Cooking 2.0


How are you?

The funny thing about this whole web business is that my tapping words into a screen is fundamentally separate to your reading them, as is my reading of all the other various words floating around in the ether. I've decided that today, for this post, I've had enough with the first person navel gazing and that it's time for a bit of good old-fashioned second person correspondence.

So, to reiterate: hello. How are you?

And, now that we've got the pleasantries out of the way, let's get down to business: I need a favour.

I'm planning a dinner for next week and, as the winely minded person that I am, I have several bottles selected for what will surely be a delicious evening. What I do not yet have, however, is the food to go with them. That's where you come in. I'm opening up the virtual floor to suggestions for what to have with each wine, and any that suggestions that end up being made will be dutifully photographed and written up on this here piece of electronic parchment.

So, with no further ado, here's the plan:

further ado

Start with a bottle of Bird in Hand sparkling pinot. This is a delightfully fresh, vibrant, eclectic little sparkling. It has a hint of redness to it due to the juice being kept on the skins (it's the skin of grapes, not their juice, that gives the wine it's colour) for only 3 hours. It's a beautiful wine for summer- which, conveniently enough, is our season at the moment- and deserves a very casual, easy, simple nibbly thing to start with as we all mill about enjoying the evening's sunlight. What do you think I should serve?

Next up, I've got either a sauvignon blanc from the Adelaide Hills which is so full of fruit you could slice it, or a gewurtztraminer from New Zealand that's so smooth and buttery you could spread it on bread. The savvy would probably go hand in hand with anything light and airy, whereas the gewurtz would be beautiful with some slightly richer seafood (I'm thinking salmon with avocado-mango salsa and coconut rice). Any suggestions here?

This next dish didn't exist until a second ago, when I decided that having something here would require less volume (and therefore less money) for whatever tasty meat I buy for the next one. So, I've got a faaaaaantastic Adelaide Hills pinot (from Abbey Rock who, sadly, have closed down) and its regional sister, an Adelaide Hills merlot. The pinot doesn't mess around- it's a kick you in the teeth, stomp around the palate kind of wine, which is unusual in a pinot but very welcome. Still, true to its variety, even with this boldness it's not so strong that it would overpower a more gentle dish. The merlot, if memory serves, is perfectly balanced between soft cherry and berry fruits, and the slight touch of oaky warmth at the back. If you could think of any stewy, soupy, crock-potty, ragouty dish to make en masse and ladle out to fill people up on, I'm all ears. Well, except for all the non-ear parts of me.

The next dish (whatever it ends up being) is the whole reason for this dinner. A few months ago my grandfather gave me a bottle of Wynns 1986 John Riddoch Coonawarra Cab Sav. This is a wine that I couldn't dream of affording if this year's vintage was half price, let alone one one that's over 20 years old. It will be, if you can forgive the understatement, nice. It will be quite nice, in fact. So to complement this niceness, we'll need a meal sturdy enough to stand up to this mighty old bastard of a wine. Something with backbone. No delicate aromatics and subtle hints here, give me flavour and give it to me straight. My second pancake partner in crime, Tim, is thinking that a whole beef tenderloin with a blue cheese butter could do the trick. Can you outdo him? Go on, I dare you.

Finally, I've got a bottle of birthday port, so named because it was made the same year I was: 1985. If it's as well developed and mature as I am, then it'll be a disappointment. If (fingers crossed) it's spent it's time more productively than I and has actually made something of itself, then it will be a dark, rich, intoxicating drop that will hopefully taste like christmas pudding in a glass. This could probably be suited to some old ripe cheeses and quince paste but, once more, I'm open to suggestions.

So what say you, gentle readers? What should I make? It's for 10-15 people, so anything bulky will probably be easier, for practical purposes, but I was never one for being sensible anyway. Give me orders, and I'll do your bidding.

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