Pork medallions cooked in fresh grape juice

Sometimes it's good to play with your food..

Sometimes it’s good to play with your food..

From what I can remember, this must be the first recipe I cooked in my first year of University. Back then, Internet was not part of my everyday life, so I had to collect ALL the food magazines I could find. The situation started to become unbearable; there was no room for mine and my parents’ books in our shared library, so I decided that I had to select some of the recipes. So, I threw away the magazines and put away the several dozens of books lying on the floor, acting as a coffee or side tables. #bookwarm

And this is what happened. If you have been reading my blog, you might remember the little notebook, where I used to keep all my favorite recipes.

If you’re up for a grape-y one , I bet that you will love this one:

Pork medallions cooked in fresh grape juice!

You will need: (serves 4)
800g pork medallions
1,5 onion
600g sultana grapes
300g of chestnut mushrooms
1 tea-spoon white vinegar
1 small cup of olive oil
1/2 wine glass of aromatic wine
1 tea-spoon of dry coriander
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Effi drinks wine - pork medallions recipe

The ingredients

Steps to yumminess:
- Put your fresh grapes into a pasta strainer and place a bowl beneath it. Now, start stomping … with your and collect the delicious juice. It’s very therapeutic!

Grape stomping...with your hands!

Grape stomping…with your hands!

- Pour some olive oil on a large skillet and add the finely chopped onion and the pork medallions. Make sure that they get a nice browned color from both sides.

- Sprinkle some salt & pepper and  the dried coriander. Pour the white wine and vinegar and keep the skillet on moderate fire until all the liquids are absorbed.

- Now on to the best part: Add your fresh grape juice and reduce the fire. Cover the skillet with a lid and let them cook for around 10-15 mins. Your kitchen will start smelling heavenly, yumm!

- For the garnish, you can quickly (I think you’re getting really hungry now!) grill some fresh mushrooms and three table spoons of onion on a really hot stove and maybe boil some rice as I did the last time I played around with this recipe. Use a few fresh rosemary leaves for the decor – I do enjoy a lot the aroma twist that rosemary gives to pork!

Et voilà!

Mouthwatering aromas and heartwarming flavors

Mouthwatering aromas and heartwarming flavors

Looking for a wine to pair it with?

I would love a Malagousia/Assyrtiko blend by Gerovassiliou Estate, which you can find *here or a Santorini Assyrtiko by Hatzidakis, available *here.

Let me know if you try this recipe and do leave any recommendations/ adjustments in the comments below. I’d love to read them!

Still hungry? Read the Pappardelle with smoked salmon post

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*Disclaimer: None of the above are affiliated links.

Posted in Greek Wine, recipe | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tasting Wine in 5 simple steps

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This is my Facebook profile picture. When I uploaded it a while ago, a friend from uni asked me “Why are you spitting wine????”. At first , I thought he was joking but later on I came to realise that he was genuinely puzzled. I didn’t spit the wine because I hated it but because there were a few more awaiting to be tasted and it was a bit early in the day to make a wine cocktail in my belly.

Let’s start from the beginning and we shall go through the 5 simple steps of tasting wine or how to Miss Marple it (we’ll come to that later, promise.)

1. See: Place the glass in a 45 angle on a white surface to get a better view of the colour. You have probably heard wine drinkers commenting on the colour of a wine, the same way that the color of a cocktail might have excited you. On wine, however, its hue, intensity and rim of the color of the wine can give you a good idea of what you’re about to taste. A couple of examples that pop in my head is Pinot Noir and Argentinian Malbec. A Burgundian Pinot Noir is most usually bright ruby, never too intense in comparison to the deep red almost black, at first glance, Malbec. Another good token of knowledge that you get is the age of the wine. A fresh, young white wine is light yellow with green highlights and its colour gets deeper with ageing. Red wines follow the exact opposite route – they are much deeper in colour when young and gradually become lighter.

2. Swirl: Give the glass a light swirl, so you get air into your glass. This step enhances and reveals the aromas and makes it easier for you to identify them.

3. Sniff: Now that you are happy with describing the colour, on to the aromas. Probably the second best step when drinking ( sipping is the first, no?). Often friends ask me : what do you mean that it reminds you of melon peel? Or pineapple? This is just wine! But the they give it a second sniff, open their eyes with surprise and then close them again and indulge the moment when one smell starts breaking down into its elements. Let’s take a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – at first it smells like wine and then fruity and vegetal aromas come to mind and in a few seconds you start smelling the gooseberry and the fresh cut grass.

4. Sip: Here we go on to the most exciting part of our little ritual! The aromas and the mouthfeel a wine leaves in your mouth are probably the most exhilarating feelings you get when tasting or drinking wine. The best thing to do now is to put a bit of wine in your mouth and start inhaling air- don’t be afraid that this step is a bit noisy, this is all you can hear at a professional tasting or any wine exhibition (oh, the class!) Again, you start thinking of the aromas developing in your mouth. Is it black or red fruit? A hint of clove or toast? Then, you can assess the astringency of the wine and how its tannins makes you feel. Are they harsh and leave your tongue stiff and dry or are they velvety and smooth, providing what you might have heard professionals describe as a “full-bodied” wine?

5. Spit: yes, spit. Yes, really. No, it’s nor rude neither disgusting, it’s what professionals do when they’re attending a wine exhibition and aim to taste 30 or 50 or 100 more wines. The first reason is quite obvious; if you survived swirling wine in your mouth without feeling uncomfortable, imagine walking around the room in a rather inappropriate manner, aka like a drunken monkey. The second reason is that you don’t want to tire your palate and put these tastebuds to sleep.

Repeat!

To sum it up, you have to be an old granny like me and know who Miss Marple is, you can make funny noises with your mouth while tasting wine and you can shamelessly spit in front of others!

Tasting wine is a bit like playing Miss Marple or Sherlcok Holmes. With observation, you’re collecting data and evidence and then you break it down into the hundreds of possibilities.

Have fun and enjoy! #5Swinetasting

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Posted in Fun, Wine tasting | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“Volcanic Bubbles” – Santo Brut

Is Santorini the strongest brand name in Greece? I believe that the answer is Yes. Santorini is the diva, the Marilyn Monroe of Greek wines, with production volumes struggling to please the ongoing rising demand. Prices are increasing and Santorini wines, mainly dry, still Assyrtiko, are establishing Greek Wines in the winelover’s conscience. By the way, #winelovers are visiting Santorini at the time I am typing this post and they share breathtaking pictures of the island.

I still remember reading tweets from the Oenorama Exhibition in Athens from fellow wine tweeps trying the first ever bubbly Assyrtiko from SantoWines! Everyone was raving about it and there I was miles away, trying to imagine how it would taste! After my return to Greece, I tried to find it but it wasn’t released then. So, I decided that I would wait and get it for my mum’s Bday in my Easter vacation, as she is a huge bubbly enthousiast. I contacted the lovely people of SantoWines to make sure that I could crack it open before cutting the birthday cake. They informed me that it wasn’t available on the shelf but I was one of the lucky ones who would be able to enjoy it before its launch- exciting times!

SantoWines Asyrtiko

A great pairing – Jumbo Prawns with light tomato sauce and Volcanic Bubbles

If you have already tried Assyrtiko from Santorini, you must remember its elegant stone fruit notes and its unique minerality and freshness! Add a lot of persistent bubbles who pronounce the peach, sour apricot aromas and underline the refreshing mouthfeel. In the mouth, honey and hints of brioche area completing the profile of a modern expression of Assyrtiko!

Santo brut is made with the Methode Traditionelle – aka the Champagne method. So, you get all these lovely brioche, nicely toasty notes with a splash of zest!

Imagine that: late afternoon at the caldera, your skin sun kissed with hints of salt on your hands and a glass of Assyrtiko Brut waiting for the sunset. This is what winelover’s heaven should be like!

Sparkling Santo Brut

Happy times!

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Black Cow Cheddar + Assyrtiko Bubbles

 

Find SantoWines on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SantoWines?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/santo_wines

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Posted in Assyrtiko, Fun, Greece, Santorini, Wine, Wine-talk | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Raw Wine Fair and Greek Natural Wine – Domaine Ligas

The weather in London has gone all crazy and it’s now proper Spring time – who would have thought? Last Sunday it was nice and sunny and I was super excited to try a few – or shall I say a lot – natural wines at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, East London.

The Raw fair is a Wine Fair, created and organised by Isabelle Legeron MW, a true supporter of the Natural Wine Movement . Although, Natural Wine is a very broad term, I got to understand more about it after I read Jamie Goode’s & Sam Harrop’s book, Authentic Wine. It introduces you to the no (or minimum) sulphites, no additives wine world and explains concepts such as terroir and biodynamics using simple language.

I couldn’t wait to find out all about Ligas Wines, the only Greek natural wine producer I have heard of.

Most people feel that buying natural wine is some sort of Russian roulette and they are right to a certain extent. One can identify a series of serious faults and mostly Brettanomyces and there are producers out there to claim that this is part of the terroir’s expression.

I was very happy to taste Jason’s wines and those that I particularly liked were the Rosé and the the Λ13.

Jason Ligas at the RAW Wine Fair in London

Jason Ligas at the RAW Wine Fair in London

Le Rose 2013 is made with 100% Xinomavro grapes grown on chalky quartz soils in Pella, Northern Greece. Vibrant and deep fuchsia in colour with playful and delicate aromas of freshly squeezed strawberries and raspberries. It leaves your palate with a nice finish of pomegranate freshness. Ideal for summer nights on the terrace! (Total sulphites: 25 mg/L)

Then on to the Λ13, 2013 Pella – its name stands for the number of the microcuvée , in which it was vinified. Made with Assyrtiko and Roditis grapes, this wine is very aromatic – zesty notes are predominant. Lemon peel and grapefruit notes are clean and intense. The main characteristic that brings everything together is its minerality. Refreshing mouthfeel, stoney/steely notes and a long finish. I didn’t detect any kind of faults. The wine was not filtered and it has a clear,quite attractive lemon colour. (Total sulphites: 50 mg/L)

Ligas vineyards are organic certified and “.. vines grow in a natural way of culture based on the ‘Non­-act’ science of permaculture and organic farming.”, as they state on the RAW website.

You can find Domaine Ligas on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Domaine.Ligas?v=info

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/LigasWine

Website: http://www.ligas.gr/en/

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Posted in Nature, Terroir, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine-talk, Winegeeks, Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Rosé KANENAS by Tsantali & Pappardelle with Smoked Salmon

A few days back, I asked my mother to take a photo of a very beloved recipe I like to make, when I’m feeling homesick. This dish is not what you call a signature Greek dish but for some reason, the aromas of smoked salmon paired with onions and mustard take me back to my home kitchen.
When I first started experimenting with cooking, I got myself a lovely notebook, that has a vintage ad of Papadopoulou biscuits on the cover. This is the page with the recipe, written around 2003 and the notepad itself.

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My vintage recipe book

Well, if you have been to Greece and you haven’t tried these biscuits, you definitely need to go back or order them online or ask a fried to mail them to you! This is how good they are…
But let’s go back to our recipe!

It is a very quick, yet delicious and will look amazing on your dinner table!
For this dish, you are going to need:

500g of egg pappardelle
4 spoons of olive oil
2 spoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 spoon of capper
1 spoon of seeded mustard
1/2 onion finely chopped
8-10 slices of smoked salmon
2 spoons of dill
Black pepper

Firstly, you want to put the egg pappardelle in a big casserole with boiling water and a generous pinch of sea salt. While your pasta is cooking up, you can start working on your lovely sauce. Put all your ingredients but the salmon in a small kettle on medium fire and give them a nice stirring and leave them mix all their delicious flavours and aromas for 3-4 mins. Once the Pappardelle are ready, serve them and gently pour the sauce around and on top of them. Now place 3-4 slices of salmon on the pasta. Sprinkle some dill and you’re ready!

Voila!

KANENAS Rose with Smoked Salmon & pappardelle

KANENAS Rose with Smoked Salmon & pappardelle

Now on to the wine. The black pepper and the salmon are very nicely paired with rosé wines and I thought of the Rosé KANENAS from Tsantali. It’s a blend of Mavroudi, an indigenous Greek grape variety and Syrah. The grapes are grown on the hills of Maronia, Thrace in deep argillite soils.

KANENAS rose

KANENAS rose

On the nose, it’s very elegant and polished with the distinctive rose petals and black peppercorns aromas. I found the palate complimenting our Pappardelle and Smoked Salmon dish with its freshness and long finish.

And if you’re wondering what KANENAS means- it means “nobody”. In Odyssey, (Rhapsody 1) Odysseus escapes the Cyclops Polyphemus by getting him drunk on Maronia wine. When the Cyclops asks him, who he is, Odysseus answered:  “Kanenas”

Let me know if you try this recipe at home and if you have any suggestions I’d love to read them as I’m getting a bit obsessed with salmon lately!

See you later!

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Posted in Greek Wine, Wine tasting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Melomakarona for breakfast!

You should try them!
Super easy and delicious!

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Posted in christmas food, pastry | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Great ideas for Christmas Gifts!

Hi everyone,

how are you all doing? Currently, in London it’s cold, windy and stormy and I literally want to stay at home all day sipping coffee and tea and browsing the Internet. By the way, last Sunday I tried the Cacao Cappuccino from Hotel Chocolat on High Street Kensington and it was seriously so good and yummy! The smooth yet intense cacao aromas were nicely blended with the milk foam  and had a velvety mouthfeel. If you find a shop, go in and try it! Psss, I also loved the cup, so I went back in and asked for a second one which I now use for my pens and pencils!

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Cacao Cappuccino from Hotel Chocolat

So, I’ m after some cool and fun Christmas gifts for family and friends and I remembered that I popped in John Lewis the other day and i was really impress with some of the new things they’ve put on their shelves.

I got a lot of inspiration and ideas and I wanted to share my findings with you!

Off we go:

The first thing that caught my eyes was this uber-cute Two of a Kind 2 piece bar set by Kate Spade! The bottle opener is this amazingly looking bow and the bottle closer a pair of black, stylish glass. I think they both look amazing and the set would be a great gift for the drink lovers.

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The bow-bottle opener

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The black glasses-bottle closer

Coming up next is something that I have never seen or heard of before but it’s extremely useful and brilliant; the Sagaform Drink Stones! As you can see on the photo below, the manufacturers suggest it as gadget for the whiskey drinkers but I personally think that you can pretty much use it in any drink that you want to keep cold or bring it in a cooler temperature without diluting all its aromas and unique organoleptic qualities. You just need to wash them, put them in the freezer and you can use them anytime you feel like cooling your drink down a bit. They look quite polish and neat, plus they come in a nice velvety case. But if you are one of those who find this extra pleasure in listening the nice cracking noise of the ice-cubes when you pour the drink over them, then I hear you. I love it too!

20131026-132914.jpgAs I used to travel a lot and now I kinda miss it, this travel kit stood out from every other similar kit I have either used or seen. The NPW Inflight Comfort kit includes an inflatable jersey neck pillow, a jersey eye mask, a soft foam earplugs and a jersey drawstring pouch. So if you have a friend who travels frequently or just loves getting all comfy when traveling, this is the perfect gift!

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Bon voyage with the NPW Inflight comfort kit

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The perfect relaxing kit for traveling

Now back to the food related gifts (they have a special place in my hear); I especially liked these two platters. The quality is very good and their design is minimalist and polished. The one on the left is a Savour Platter with 2 dip dishes and the right one is a Savour dipping platter.You can create an extra buzz on the table when having friends over with blending different colors and textures or you can simply use them when you’re not into cooking proper dinner and you want to indulge in cheeses and aromatic olive oil with freshly baked bread. *opens fridge, looking for Camembert*

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John Lewis’s Savour Platters

As cheese is one my favourite things in the entire world, I couldn’t help but notice this lovely Cheese Knives Set from Arthur Price Kitchen. I love all kinds of miniatures (I have a collection of perfume miniatures) and therefore this set of mini cheese knives is a match made in heaven! They are very stylish and bring a modern note on every table. Perfect for dinner parties and all types of gatherings. Just look at it and tell me you don’t love it! NO, is not an answer…

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Great packaging by APK

The 4 Piece Cheese Knives Set

The 4 Piece Cheese Knives Set

For those of  you who enjoy being surrounded by colourful things I found the following:

First comes this really amazing and joyful range of pillows. If you think in re-decorating your house and want to bring a fresh breeze of air into your old furniture, go check out the “hipster” look of the la cerise sur le gâteau range! I mean, look at them! They are so adorable and funky. The following three are my absolute favourites but you check their website because they have the most cool stuff! Summing it up in 3 words: Oh la la!

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Smile!    20131026-133014.jpg Wear cute shoes when riding a bicycle

Last but not least, a notebook by Eams Office! This one has colourful crayons (image form the Eames House of Cards) on its hard cover and  ruled pages. I am not one of those people who always a carry a notebook in their bags and write in it when i go to Starbucks or “indy” coffee shops but I love having a journal where I write any ideas that pop in my head or glue on their pages cards, tickets or polaroid photos. A diary for grown ups! This one I particularly liked is the one with the crayons brings back the memories of endless hours of drawing  when I was kid and the smell of crayon on my hands. Quite nostalgic actually.

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Eames House of Cards Small Notebook

These were my favourite gift ideas that I found in John Lewis last Sunday.

Some people might say that this post seems like a “wishlist” but they obviously don’t know my altruistic and giving nature! Just joking!

So, if you have any Christmas gift ideas, I would love to know them! You can comment below or share the link of your Christmas Ideas post :)

Au revoir!

Posted in Christmas, Fun, Gifts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments