Olivier Ravoire Côtes du Rhône (All good wine shops, €10.99 )
Made from 80 per cent Grenache and a 20 per cent equal mixture of Syrah and Mourvèdre, this is a well-priced bundle from the vineyards around Vacqueyras and Cairanne in the southern Rhône. Rich raspberry fruit on the nose, that follows through on the palate, and along with some spice and pepper give a rugged honesty to a wine that works really well with a roast sirloin dinner or a plate of Roquefort or something a little funky like grilled sardines.
Laurent Miquel Vérité Viognier 2008 (Dunnes Stores, €12.99 )
Languedoc Viognier has become really popular in recent times despite the vast majority of French Viognier being washed into Vin de Pays. That said, this particular beauty is a fragrant and grassy perfume of nose-candy that’s smooth, citrusy and again fragrant, if a little thin, on the palate. The long finish, however, compensates more than enough for any shortcomings. Check out also Laurent Miquel’s Saga Pegot Faugeres 2007 (100 per cent Syrah ) as a red wine accompaniment.
On the Menu in One Pot Recipe
Getting well away from the frivolity and seasonality of Christmas, January brings with it a longing for spring and some good old-fashioned recipes to get you there. So, in the spirit of hearty throwbacks that were often forgotten in the years when the Celtic Tiger was fed on Heston Blumenthal’s Mecanno-style constructions that spoke to you and Gordon Ramsay’s empire-building that shouted at you, On the Menu in One Pot Recipe … starting today, celebrates traditional ingredients in one-pot wonders that easily come together.
Paul’s Irish stew
For 4-6 servings
1.5 kg (3 lbs ) neck of lamb chops
6 potatoes – scrubbed or peeled
3-4 carrots – scrubbed or peeled
2 tbsp of pearl barley
1 tsp dried thyme or couple of fresh sprigs
Stock or water
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley to scatter when cooked
Put chops in a pot and cover with cold water seasoned with bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Simmer for 30 minutes. Then, chop the lamb, discard bones and bay leaves and reserve the ‘lamb liquid’. Chop potatoes and vegetables thickly.
In a big pot or casserole layer the potatoes, meat, vegetables and scatter over the pearl barley and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Finish with a layer of potatoes. Pour over ‘lamb liquid’ and add stock if necessary to bring it up to about 1 and a half litres (2 pints ) to cover everything. Cover pot/casserole tightly (foil and lid ) and cook for two hours: simmer the pot at the lowest heat on the cooker or put the casserole into the oven at 130C.
On the Cookery Book Shelf
The Oxford Companion to Beer
Edited by Garrett Oliver
Oxford University Press
Edited by Garrett Oliver, an authority on a good brew and the Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster, this is a dictionary of entries that covers everything from abbey beers to zymurgy - the chemistry and science of yeast fermentation. Of particular interest are the entries on porter and the birth of commercial brewing, Irish beer and stout, the original Pilsner, Polish beers and hops, and Ukrainian beers and hops. For any beer-mad aficionados thinking of making their way across Europe in a campervan later in the summer heading to the World Cup, and if the back isn’t taken up with the paraphernalia of a nation going on tour, this is sure to be the perfect companion.