Réserve de la Chèvre Noire Bourgogne 2016

Réserve de la Chèvre Noire Bourgogne 2016

I have mentioned before that Burgundy has the most complex and extensive Appellation Control regime (AOC) in all France. Today’s wine is from the Bourgogne AOC, which is the broadest, and, as generally regarded, at the bottom of the AOC ‘pyramid’. This is generally supposed to be reflected in the general quality but this is frequently not the case and this particular Bourgogne happens to be pretty decent…

  • Winery: Boisseaux-Estivant
  • Price: $21.90 CDN
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Sugar: 1.5 g/L

The color is a medium cherry-red. The nose is quite aromatic with dark red and black fruit, dried flowers, and a very slightly musty vegetal quality.It is quite light bodied, fairly smooth and dry with a moderately high acidity that rises quickly at the start and then subsides to allow the tannins to develop. These are of moderate strength at first and then rise well into the finish where the quite tart acidity reasserts itself again. It is less aromatically fruity in the mouth as on the nose and the vegetal quality is a bit more pronounced, with woody notes, a mild  floral spiciness and just a whisper of vanilla. The lack of body is its weakness, but it is not bad overall.

Parsnip-Apple Patties

Parsnip-Apple Patties 1

Today’s post is a new evolution of an ongoing work in progress… A while back, I posted a Pork Belly Appetizer I am working on and I showed the two different ways I had tried for using parsnips as a ‘base’. The second of these was a sort of ‘pancake’ I first baked and then fried. This version follows up on the general idea except that I am using apple in the mix and making smaller, individual sized patties. For today’s post, I first present them as sort of appetizer along with the spiced cranberry sauce I made for the earlier post. I still want to use these as an appetizer base, but. For today’s purposes I am not cooking another pork belly roast… Continue reading “Parsnip-Apple Patties”

Foodstuff: Dried Abalone

Dried Abalone 1

Dried Abalone is one of those special ingredients, such as Shark fin, to use another example, that are highly prized, especially   in Chinese cuisine. These sorts of delicacies typically just served for special occasions, not only because of the sheer expense, but also, because of the time-consuming preparation required.

For those unfamiliar, the Abalone is an open-shelled marine snail that is cultivated and harvested in many places around the world. The fresh meat is considered a delicacy in many cuisines, and one can also buy it canned, but the dried variety is most particularly associated with Chinese cookery. I have yet to try the fresh article myself, and so cannot compare it to the dried , but my experience is that dried abalone, while very tasty (and with a pleasant texture), owes much of its cachet, like, say, rare wines, or long-aged single malt scotches, to the expense rather than any special quality. That being said, though, it is definitely worth trying at least once… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Dried Abalone”

Naked Grape Shiraz

Naked Grape Shiraz

I picked up this rather oddly named Shitaz at our local Beer and Wine Store here in Iqaluit, which, I have mentioned before, does not have a huge selection. When I got the bottle home, I saw that label describes it as being ‘unoaked’ which I am guessing give rise to the name, possibly? Anyway, it was a bit sweet for my taste, but if you like sweetish wines, you may want to give it a try…

  • Winery:  Arterra Wines Canada, Inc
  • Price: $10.25 at LCBO (I forgot to record the local price)
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Sugars: 10 g/L

This wine has no vintage on the label and is listed as having been released in 2015. It is a fairly dark cherry red with a slight bluish tint and very clear. The nose is a little muted and has a very nice dominant quality of blackcurrant. There are also notes of grass, bubblegum and just a little spice. It is medium bodied with a smooth mouth feel and a sweetness that would be almost to the point of cloying but for a fairly high acidity that offsets this a bit. It is very fruity, without much in the way of tannins, and is a bit bluntly overdone in overall flavor effect. The fruitiness has a rather artificial quality with candy cotton notes, but there are some grassy, and peppery notes that save it from being too one dimensional. Not bad but not especially good either. My three star rating is a bit grudgingly given.

Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans

Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans 1

When I was a kid, I heartily disliked green-beans and I never really changed my opinion much over the years. I liked them raw, actually, as they taste quite a bit like snap-peas in that state, but, once cooked, especially by boiling, the nice sweetness of the raw product disappeared. Fresh ones were the best, if I had to eat them, but the frozen sort were rarely very good and the canned (which were all we ever got in school dinners) were nothing less than disgusting.

Once I discovered the Sichuan method  of dry-frying beans, however, I found a way where I could genuinely enjoy this vegetable. In this cookery style, the beans are first quickly fried (nowadays mostly by briefly deep-frying) and then they are stir-fried a second time along with various ingredients (commonlya little ground pork, or dried shrimp) and the sort of seasoning such as chili paste, scallion and garlic, that you often find in Sichuan dishes. The taste of the fresh, raw article is preserved and the texture is terrific… Continue reading “Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans”

Foodstuff: Korean Red Pepper Powder

Korean Red Pepper Powder 1

Korean Red Pepper Powder is a very versatile food product but its primary uses are in the making of Kimchi and also in the preparation of the Korean fermented red pepper paste known as Gochujang. Most of the ground chili available to me locally is quite coarse, with the exception of Cayenne Pepper, which is pretty fiery. The typical Korean Red Pepper Powder can be quite mild, is very finely milled, and also has a very pretty bright red color that makes for a very attractive pickle… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Korean Red Pepper Powder”

Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2014

Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2014

Anybody over the age of about 40, or so, will probably remember those ubiquitous empty flasks of Chianti that often doubled as ‘stylish’ candle holders, not only in Bohemian apartments, but even in some Italian restaurants. What is chic and stylish in one age, however, can become tacky later, and it is unfortunate that this change in attitude towards the practice managed to attach itself to Chianti wine as a whole. In fact, these Sangiovese varietal based group of wines from Tuscany, can vary from very rough and rustic ‘jug’ wines to some complex and deservedly acclaimed products. Today’s selection, from the Chianti Classico DOCG (as opposed to the much broader, plain Chianti DOCG), is pretty decent, but, IMHO, probably not entirely worth its relatively steep price tag…

  • Winery: Isole e Olena SRL
  • Price: $31.75 CDN
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Sugar: 1.9 g/L

The primary varietal, Sangiovese, makes up 80% of the blend with Canaiolo and Syrah included at 15% and 5% respectively. The color is a medium dark raspberry and just a shade less than crystal clear. There is some red fruit on the rather muted nose but it is almost matched by a rather vegetal quality with some woody notes. The body is quite light but decently smooth and the first impact is a very robust, tart acidity that falls off gradually through the middle. It is quite dry and the tannins, almost unnoticeable at the start, develop a little later on but remain as more of a background effect against the acid. The dominant taste is tart red fruit. The vegetal quality of the nose is apparent as well but to a far lesser degree and the one note that saves the overall effect from being a bit too sharp is a very lovely combination of oak and cedar the rises near the beginning and lasts almost through the entire finish. I like it well enough, but I gave it a 3 star rather than a 4 star rating is I didn’t think the quality justified the price.

Lamb Stuffed Zucchini

Lamb Stuffed Zucchini 1

They had some lovely fresh mint in our local market and I bought a large bunch with a view to making a new batch of Mint Sauce for the fridge as well as some mint tea. I also decided to use some of it in combination with some frozen ground lamb I had on hand. This little appetizer sort of dish is what I came up with … Continue reading “Lamb Stuffed Zucchini”

Notable Nosh: Unagi

Unagi 1

Who remembers the ‘Friends’ episode when Ross boasts to Rachel of his skill in the Japanese martial arts awareness technique of ‘Unagi’?  Of course, Ross got it wrong, for Unagi is actually the Japanese word for the freshwater eel that is frequently barbecued, and often included as a sushi offering.

Saltwater eel is also found in Japanese cuisine, where it is known as ‘Anago’, but it is less common (at least in the west), and not generally cooked in the sweetish Kabayaki sauce (very like Teriyaki Sauce) common with Unagi … Eel, by the way, does not generally appear as a (raw) sashimi and in sushi, and other preparations, is invariably cooked, generally by slow-simmering, occasionally followed by grilling.

Anyway, above you see Unagi as part of a Nigiri Suhsi offering I had at Hokkaido Sushi in Ottawa. It certainly isn’t the prettiest presentation I have ever been served but it was genuinely tasty. The fish was just a tiny bit drier than it should be but the sauce was delicately used and the full, very umami taste of the fish shone through perfectly. Many people tend to shy away from eel, despite being perfectly comfortable with other fish, but this worth trying…

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal Chorey-Lès-Beaune 2013

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal Chorey-Lès-Beaune 2013

Burgundy, of all the wine-producing regions  France, is the most complicated. There is a dizzying number of AOC’s (more than any other region on France), and the general supposition is that there is an in increase in quality from the basic Bourgougne AOC up to the Grand Crus. In wine after wine,however, the lie is given to this general notion, and today’s selection, from the  Chorey-Lès-Beaune AOC,  is indicative of that …

  • Winery: Catherine et Claude Maréchal
  • Price: $40.75 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: 1.7 g/L

This wine is medium ruby in color and has a muted nose of red, slightly cooked fruit, and a faint floral background. It has a medium full body with a silky texture, and is off-dry with moderate acidity and smooth tannins that get bolder at the end. The floral notes dominate over subtle, slightly sour red fruit, and there is a hint of spice as well as a touch of leather. I had some of this with a mild beef stew and it didn’t stand up well, leaving a slightly acrid taste. Interestingly, I later drank one glass with peanuts,which resulted, as a combination, in a taste of turkey. Overall, the wine was not all that bad bad but not worth the relatively high  price.