As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve recently been selected to take part in Aldi Wine Club which requires me to undertake the arduous task of drinking a few bottles of wine, sent to me by Aldi, and tweeting a review of each one. So, first up is the Castellore Chianti DOGC – at £3.99 a bottle, one of Aldi’s budget reds.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the leftovers you get from a turkey Christmas dinner. I get real satisfaction from being able to throw some dinner together with things we already have in, without having to go out to the shops. Like the cannelloni in the previous post, this turkey and pea risotto is adapted from a chicken version in Save with Jamie. Again, it’s a good one for all the family.
One of the great things about cooking turkey for Christmas dinner is the inevitable leftovers and the opportunities they bring. Today I used the first of the leftovers to make a Turkey and Spinach Cannelloni adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie which, incidentally, is a good book to use if you’re wanting to be more economical whilst still enjoying great food. This is one of my favourite recipes from the book and, with a couple of slight tweaks, is good for all the family from 1o month old Asher up. Jamie’s recipe uses chicken but Turkey does the job just as well.
I’m not a big fan of the traditional Christmas cake, dense and fruit-filled as it is. It is nice though, to have similarly Christmassy alternative.
This year we had Christmas dinner at home and travelled over to Sheffield to spend the evening with my family. For the second year running, my Mum made a beautifully spiced ginger cake using a recipe from the Tesco website. The cake is deliciously sweet and sticky and the allspice, ginger and cinnamon give it a real Christmassy feel too.
The one modification made to the recipe was to add some lemon zest and juice to the buttercream. This gave an otherwise sweet and heavy cake a welcome, refreshing zing.
Christmas in our family invariably involves overindulgence. Christmas dinner itself is always one of the best meals of the year but there are plenty of other opportunities for indulgence throughout the day.
We had a Christmas fuddle* at work this week and I decided to make some sausage rolls with a twist. I never make my own pastry – the ready-made rolls of pastry you can buy do the job perfectly well – so sausage rolls are a great buffet food that require very little time and effort.
Inspired by a recipe I saw tweeted by Aldi I thought cranberry would add a nice sweetness and moisture to a standard sausage roll. I then looked at the jar of red pepper relish (homemade by my mum) in the fridge and thought I’d give that a try too – why not?
Following on from the success of our kids Halloween party, we thought it would be nice to get people together for another little party, this time for Christmas.
It was a family affair this time, except the Keanes from around the corner who
just seem to turn up uninvited to everything are like family.
We always try to put on a decent spread for a party and, as usual in our house, I dealt with the savoury while Samana took care of the sweet.
Much excitement this evening as the first Aldi Wine Club wines arrived. I’ve got a Castellore Chianti DOCG and a Philippe Michel Cremant Du Jura Chardonnay to have a try in the coming days and tweet a review of. I think I’ll try to match them with an appropriate meal in order to taste them in their best light.
But more on that later. Receiving these bottles of wine, for free got me thinking. There are a lot of terrible things going on in the world right now and as it’s coming up to Christmas it seemed like a good time to support some charities that are doing great work to help alleviate some of the suffering. So, seeing as I’m getting something for nothing over the next three months, I thought I’d donate some money (roughly equivalent to the value of the wines I’ll be receiving).
With the humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen, the work the Red Cross do in getting food and medicine to those who desperately need it is more important than ever. And Shelter report that 120,000 children in England will be homeless this Christmas. In my opinion, that’s a national scandal, but their advice, support and legal services will help people in this country find a safe and affordable home.
Anyway, just some food for thought.
Since Asher arrived (ten months ago, almost to the day) opportunities for Samana and I to go out just the two of us have been few and far between / non-existent. It was my birthday recently though and Samana arranged for her sister (hi Sajeela) to come and babysit while we went out for a meal.
Never having been to Mexico myself, I can’t claim to be an expert, but I love Mexican food. It’s right up there for me. But the majority of Mexican restaurants in this country are very much Tex Mex, rather than authentic Mexican. All Fajitas, Enchiladas, Tacos, Burritos etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love all that too, but the place we chose for my birthday is a bit different. A bit better too.
As a keen wino (albeit with limited knowledge), I was delighted to be accepted to be on the latest Aldi Wine Club panel this week. Every three months, Aldi select 30 people to join the panel to review some of their wines. I’ll be sent two bottles per month for three months in exchange for a tweet review for each wine.
First up, week commencing 19 December, I’m expecting:
Of course, I’m not going to do the bare minimum; I’ll post a longer review of each wine on here too, so you can laugh at my ignorance.