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Sunday, 30 November 2014

IWSC World of Wines Experience

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A couple of weeks ago I attended the IWSC World of Wines Experience at the BBC Good Food Show, London. The IWSC is an annual wine and spirit competition, and the awards given are considered to be the foremost in the industry. The World of Wines Experience is a unique opportunity to enjoy and sample an extensive selection of the award winning wines, which were chosen from thousands of global entries by the IWSC's international judging panel. The 2014 trophies were presented on 12th November at a glittering award ceremony held at London's Guildhall, and the World of Wines Experience is the public's first chance to taste the judges' top picks from this year's competition!

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Ewan Lacey hosting a wine tasting session

On the day I went, wine expert Ewan Lacey, General Manager of the IWSC, was hosting the wine tastings. Ewan firmly believes that, somewhere out there, there is a wine for everyone and he's on a mission to make wine accessible to anyone who wants to know about it.

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Here's a small selection of some of the wines that I tried.

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I live in a part of England that is seeing vineyards popping up everywhere. The Albourne Estate is a small producer in Sussex, overlooking the beautiful South Downs. The vineyard is positioned on a south-facing slope, providing excellent drainage, low frost risk and maximum sun exposure. The Bacchus 2013 has a fresh citrus taste and is ideal with fish, seafood or on its own. The Estate Selection 2013 has strong floral aromas and makes a great aperitif, it also goes well with salads and poultry.
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Hoffmann & Rathbone are a small family-run winery in West Sussex, creating exclusive English sparkling wines in the traditional Méthode Champenoise. I loved the Rosé Réserve Brut, which is a light, fresh tasting wine with just the right amount of fizz.

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Domaines Paul Mas are the ambassadors of Luxe Rural. Their wines are made from the hillside vineyards in the main valleys of Languedoc, South France. My favourite wine was the Chardonnay 2013, smooth tasting with a heady aroma of fruit. It would be good with meat and fish dishes. Available from Majestic.

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Three Choirs Vineyards are set in the idylic location of the Cotswolds, providing the perfect microclimate for growing a range of specially developed grapes. This Coleridge Hill 2013 is crisp and refreshing with a freshly cut grass aroma, the fruity flavours and soft acidity balance.

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This selection of wines caught my eye - wines in a can from Barokes. Premium Australian award winning wines that come in a globally patented Vinsafe wine packaging system - what a great idea! Perfect to transport, portion controlled and no glass breakages. Not on sale here yet.

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Wines of Brasil had a lovely selection of sparkling, white and red wines, I particularly liked the Brazillian Soul Premium Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Vinicola Aurora, 2013, with hints of vanilla, chocolate and red fruits.

Some more photos from the day:

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Disclosure: I was invited to attend the event but not required to write about it. All views are my own.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Do not use photos without full credit or permission.
This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2014 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Festive Scandinavian Salmon

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Norwegian whole baked salmon, recipe below

You might be a die-hard turkey fan at Christmas, but this year I'm going to do something a little bit different. For Boxing Day lunch, I'm going to make a wonderful traditional Norwegian baked salmon, with a festive winter kale, roasted butternut squash, and pomegranate salad on the side.

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Signe Johansen

The other week, I attended a special event hosted by leading Scandinavian chef and author Signe Johansen, who has partnered with the Norwegian Seafood Council. I came away full of recipe ideas and also learnt a lot about Norwegian salmon, which is harvested from strictly regulated farms that are spread throughout the cold, clear, coastal Norwegian seawaters, assuring a year round supply.

Salmon is becoming increasingly popular as it makes a lighter, tasty alternative to the traditional roast. Norwegian salmon has a rich, smooth, fresh flavour, turning a delicate pink colour when cooked, with succulent defined flakes.

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Smoked salmon canapés - I'm thinking these would be great to serve whilst unwrapping the presents on Christmas morning

After arriving at the beautiful Scandi-styled Aveqia, we were greeted with some delicious smoked salmon canapés. There were baby smoked salmon roulades, filled with a dill, lemon and horseradish cream cheese filling, and smoked salmon on tiny crispbreads, topped with crème fraiche and pickled cucumber. The canapés went down a treat, the perfect little nibbles to eat, whilst chatting with some of the other guests, including a few of my food-blogging friends.

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Smørbrød, a Scandinavian open sandwich

Moving into the main area, which had a well equipped demonstration kitchen and a long Christmassy decorated dining table, we met Signe who showed us how to make a Scandinavian 'open' sandwich - a smørbrød. Then we had a go at making our own, starting with a toasted sourdough bread, which was topped with generous amounts of smoked salmon, avocado slices, crème fraiche, pickled cucumber and dill. These were similar to the canapés but larger and more substantial. I heard someone say he had totally fallen in love with smoked salmon after trying this Norwegian salmon, and was planning to make the smørbrød for his lunch!

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Whole baked salmon

The main event was the show-stopping whole baked Norwegian salmon. Taking just 5 minutes to prepare, it was stuffed with onions, lemons, carrots and herbs, then covered and roasted in the oven for 1½-2 hours. The accompanying kale, roasted butternut squash, and pomegranate salad (lovingly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil) was fresh and light. I'm thinking a few buttered new potatoes on the side would complement the salmon and salad really well.

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Fyrstekake, a Norwegian almond and cardamom spiced tart

The meal ended with a Fyrstekake, a Norwegian almond and cardamom spiced tart, and a warming cherry glögg - made from cherry brandy, red wine and spices.

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There are fresh clementines and roasted almonds at the bottom of the warm cherry glögg!

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Whole Baked Salmon with a Kale, Squash & Pomegranate Salad
Recipe with kind permission from Signe Johansen for the Norwegian Seafood Council.

For the roast salmon
2 kg (4.4lbs) (approx. weight) whole salmon, descaled, gutted and cleaned
75 g (2.6oz) butter
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
2 unwaxed lemons, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 sprinkling herbamare (sea salt with herbs)
1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad
2 butternut squashes
2 bunches of kale
2 pomegranates, shucked open and de-seeded (place the seeds in a bowl)

Preheat the oven to 150C.
You will need an oven large enough to place the butternut squash on one level and the salmon on another. Alternatively, you can choose to cook the butternut squash first and then follow this with the salmon if your oven has less capacity.
You will need two long sheets of extra-strong aluminium foil a roasting tray. Butter both sheets to avoid the fish sticking. Place one sheet on top of the roasting tray and season with herbamare and pepper.
Wipe the salmon dry and make three incisions into each side of the salmon. Stuff all six incisions with a piece of red onion, lemon, fresh parsley and carrot.
Close the salmon and sprinkle with a little lemon juice to taste.
Place the second sheet of foil on top of the salmon and crimp the edges inwards to create a parcel. Once sealed, place the salmon in the oven and roast for 1½ - 2 hours.
For the butternut squash, kale and pomegranate salad. Chop up the squash into bitesize chunks, place them on an uncovered tray and place in the oven. Allow 30 minutes for the squash to roast in the oven. Once the butternut squash is cooked, remove from oven.
Finely chop the kale and add this to the pomegranate seeds. Toss together, cover and set aside until the salmon is ready to be served. Garnish the salad with the roasted butternut squash.
Once the salmon is cooked and ready to serve, remove the top foil from the roasting tray and simply move a whole fish onto a presentation plate or board to place at the centre of the table.
To serve, gently scrape off the skin (and assorted cooked vegetables from the incisions) and start portioning up the fish. Serve along with the salad and buttered new potatoes.

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Festive winter kale, roasted butternut squash, and pomegranate salad 

Norwegian salmon is available at supermarkets and fishmongers, look for regular great value offers.
For more salmon recipes and information on the Norwegian Seafood Council, have a look at their informative website. They are also on Twitter @norwayseafood.

Signe Johansen is on Twitter and Instagram, and has written several Scandinavian cookbooks.

Some more photos from the evening:

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Sliced smoked salmon

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My smørbrød

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Signe with her smørbrød

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Perfect starter

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Plating the roasted salmon

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Opening pomegranates
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Serving the cherry glögg

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Cherries steeping in cherry brandy

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the event by the Norwegian Seafood Council. All views are my own.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Do not use photos without full credit or permission.
This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2014 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Tried and Tasted Seasonal - part 2

Following on from Tried and Tasted Seasonal part 1, here's part 2 - some gift ideas and edible treats from Lakeland and Waitrose.

Lakeland is a good place to pick up Christmas gifts, here are a few new things that I spotted this year.

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Dare devils should try this fun game of sprout roulette, nasty or nice hehehe! £4.99

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Milk chocolate chilli topped pizza - how could I resist? £2.79

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Lock and Lock small spice store, a container that is perfect for your spices £9.99

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Lakeland do lovely gift hampers, prices vary.

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Chef'n Pull'n Slice mandoline - probably the safest mandoline available. £39.99

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If you want to have a go at making your own chocolates, Lakeland has a really good choice of equipment for beginners, from moulds to scrapers, prices vary. I have the chocolate scraper and thermospatula and they're great!

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Piñata cakes are all the rage at the moment- now you can buy a tin to make your own! £19.99

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Make some cute Hello Kitty cake pops using Lakeland's cake pop maker. £24.99

On to Waitrose, where I always enjoy perusing the new Christmas items.

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For those of you that don't make desserts (or even if you do), I suggest having a look at this Heston from Waitrose Ultimate Chocolate Bar Dessert. It features layers of chocolate caramel mousse, crunchy chocolate biscuit and a gooey salted caramel & nougat mousse. Yum! £9.99

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Another Heston offering is this sticky toffee apple pudding - a sponge pudding delicately spiced with candied apples and a caramel sauce. £10

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Marzipan is for Christmas and this is a chocolate marzipan cake! £5.99

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Tree shaped mince pies, how cute! £3 for a pack of 6.

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Apple & muscovado square mince pies.

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Chocolate panettone, we save ours for New Year's Day.

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A creamy snowman cheesecake that comes with a sachet of coloured chocolate beans for decoration. £4.99

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A rich chocolatey Christmas cake, with a hint of ginger and a coating of chocolate ganache. £20

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Exclusive to Waitrose is this Fiona Cairns Three Baubles Christmas cake, three cakes each with a different flavour and all coated in soft icing. £30

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A few other cakes I spotted.

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Put your honey into this lovely ceramic pot. £12

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New this year is a turkey breast cracker, wrapped in a spiced buttered muslin to keep it succulent. It's stuffed with a rich and savoury turkey, chicken, chestnut, bacon, cranberry, sage and juniper stuffing. Available to order, serves 4. £30

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Apricot and ginger stuffing balls, available to order. £3.99

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Woodland friends chocolate advent calendars £2.70 each, and Reggie the Robin £5.

Click on photos for larger images.
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Christmas in July events, I was not required to write about it, all views are my own. Prices may change from these posted here.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Do not use photos without full credit or permission.
This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2014 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.