April 16, 2013

I just couldn’t justify blogging about anything else beginning with N. For the few who do not know, Nigella is an English home cook who has a few books and TV series to her name. My website contains 19 posts or recipes that mention her.

I often refer to her as the Domestic Goddess, I saw from one of her tweets, ( OK I follow her but only because she tweets a recipe of the day) that she doesn’t necessarily like the title. It is the name of my favourite of her books so I will continue to do so (sorry Nigella!).

The planning process for my wine course involves researching the flavour profiles of wines I am planning to taste with the students. Once I have a feel for the flavours  we might encounter I can then plan the dishes that I hope will match perfectly with them. It is fascinating to trawl through recipes on the internet and see what jumps out. I tend to try and begin my exploration with dishes that originate from the same country as the wine but of course this isn’t always possible. I search with an open mind but more often than not I will be drawn towards recipes by Nigella, Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, whose books were on my bookshelf right from the start. I also favour a few chefs who have produced dedicated food and wine matching books or blogs. These names are familiar, but they are also dependable, rarely failing to deliver.

The thing that really draws me to the Goddess’s recipes is that she absolutely loves her food. She reportedly raids her fridge at night for treats and leftovers. She tucks into her desserts with such gusto and enjoyment how could you possibly not want to recreate them? She is my “go-to” for a chocolate dessert and never disappoints. I wouldn’t even dream of catering for Christmas without her. The latest recipe collection, Nigellissima, offers us a Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. As far as I am concerned that is a health food, dark chocolate as we all know is an anti-oxidant, olive oil is the healthy oil and is part of the revered Mediterranean diet. The cake can be offered to anyone who cannot eat wheat or dairy products. Pair it with some raspberries or strawberries and a glass of red wine and you are purportedly helping your heart. I have made it twice, pairing it with a Southern Rhone red blend and an Australian Shiraz. If tasted divine on both occasions. Enough justification?