Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Snig's Kitchen - named a top UK food blog

Blogging is fun, and I thoroughly it. It's a great way to express my love for food and drink, to share my passion, and connect with people. But sometimes it can be lonely. When I am sitting at my computer by myself, blank screen before me, waiting for ideas to come, I can feel totally alone. Sometimes you wonder if people are reading you, because your reader statistics show that you've had a slow day. And these are the times you wonder why you bother.

Today is not one of those days. I am very pleased and proud that RebateZone (who provide consumers with valid promotion and coupon codes) have named me as one of the 50 best food blogs in the UK.

Here is their full list:

I am grateful to RebateZone for including me in their list. I have not given them any payment or incentive to be included. 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

August 2015 Favourites List

I hope you are all enjoying the Summer. It has not been wall-to-wall sunshine here in the UK, but I was shocked to hear a woman in town complain “We haven’t had our Summer yet, have we?” to her friend in the street. I didn’t think we had done too badly! Perhaps it is just one of those very British reactions to the weather. We seem to store stronger memories of the rain and chilly days than the long, beautiful, balmy ones!

Results and resit season are upon everyone who is either in education or working in education. GCSE results were out this week, A level results the week before. My students have had resit assessments and exams the last couple of weeks. There is so much pressure on children and students these days, I wonder how I would cope if I had to live those days over again. I hope that either you, or those close to you have received the results hoped for, or that if you have had a resit to take,  I wish you the very best of luck.

This month's pictures are from my Summer flower pictures on Instagram. The bright and vibrant colours always cheer me up and put a smile on my face, come rain or shine.

Now here is my collection of lovely stuff I have been enjoying this month. Dig in and enjoy!


If you're getting a little bored with Mojitos, why not go back to an old classic, the Moscow Mule?

Tony Singh's Strawberry Sunday with "Monkey Blood" (don't worry, it's only made out of raspberries!):

Cyrus Todiwala's Parsee Kolmi Ni Bharaei, Stuffed sea bass with tomato Patia.

Love mussels, love pasta? Here's an Italian/French fusion which combines the two!

Great avocado recipes from chefs and foodies:

Quick and easy Indian: poha, "variety" rice, upma, bhurji, aloo chaat, masala French toast. https://culinaryadventuresofthespicescribe.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/quick-and-easy-indian-recipes-food-ideas-top-chefs/

Articles/Know How:

Food myths, the truth about sell by dates and how to avoid throwing precious food in the bin: http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/food-myths-costing-you-truth-6234585

Very disappointed to see leading chain restaurants take money intended for waiting staff as tips into their own pockets. Please complain if you can to stop this unnecessary practice: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/10/waiting-staff-pizza-express-tips

Sadly, the great service charge rip off continues. I like Cote Brasserie, but I don't like its policy of taking all of the service charge for itself.

So, this new chilli being stocked by Tesco is meant to be 400 times hotter than a Jalapeno. Yep, 400. My only question is why? Aren't regular chillis hot enough?

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

My brilliant friend Linda returns to Snig's Kitchen with another authentic Neapolitan recipe, so you can cook like Mamma!

My review of Amy Riolo's Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, a well thought out, thoroughly researched book with some great recipes. Read my full review! http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/amy-riolo-ultimate-mediterranean-diet.html

Inside Out

The Returned
Singer Songwriters At The BBC 2

The Who Sell Out – The Who
Harvest – Neil Young
Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake
Alt-J – This Is All Yours

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Pasta with Broccoli (Guest post by Linda Poulnott)

At the beginning of the year, I was fortunate enough to host a "residency" of guest blog posts by my friend Linda Poulnott. Linda has lived in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy for over 20 years. Through her total immersion into the language, life and culture of this exciting and vibrant part of the world, she has learned how to cook the food of this region authentically. It is with great pleasure that I am happy to say Linda has returned to Snig's Kitchen with a new recipe for us all. 

Linda Poulnott, your brilliant post author

You may have missed Linda's residency, but fear not, here are the links to her three brilliant and helpful posts:

How to cook like a Neapolitan Mamma (food and cooking advice): http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/come-facette-mammeta-guest-post-by.html

Risotto con Funghi Misti (Risotto with mixed mushrooms):  http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/risotto-con-funghi-misti-guest-post-by.html

Parmigiana di Melanzane (Neapolitan Baked Aubergines): http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/parmigiana-di-melanzane-guest-post-by.html

The key thing which you will realise from Linda's writing and recipes is how unfussy good Italian food can be. I have found this to be a revelation. I have, like Linda, tried to cook cheffy and complicated Italian recipes from cook books. Linda has previously described how on her arrival in Italy, she tried to replicate these overly technical and fussy dishes, only to find that the real food of the Neapolitan region could be appealing, flavourful and satisfying without the hassle. 

Linda's approach is refreshing, simple and delightful. This recipe, her fresh trofie pasta with broccoli, is entirely in keeping with her philosophy on cooking. Who would have thought you could rustle up something tasty, healthy and authentic so rapidly? Perfect for a weeknight or a speedy weekend lunch. 

So I hope you will read and try to make this recipe and if you didn't have the chance to catch her previous posts, that you will travel back in time to the start of 2015 to read them!

My thanks to Linda for her lovely recipe, another wonderful guest post that I am proud and happy to include here. 

If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to post in the comments below. Alternatively, I am sure you can ask Linda on twitter. Or perhaps you just want to say hello and thanks to Linda, as she is a friendly and fun person in the twitterati. Just look for @nnamorata. 

Buon appetito, my readers. Over to Linda!

The finished dish: fresh trofie pasta with broccoli


This dish is very simple and ideal to make when you get home after a busy day. It should take you about 15mins to prepare. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

People in the Gulf of Naples eat it in winter when broccoli is in season. It’s a Neapolitan “comfort food” dish. If you can get it, try to buy fresh pasta for this dish. In the photo you’ll see I use Trofie shaped pasta.

Fresh trofie pasta

If it’s hard to find, orrechiette or cavatelli shapes work well too.


A large frying pan
2 Medium saucepans
A wooden spoon
A sieve to drain the pasta


About 300g of Broccoli
150g of Pasta
1 clove of chopped garlic
Couple of glugs of olive oil
A handful of grated pecorino cheese (parmesan is fine to use too)
A few dried chilli flakes or some fresh chopped chilli to taste.(Try not to go too hot if you want the original dish)
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Wash and cut up the florets of broccoli and boil in a saucepan until softened. (Don’t bother adding salt to the water.)

2. Put a couple of glugs of olive oil into the frying pan and put on a medium heat. Add the chilli and chopped garlic,taking care not to burn them.

3. Drain the broccoli, keeping some of the water to add if needed. Add the broccoli to the frying pan and a little of the water. I like the dish creamy so I mash most of the florets with a fork. At this point I add the salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking the broccoli

4. At this point you can start cooking the pasta in a saucepan.

5. Once the broccoli mix is creamy in texture (remember if it gets too dry, you can add the “broccoli water” that you kept earlier!), you add it to the cooked and drained pasta. Mix well and throw in a handful of the grated pecorino cheese.

6. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Amy Riolo - Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook - Review

Amy Riolo will be better known to readers in the USA than in the UK, because of her many appearances on Fox TV, CBS TV and The Travel Channel. The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is her fifth published title. Educated at Cornell University, Riolo is a restaurant consultant with a passion for food and cooking. She speaks many languages and has immersed herself in the food and culture around the Med by living and working in Italy and the Med’s other surrounding countries. In fact, one of her books centres on the cooking of Egypt and the Nile. Food stylist, food writer, tutor, guest speaker for noted organisations like Les Dames d’Escoffier and The Smithsonian Institution, she is much more than your average “celebrity chef”.

I was eager to see how her Mediterranean Diet Cookbook would measure up. Some diet cook books are preachy, overly keen to convert you to a “philosophy”. Others feature bland recipes which lead you to call out for a cheeky take away. Then there are the diet cookbooks so extreme in their bid to feature healthy recipes, you head for the fridge, still hungry, ready to eat anything that may be left there…..

Riolo does have a philosophy, but she describes it with a lightness of touch. Her main point is that what you eat can have an enormous effect on your mood and your health. As a result, one’s overall sense of well being (physically, mentally, spiritually) can begin with food. She is realistic about most people’s relationship with food; that we tend to love what isn’t good for us. So she does not chide us for our preferences. She simply suggests a balance where we strive to eat healthily as often as possible, saving the “bad stuff” for an occasional treat.

Riolo notes three key factors which differentiate the societies of the Mediterranean. Firstly, she says “food is treated like medicine”. Secondly, “moderation is key”. Finally, “an active physical and social lifestyle is mandatory”. In relation to that third factor, Amy suggests meals are eaten as a family, at the dinner table with no distractions.

Although Riolo suggests that seafood and poultry should be eaten more frequently than meat, the three recipes I tried from the book were all meat based. My husband, Him Indoors, is a confirmed meat lover, and if the meals were intended to be eaten at the table, then his tastes needed to be catered for! However, I will be exploring the other recipes in the book in due course.

The Libyan lamb couscous from page 34 of the book was the first dish I tested from the book. The lamb was stewed  in tomatoes with chick peas, and chunky carrots and courgettes. 

The turmeric and cayenne brought spice and colour to the dish. Because the carrots and courgettes were left in large cubes, they did not soften too much in the cooking time, retaining much of their nutrients. 

The chick peas provided texture to the dish and much needed fibre as most of us do not get enough in our diet. The tomato base was rich in vitamins and nutrients, such as lycopene. The recipe was uncomplicated, involving simple cooking techniques, although is rather time consuming. A dish for weekends rather than weeknight cooking. 

The indulgent couscous gives a luxurious touch. This dish was a definite hit; the lamb came out tender and aromatic, and the overall flavours melded together well. I will be making this one again, for sure.

Next I tried the Greek cinnamon scented lamb meatballs from page 170 of the book.  The accents of cumin and cinnamon gave them delicate flavour, lifting them from being bland workaday meatballs. These tapered Greek style meatballs are called “keftedes” and were cooked by grilling, rather than frying, keeping the fat content down. 

They were browned all over before being cooked in tomato sauce. I found the sauce, flavoured with cinnamon and garlic, was very easy to make. 

The Keftedes of minced lamb was a simple and achieveable recipe, well within the capabilities of the novice cook. We enjoyed this recipe, and believe that if you made extra for a second meal, it would taste even better the next day.

Corsican garlic laced beef (as found on page 169 of the book) is a one plate wonder of pasta and beef, although lamb or goat meat could be substituted (which would lower the fat content of the dish overall). 

This dish does not look as good in my photos as it tasted. Although garlic is used generously as an ingredient, it does not overpower. The dish has influences of both France and Italy, as you would expect from a Corsican dish. The use of fresh tomatoes rather than passata or tinned keeps the flavour light and summery. 

Served with a spelt Maccheroni, this dish was healthy, simple to cook but big on flavour. I loved this dish.

I get the feeling from this cookbook that a lot of time and care has been taken over the recipes and its creation overall. I say this because of the small details. The ingredients list is set out clearly and cleanly. I particularly like that amounts are precisely defined. Where they need to be divided and used twice, that is stated. There are indications on preparation of the ingredients, especially the sizes the vegetables should be cut to. These simple details mean that the cooking times work. There is nothing worse than not knowing how large to cube your potato pieces and then having to greatly increase the cooking time as they are still rock hard! 

I also approve of the indications on seasoning. Recipes too often suggest adding seasoning, with no assistance on the amount. Similarly, the instructions are precise and well expressed. 

Riolo’s exceptional attention to detail is something all cook book authors should aspire to achieve. There once was a cookery title I found where an ingredient was mentioned in the title of the recipe, but after that, never again; not in the ingredients or the method. The name has been withheld to protect the truly guilty party who did not proof read their recipes properly! Although an extreme example, such errors can creep into cookbooks which are rushed through the publication process.

What strikes me about this book is that if you exclusively cooked from it, you would not feel like you are on a diet at all. The word “diet” could be omitted from the title, and you’d have a perfectly wonderful and varied collection of recipes from the Med. It doesn’t feel like denial, grumbling hunger gnawing away at you in the background. Him Indoors can’t abide by “low fat” cookery and loves big flavours, and enjoyed all of the recipes we tried. There are a hundred recipes in all in the book, and I will enjoy trying out other recipes in the weeks and months to come.

Snigdha was sent a copy of The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook to review. She has received no payment or incentive for posting this review.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

July 2015 Favourites List

This month's pictures are from the lavender fields of Provence. There is something unique about the light in that part of the world, which has attracted some of the world's greatest artists to draw and paint there. The colours, countryside and flowers are colourful and vibrant. Nothing says Summer to me like the vivid purple and heady scent of thousands of lavender flowers.

I hope you will enjoy this month's collection of recipes, food articles, video, know how and other stuff I have collected together as my favourites for the month. I have been watching a lot of live music this month, mainly because I am not suited to going to festivals. As a tremendously light sleeper who is only really 5 foot (5 foot and half an inch doesn't count) with a penchant for hot showers and comfortable beds, a weekend away at Glastonbury and the like was never really on the cards!


Summer succotash with edemame beans, served with grilled chicken: http://camillestyles.com/summer/tuesday-tastings-summer-succotash/

In the UK we are very unaccustomed to the heat and the sunshine. It makes us panic a little. So I bring you: what to eat in a heatwave: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/01/cool-cuisine-heatwave-what-to-eat

Cyrus Todiwala's onion and chilli bhaji recipe for "Kaanda Bhajia". http://www.curryforchange.org.uk/recipes/kaanda-bhajias

Recipe for Bombay Badboy Cheesecake. An innovative spin on a classic chocolate cheesecake by Zoe Perrett. A Curry For Change recipe: http://www.curryforchange.org.uk/recipes/bombay-chocolate-cheesecake

Summer cocktails requiring minimal equipment which are easy to whip up. Cheers! http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/04/summer-cocktails-mocktails-ethicurean-bristol-drinks

Quick, colourful and full of Summer flavours; prawn, tomato and chilli spaghetti. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/10112847/Speedy-weeknight-suppers-prawn-tomato-and-chilli-spaghetti.html

Chicken thighs, rocket, pomegranate, and giant (Lebanese) couscous combine in a light salady-meal for hot days. http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/pomegranate-chicken-with-giant-couscous-salad/

Vegetarian Mexican-Indo corn chaat by Deena Kakaya. I recommend her innovative recipes to any vegetarians out there. http://www.deenakakaya.com/2015/07/12/mexican-indian-corn-chaat/

The highly controversial New York Times pea guacamole which gained the criticism of President Obama: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015047-green-pea-guacamole

Lamb leg steaks, feta, peas and puy lentils in a substantial but Summery meal-in-a-salad: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/warm-lentil-and-lamb-salad/

Articles/Know How:

Ladies - put the kettle on! Time for some Rosie Lee! (Particular health benefits found in tea for women.) http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/as-if-you-needed-one-a-great-scientific-excuse-for-drinking-more-tea--bySoyPluMx

Guilty on two counts; cramming a pan and underseasoning. I consider myself schooled. http://www.shebudgets.com/food-drink/10-common-cooking-mistakes-youre-definitely-making

Having visited Penang, Malaysia, I can honestly say it has some of the finest food on the planet. Great to see that Ainsley Harriott agrees! http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf2RVq6NjIU&feature=youtu.be

Time Out's list of the best Vietnamese Restaurants in London. I can vouch for Cay Tre and Banh Mi Bay. Keen to try the rest! http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/londons-best-vietnamese-restaurants

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

Find Your Feet are back with Curry For Change. Eat Indian food at a partner restaurant or throw a curry night for your friends. It's easy and fun to raise money to help empowerment rather than aid in rural areas of India and Nepal. http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/curry-for-change-2015.html

Bordeaux is more famous for its red wines than its white. But are we missing out on something? How well can the wide variety of Bordeaux whites complement food? I found out at Imbibe Live 2015 with Saturday Kitchen's Jane Parkinson. http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/bordeaux-does-streetfood-at-imbibe.html

My picture post on the Foodies Festival, Alexandra Palace Park http://snigskitchen.tumblr.com/post/123194687744/foodies-festival-alexandra-palace-park-2015

Arles in Provence is a beautiful, atmospheric town... typically southern French in food, feel and soul. This is my selection of places to eat. http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/places-to-eat-in-arles.html

My latest restaurant review is of Ekachai's relaunch of their Wandsworth restaurant. Written for Flush Magazine:


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Amy Winehouse In Her Own Words

Glastonbury 2015 Sets by: Belle & Sebastian, The Mothership, Jamie xx, Alt-J, The Who, Paul Weller

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Places to eat in Arles

I had the good fortune to visit the south of France, spending time in Nice, Aix en Provence and Arles. Provence is beautiful, with lovely countryside, picture perfect villages, and historic medieval towns; a feast for the eyes. The countryside boasts many farms producing wonderful fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, so a feast for the belly, too! 

There are lots of places to eat in Arles, mainly very good, although some we sampled were only average or good rather than great. Service is generally good, although in one establishment, my French was mocked by the waiting staff in a rather mean spirited display of what supposedly passed for humour. Don't worry, they aren't on this list, not just for the unkind service, but because the food wasn't up to scratch (the level where I'd actually recommend it to other people). 

So here is my list of places to eat in Arles, with a recommendation for a day trip to Saint Remy.

La Gueule du Loup

This family run restaurant prides itself on its authentically Provencale food, made with regard to seasonal local produce. We were told by the nice woman in L'Office du Tourisme that the chef had won an award for the food being quintessentially of the region. Her recommendation was echoed by the owner of our accommodation and a number of local restaurant guides. It did not disappoint. 
The menu changes with the season, and includes the famous local beef (Taureau de Camargue is a beef product which enjoys DOC protected status), olives, seafood and Camargue rice, that other local famed ingredient. 

There is a dining room upstairs, but the real atmosphere is in tiny downstairs dining area, where you can see the cooking and preparation happen in the tiny kitchen at the back. Watching the dishes being made with dedication and love is impressive enough, but seeing the co-operation and care working in confined conditions is an extra surprise. 

This restaurant is popular with the people of Arles and for dinner you may want to book. We found that on the day bookings were possible, but in high season this may change.

La Gueule du Loup
39 Rue des Arenes
13200 Arles
04 90 96 96 69
Closed annually 15 January - 15 February
Closed in Winter Sundays and Mondays
In season closed Sunday and Monday lunchtime

Au Brin de Thym

The terrace is a riot of floral colour, making this Arles eatery a very appealing place to spend a balmy Summer evening. 
The typically Provencale food is perhaps more rustic than some of its finer dining rivals, but it makes up in robust flavour what it lacks in precise presentation. 
I appreciated the earthy colours of the handmade terracotta plates and simple presentation, feeling timeless and of the region. 
The Provencale fish soup is served with the traditional accompaniments of toasted baguette slices, rouille sauce, grated parmesan and cloves of raw peeled garlic. I relished rubbing the raw garlic over the cute little toasts, smearing the rouille, topping with parmesan and dunking in the slight, pleasantly smoky soup and munching!

Au Brin de Thym
22 Rue du Docteur Fanton
13200 Arles
33 4 90 97 85 18

Le Galoubet

Situated just next door to Au Brin de Thym, Le Galoubet is on Rue de Docteur Fanton, which also boasts a homemade ice cream shop and a cute little lunch place called Le 16. 
Le Galoubet runs both a restaurant and hotel. But don't let that persuade you this is a low quality tourist trap, because we found that the restaurant was popular with the locals. Their menu changes regularly and although not extensive, is select. 
The emphasis is on fresh local ingredients. Their three course menu was 29 Euros, which I felt was very good value, but sadly a large lunch that same day meant I could only manage starter and main! 

Le Galoubet
18 Rue du Docteur Fanton
13200 Arles 
04 90 10 11

Nearby, in Saint Remy de Provence:


Of all the places to visit close to Arles, visitors are most likely to go to Saint Remy. It is close by, and is a compact and lovely old town, easy to explore and walk around. Of course, the Cloitre de Saint Paul where Van Gogh spent a year painting and convalescing draws many curious about the inspirations and work of that great artist. 

I would recommend L'Estagnol as a place to have lunch on a visit to Saint Remy without hestitation. It has a gorgeous garden terrace at the back of the restaurant. The speciality is seafood and the chef, Fabrice Meynardier holds the title of Maitre restaurateur, given for quality cooking, done freshly and in-house. 

16 Boulevard Victor Hugo
13210 Saint Remy de Provence
04 90 92 05 95
Closed annually around the second 15 days of February and the second 15 days of November
Closed Sunday evenings and Mondays

Recommended to me but not tested:
5 Rue Dulau

I have not received any form of incentive or payment for this post. I paid for my food at these restaurants fair and square. The establishments featured have no clue they are being included in this blog post. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bordeaux does streetfood at Imbibe

Bordeaux in south west France is famous for wine. Renowned for its very fine red wines, such as Margaux and St Emilion, it is not as well known for its white wines. Planete Bordeaux (or Planet Bordeaux) wants that to change.

As a result, at the 2015 Imbibe exhibition at London's Kensington Olympia, Planet Bordeaux wanted to show the range of Bordeaux white wines and their versatility with food. They are convinced that Bordeaux whites are food friendly, making them a great choice for home cooks and contemporary casual dining.

I was invited to their "Bordeaux Does Streetfood" event at Imbibe Live 2015 to see how well Bordeaux whites can complement food. I was intrigued and keen to discover more. Hosted by BBC Saturday Kitchen wine expert Jane Parkinson, the event promised to shine a light on the grape varieties, variation of style, versatility and value of Bordeaux white wines.

We had five wines to sample along with some carefully selected dishes. We were encouraged to try a small sip of wine before eating, to sample the pure flavour of the wine, but also to have some whilst eating the small dishes made for us. The flavour of wine can be radically affected by what you have with it.

Jane's advice to us was that Bordeaux whites are "super versatile with food" and that they are "underestimated even by us in the drinks trade". Jane was joined by chef Nicos Popupalot. "Popupalot" is not his real name, but an adopted name inspired by his many varied cooking projects, and a nod to his genuine Cypriot heritage. 

The first dish was a cod mousse, wrapped in cucumber ribbons, served in a pea veloute. The wine match for this was a Chateau Pierrail 2014 (Single varietal).

The Chateau Pierrail is made in the Entre Deux Mers area of Bordeaux from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sauvignon Gris grapes. The Sauvignon Blanc gives fruity, clean flavour and the Sauvignon Gris less fruity notes, with more savoury herby palate. It echoes green mint and chives. Sauvignon Gris is growing in popularity. I enjoyed the light white fish and gentle summer sweetness of the peas. The combined effect of the food and wine was a fresh and ripe feel of clean, fresh, light, green flavours. This wine is to my palate a little too young and fruity to be drunk on its own, but would go well with green salads.

The next dish was Gravadlax with dill and lemon zest in blini with creme fraiche. The wine to complement it was a Chateau Le Grand Verdus 2014 (blend). Again, this wine is from Entre Deux Mers. 

Nicos informed us that he had tweaked this dish from the regular by infusing the salmon with a little vodka. His idea was that the creme fraiche would cut through the dill, and the vodka and herbs would mellow out the salmon. The Chateau Le Grand Verdus, made of 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle, to an exacting method. The grapes are harvested at night only, to preserve and retain aroma. It is keep on lees for 5 months. These processes result in a mineral driven wine. The heavier flavours cope well with the strong saltiness and unctuousness of the salmon. 

Our third dish was a crostini topped with smoked mackerel rillettes. The third wine was a Chateau Lestrille Capmartin 2013 (barrel aged) from Entre Deux Mers. 

This wine had a dark colour to it, as a result of the fact it is both fermented and aged in oak. It is made from 62% Sauvignon Gris, 23% Semillon, and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Michel Rolland is the consultant winemaker to the Chateau. Despite the fact that 2013 was a difficult year for the region, this is a successfully balanced wine. I do not usually enjoy oaked wines, but this was an exception. It was full bodied and was not overwhelmed by the strong flavour and aromas of the oily mackerel. There was nutty richness to the palate of the wine. This is a wine which can be laid down for up to 5 years, in contrast to the wines above, which are for enjoying now. 

Next up was a more complicated and meaty dish. Nicos made us a squid and chorizo slider with lemon aioli. The wine was a Chateau Thieuley, Cuvee Francis Courselle 2012, made from 50% Sauvignon Gris and 50% Semillon, grown on 25 year old wines.

This barrel aged wine is macerated for 12-18 hours, the skins adding flavour and tannins to the wine. It is fermented in barrels and aged in lees for 8 months, which is a generous amount of time. The wine therefore is rich and full, which allowed it to cope with the meaty component of the slider. Chorizo, with its heavy dose of paprika, can be a challenge for white wines to match with. This wine, from Entre Deux Mers was a suitable match for the chorizo and lemon aioli. Jane hadn't expected Nicos to have thrown the curveball of the lemony sauce, but she need not have worried. 

Finally, was some asian style marinated tiger prawns, served with Chateau Le Hargue 2014 Moelleux.

This wine, the only made at Chateau La Hargue, is 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon, 15% Muscadelle. The grapes are harvested late to increase the sweetness and is fermented at low temperature following 24 hour maceration. The resulting wine is not as sweet as the aroma leads you to expect, being off dry. 

Given that the prawns were marinated in a combination of flavours which are difficult to pair with wine, namely lemongrass, coriander, ginger, chilli and lime (typical of Thai or Vietnamese food), this wine was something of a revelation to me. I think I have found a wine which would be very well suited to spicy food, from Thai through to Indian. The wine is more balanced and subtle than my usual choices of wine for this situation; Rieslings and Gewurtztraminer. It has a pale tone and and is highly aromatic. This is a wine to watch!

We tried some very contrasting flavours and textures of food during this tasting session. Many of them are notorious for being difficult to match with wine. It has been illuminating to discover how Bordeaux white wines can be paired with food so successfully. White wines make up 11% of Bordeaux's overall production, but they are wines which Jane reminded us represent "fantastic value for money" and I am impressed by their wide variety and versatility. 

If you want to find out more about Bordeaux whites, please visit: http://usa.planet-bordeaux.com/

Snigdha was invited by Planet Bordeaux to Imbibe Live 2015 and to the Bordeaux Blanc Does Street Food tasting session. Snigdha has not received any payment or incentive for writing this post.