I'm doing a wine pairing with a couple of Christmas dishes. First up is one of my favourites, home made mince pies, paired with Bougrier Rosé d'Anjou, 2013. The wine is a gorgeous pink colour and bursting with red berry and fruit flavours. It complements the fruity flavours of the mince pie tarts, which are not overly sweet but lightly spiced. It's a good all-rounder of a wine that's not too dry and would be perfect with canapés and nibbles.
Up next are pizzettas, mini pizzas that I've made with puff pastry. They are so easy to make, great as a starter and you can swap out the toppings to whatever you fancy. I've topped mine with baby courgettes and cherry tomatoes, and sometimes I throw on a little sliced red chilli and some olives. I'm serving them alongside a glass of Bougrier Muscadet, 2012 - a beautiful white wine from the Loire Valley that smells slightly floral. It's crisp and clean with a light fruity overtone and isn't too heavy. It goes particularly well with the heat of the chilli pesto in the tart and complements the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Amounts are a guide, depending on how many you are making.
1 pack of all butter puff pastry
1 beaten egg to glaze pastry edges
3 spring onions, finely sliced
25g butter, melted
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
4-5 baby courgettes, or 2-3 large ones
6-10 cherry tomatoes
A couple of teaspoons of chilli pesto
Salt and pepper
Fresh grated Parmesan or vegetarian Parmesan
Heat the oven to 200º C.
Roll out the pastry into 12cm rounds, or use squares or triangles if you prefer. Lightly score a 10mm border around the edge of the pastry shape, without cutting right through the pastry. Prick the centre area with a fork and brush the border with the beaten egg. Bake for about 8 minutes.
While the pastry is baking, finely slice the spring onions and mix into the melted butter, along with the grated lemon rind and lemon juice. Cut the courgettes and tomatoes into thin slices.
Take the pastry out of the oven and push down the middle bit of pastry if it has risen too much. Avoiding the border, spread a little of the chilli pesto onto the centre area of the pastry and arrange the slices of tomato and courgette on top, overlapping as you go. Brush generously with the lemon butter mixture, season with salt and pepper, and return to the oven for another 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes and courgettes have softened and the pastry edges are puffed and brown.
Sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan and serve.
Adapted from a Waitrose recipe
150g almonds, coarsely chopped
500g luxury dried mixed fruit
½ x 250g pack 'Atora' vegetable suet
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
250ml Grand Marnier or brandy
275g dark brown muscovado sugar
Spoon into sterilised jars, pressing down well with the back of the spoon to ensure there are no air gaps. Cover with wax paper discs, seal with lid and store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Please drink responsibly, visit Drinkaware for more information.
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