Light lunch on a hot summers day

October 30, 2012

Our table on the terrace

As you know there is not really a summer in the tropics. We have different seasons than temperate climates. However, when the rainy season has come to an end, days are getting hotter, and the meal I am going to describe is exactly for such days.

We had a beetroot salad with some cured salmon and a self-made sauce based on yoghurt. For carbs, we offered a selection of bagels. Look at the photos below. Doesn’t the food look delicious?

Beetroot salad

Salmon

And here the ensemble on the plate

Bagels from the supermarket

I would agree that bagels from a proper bakery would be superior to the ones shown above. But hold it. Remember we live in Bangkok!

Since it was a weekday, no special wine was pulled from my wine fridge. Instead I opened a bottle of a mass produced Sauvignon Blanc by Tahuna from the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand.

I was a bit worried at first, since the vintage was 2009 but the wine was in a perfect condition. It showed all the characteristics of a solid but inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc, and satisfied our needs for a glass of wine with our light lunch on a perfect summers’ day. Cheers

2009 Tahuna Sauvignon Blanc

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Brass Razu, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

July 10, 2011

Brass Razu Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

A very nice white wine is the ‘2008 Brass Razu Sauvignon Blanc’ from the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand. Apart from Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favourite white wines.

Brass Razu is a wine brand produced by Warburn Estate formerly called Riverina Wines in New South Wales, Australia.

The company has about 1,000 ha under vines and a crash capacity of about 40,000 tonnes, not exactly a boutique winery. But the firm is still a private business and independent.

The Brass Razu Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes grown in Marlborough, New Zealand. The wine is a typical specimen of a good Marlborough SB, technically well made and very pleasant to drink.

“Brass Razoo” is an Australian and New Zealand expression defined as “a non-existent coin of trivial value”. Is is used in “I haven’t got a brass razoo” indicating the speaker is out of money.

Address:
Warburn Estate
700 Kidman Way
Tharbogang, 2680
New Zealand
www.warburnestate.com.au


2004 Fromm Pinot Noir from New Zealand

July 5, 2011

2004 Fromm Pinot Noir

I will not tell you where I detected this wine. I only want to say that it was in this Thai restaurant that most of the white wine on offer was completely off, so to speak. The white wine bottles offered to me had a rather yellowish colour.

In my view, the place would greatly benefit from some oenologist’s advice.

This was the reason why I went for a red wine. My choice was a‘2004 Fromm Pinot Noir’ from Marlborough, New Zealand. It was a good choice. The Pinot Noir went well with the Asian cuisine served in the place (delicious food by the way).

Frankly speaking it was also high time that the wine was consumed. I guess it will be much less enjoyable in the time to come. But maybe the bottle was just badly stored, not an easy thing in the tropics anyway.

Established in 1992 by Swiss winemaker Georg Fromm Fromm Winery is a boutique vineyard in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. It is managed following biodynamic practices.

The wine is a good specimen of Pinot Noir (a single vineyard wine by the way). It is subtle, with good tannins and not too fruity. It is not overpowering earthy, although normally I like the earthy style.

If you can get hold of a bottle of the 2004 vintage, this is the time to enjoy it.

Address:
FROMM WINERY
Godfrey Road, RD2
Blenheim 7272
New Zealand
Phone +64 (0)3 572 9355
Fax +64 (0)3 572 9366
lastrada@frommwinery.co.nz
www.frommwinery.co.nz


Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc

June 24, 2010

Our fish

I just love to eat fish, all kinds of fish. And there is good fish on offer in the markets of Bangkok. Often we do not have carbohydrates with it. But veggies are a must. They are a great complement for the protein.

What you need in addition is, if possible: a superb wine, preferably white.

A plate of fish and veg

Very delicious veggies

I admit that sometimes I drink red wine with fish but most of the time I select a white. Since I love to drink Riesling wines, that’s often my preferred choice. Another option I like is Sauvignon Blanc. But it needs to be a really good one. I like Sancerre style wines and the ‘2007 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc’, from the Marlborough wine region of New Zealand seemed to be the right stuff.

But I did not buy the bottle because SB wines from New Zealand are in fashion right now. I bought it because the Mount Nelson brand is a project of a famous Italian wine dynasty, the Antinori’s from Tuscany.

Piero and Lodovico Antinori are the 26th generation of Italy’s most famous wine family. I wanted to know how their interpretation of New Zealand SB fruit would turn out. I should not be disappointed as it turned out later.

2007 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc

In 2004 the Antinori brothers bought for US$ 1.8 million a 32 acres vineyard on the banks of the Taylor River near the mouth of Cloudy Bay not far from the Wither Hill Vineyard. To make the Mount Nelson SB additional fruit (about 40%) is purchased from the adjoining Meadowbank vineyard.

The 2007 vintage is just the best ever. This is the unanimous verdict of the wine critics (91 Parker points). I can only confirm this. My recommendation: buy buy buy.

The wine has zest, is fragrant with lime and lemon flavours and some mineral notes. The colour is beautiful straw-like. The finish is lasting. I forgot the alcohol content and the price. But rest assured if I see it in my local market again, I will buy all the bottles on the shelve.

Beautiful colour in the glass

In early July, we will be in Italy. There I will taste some more of the Antinori wines. This time Italian wines.


Australia day 2010

January 26, 2010

I started the day with a lemington, a sponge cake and one of the two Australian national desserts (the other one is Pavlowa). It’s Australia’s national day again.

On 26 January 1788 the so called first fleet landed at Sydney Cove and today Australians are commemorating this event. Also we did celebrate, though muted. It was a normal school day for the children and a normal working day for the parents.

Morton Premium Brut

But we cracked a bottle of sparkling tonight which we had with the celery risotto. The sparkling came from New Zealand, which was given to us by our former neighbors Alain and Keiko. It was a ‘Morton Premium Brut’ (Methode Traditionnelle, no vintage), made of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, a blend from Hawkes Bay and Marlborough grapes. It’s a very creamy bubbly with buttery yeast aromas, easy to drink (12% Vol.). The wines won a couple of silver medals in 2008, 2007 and 2006. It also gained some recognition in a few wine buyers guides (for instance Michael Coopers Buyers Guide).

Celery risotto

It was an enjoyable family meal, an evening like many others for us here in Bangkok. But we raised the glass and toasted to our beloved “island down under”. Cheers


A philosopher’s lunch

March 30, 2007

What a beautiful lunch we had the other day. I have to give away the secret of the most delicious dishes we enjoyed last Sunday. In fact it is not a secret at all because the recipe is from a very well known and very beautiful cookbook, the Philosopher’s Kitchen by Francine Segan.

This cookbook’s subtitle reads, “Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook”. Nothing sounds better to the ear of a Celtic Treverer who had enjoyed Roman cuisine for a couple of centuries. We had a fish dish and afterwards a salad, that’s all, but what most delectable food this was. I would have loved to have Sucellus, Epicurus and Lucretius over for lunch that day. Only on the wine side I would have made concessions to modernity. A Sauvignon Blanc from the new world vineyards I find much more appealing than a wine of Roman times which would have needed mixing with water and honey to be drinkable at all.

Wine god

On a portal in Trier: Bacchus and vine leafs

And here is the recipe: red snapper in parchment. The ingredients are as follows:

– juice of freshly pressed lemons
– 2 garlic gloves, minced
– ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
– 4 bay leaves crushed
– 1 ½ teaspoons whole pink peppercorns
– 2 table spoons of capers, rinsed
– 15 oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
– 2 red snapper fillets, without skin
– Salt and freshly milled pepper
– Lemon wedges

Mix and combine the lemon juice, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, capers and olives in a large bowl and soak the red snapper(in Bahasa Indonesia: Kakap Merah) in this marinade for about two hours in a cool spot. Then put the fish into the oven (up to about 200°). We put it into aluminium foil and topped it with the marinade; then closed the foil and baked it for about 10 to 13 minutes. We served the fish on a plate. We had just plain baguette with it but you can add all kinds of things, eat it with rice, potatoes, and with various vegetables. It was such a wonderful dish, mouth watering. The capers in the marinade give it a spicy edge, and this complements the white flesh of the fish. The olives and the capers take you to the Mediterranean. I could see the ocean, the sand, the beach…and taste the salt, the smells of the water….

After the main course we had a warm spinach salad. The recipe is also in the above cookbook and is called, “Baby Greens with Caper Vinaigrette”. The caper vinaigrette is similar to the marinade, just that no olives and no garlic is added. It goes as follows:

– 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
– ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
– 3 tablespoons of capers
– Salt and freshly milled pepper
– 3 cups of assorted green vegetables

As I said, we used spinach (Bahasa Indonesia: Bayam Hijau) which we blanched before adding the vinaigrette and the warm salad did in fact complement the first dish and harmoniously end this philosopher’s meal. I highly recommend the cookbook. It makes a wonderful gift. If you love the classics and you want to delve in the past of these two great Mediterranean cultures, you should get it (www.atrandom.com).

You will have noticed that I did not yet mention any wine so far. Well, the wine I chose was a disappointment. I though a Sauvignon Blanc would go well with it, and this is certainly so. I chose a 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from Giessen of Marlborough, New Zealand, of which I had fond memories. But what a surprise. It was stale, oily and did not display any of the varietals’ characteristics of a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc. With sadness and melancholy I thought of times gone by and our own 2002 Two Hills Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and it’s brilliant taste. Unfortunately, we were down on white wine and we just ended the meal with a port and an Italian coffee. I might have to consider buying a special wine fridge so that this cannot happen again.