Summertime! But will it last?
Of course it won't. The sun is shining as I write this, but the
forecast for the rest of the week is a return to blustery showers
and the breezy, cool weather that has characterised most of the
summer of 2011. To be honest, I don't really mind all that much.
Endless days of sunshine are frankly overrated - in the depths
of winter (or even English summer), we may dream of sunshine
- but all too easily forget about the mosquitoes (which we rarely
suffer from here). Far better to enjoy and celebrate the rare
days of sunshine and summer when they come - such as this past
weekend, when we had not only sunshine, but high spring tides
- a rare and glorious combination. What did we do? We actually
cooked on the grill outdoors for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And last night we floated down river to somewhere between Exmouth
and Starcross to the new floating River Exe Café where
all of Topsham seemed to be hanging out, enjoying glasses or
bottles of Pebblebed rosé and bowls of Exe mussels while
the sun went down. A wonderful new addition to the Exe - well
done to Paul Craven.
This is certainly a time to enjoy light summer wines such as Geoff's
new 2010 vintages of Pebblebed - including Pebblebed red! We ourselves
have some great Italian wines for summer drinking too. Please drop
in to the Pebblebed Cellar this Saturday July 9 from 11am until
12.30 for a taste of summer, Italian style.
'The Vino Cellar', Ferry Road, Topsham in the Pebblebed Cellar
this Saturday 9 July 11am-12.30pm Tasting: Wines for summer!
Bisol Jeio rosato n/v - This delightful sparkling
wine from the wine hills of the Veneto is made by Prosecco maestro
and good friend Gianluca Bisol, from Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes
cultivated in the classic heartland between Valdobbiadene and
Conegliano, just north of Treviso. It's a beautiful pink colour,
fresh, with softly creamy strawberry and raspberry fruit. A perfect
wine for summer. Club Vino £12.90 (non-club £13.90)
Cascina Fontana Gavi DOCG 2009 - Mario's white
wine, from Cortese grapes grown on chalk soil at Monterotondo
di Gavi, is a very classy and elegant white wine to enjoy for
special summer meals such as line-caught local sea bass from
David or Derek or gorgeous fat Lyme Bay scallops. Mario's Gavi
is understated yet concentrated in flavour with a long and persistent
minerally finish. Club Vino £11.60
Cascina Fontana 'Rosato di Barolo' 2009 - A
true rarity - a rosato made from Nebbiolo grapes from Mario's
cru Barolo vineyards. After maceration on the skins for 24 hours,
the must is drawn off and cool fermented like white wine. Nebbiolo
is never overly deep in colour, but believe me, this is a full
rosato in every way: the wine displays the charm and the fruit
of the Nebbiolo without a hint of its usually assertive tannin
and has the forceful power and structure that comes from grapes
grown in the elite cru vineyards of Barolo. 'Rosato di Barolo'
is available in very limited quantity - Club Vino £11.90 (non-club £13.50)
I Sodi del Paretaio Chianti 2008 Badia di Morrona
- Good Chianti is a perfect red wine for summer to enjoy with
cold meats such as salami or prosciutto, with a simple bowl of
pasta, or with meats char-grilled on the barbeque. This isn't
just a good example - it's a great 'straight' Chianti, not overly
serious or expensive, yet displaying the fruit and structure
of Sangiovese softened with a touch of Merlot. Club Vino £9.90 (non-club £10.90)
Vino Kitchen Italian Table July and August
We love summer not just for easy drinking wines - the foods and
produce of summer are equally attractive and delicious. This
is the time for simple meals using the freshest seasonal ingredients.
What's on the menu for the July and August Vino Kitchen Italian
Table evenings? To be honest, we have no idea just yet. We'll
be going across to Shillingford Organics to see what's growing
in abundance at the moment so the menus will depend on what we
find down at the farm - and also on what the weather is doing.
If the sun continues to shine then we will have something lighter,
possibly fish again from David Kerley's Fish Shed. But if it
goes cooler and unseasonal, then we'll console ourselves with
more warming foods. Keep an eye on the vino web site to see what's
We still have places left for both July and August Vino Kitchen
Summer Italian Table - dates are:
Wed July 13th
Wed August 17th
Please email me email@example.com as soon as
possible to reserve your spaces. Cost for 3-course meal is £15
for Club Vino members (£18.50 for non-members). Find out
more here (and
peruse past menus).
Vino Kitchen recipe: Cuban-style pulled pork
Our June Vino Kitchen was a Topsham Table focusing on foods that
were as local as possible. Cuban-style pulled pork doesn't sound
that local but I was inspired to create this dish after meeting
a lovely couple at the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink
who have started a Caribbean sauce company called Smokey Joes
based in Broadclyst. We are fortunate to have really good local
sources for meat literally on the doorstep, from Arthurs, Gerald
David at Darts Farm, and from the Kenniford Farm shop at Clyst
St George. We generally go to Kenniford to buy our pork as it
is always outstanding. 'Pulling' pork means cooking it slowly
until the meat can be forked into shreds - to do so you have
to allow the meat to reach an internal temperature of about 90
degrees C at which point the fibres of the meat begin to fall
apart. Pulled pork is perfect for when you have a crowd coming
around for an informal dinner. You can cook the pork in advance
and then season it with the Cuban mojo - then it can be simply
reheated and served piled into buns to eat in your hands. Great
party food that everyone loves, I guarantee.
Whole shoulder of pork (about 3-4 kg)
Freshly squeezed juice of 10 oranges
Freshly squeezed juice of 10 limes
Freshly squeezed juice of 4 large lemons
Head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp coarsly crushed black pepper
4 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp piri piri chilli powder (or cayenne)
1 tbsp sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
First make the mojo.
In a mortar, grind with a pestle the garlic, oregano, black pepper,
ground cumin, sea salt and piri piri .Heat a splosh of extra virgin
olive oil in a saucepan and add this mixture. Sautée gently
for about 10 minutes to release the aromas but do not let the garlic
colour or burn.
Once cool, add this mixture to the freshly squeezed juices and
taste. It should be quite sour. If not sour enough, add juice of
a couple more limes.
Place the leg or shoulder of pork in a large roasting tin, add
a cup of cider or apple juice, and season liberally with salt and
pepper. Cover with foil and slow roast in a very low oven 120C
for about 8 hours. The internal temperature of the pork should
come to about 90C and it should be falling apart. At this point,
remove, discard skin, excessive fat and gristle, and shred the
meat with two forks to ‘pull’ the pork. Once the pork
has been pulled, season it with most of the mojo. Either eat immediately
or reheat in a hot oven.
This is delicious on its own or stuffed in buns. If stuffing into
buns, serve with mayo, lettuce and tomato and have a little more
of the Cuban mojo on hand to spice up the meat.
Suggested wine: Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 - Mario's
Dolcetto is a fantastic match to Cuban style pulled pork - the
wine is bursting with fruit yet has sufficient acidity to stand
up to the richly flavoured and spicy meat.
Here's to summer - while it lasts! Enjoy.
Marc and Kim