The Friday 5 #26 - celebrating 6 months of Eat This, Drink That
Get a third off a subscription with my flash weekend sale! Plus 10 bargainous wine buys under £10, a cheat's fondue, some ridiculously good crisps and, er, some candles.
I’m not sure how it happened but this weekend marks six months of Eat This, Drink That which I started on impulse back in April. Like many writers I was frustrated that it was getting progressively harder to write about the things that really interested me - in my case food as well as wine - and earn a decent living from it.
Although I’m lucky enough to have regular columns in the Guardian, Decanter and National Geographic Traveller Food I don’t earn any more from my writing, believe it or not, than I did 25 years ago. Of what other industry is that true?
I also created a website matchingfoodandwine.com which has become an invaluable free resource for anyone who is wondering what wine to pair with a particular ingredient or dish or find the best food matches for their favourite wines. Free, that is, to you not to me. There’s a team behind it which has to be paid for!
(This is not intended as a massive whinge so I hope it doesn’t appear like that. I love what I do but I need to make it pay better!)
So I’m hugely grateful to the those of you who have already signed up as paid subscribers and hope you’ve been enjoying your weekly Friday 5, offers and discounts and the other exclusive content on the site. And thank you too to all those of you who have signed up for a free subscription and contributed to the debates and discussions.
If you have been hovering around, however, wondering whether to come on board as a paid subscriber there’s a really good incentive by way of a whopping 33% discount on annual subscriptions this weekend which you can sign up to HERE. That works out at £24 a year or just two pounds a month. Less than a cup of coffee or a tube ticket!
I’m also making The Friday 5, my weekly round up of food and drink tips, available free to everyone this weekend, so you can have a peek at what you’re missing 😉
10 good wine buys for under a tenner
I seem to have spent the entire week in wine tastings including M & S, Waitrose and the Wine Society which are all massive ones. These are the wine buys and current offers which stood out for me
Finca Lalande Organic Malbec 2021 £6.99 down from £10.49
If you like big lush malbecs this is a belter. And a terrific reduction.
Domaine Huber Grüner Veltliner 2021 £8.09 down from £10.79
A well-priced example of Austria’s signature grape variety. A good fresh everyday white to have in the fridge.
Piccozza Pinot Bianco 2021 Trentino-Alto Adige £8.99 down from £11.99 Smooth creamy white which would make a good substitute for white burgundy. Lovely with anything with a creamy sauce.
Anna de Cordoniu Brut £8.99 down from £11.99
Good value, good-looking Cava if you like to have a few bottles of fizz to hand.
PS Bear in mind that Waitrose is likely to have a 25% off deal before Christmas. (On the basis that they usually do.)
M & S
M & S Found Furmint 2021 £8
I really like the M & S ‘Found’ range of less usual grape varieties and this beguilingly almondy Hungarian white is just lovely. (Think creamy pasta dishes and risottos)
M & S Found Zweigelt £8.50
Also from Austria, a bright juicy red you’ll love if you like Beaujolais. Would actually be rather good with tapas.
M & S Found Weissburgunder £9.50
A bit more expensive but could easily pass for a white burgundy. Think fish pie.
Tapa Roja Old Vines Monastrell 2021 £7
Good value everyday Spanish red. Perfect for a pizza or pasta bake.
All these wines are also available in Ocado.
The Wine Society
Ferdinand Mayr Grüner Veltliner 2021 £7.95
Even better than the Waitrose grüner above, if you’re a Wine Soc member. Would be great with noodle salads or Vietnamese food.
Chateau Canada Bordeaux Supérieur 2019 13.5% £8.50
Unlikely name but an absolutely cracking basic claret. No-one beats the Wine Society for Bordeaux at this price which is probably why it’s out of stock at the moment (although back on October 10th). In the meantime the Château La Gravière at just over £10 is a great buy too.
For my pick of the latest Lidl wine tour check out my column in the Guardian this weekend!
Fried egg crisps
I’m a big fan of Torres crisps but they’ve really excelled themselves with their huevo frito or fried egg potato chips. If you’re a fan of crispy-edged fried eggs you’ll get the idea - they taste of the white rather than the yolk. And - I can vouch for this as I had a bottle open - they go incredibly well with champagne. And, more modestly, Cava.
You can buy them in good delis, Harvey Nichols or online from souschef.co.uk
Speaking of potatoes …
… which I frequently do I stumbled across this reference on the American website Kitchn to a viral TikTok recipe which is billed as the world’s best potatoes. The hack is apparently dipping them into a spicy parmesan paste then roasting them which gives them a irresistibly crispy, cheesy crust. Going to give that a go this weekend but what’s not to like?
Kitchn readers are obviously big on potato recipes as there are several other great looking ones on the site. If you’re a fellow potato fan you might want to check them out.
How to create an instant fondue
If you haven’t already discovered that Camembert and Vacherin make fantastic fondues then you should as I was reminded by Patricia Michelson of one of London’s leading cheese shops La Fromagerie this week.
Her top tip is to take it out of the fridge for at least an hour before you put it in the oven. “The cheese always has to be at room temperature. Remove the lid and any plastic packaging and smear with white wine. Pop the lid back on and cover with foil and bake in very hot oven 200° fan/220°electric/ 425°F/Gas 7 for 20-25 minutes (slightly less for a Camembert) until it’s molten and bubbling. Take off the lid, slide back the top layer of rind then grind over some black pepper and a little nutmeg, if you like it. Serve with crusty bread or boiled potatoes, steamed broccoli or a green salad dressed with a walnut vinaigrette (made with walnut oil and a little lemon juice. No vinegar!)”
Another tempting suggestion is this baked camembert in pastry with quince as quinces are in season now.
My favourite candles
With the nights getting shorter and darker It’s good to lay in a stock of candles and some of the best ones I’ve come across are from St Eval in Cornwall. As an ex-convent girl my favourite one is Inspiritus which reminds me - in a good way - of the school chapel but I spotted one in Patricia’s shop called Embers which I’m going to have to try too. Preferably with an Islay malt in hand.
It’s obviously more convenient to buy them from a shop as you can have a quick sniff first to check which ones appeal to you but it’s generally cheaper to buy them from St Eval direct. It’s worth signing up for their newsletters as they often do special offers and you get 10% off your first order.
Finally a quick reminder that today is your last chance to go in for this month’s competition to win a case of gran reserva rioja and, for paid subscribers*, to win Sabrina Ghayour’s latest book Persiana Everyday. (You can find the link in this previous email)
Have a good weekend!
That’s one of the other advantages of being a paid subscriber: cookbook giveaways and discounts on products like the amazing Netherton Foundry spun iron cookware. Just sayin’ …
Here’s the link again to get this weekend’s six month celebration discount. Did I mention it was a third off the regular price?