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Archive for April, 2010

Chocolate soup may sound a bit strange, but it is a great dessert and it is relatively easy to prepare.

Served with or without a big plop of whipped cream on top, this smooth-as-velvet soup makes the perfect ending to almost any meal. It’s like a cup of rich hot cocoa in a bowl, so a little is all you need. And you can make it in advance; it’s just as good chilled.

Serve: 8

Ingredients

1.2 liter  milk
225 g semisweet chocolate, grated, or semisweet chocolate chips, plus a little bit extra for garnish
2 tsp flour
85 g granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Method:

In a large saucepan, bring the milk and chocolate to a boil over medium heat. Place the flour in a small glass measuring cup or bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot chocolate milk to the flour, and stir to combine. Add this mixture back into the soup as it boils. Stir in the sugar and remove pot from the stove.

Place the egg yolks in a heat-proof glass measuring cup, and beat lightly with a fork. Add 1/4 cup of the hot soup to the eggs, and beat vigorously with a whisk to combine. Then add the egg mixture back into the soup pot, whisk vigorously, and return the soup to low heat only long enough to warm it.

Pour the soup through a fine-mesh strainer to catch any bits of coagulated egg. Serve hot, in small bowls, with a dollop of whipped cream and a bit of grated chocolate. Or chill the soup for several hours and serve cold.

Source: www.soupchick.com

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It’s the perfect excuse to have another glass of Red wine  – research has shown that drinking red wine helps you think.

Men and women did better in mental arithmetic tests after being given resveratrol, the ‘wonder ingredient’ in red wine.

It is thought that the plant chemical – said to have abilities from burning off junk food to warding off heart disease – increases blood flow to the brain.

Northumbria University researchers set 24 healthy adults a series of tests before giving them a resveratrol pill or a dummy tablet.

When they were tested again, those that had taken resveratrol performed better, the British Psychological Society’s annual conference will hear today.

Other tests confirmed that the drug, which is found in grape skins as well as raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and peanuts, widened blood vessels, boosting the brain’s blood supply.

Other studies have linked resveratrol with fighting old age, cancer, obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

It is also claimed that just half a glass of red wine a day can greatly cut the odds of death from heart disease.

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

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Wine serving rules and traditions were developed centuries ago,  before air conditioning and central heating was part of our daily lives. This implies that serving wine at room temperature is probably the Western European room temperature of centuries ago.

The rooms in those were cold which means that serving wine at 17°C -20 °C is probably the right temperature for red wines. I suggest that on warm days you can put red wine in the fridge for while just to bring temperature down a bit.

White wine has more personal temperature preferences. Some people say that adding ice to white wine is an absolute no-no while others say an ice cold glass of white wine is the perfect drink.  My opinion is go for what works for you , just as long as you enjoy your glass of wine.

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2010 has been loaded with activity for Douglas Green. We are in fact just finishing off the last of the harvest in what has been a tricky vintage for most, but has left our Oenologist, Jaco Potgieter, smiling.

It is indeed true that great wines begin in the vineyard, but this year, what goes on in the winery will be critical to the quality and style of the wines that land up in your glass. We are lucky enough to have a diverse catalogue of growers and cellars allowing us to balance the bad with the good for harmonious balanced wines no matter what the weather.

In actual fact, the typical pronounced ripe fruit flavour profiles and good robust acid and tannin structure that defines this harvest is just what we look for at Douglas Green to bring you bold honest wines that are true to our signature style. This vintage may be small on volumes, but it is big on fruit intensity and widely appealing accessibility overall.

Glory grapes of the season include beautiful Chenin blanc, sumptuous Sauvignon blanc and compliant Chardonnay on the white side, whilst Pinotage appears to be the prince charming of the reds.

Chenin blanc is oozing character and charm, Douglas Green Oenologist Jaco Potgieter enthuses, “2009 was a really great vintage. It was one of those once in a lifetime vintages. What we have experienced in 2010 is absolutely great again! I do not think that many winemakers where ever they may be, have ever experienced two consecutive vintages like this in their careers”.

News is that our Sauvignon blanc will be bigger and bolder than last year and not quite as ‘savage’. It is a more tropical year where the bunches were left hanging a little longer.

Our Chardonnay is quite remarkable and still standing as a wine of great generosity and ample appeal. “You can give Chardonnay a real run for its money and it will still be forgiving,” says our oenologist. If you love Chardonnay, then this year will not disappoint you.

As for the reds, whilst it is a bit early to comment with clarity on all the varieties, our Pinotage is the clear favourite at this stage. Even the Pinotage Rosé stands out as something to be proud of this vintage. Great natural fruit flavours and fine ripe tannins make this the grape to look out for, although our Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are sure to satisfy as faithfully fruit forward and firmly textured as always.

Yes – this is a year when a few cellar tricks may come to the rescue of nature’s curve balls, but thanks to our very close relationships with our growers and cellars as well as our vast and varied resources and experience, you can trust us to bring you the same great quality wines that you have come to know and expect Douglas Green.

And that is why Jaco is smiling.

Read more on wine.co.za

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An aperitif is usually an alcoholic drink served before dinner and it is drunk to “open up” the palate, preparing guests for treats ahead. But what wine styles will be good aperitifs?

The answer will be determined by the exact form of aperitif that will be served. If the aperitif is served with a starter or an appetiser meal the wines must complement the dish.

Alternatively if the aperitif is only limited to the drinks,  the season, regional traditions and general preference of your guests must be taken into account.

In the winter fortified wines like Sherry or Port will be a save bet.

In the summer Champagne or White wine spritzers with dryer wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc will be also go-done well with your guests.

But in some cases  and some counties,  no matter how hard you try,  the men want a beer to cleanse there palates , while a classic Martini cocktail will be the  preferred aperitif for the ladies.

More wine aperitif tips

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Women have come out of the closet with a secret – most own about 19 pairs of shoes and some have hidden purchases from their partners.

The study of more than 1000 American  women found that women on average own 19 pairs of shoes although they only wear four pairs regularly while 15 percent have over 30 pairs.

The survey also found women would risk injury to squeeze into new slingbacks or stilettos, with 43 percent of women saying they had been at least moderately injured by shoes and 8 percent reporting serious injuries like sprains or breaks.

The survey also found that women on average bought four pairs of shoes a year — with 13 percent admitting to hiding a purchase from their partner.

Six out of 10 women regret at least one shoe purchase and on average women have worn a quarter of their shoes only once.

Read full article on Reuters

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Light to moderate alcohol consumption, especially red wine, is not only good for a woman’s heart, it’s also good for her waistline, according to a recent study.

The study started out with nearly 20,000 trim middle-aged and older women. Over time, women who drank alcohol in moderation put on less weight and were less apt to become overweight compared to non-drinkers. This was true even after taking into account various lifestyle and dietary factors that might influence a woman’s weight.

Red wine seemed best at keeping weight in check, but white wine, beer and spirits also had some benefit.

Many prior studies have suggested that moderate drinking – usually defined as a drink or two a day –can be a healthy habit, particularly with regard to heart health, while heavy drinking can harm health.

The study found that women who drank higher amounts of alcohol were generally more physically active, weighed slightly less at the outset and were more apt to be smokers, than other women.

However, the association between drinking and less weight gain and risk of becoming overweight or obese remained strong after accounting for these factors. This suggests that alcohol may independently affect body weight beyond its relationship with diet and lifestyle factors.

There are several reasons why alcohol might help women stay trim, according to Dr Lu. Wang , who lead the research. In the current study, women consuming more alcohol ate less, particularly carbohydrates – a finding seen in other studies. Moreover, it’s been shown that women tend to expend more energy after drinking alcohol – more so than that contained in the alcohol. “Taken together, regular alcohol consumption in light-to-moderate amount may lead to a net energy loss among women,” Wang said.

Read more on smh.com.au

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