Last week, I was given a couple of pheasants. We're surrounded by them at the moment: every morning on the school run they saunter across the road looking so very now with their glorious autumnal colours, their white neck collars giving them a faintly religious air. I wasn't sure how to cook the ones I was given but happily, my mother-in-law knew exactly what to do. Namely, throw them in a big pan with apples and calvados. I delivered the frozen birds to her yesterday. But when she tipped them from the bag this morning, pan at the ready, out popped two frozen pigs ears. I'd forgotten that they too were in the freezer, given to me by the butcher for the puppies to chew (just slow roast them in the oven, the puppies will love 'em, apparently). And even though she's an amazing cook, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Let alone pheasant stew. Talking of which, I did a day's cookery course with the a-mazing Angela Hartnett earlier this week, at Lime Wood in the New Forest. As well as learning more from Angela in just a few hours vs. years of reading cook books, she showed that it's mostly about using good ingredients. Even pigs' ears, no doubt.
Current white in the fridge: Le Jardin Sauvignon Blanc, £5.79, Waitrose
I tasted this last week at the Waitrose A/W wine press tasting and popped a picture of the label on my Instagram feed as soon as I'd tasted it - all fresh lemon and limes, from southern France, like a less excitable version of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Those who went and bought a bottle that night reported back good things on the feed too. Great wine, great label, great bargain. One friend now refers to it as the Lady Garden wine, so she can remember it easily. Whatever works, I say.
Current red in the rack: Tesco finest* Swartland Shiraz 2014, £5.50, Tesco
From South Africa's Swartland region, just north of Cape Town, this wine's got one of SA's top winemakers behind it. It's perfect for now, too, with plum and spice flavours. Shiraz is the grape (also called Syrah in France, mostly) and sticking with the silk purse, sow's ear thing, it's a great example of how you can find smart wines at relatively cheap prices. But in order to make them, it all starts with good quality grapes. Worth sniffing this one out if you can.
Chin chin x
I was a guest of Lime Wood for the day's cookery course at HH & Co Backstage. Click here for details on their courses.
And the winner of the Le Creuset Limited Edition Corkscrew is...Helen, from Not Pensive, But Thinking. (Drop me an email Helen, and I'll get the corkscrew in the post to you before the end of half term!). Thank you to everyone who took part. I wish I had one for all of you x
Labels: 2014, France, red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, South Africa, Tesco, Waitrose, white wine