Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Braai Oak

So I've never written a post of this kind before and I doubt it will be a regular subject. Recipes and cooking aren't exactly my forte or passion. Don't get me wrong, I do cook for my son and I, and we are still alive, awesome, and I'll pull off the Don Juan moves by cooking a romantic meal for that special lady, although I will intuitively and smartly use my charm and wine, to somewhat distract said special lady from the meal in order to place the emphasis on the ambiance... (Ssshhh, if the women's network finds out about this, I may experience future challenges).
Lets face it though, wine and food pair, and I've been known to enjoy standing around hot coals and braai, aka barbecue. 

So why is braaing cool?:
  • Man make fire, arrr - boost to manliness and ego; 
  • You have wine in hand - need I say more?; 
  • Braaing is a healthy form of cooking as the fat from the meat drips away through the grill; 
  • You're outdoors, who hoo - increase vitamin D intake and finally 
  • It's sociable and you get to talk and be silly with your mates. Ps. Invite some mates.

So here's my attempt at a braai and wine pairing, a vegetarian braai I will add, which is extremely unusual for me as I am a carnivore of note.

What you will need:
Large mushrooms
Peppers (Red, green and yellow)
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Wine, lots of it (Chenin blanc will go down well)

Preparation (Let me reiterate that I am not a chef! So use your own initiative for better preparation and presentation skills)
  • Have a sip of wine
  • Turn the mushrooms upside down and drizzle with olive oil, stuff with garlic, butter and cheese. (Mushrooms add meatiness to a vegetarian braai).  
  • Drizzle the asparagus and mielies with olive oil and coarse salt.
  • Have a sip of wine

  • If you have a braai such as a Weber or a gas braai with a lid, you can cook the mushrooms in such, if not, bake the mushrooms in an oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and mushrooms are warmed through.
  • Put the mielies and asparagus on the grill and turn occasionally until grilled. 
  • Put the peppers on the grill and ensure there is a a slight flame to enable the outer skins to burn and blacken slowly all over. Once this is done, allow the peppers to cool down slightly and then place the peppers into a plastic shopping bag. Then tie a knot in the bag and rub the peppers all over with the plastic bag until the outer burnt skin has been completely removed revealing the flesh of the peppers. Rinse slightly with water if there are still pieces of burnt skin on the peppers. Dice the peppers up and together with the seeds, add vinegar, salt and olive oil to create the best damn pepper salad ever!
  • Have some more wine.

If you eat fish, add tuna stuffed tomatoes:
  • Mix tuna with mayonnaise, chopped onion, salt and pepper. It was suggested to me, thank you to you know who ;) to add lemon zest, dill and a touch of fennel to the tuna which sounds delicious.
  • Cut the tops of the tomatoes off, hollow it out by removing the flesh with a spoon and then fill the cavity with the above tuna mixture.
  • Get your glass of wine and yes, you know what to do...

So what did I pair this all with?
The trick to pairing wine with food is that both should compliment each other and neither should dominate the other.
I paired the food with Chenin blanc as there was no red meat and therefore a dry white would work well with the vegetables and tuna. The 2011 Simonsig Chenin Blanc was fruity and complimented the food well with its full body which stood up to the "meaty" mushrooms. Chenin blanc is a versatile varietal and can range from fresh and fruity to rich and ripe. See more detailed information regarding Chenin blanc in a previous post I wrote: 

Happy Braaing!

Ps. Have another sip of wine...

Wednesday 17 July 2013

A Guy, A Girl, Wine and a Sea Breeze

So it has been about 7 months since my last post… Sis on you, The Wine Oak, sis on you! I honestly thought that Bouchard Finlayson, dubbed the muse in my last post, would have inspired the weekly blog updates, alas, things have been hectic.

That said, I now have better time management skills and a new muse, a pair of muses in fact, with the first being a body of water we know as the ocean and the second being an awesome blogger, who may have slightly threatened me should there be no post up by tomorrow morning J Well it seems my required kick in the ass was motivation enough as I am now dusting off the keyboard and typing this post. Thank you Jade ;)
Be sure to check out her interesting and fun blog: which covers topics from wine, travel, fashion, food, recipes, book and movie reviews and fun nights out, which all you ladies will definitely love. 
I am convinced that no matter what reason you may need inspiration for; a visit to the beach will solve that problem. It was whilst consuming a couple bottles of wine, with aforementioned gorgeous blogger, that the smell of the fresh sea breeze and the calming orchestra of the lapping waves did wonders and reminded me of my passion for the fermented grapes.

What’s this blog post about? Its about a concerted effort for more regular posts to my wine blog and about drinking wine on the beach!

It all started with a bottle of JC Le Roux Sparkling wine, as this is what Pili Pili, a funky beach bar in Sedgefield, had to offer in terms of bubbles. As you can see in the pics below, we consumed the bubbles in the sun. I must reiterate that for the non seasoned drinker, this is a big NO NO, as the combination of sunlight and bubbles will give you an instant personality in a bottle J
Although if this is what you are after, add a straw for a “next level experience…” (The Wine Oak promotes safe and responsible drinking) J

We proceeded to walk on the beach, then run, then do a few cart wheels and then finally settle down to enjoy a bottle of white and enjoy the sea view.
If you’re going to have some wine on a beach, I would recommend taking some steel goblets along as opposed to wine glasses – between the running and cart wheels, glass is bound to break.

So what wine is good to drink on a beach you ask? Well anything tastes good in the sun and at the sea, even “doos wyn” (“box wine” for you foreign folk). But life is too short to be drinking bad wine, so I would suggest a wine which compliments seafood, as you will be smelling and even tasting the similar fresh sea breeze. Something light and crisp, so most Sauvignon Blanc’s should go down a treat. If you’re unsure what to chose, opt for the old faithful table wine, Graça, which is well priced, easy drinking and awesome in hot weather. While the sun is still belting down, I would steer clear of red wine. Just a tip, use it, don’t use it…

The next day, back on the beach, we had a bottle of fruity Graça Rosé, also great with seafood and therefore suiting my theory of complimenting the similar fresh sea breeze. The rosé is off dry and slightly sweeter, so if you are planning on doing a couple of face plants into the sea shore or eating beach sand, the sweeter taste is comforting and neutralising towards the saltiness. The eating, drinking, laughing, singing and dancing wine held true to its word. I shall say no more J

“Let’s do that again!”