Delicious Vinos- Château Ksara Clos st Alphonse. Bekka Valley 2012.

I’m a true ambassador for the Middle East.  I would so love to see more wines being produced one day from the regions where I guess it could be embraced.  One thing is for sure, the terroirs and climates are wholly suitable. Naturally of course priorities in the region do not manifest in growing grapes. Lebanon however for me have just been getting better and better over the years and this year in particular there seems to be more awareness and penetration.  I was delighted to stumble on this particular wine in Marks and Spencer and snapped up a bottle at a very reasonable £10.  The 2012 Clos St Alphonse is a wonderful example of a well rounded and really beautiful wine.  All three grape varieties really shine through in equal measures, the silkiness of the Syrah, the warmth of the Cabernet Sauvignon and clay undertones of the Cabernet Franc. These grapes one can imagine being the best of friends as they gel wonderfully together. In all honesty this is going to be my midweek quaff from now on as it hits all my delighting criteria and très reasonable.  Mabrook!


Chicken Boulangère with Cabbage,lardons and cream.

This dish sits firmly on my top five favourite and non stressful dishes to make.  One can use chicken or lamb, the lamb version takes much longer to produce falling off the bones lamb ( suggested 5-6 hours at 140 degrees centigrade).  The chicken version is still just as tasty and only takes around 2.5 hours in the oven plus 25 minutes prepping time.

This dish is an ambassador for slow comfort cooking as you can quite literally put it in the oven, go for a long walk, go to the pub or if with friends have drinks and nibbles before enjoying it later.  It’s a real hearty dish and the aromas are sublime.

This makes enough for for 6 hearty portions….

Take 4 kilos of potatoes, slice and line the base of a large relatively deep pan.  Add 3 sliced onions, mix with the potatoes, sprig some herbs, Tarragon, Thyme and Rosemary work well.  Place 2 medium chickens on top, drizzle with olive oil, season well with salt and black pepper and add 2.5 pints of heavy chicken stock.  Basically leave in the oven for 2.5 hours on 150 degrees centigrade and chillax.

Once cooked, take out of the oven for 20 mins to rest, in this time you can make your cabbage.  This cabbage dish is my daughter’s favourite thing in the world as its fabulously comforting and deliciously moorish.

Take 2.5 cabbages of your choice, shred finely and put into a deep pan with a generous dollop of olive oil.  Add 200gms of Olive oil and sauté for five minutes.  Add 200 grams of Bacon lardons and cook for a further 6 minutes or until cooked with a little bit of colour.  Turn the heat down, and add in 300 mls of double cream, simmer and season with some black pepper.  Finally stir in two tablespoons of whole grain mustard.

Enjoy with some crusty bread to mop up the sublime juices and of course a nice rustic glass of vin rouge..


Delicious Vinos- Chateau Kefraya Grand Cru 2008

All I can say is what a bewitching little number this is…  My friends returned last week from Beirut to with a couple of bottles of this corker.  Chateau Kefraya is located in the heart of the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, and clearly these vineyards are capable of providing outstanding and elegant wines.  Elegant is what it was by the way in terms of packaging, look and taste. A beautiful harmony of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon produced a sexy voluptious body draped in silk. I married into Lebanese family who have had a penchant for Fine French reds and I have had the pleasure to taste some of the finest. I absolutely found this divine as a comparison in every way, and absolutely adore a Lebanese who can hold their own!  I love the strapline by the way- A Terroir, a soul, a great wine.  Spot on!