Eat well - travel often

Month: August 2014

Tapas Revolution Evening – A Guest Post

Tapas Revolution Evening – A Guest Post

I was recently invited to an evening at Tapas Revolution the creation of Omar Allibhoy but unfortunately I was unable to attend.  My blogger friend Manjiri Chitnis went in my place and here is her review:- A few days ago I was invited to an […]

Family Lunch and Plum Trees

Family Lunch and Plum Trees

I had my 6 year old granddaughter for a couple of days over the Bank Holiday weekend and the plan to get her home was to meet my daughter-in-law at a cafe on a roundabout on the A428.  This would mean I could turn and […]

Muscadine Wine – A Taste of the Deep South

Muscadine Wine – A Taste of the Deep South

I like to drink a cold glass of dry white wine with meals or
in the garden on a hot summer day and although I am no wine expert I know the
sort of grape varieties that I like.

When I got to North
Carolina in June this year my sister offered me a
glass of wine. She said it was ‘dry’ and that it was one of her
favourites.  In actual fact it was on the
sweet side for me and not at all dry by my tastes. 

I asked what the grape variety was. Muscadine! I had never
heard of this grape and apparently it is not widely grown anywhere except for
the southern states of America. It thrives on the rich soil and mild winters as well as the heat and humidity of the Southern states and even the North Carolina General Assembly named the Scuppernog grape (a cultivar of the original Muscadine) the official state fruit in 2001!

I contacted the Johnson County Tourism Board to see if
there were any Muscadine wineries in the area that would offer a tour and
tasting so I could learn more.

It was very kindly arranged for us to have a tour and
tasting of Hinnant Family Winery in Johnson
County. Bev had not been
to this winery or sampled their wines before so it was a first for both of
us.  Each producer has their own little
nuances in their range.

First of all we tasted their range of wines, white, red and
rose all with the distinctive taste that comes from the muscadine grape.  This is a very earthy and a bit metallic
taste, very different to my ‘European’ wine tastes. The locals say it is an
acquired taste.

They have a range of wines that they link to being like
certain ‘Bordeaux’
or ‘Merlot’ wines and then a range of very different wines that have no
‘European’ counterpart.

Hinnant Family Winery is North Carolina’s oldest and largest muscadine vineyard and a family run
winery. The staff have a real passion for the vines, the processes and the
finished product and love greeting the visitor with their Southern hospitality. Though a small operation it is incredibly modern and efficient,

as well as award winning.

Funny enough the wine I picked as my favourite of the range
had elderflower and honey in it which I would have thought would have made it
sweet but it is in fact quite dry but with a beautiful bouquet and fragrance.

There are over 100 wineries in the state of North Carolina and for a list of them and where you can get a tasting and tour check out North Carolina Wines. You can visit the North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association for more information.

Many thanks to Erin at Johnson County Tourism Board for arranging my
tour and tasting of Hinnant and thanks too to the staff at Hinnant Family
Winery for their hospitality and the wine they gave me to take home.  I did not receive any payment to write about
this and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Perk!er Certainly Perked Up My Summer

Perk!er Certainly Perked Up My Summer

I rarely take holiday during the British Summer, preferring to stay home when the weather has a greater chance of being nice and holidaying later in the year when we lose our warm days. Perk!er asked me to take part in their challenge to ‘Perk […]

My New EcoCookware Designer Cooking without Designer Prices

My New EcoCookware Designer Cooking without Designer Prices

There is a lot more to the Premier Housewares’ Ecocook range than initially meets the eye, with their stylish design and energy efficient cooking. I was sent the high sided frying pan, sort of wok like but there are another 5 sizes of saucepan and […]

Making Shredded Beef with Aldi

Making Shredded Beef with Aldi

Not that long ago Aldi advertised that they would be selling Wagyu beef in their store and it would be arriving on a stated date.  I was sent a voucher to go into my local store to get some to review.

When I got to the store that afternoon the store had completely sold out, the manager told me they had sold out the beef in 15 minutes of it being put on the shelves. I decided to use the voucher to buy a beautiful piece of 28 day mature beef, the meat we had bought previously from Aldi has always been great quality.

It might seem a bit strange to use the slow cooker to cook such a good quality beef but I figured if using a slow cook made a cheaper piece of meat into a lovely meal then using a really good piece of meat would make a delicious meal.

I wanted to keep it simple and make it tasty.  I only added some chopped carrots, onion and celery and a little bit of water along with simple seasonings.

We spent the day at the allotment and came home to a beautiful aroma as we opened the door.

When I opened the lid of the slow cooker I found the perfectly cooked beef which I was subsequently able to shred.

 

I added some of the cooked vegetables to a sauce pan, thickened and pressed through a sieve to make a gravy

and served this all over spaghetti for a really tasty, simple and convenient Saturday supper.

 
Many thanks to Aldi for the voucher to purchse this piece of beef.  I did not receive payment to review this and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.

 

 

 

 

 
What’s the best time for Sunday Brunch!

What’s the best time for Sunday Brunch!

Any time Sunday morning is a great time for brunch at The Snug Bar! I have already written about The Snug Bar in St Albans, telling you of their tasty menu, fun cocktail masterclasses and now this weekend we tried their brunch menu. I had […]

The Christmas Menu is coming from Pizza Express

The Christmas Menu is coming from Pizza Express

Pizza Express has been in the UK since 1965 when they opened their first restaurant on Wardour Street in Central London.  Since then they are gone from strength to strength becoming a familiar sight on most High Streets with over 430 restaurants. I was invited […]

My Weekend Kitchen Helper!

My Weekend Kitchen Helper!

Le Petit Chef have produced a knife and peeler just perfect for those little hands and fingers looking to get involved with you in the kitchen.

I was sent the three piece set to encourage my grandchildren have a go helping me in the kitchen.  The knife is a nice size and easy for little hands to keep hold of.

They are most suitable for 5-10 year olds. They are very intent on children learning the correct positioning and handling of kitchen tools and safety, teaching them with the finger guard how to cut without cutting themselves.

The tools are robst and teach good knife skills.

My granddaughter used the set sent to me to cut up the ingredients for us to make a courgette soup from some of the allotment courgettes.

She picked it up really quickly, using the finger guard like a pro!

We made the courgettes into soup, with Lizzie peeling the rest of the vegetables with the peeler included in the three piece kit. 

Once the vegetables were prepared, seasoned and cooked I blitzed it into soup with the stick blender I had been sent from Stellar. A 750Watt brushed stainless steel stick blender with an easy to use, illuminated display.

This stick blender is quite lightweight and easily comes apart for cleaning. There is a very smooth lock/unlock feature with just a twist.

It has variable speeds – I only used it on slow and WOW what power. I think I am too afraid to see what happens when I push the ‘Turbo’ button!! The Turbo button gives you all the extra power you need when you need it.
 

The result was a lovely, creamy courgette soup for Mr R to have for lunch at work this week!

Many thanks to Le Petit Chef and Stellar for sending me their products to review.  I was not paid to review the items and as always all opinions, comments and photos are my own.

 

Blossom Hill Sun Kissed and Summery – A White and A Red

Blossom Hill Sun Kissed and Summery – A White and A Red

When the summer is as fantastic as we are currently having the main meal becomes BBQ washed down by a fresh and summery wine or beer. Blossom Hill have released a summery and fruity white and red wine that fits the summer criteria perfectly.  The […]