Faux Crème Fraiche

Martin Field 2007-09-21T07:53:23+00:000000002330200709 Food and Wine

by Martin Field

Crème fraiche frequently pops up its tangy head in recipes broadcast on English TV cooking shows, but when you go to shop for said recipes this vital ingredient is rarely to be found – at least on Australian supermarket shelves. When you do find some, it is usually packed in tiny containers carrying a boutique brand name and a hefty price tag.

We asked Beery Mag, our R&D chef for an easy recipe for making crème fraiche in the home kitchen. As usual, she came up with the goods.

Beery: ‘This essential ingredient is not literally fresh but is actually a lovely drop somewhere between fresh and sour cream. To make a batch take about 600mls of fresh cream – though not that hideous thickened cream made with gelatine. Gently heat the cream to body temperature, about 37 degrees centigrade. Use a thermometer – preferably not a rectal one – or a clean finger to test.

‘Stir in about a quarter of a cup of cultured buttermilk. Leave it covered – a soup thermos flask or a yoghurt maker is ideal – at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate. The cream will thicken somewhat and acquire a delicious, slightly acidic tang along with a buttery nutty flavour.’

She advises that her faux crème fraiche will keep in the fridge for a week or more and reckons you can use it in any savoury dish in place of cream and that it goes wonderfully with fresh strawberries. Another of her tips is to create a dessert topping or sauce by beating a cup of the chilled faux crème fraiche with a third of a cup of chilled botrytised white and half a teaspoon of pure vanilla essence. Yummy.

‘Use the leftover buttermilk in place of milk when making pancakes and muffins. They’ll taste just gorgeous’ added Beery – who tends to gush occasionally.

Baccàn di Bruna sugli scudi

Luca Risso 2007-09-20T10:00:45+00:000000004530200709 Vino @it

Nell’ultimo capitolo (#37) del Wine Blogging Wednesday , iniziativa a cui si è ispirato il nostro Marco di Imbottigliato all’origine per lanciare il Vino dei Blogger, il tema proposto da Tyler Colman del blog Dr. Vino era (ma guarda un po’!!) “i vini da vitigno autoctono”.
Bene, come potete vedere gli italiani si sono piazzati molto bene, nel senso che sono stati scelti da molti e ben apprezzati, ma al sottoscritto, ligure campanilista nonché pigatista, ha fatto molto piacere il commento positivo e realista da parte del blog Vite Vinifera de Vino’s Blog del nostro unico tribicchierato regionale, e cioè del Pigato 2005 U Baccàn di R. Bruna.

Complimenti a Francesca, ma…. a quando un sito da poter linkare??


Ping Vinix

Luca Risso 2007-09-19T12:33:50+00:000000005030200709 Vino @it

Chi ha tempo e voglia di passare un po’ di tempo in buona compagnia in un bellissimo posto, vada subito qui


e comunichi il suo interesse!


Il vino dei Blogger – Capitolo 10: I.G.T. Colline Savonesi Granaccia dei Cappuccini Riserva 2001 – Innocenzo Turco

Luca Risso 2007-09-18T07:19:16+00:000000001630200709 Degustazioni di vino


Il tema della decima puntata del Vino dei blogger, selezionato da Via Freud 33, era “Grandi vini da piccole vigne“, vini cioè che “.. risentono ancora della annata, buona o cattiva che sia, quei vini spesso introvabili che ci obbligano a girare per enoteche o a rivolgerci direttamente in cantina, quei vini che non sono né un prodotto stabile e industriale né semplicemente una bevanda edonistica, ma nutrimento spirituale.
Quei vini che una volta bevuti ci allontanano dai problemi che attanagliano il mondo del vino o che ci permettono di sognare, sperare che si possa risolverli.
Genio e sregolatezza.”


Noosa Farmers Market

Martin Field 2007-09-15T01:36:20+00:000000002030200709 Food and Wine

by Martin Field

‘Do you miss Melbourne?’ It’s the main question Melbournians and others ask about our move to Noosa. ‘Nah.’ I answer. ‘Could be a greater range of ethnic restaurants up here. But nah. The things I like about Melbourne are just fading away as I become more acclimatised to the sub tropics, the warm surf and the local lifestyle.’

And the local attractions are many. For example, it’s only a short stroll to the Sunshine Beach Surf Club for a pot of Coopers Pale Ale and a spot of whale watching from their terrace bar. And then there’s the Noosa Farmers Market. We go there every Sunday morning early. Early because the bloke with the perfect tomatoes for five bucks a kilo sells out quickly.

One of the delights of the market is watching the customers. Many locals of course, and tourists from all over. Kens and Barbies from Miami or Noo Joizy in matching candy-striped playsuits. And there is a certain Noosa type that always catches the eye.

Take a typical couple: one’s hair is shortish and permed, bottle blonded with shady roots. The face bears a jaundiced solarium tan and a smile that is really a grimace, driven by one too many facelifts. The eyebrows for the same reason are raised in permanent enquiry. Unfortunately, the taut skin above is belied by the turkey wattle below. The body is typically clad in a colourful but saggy top and a pair of ‘does my bum look big in these?’ designer jeans, best worn by teenagers. As for his good lady wife…well, enough said.

Strangely, when I described this species to our Gold Coast friends they said they were probably from Toorak. Our Sydney friends said they sounded like Gold Coasters. Our Melbourne friends said they’d met many people like that from Sydney’s north shore. You just can’t tell.

And, as you wander through the crowded stalls, a strange but likeable fragrance wafts by. A whiff of frying pancakes blends with the pungency of patchouli oil adorning ageing hippies down from the hills. This in turn mingles with a miasma of Chanel No 5 dabbed extravagantly on Noosa socialites. Next you notice the rich roasting aromas swirling from the Auswana coffee stand, along with top notes distilled by the hot morning sun from the multitude of surrounding eucalypts. Just having breakfasted, your nose is already triggering thoughts of what’s for lunch.

Noosa is a noticeably expensive area but the prices at the market are surprisingly low. Sourced from the Sunshine Coast and the hinterland, much of the fruit and veg is organic, or at least spray free, and often cheaper than that sold at local supermarkets – and presumably much fresher.

Last week we bought eight Tahitian limes for $2. Three beautiful big fresh ears of corn for $2.50. Some ‘Swiss’ style Tilsit from the Fromart cheesery for $31 the kilo. Then there were the punnets of strawberries, netted bags of macadamia nuts in shell, tangy passionfruit at giveaway prices, free wine tastings and other lovely stuff in abundance.

The Noosa Farmers Market is a feast and it’s fun. If you’re in Noosa for any reason at all, you cannot afford to miss it. Sundays until noon at the footy ground, Weyba Rd Noosaville. Plenty of parking.

Dumb kitchen wine storage

Martin Field 2007-09-15T01:33:15+00:000000001530200709 Wine

by Martin Field

What do kitchen designers know about wine and food storage in the kitchen? Not a lot it seems. Sure, they can make a new kitchen look like a snazzy ad in a glossy magazine. But I’m not convinced they know or care much about users’ needs.

For example, the recently modernised kitchen in our new home came complete with lots of stainless steel, gleaming stone bench tops, 2-pack cupboards and drawers and an open wine nook right between the fridge and the pantry. Ranging from chest height to above head height, there was space for a dozen and more bottles on gleaming stainless steel racks. What’s wrong with that? Well, good wine needs careful cellaring. Preferably in the coolest, darkest part of the house.

In contrast, modern kitchens are bright and busy and hot. Hot from hundreds of watts of halogen downlights, the fridge, the microwave, the oven, the electric jug, the toaster, the espresso machine, the [enough hot examples already! Ed.].

Anyway, I unscrewed the no doubt expensive racks and tossed them out on the nature strip for the hard rubbish collection. The space came in handy for the rice cooker and a pottery crock we store the rice in. The wine stays in the cellar. PS Tossed out all the high wattage bulbs too and replaced them with lower powered bulbs.

Spitbucket drinking

Martin Field 2007-09-15T01:29:16+00:000000001630200709 Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Capel Vale Debut Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2007 – up to $17 \_/\_/
Juicy ripe sauvignon nose to start. This dryish style shows kiwi fruit flavours along with oodles of lip-smacking acid. Just the thing for an aperitif to serve with canapes.

Murdoch Hill Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – up to $19 \_/\_/\_/
Cool climate, blackcurrant leaf pungency on the nose. The generous palate is full of abundant ripe sweet berries with a hint of passionfruit adding zest.

Shaw and Smith Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – around $25 \_/\_/\_/
Lychees, asparagus and just ripe apricots lead the bouquet. There is more of the lychee flavour in this full-on, mouth filling white and just a hint of pineapple. Would go well with any entrée you’d serve a squeeze of lemon with – say, fried haloumi.

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2007 – up to $15 \_/\_/$
A bouquet of white flowers, lime cordial and fresh grape skins. Dry on the palate, light and citrussy with zingy refreshing acidity and a firm minerally finish.

Chandon Tasmanian Cuvée 2004 – up to $40 \_/\_/\_/
Pinot noir and chardonnay from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. Lemon green hues, busy long-lasting bead. Generous bouquet of lemons, a delicate floral note and fresh bread. The mid-dry palate shows lovely balance and length with more citrus aspects, green apple and just right acidity to finish.

Angove’s Nine Vines Shiraz Viognier 2006 – up to $15 \_/\_/
Slight purple hues. Light peppery and plum aromatics on the nose. Soft warm ((14.5% alcohol) plummy flavours and mild oakiness continue to a quite firm finish.

Hardys Oomoo Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2005 – cost $14 \_/\_/$
Fruity blackberry aromatics with an edge of anise. Blackberries, coffee, and chocolate spice up the palate supported by textured tannin chewiness.

Hanging Rock Heathcote Shiraz 2004 – $60 \_/\_/\_/\_/
A nose of intense perfumed berries and sweet vanillin oak. Full-bodied red with mulberries, a hint of mintiness and robust tannic astringency. Definitely main course wine and will cellar gracefully to 2014.

Tahbilk Reserve Shiraz 2001 – up to $60 \_/\_/\_/\_/
Tahbilk is one of the few Australian winemakers that does not depend on lashings of new oak for their reds. Their methods, including open vat fermentation, are more in tune with European tradition and the results are noticeably different from the brash young things that often reek of the barrique rather than the wine.

This wine has a complex aroma of berries compounded with pencil shavings, leather and tobacco leaf. The palate shows some bottle development and is full of savoury character with stewed plums and aniseed over a substructure of sinewy, assertively astringent tannin. Cellar to 2020.

Spitbucket rating system
Five gold spitbuckets \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/ – brilliant
\_/\_/\_/\_/ – classy
\_/\_/\_/ – first-rate
\_/\_/ – good stuff
\_/ – spit it!
An added $ or two denotes excellent value for money. Prices in Australian dollars.

Domande retoriche

Luca Risso 2007-09-14T11:16:57+00:000000005730200709 Vino @it


Non esistono al mondo molti paesaggi del vino carichi di così tanta struggente bellezza come quelli che si possono ammirare alle 5 Terre. Si tratta di luoghi dove il lavoro dell’uomo nel corso dei secoli ha interagito così in profondità con il territorio rurale e marino, da creare una simbiosi inestricabile e irripetibile. Non natura selvaggia dunque, ma addomesticata senza violenza e con il rispetto dovuto a chi forniva attraverso la pesca e la vite i necessari mezzi di sostentamento. Se si deve spiegare cosa i cugini francesi intendono con il termine “Terroir”, non c’è esempio più evidente dei terrazzamenti delle 5 terre e del vino simbolo che da essi si produce: lo sciacchetrà.


AOC wines: SEVE agrees with UFC Que Choisir enquiry about quality

Mike Tommasi 2007-09-12T14:27:46+00:000000004630200709 Wine

SEVE communiqué

For several years now, consumers organizations and the press have alerted the public to the degradation of appellation (AOC) wines in France. Let us recall that in December 1995 consumer magazine UFC Que Choisir published an enquiry (Vins français, la qualité en peril = French wine, quality endangered) questioning in a well argued article the quality of wines and the authenticity of the claims of French AOCs. We also recall that Alain Berger, at the time director of INAO, declared in this article that “one can find on the market today some horrible products marked with the AOC label… AOC wines today represent half of the French production by volume. It is too much, we must stop this now”.

Finally we recall that the winemaker’s unions at that time arrogantly and violently attacked Que Choisir, and managed to get Alain Berger fired.

In its announcement on September 3rd, 2007, UFC Que Choisir asks the same question again, 12 years later: for wine consumers, is the AOC label reliable? Sève, an association of winemakers founded in order to obtain a radical reform of the appellation system, agrees with the answer given by UFC Que Choisir: No! Because “the loss of credibility of the AOCs is explained also by the coexistence within the appellations of two types of wine with very different quality-price ratios, and which must now be officially separated: on the one hand, wines that have a strong link to terroir that respect the original definition of AOC, on the other hand wines with less character that correspond to a new market demand, and that should develop outside of the appellation system. By distinguishing these two categories with distinct labels, we can satisfy the double requirement of making consumer choices clearer while safeguarding the AOC heritage.” (UFC Que Choisir)


The AOC reform will fail if the French wine appellation system refuses to redefine its market segments.

Mike Tommasi 2007-09-12T14:16:30+00:000000003030200709 Wine

In an article in the French language section of TheWineBlog.net Marc Parcé, winemaker at Banyuls and Maury (Domaine de la Rectorie and Préceptorie de Centernach) and one of the leaders of the winemaker’s association Sève, has pointed out the risks of the AOC reform being prepared by INAO, the French government body in charge of regulating appellations for food and wine.

In his reading of the recent reports from INAO and CNAOC (the national confederation of AOCs) concerning the specifications and the plans for inspections and controls on wine, all the positive points of the reform have been diluted or removed, while the most dubious ones, especially those that will bring a leveling down of all wines, remain.