure I’ll be fresh as a daisy ready for work tomorrow, but for today, please let me snooze and watch series 6 of the Sopranos on dvd.

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