by Kerstin Rodgers (@MSMARMITELOVER)
Both Easter and eggs represent spring, renewal, rebirth, fertility. Lets drink to that.
But I’m one of those wine heathens, not recommended by the experts, that loves red wine and chocolate together, especially around a certain time of month: it must be the iron and the magnesium in both. Speaking of Easter, the very word comes from the same root as Oestrogen, the female hormone. So I asked the hive mind on twitter what people like to drink with chocolate and women, but not men, agreed with me. Other more general choices included whisky, rum, sherry and port. Some enjoy a light pinot noir red with chocolate but I favour a heavy spicy red like a rioja such as the 2008 Rioja Graciano £10, a wine like this is almost savoury, hitting contrasty salty notes and I do love salt with sweet as in salted chocolate or salted caramel.
Another drink I urge you to try if you haven’t is ‘PX’ as the sherry cognoscenti call it, short for Pedro Ximinez sherry. If you’ve tried sherry and not liked it, have a go at this. It’s dark, syrupy, figgy, puddingy, and perfect with chocolate. At £9 for a half bottle, this one from Lustau has won awards. And if you do know it already, this will remind you of trips to Andaluzia in Spain, particularly the towns of Jerez and Seville, where you can get some of the best food in the world. Shout out for my mate Shawn in Seville @sevillatapas. If you ever visit, hit her up for a tour, she’ll take you to sneaky back-room tapas bars you would never discover on your own as well as historical bars dating from 1670 where you eat from antique shop fittings.
I have two recipes for you to try this month: a chocolatey easter confection and a rich savoury blue cheese and green olive frittata.
Chocolate nests with PX cream filling recipe
Try this simple recipe for an elegant Easter dessert.
For this you need silicon cup cake holders. This way you can ‘paint’ the chocolate inside then peel the insides off.
- 100g dark chocolate
- 200g cream cheese
- 125g condensed milk
- 40ml of double cream
- 1 tsp of vanilla paste
- 4 tbsps of Pedro Ximenez
- Mini chocolate eggs
- Chocolate powder
Melt the chocolate by putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds, no more. If it needs a little more time then stick it in for another 30 seconds. On no account, think, I’ll save time if I put it in for a minute. Chocolate can seize very quickly.
Then with a clean dry pastry brush, paint the insides of the silicon cupcake holder. Paint it quite thickly, maybe leaving it to dry, then painting it again. You want it fairly thick so that you can release it from the silicon without it breaking.
Put it in the fridge.
Then whip the cream cheese, condensed milk, double cream, vanilla and finally PX together for around five minutes until it thickens. Place it in the fridge to chill.
Once the cream mixture is chilled, remove the chocolate silicon holders from the fridge. Using your thumbnail, lift the chocolate on the sides from the silicon, going all away around the holder. Gently pull away the silicon and push up from the bottom to remove the chocolate, which will now be a shell in the shape of the cupcake holder.
Place on the plate you are going to serve it on (you don’t want to handle it too much) then scoop the cream mixture inside. Decorate with mini chocolate eggs and some chocolate powder.Serve immediately with a glass of Pedro Ximenez.
Blue cheese frittata: What is a frittata? It’s a posh word for omelette. The only real difference is that an omelette is cooked, then the filling added and the cooked egg folded over. Whereas a frittata, like a Spanish tortilla, has the filling ingredients mixed in with the egg. An omelette is cooked just on the hob, but a frittata is baked in the oven. The great thing about eggs is that you can mix virtually anything with them, a great user of leftovers.
What wines can you drink with eggs? Wine trust 100’s Master of Wine Nick Adams suggests champagne and who am I to argue? Easter morning if you are cooking scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, a bottle of Charles Heidsieck £35 will go down nicely thank you.
Slightly cheaper, a sparkling Ayala £22 which cannot be called champagne because it isn’t strictly in the region, it’s more in the champagne suburbs, in Vallée de la Marne, is also a good choice with eggs. Did you know that the real estate in the Champagne region is the most expensive ‘farmland’ in the world? Which is incredible considering that the soil there is arid and chalky. But that poor soil is brilliant for champagne.
Which leads to the other question, what can you drink with blue cheese? The classic match for blue cheese is port. New to Winetrust100’s list is a 10 year old tawny port Fonseca £15 which incidentally also matches with chocolate very well.
Blue cheese and green olive frittata
You will a good quality non-stick frying pan such as a Greenpan which is non stick but the lining doesn’t peel off or a cast iron skillet.
- Olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, cut in half for rubbing
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsps of creme fraiche
- 150g blue cheese
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 small tin of green olives, stuffed with red peppers or anchovies.
Preheat the oven to 200c. Prepare your oven proof frying pan or skillet, rubbing it with olive oil and a clove of garlic. Beat the eggs, adding the creme fraiche and pepper. Pour a little more olive oil into the pan. Pour the beaten eggs into the pan and then crumble in the blue cheese and the garlic. Then dot the stuffed olives all over. Put the pan in the oven and ‘bake’ for five minutes or until golden and cooked through if that’s how you like your eggs.
Serve with a glass of tawny port, a glass of champagne or a glass of slightly oaky chardonnay such as Chamonix Chardonnay at £12
What I’m drinking this month: a new discovery, courtesy of Nick Adams, a greek wine, very different from the resinous retsina we all know from our holidays – Assyrtiko Wild Ferment £15.
I’d love to visit the vineyards of this one, the vines are not grown on the roots but in a bizarro swirly basket form. I tried this wine when I visited the Indian restaurant Gymkhana. It is one of the rare wines, an oaky white, that stand up to curry.
Next month: May, Chelsea Flower Shop, floral recipes and what to drink with them.