Wine Club Dinner
This special five-course menu is a perfect way to celebrate good food, good wine and good company.
Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps
Serve this delicious creamy soup in small quantities so it’s more like a taster than a substantial course. The parmesan crisps are a cinch to make.
Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté onion, garlic and nutmeg for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft and fragrant. Add cauliflower, potatoes and stock, bring to the boil and simmer 30-40 minutes until soft. Purée until smooth with a stick blender or in a food processor. Stir in cream and season to taste.
Reheat soup and serve in small bowls or little cups, garnished with a swirl of cream if desired, and accompanied by parmesan crisps.
Crisps: Preheat oven to 180°C fan bake or 200°C regular. Spread parmesan in a thin layer on a lined baking sheet and bake 5-8 minutes until golden and bubbling. Cool and break into pieces. Crisps will keep in an airtight container for a day. Serves 6 or more
This soup’s creamy texture and the slightly nutty cauliflower taste call for a chardonnay that is not overly rich and which has a strong seam of minerality.
Recommended match: Dog Point Chardonnay 2009
Seared Scallops with Pink Grapefruit Salad
Try to find the biggest, most succulent scallops for this sophisticated and delectable appetiser.
Peel grapefruit with a sharp knife, removing all the white pith, and separate into segments, catching the juice.
To make the dressing, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the honey, ginger, chilli and saved grapefruit juice and mix well. (If making ahead, do not combine dressing with grapefruit, as the segments will disintegrate.)
Toss scallops in remaining oil. When ready to serve, sear scallops in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes each side until puffed and opaque. Add lemon juice and zest, season well and toss to coat.
Arrange a few rocket or watercress leaves on plates or in shallow bowls. Combine dressing with the grapefruit segments and spoon on to salad leaves. Place hot scallops around plates and drizzle with pan juices and a little extra olive oil if desired. Serves 6
The sweetness of the grapefruit in this dish, along with the chilli, demand a measure of sweetness from the wine, while the scallops would enjoy some crisp acidic lift.
Recommended match: Forrest The Doctors’ Riesling 2010
Lamb Rumps with Minted Broad Bean Mash
Peas can be used in this mash if preferred, and are a good option if you don’t feel like peeling a pile of broad beans. Look for plastic packs of liquid lamb stock (such as the Essential Cuisine brand) in supermarket chillers.
Trim lamb of any loose fat or sinew. Combine oil, garlic and mint. Coat lamb with mixture and leave to marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 200°C fan bake or 220°C regular. Sear lamb in a hot pan until well browned all over. Season well and transfer to a baking dish. Pour pan juices over and roast 12-15 minutes or until juices are pink and clear.
Remove meat from pan, cover with foil and rest in a warm place.
Tip cooking juices into a saucepan. Add stock, vinegar and honey and cook until reduced to a light glaze.
Mash: Cook potatoes with the mint in plenty of boiling salted water until tender. Add broad beans and cook a further 2-3 minutes. Drain well and mash together with butter and milk.
Garnish: Fry mint leaves in 3-4 tablespoons of hot oil until crispy and bright green. Drain on paper towels.
To serve, slice meat on an angle and arrange on warm plates with mash and a swirl of the glaze. Serves 6
Roasted Red Vegetables
Baby beets, red onions and vine tomatoes make a colourful side for the roasted lamb and mash. If you don’t have garlic-infused oil, replace with plain oil and a little crushed garlic.
Simmer baby beets in water for 20-30 minutes until just tender. Drain and cut in half. Slip off skins if desired. Preheat oven to 200°C fan bake or 220°C regular.
Arrange beets, onions and tomatoes in a shallow roasting tray. Drizzle with vinegar and oil and sprinkle over brown sugar and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes or until soft and caramelised. Serves 6
Roasted flavours and a honeyed glaze suggest a pinot noir that combines a little earthiness with the floral charm New Zealand pinots exhibit so effortlessly.
Recommended match: Nga Waka Pinot Noir 2009
Red Wine Pears with Blue Cheese
Tender, ruby-red pears are a gorgeous accompaniment for a flavoursome blue cheese. Be sure to bring the cheese – and the pears – to room temperature before serving them.
Place wine, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves in a saucepan that is just big enough to hold the pears and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Peel pears and remove as much core as you can without compromising the shape (work from the core end and use a melon baller or small teaspoon).
Add pears to pan, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes until just tender. Remove pears to a serving dish.
Simmer liquid until reduced to a thin syrup and pour over pears. Pears will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Serve pears at room temperature with blue cheese and crackers. Serves 6
The sweetness of the pear and the saltiness of the blue cheese have a joint affinity for a venerable old wine style – port. When it comes to port, nothing beats the real thing.
Recommended match: Taylors Fine Ruby Port
Dark Chocolate Fudge Tart with Hazelnut Pastry
The pastry and filling for this fabulous tart can both be made days ahead and kept separately in the fridge.
Pastry: Place hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add flour and icing sugar and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk, pulse to mix then add enough water to just gather mixture into a ball. Wrap pastry in plastic film and chill 20 minutes (or up to a week if making ahead).
Roll out pastry between baking paper or on a surface lightly dusted with flour, and line a deep 22cm tart tin. Chill.
Filling: Preheat oven to 170°C fan bake or 190°C regular. Melt chocolate and butter together until smooth and glossy. Set aside 10 minutes to cool.
Beat eggs and sugar until creamy and sugar has dissolved.
Combine egg mixture with chocolate and mix in flour. (This brownie-style mixture will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.) Spread in chilled pastry shell and bake just below middle of oven for 30-40 minutes or until the centre is just set and the pastry is golden. Cool.
Ganache: Melt chocolate and cream together, stirring until smooth. Cool then spoon over cold tart.
Tart will keep 1-2 days in the fridge. Serve at room temperature, with cream and berries or other fruit. Serves 12
Matching chocolate to wine is never easy (Australian shiraz, believe it or not, is excellent with dark chocolate). Orange muscat is a grape that always does the job well.
Recommended match: Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora 2009
For web-exclusive images click on the "photo gallery" link above
Wine matches: John Saker
|Story: Jo Wilcox |
Photographer: Kieran Scott
Stylist: Claudia Kozub