The Vino Kitchen launches The Italian Table @ Pebblebed Tasting
Cellar this Wed May 4th - 7-ish for 7.30pm
We've talked about it for a while and it's
finally happening. Starting this Wednesday May 4th, Kim and I
will, once a month or so, put aside pen and camera and instead
put on our aprons and head into the kitchen. Our plan is to create
simple, fresh wholesome meals to serve in the Pebblebed Tasting
Cellar at a single sitting to a limited number of friends, guests
and Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed members. Nothing fancy,
no cheffy restaurant stuff like we usually write and photograph
about, just good simple home cooking, usually (but not necessarily)
Italian in style, to accompany the range of Vino Italian wines
on offer in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar. The extent of the menu
and the price may vary somewhat from month to month (sometimes
2-course, sometimes 3- or possibly more for a special celebration
events or time of year). Our aim, however, will always be to
provide freshly prepared, homecooked meals that are excellent
value. We're starting this month with an Italian meal of 2 courses
for £10 per person (if you're
still hungry afterwards you can share a Pebblebed cheese platter).
At the same time, we will be introducing some new great-value Vino
house wines to accompany the meals, as well as suggestions for
more special bottles from the Vino/Pebblebed list.
£10 for 2 courses (payable to Vino -
wine purchases from the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar)
The (probable) menu
Sgombro in saor
Exmouth mackerel fillets marinaded Venetian-style in an agrodolce
Salsicce arrostiti con fagioli all'uccelletto
Roasted Tuscan sausages made to our recipe from Gloucester Old
Spot pork by Jason Wise of Ark with white beans stewed with garlic,
sage and tomato
The Vino Kitchen is by reservation only - to reserve your place,
please email email@example.com or telephone 01392 873778.
Italian evenings in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellars - every Tuesday
If you'd prefer to speak Italian rather than just eat and drink
it - or come to think of it, if you'd prefer to speak Italian while
eating and drinking Italian (for there are always nibbles as well
as good Italian wines on offer) then come along to the Pebblebed
Tasting Cellar on most Tuesday evenings. This idea of Geoff's has
really taken off, and a really nice, friendly group of people are
now coming along regularly to enjoy la dolce vita, whether speaking
in Italian or about Italy, and generally just sharing a love and
affection for all things Italian. We're delighted that a number
of Italian friends are coming along, too, so the company is always
interesting and warmly friendly. Whether you are learning to speak
Italian, thinking about learning to speak Italian, or already fluent,
we'd love you to join us.
Please note: though the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar will be open
this Tuesday, neither Geoff nor I can make this week. However,
since the Italian Table will be taking place on Wednesday, if you
would like to speak, eat and drink Italian, then why not come along
Slow Food Valdera and Vino
As many of you may already know, Slow Food Devon has now unofficially
twinned with Slow Food Valdera, from near Pisa in Tuscany. Simone
Brogi and Michela Passetti came over both for the special Tuscany-Devon
Twinning Celebration dinner at Michael Caines in March, as well
as for the recent Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink.
The tasting of super-Tuscan wines that Simone gave in the Pebblebed
Tasting Cellar a few weeks ago was memorable indeed (though I confess
that I have already forgotten some of the wines as I drank far
too much that night...).
We hope to be working directly with some of the producers whose
wines we enjoyed that evening. Furthermore, we are also looking
to bring some of the stunningly delicious and special products
of the Valdera to the Slow Food Devon Topsham Market each month,
as well as to sell on a small scale direct to Club Vino friends.
At the moment we have small quantities of two special products:
Pecorino del Parco - an unpasteurised sheep's
milk cheese made from sheep that graze freerange in the Parco
della Valdera, a beautiful protected natural area - £6
per 250g piece
Tenuta di Ghizzano olio extra-vergine d'oliva
- an amazing, intense, lean and grassy Tuscan olive oil from
a great wine and oil estate in Valdera - very limited quantity £12
per 500ml bottle
There will be new and different products each month, we hope,
so watch this space.
Vino recipe of the month
Coda di rospo — monkfish Ancona-style
I adore peperoncino and chillies of all types and varying degrees
of heat, much to the dismay, sometimes, of my family, who have
almost given up protesting when I overdo it. Northern Italian foods
rarely make use of chilli, nor does the cuisine of Tuscany. By
contrast, the cucina of Le Marche, one of the still undiscovered
region’s of Italy, straddles north and south, and the discrete
note of peperoncino often finds its way into the cooking pot, a
most welcome and delicious addition, to my taste.
This simple monkfish stew is a good example, the robustly flavoured
fish stewed in olive oil, fennel (a characteristic flavouring of
the region) and peperoncino. The fennel and chilli combine well,
with the latter adding just the right note of piquancy.
We get good monkfish here in Devon and it’s generally available
at this time of year, from both Derek Thorman, who brings his van
to outside Matthews Hall Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday,
as well as from David Kerley at The Fish Shed. Ask for the monkfish
to be boned and skinned, and save the trimmings to enrich the broth.
As for the peperoncino? Well, that’s your call: just add
as much, or as little, as suits you.
This dish is perfectly matched with a Vino favourite, Loretello,
a richly flavoured and full-bodied dry white from the Castelli
di Jesi wine hills just inland from Ancona. Loretello is definitely
a big enough wine to enjoy with robustly flavoured and spicy hot
dishes like this one!
1.2 kg monkfish (plus trimmings)
1 bulb fennel
Pinch of piri piri chillies
1 clove garlic
1 fresh chili
Extra virgin olive oil
Dry Italian white wine
1 dried peperoncino (or more, to taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Skin and bone the monkfish or have your fishmonger do this. Save
the trimmings and bones to make a fish stock: to a saucepan add
the bone and trimmings, half a chopped bulb of fennel, a good pinch
of piri piri chili, a glass of dry white Italian wine. Top up with
water to cover, leave to simmer gently for half an hour, strain
and reduce by about half.
Cut the rest of the fennel into matchsticks. Finely chop the fresh
chili. Crumble or chop the peperoncino, to taste. Finely chop the
garlic. Heat about half a glass of olive oil in a frying pan and
gently stew the fennel, garlic, chili and peperoncino.
Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Cut the trimmed monkfish into even sized
cubes. Raise the heat in the frying pan with the oil-fennel-and-chili
mix, and add the pieces of monkfish. Turn on all sides to seal,
then add the reserved fish stock. Place in pre-heated oven for
7-10 minutes or so, or until the fish is just cooked through.
Arrange the fish onto deep plates then spoon over the cooking liquid.
Wine: Loretello Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2007
Hope you enjoy a great Bank Holiday weekend, whatever you're doing.
Best to all,
Marc and Kim