Archive for the ‘Wine and Dine’ Category

They say pairing wine and cheese is a balancing act because you want the wine to complement the flavours of the cheese and not over powers it. On the other hand, the flavour of the cheese must also not ‘out muscle’ the wine.

Strong tasting cheese are not the ideal snack with a light wine and mil;d cheese will be overshadowed by full-bodied, robust wines.

There’s a general rule of thumb to follow: the stronger the cheese is, move up the spectrum of the body of wine.

Hard, mild cheeses such as cheddar are normally best paired with milder wines like Merlot, Pinot Noir and unwooded Chardonnays. While stronger hard cheeses such as aged Gouda or Asiago go best with a full-bodied Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blends.

Aromatic wines such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer are great with soft cheeses like brie and Camembert; while a Sauvignon Blanc and Rose are classic pairings for goat cheese.

When it comes to blue cheeses, you want to pick an ice wine, late harvest wine or port. Going for higher sugar content will smooth out the edges of a strong blue cheese

Source: Canada.com

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Red wine drinkers can smile broadly again as a new product / gimmick hit the US market. Wine Wipes is small wet wipes which are supposed to get rid of the red film that can stain your teeth and spoil your bright smile.

The wipes come in small tins with mirrors and resemble makeup compacts. Each wipe has a mild orange flavour and is suppose to help cleanse the palate.

It is perhaps a super gimmick and probably will not do more than the good old-fashion napkin but it’s a new gadget and it can put back some bright smiles ( and maybe confidence)  to red wine drinkers.

I’ll give it a try and who knows maybe it works.

Source: latimes.com

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Planning a party or a social event can be tricky as you must assess all the aspects of the party and decide on the guests, food, music and the drinks.

Some people believe that deciding how much drinks to purchase is more of an art than science. It can be a daunting task to buy the right quantities of drinks for a party but it just need a little bit of assessing or pre-planning.

Here are a few useful tips to assist you to buy the right quantities as well as a few tips on how to save money when serving the drinks.

There are several factors you’ll want to consider when you calculate the amount of alcohol you’ll need for a party.

  • - The length of the party. How long is the party?
  • - What kind of party are you planning? Is it a cocktail party where drinks are the focus or a sit-down dinner where it’s all about the food and wine?
  • - Do you know if your guests are late stayers and or heavy drinkers?
  • - How much variety will you offer? And if you offer variety, how will you balance the choices between beer, wine, and mixed drinks?

As you can see, deciding how much alcohol to purchase is more of an art than science. For example, a rule of thumb for a cocktail party where you plan to serve only wine and/or champagne is to plan on one bottle to serve every two guests, every two hours.

Another rule of thumb for the average drinker, calculate 1 drink per person, per hour and then increase that amount by approximately 25% to be on the safe side. On the other hand, if it’s a very hot day or you’re serving salty or spicy food, your guests will drink more!

There are several strategies you can use to save money on your alcohol budget. Those include:

  • -Limiting the menu to wine and/or beer. The more variety you serve, the more liquor, mixers, and garnishes you will need to complete your bar.
  • -Limit the bar to a “menu” of mixed drinks. This limits the number of items you’ll need to complete your bar.
  • -Create an alcoholic punch which will “stretch” your liquor budget.
  • -Add to the bar several selections of non-alcoholic drinks to quench your guests’ thirst, including water, ice tea, and soft drinks. A guest who may have taken another mixed drink because he was simply thirsty, may choose water instead.

Source: entertaining.about.com

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When hosting people it’s always difficult to determine the number of Hors d’ oeuvres per person. The main question is… Will you also serve a dinner? or Will you be hosting a cocktail party? (no dinner to follow).

If you will be serving dinner, allow 4 to 6 hors d’oeuvres per person. 

If you’re hosting a cocktail party with no dinner to follow, allow for 8 to 10 hors d’oeuvres per person.

A cocktail party enables a host to entertain more people and enables them to mix more than a typical dinner party. The snacks must have a bit more ‘umpf’ as some guests can really get stuck into it and they can screw-up your calculations.

Here are handy charts to serve as a  calculation list for the  number of snacks and trays needed.

PS –  In French, the plural of hors d’oeuvre is hors d’oeuvre—no extra “s.” It’s the same word whether there’s one or many. Americans add the “s”; but if you want to show your superior knowledge, leave it off.

Source: thenibble.com

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Want to make a magic meal in a few minutes? This is a nice and easy recipe which is sure to impress and delight your guests.



  • 1bs vegetable oil
  • 400g beef strips or sliced rump
  • 150 g egg noodles, cooked al dente
  • 1 pkt spring onions, sliced
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ red pepper
  • 2 carrots, julienne
  • ½ broccoli, broken into florets

For sauce:

  • 3tbs black bean sauce
  • 1tsphoney
  • 2ml corn flour
  • 1tsp soya sauce
  • Fresh coriander



Heat oil in a wok until it is smoking hot, fry the beef strips until almost done.

Remove and set aside.

Add the onions and peppers, fry for a minute, then add the carrots and broccoli, fry for another minute.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together to form a paste.

Add the meat back into the wok, heat through and add the sauce, continue frying until glossy and thickened.

Will take no more than a few seconds.

Toss in the cooked noodles and some coriander, mix well and serve immediately.

For more of Bits of Carey’s recipes click here…

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Bafana Bafana takes on the French in today’s big World Cup match. To celebrate this occasion I think a truly French recipe will be the perfect match for the big match.

Steak au Poivre is a classic in almost every French cookbook and this dish is the perfect main course for a French meal.

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 4 3cm  thick strip steaks ·        
  • 2 teaspoons  salt 
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • ½ cup Cognac or Brandy
  • ¾ cup heavy cream


Season both sides of each steak with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat, and then sauté the steaks, 2 at a time, for 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer the steaks to a heatproof dish and keep them warm in a 80 °C oven.

Pour any leftover liquid from the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add the shallots and 1 piece of butter; sauté for 5 minutes, until cooked. Carefully add Cognac (it may flame) and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in cream and other piece of butter; heat through, stirring constantly. Serve over steaks immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: frenchfood.about.com

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Wine and food pairing has many dimensions and in some instances it can be very confusing but it can also be very rewarding.

Pairing wines with vegetable-focused dishes – including vegan and vegetarian foods – is easy, but it’s also a way to flex your creative muscles. Honestly, choosing wines for these dishes can result in some of the most exquisite pairings if we understand a few basic principles:

1. Powerful flavours in food and richness call for powerful wines.

2. Lighter food flavours require lighter wines.

3. Spicy, salty, or smoky flavours in food welcome lighter, fruity reds, and off-dry to semi-sweet whites.

4. You can pair food with wine by creating complementary pairings, where the food tastes like the wine (pasta with fresh herbs, olive oil, and olives paired with fresh, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc). Or you can go the other direction with contrasting pairings, the food and the wine have opposite flavours and textures (an earthy mushroom risotto, for instance with a fruit-driven Pinot Noir).

One of the keys to enjoying a great wine and food match is to consider the cooking method you apply to a dish.

Source: winetimes.co.za

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Too cold or wet to enjoy the great outdoors? How about having an indoor picnic ? The great advantage to having your shindig inside is that you are not dependent on the kindness of Mother Nature.

Indoor picnics don’t have to be boring or corny. Treat it just like a picnic outside in the fresh air. Serve up picnic fare and have games to pass the time. Even at home, somehow, food tastes better when eaten on a blanket.

The best part about an indoor picnic is the fact that there are no bugs or noise ordinances. You can sing, play music, laugh, and have a ball all night long in the comfort of your own home and no one will bother you.

Another advantage of an indoor picnic is the kitchen facilities. The fridge keeps the wine chilled in a no hassle way.  There is no preplanning other than making sure that you have the food you want to eat available in the fridge. Grill steaks, hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken on an indoor grill top or in a grilling skillet. Even cleanup can wait until the next day if you want.

Source: vineyardesigns.com

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Bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party as a gift to the host is a common occurrence. Make it a memorable one by bringing a bottle that reflects the taste of the host, as well as the style of the party. Make it a bottle that the guests will enjoy, and you’ve got a winner.

Before going to the store and staring blankly at the rows of wine before you, which is not recommended, try to get an idea of the menu that will be offered at the party beforehand. If a full menu cannot be disclosed, an assumption based on time of the party, mood, number of people, and occasion may assist you in at least selecting a type of wine before hitting the store.

There are two simple rules to remember when pairing wine with food. Keep light bodied wines paired with lighter foods, such as small appetizers. This way, neither the wine nor the crudités will overpower the other. Reserve the red, more fuller bodied wines for heavier dishes, such as Filet Mignon. So if the dinner party you are attending is going to be a party of various appetizers or small dishes, a white wine, perhaps a sweeter wine like a Riesling, is a sure bet.

Should you be unable to procure a menu from the host, there are other viable alternatives to selecting an appropriate wine. Price is mitigating factor in these considerations. How well you know the host, how much you have to spend, and the type of wine you desire to purchase will all play a role here.

More tips on professorshouse.com

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Drinkers who enjoy two or three glasses of wine a day are healthier than teetotallers, according to a new European study.  

Moderate drinkers had lower rates of heart disease, obesity and depression than those who abstained from alcohol entirely, researchers found.

But, while previous studies have highlighted the health-giving properties of wine, the authors of the latest report sounded a note of caution. Drinking modest amounts of alcohol does not necessarily make you healthier, they said. Rather, those who enjoy alcohol without indulging to excess tend to be wealthier and more successful than average, and are the sort of people who look after their health in general.

Boris Hansel of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, who led the study of the medical records of 150,000 Parisians, said: “Moderate alcohol intake is a powerful marker of a higher social level, superior general health status and lower cardiovascular risk.”

In the study, light drinkers were defined as those who drank one unit of alcohol a day — the equivalent of one small glass of wine. Moderate drinkers consumed between one and three units a day — up to half a bottle of weak wine or a pint-and-a-half of standard strength beer.

Light and moderate drinkers scored better than both teetotallers and heavy drinkers on a range of health indicators.

Read more on www.independent.ie

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