What's Cooking In Jamaica
We generally tend to think of wine as the ultimate point of sophistication. According to the Greeks and Romans, wine along with art and food were quintessential for good living, so who am I to argue. In my early wine experiences I often wondered how is wine made and how is it possible to have so many different wines. Wines in essence are grapes crushed into juice and slowly converted to alcohol through the addition of yeast. What happens is the sugars in the wine interact with the yeast and get converted to alcohol. I guess it stands to reason, the sweeter the grape, the higher the alcohol. There is lots of chemistry involved in this process which may be best explained by a chemistry professor which your lowly wine enthusiast isn’t able to. I am more concerned with the simple outcome of wine and its enjoyment rather than its intricate design and making at this point.
What gives each type of wine its unique profile is entirely dependent on the type of grape(s) or varietal (the term used by the wine connoisseurs) used to make it, where it grown and how it is grown. There are thousands of grape varietals that exist which I will simplify to the popular few you may typically see on your supermarket shelf, while perhaps oversimplify for the true wine connoisseur reading this column. We could broadly classify it into Reds, Whites and Sparklings.
The pronunciations are there for each so give it try. Say it a few times out loud just to allow it to flow off your tongue with ease. I said, a few times, so once more...There we go. Each wine has its own unique profile which will work best with specific foods.
By Jason Clarke
Gleaner Wine Contributor
Jamaicans celebrate Easter and observe the season of Lent which is traditionally observed with contrite prayer, fasting and the deprivation of things such as meat, alcohol, sweets or other types of food.
So how is a ‘foodie’ expected to survive during the season of Lent? Having given up meat myself, I have had to find interesting and creative ways to satisfy my appetite. Believe me; it’s not as hard as you think. Of course we all love the chicken, the beef and oh the ‘beloved swine’. However, for a short period, our bodies can enjoy a meatless diet that is fulfilling and fun!
You can still enjoy a pizza on a Friday night with the kids. Veggies make great toppings or add different types of cheese for more zest.
A delightful 'veggie' stew served over a bed of steaming rice is always sure to please! '
Since fish is no longer seen as a ‘penitential’ food, many lent observers resort to eating fish during this sacred period. Whether baked or steamed…curried or Cajun style – the choices are endless.
How about tacos with veggie mince or perhaps pasta in a light tomato and parmesan sauce?…both sound good to me.
You see, going meatless for Lent may seem challenging at first, but with a little creativity and planning, I guarantee you won’t starve. In fact, maybe going meatless can become a lifestyle change – or not. But trust me when I say… there are waaaay too many recipes to keep your forty days and nights full of flavour.
Give it a try!
We all love Pasta! Fettucine, Linguine, Ravioli…
Some say pasta was invented by the Chinese and brought to Italy by Marco Polo. However, the rest of us say it is ‘Italy’s gift to the world’.
A staple in almost every home, pasta is served at least twice a week in a variety of ways. From spicy meat sauce or stuffed with seafood, to stirring up a treat with tasty veggies; this simple, yet satisfying food is perfect for lunch or dinner!
What I love about pasta is the variety of taste, colour and texture. Some are long and skinny, others are short and thick (we are still talking about Pasta here). But the best thing is that it is so quick and easy to prepare.
· Here are a few tips to get you started:
Note…perfect pasta should have a firm chewy texture. Try adding a nice cheese like a zesty cheddar or mozzarella to make it even more delectable and finish it with a glass of Chardonnay
Entertaining a few friends tonight? Steak is always a great choice for making a great impression. But which cut is the best cut? How many of us really know the difference between a sirloin cut and a rib eye? Honestly speaking, for years I didn’t know which cut was what. I figured the more expensive the steak, the better is must taste! Ah…what a difference a little knowledge can make.
Well my friends, I am here to tell you that, yes, there are different types of cuts that are best used for grilling or braising. Some say the rib roast is the tastiest of all the steaks - tender and succulent. Others swear by the sirloin. But I have to tell you that the tenderloin (as the name suggests) is the most tender section and unfortunately, the most expensive.
If you can afford to indulge, you must treat yourself to a T-Bone or Porterhouse selection. However, regardless of the steak you choose, the most important thing is to get the most out of your steak when it comes to flavor & tenderness.
After all that, the only other thing needed is a good wine to accompany all that flavour. You know the old saying “red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat”. Not anymore! Times have changed. In fact, your steak can be paired with whatever suits your taste buds.
A full-bodied Red is traditionally a favourite as it helps to get the best out of your steak without interfering with the flavour. A nice dry White will be just as pleasing to your palate as it can really make the rich taste of a sizzling steak sing. And if you prefer a Rosé, that’s ok too.
Enjoy your steak anyway you please. All you need is some good seasoning, a big appetite and a passion for colours; red, white or rosé!
If you’re over the age of 18, please continue reading…
Have you ever made wine a part of an amazingly erotic experience? You should! Wine can dramatically
enhance a romantic interlude by reducing anxiety, lowering inhibitions, and ultimately spicing things up!
For centuries, wine has had a reputation of being an aphrodisiac. The word itself, comes from the name
of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, and conjures up ideas of magic ingredients and mystical love potions.
Wine is particularly seductive because of its richness and ability to tantalize the palette. Try pairing your
wine with ‘love foods’ such as cheese or fruit, or even chocolate and your senses will thank you for it.
For years now, people have been asking what’s the real deal on red wine - is it really good for your health or simply a trend that more and more people seem to be catching on to?
Red is hot, the colour of love and passion and often used to grab attention. No wonder so many people are drinking red wine nowadays. Ok, seriously…The latest ‘talk’ about drinking red wine perhaps comes from the benefits of resveratrol – a key ingredient found in this delightful social drink.
Studies have shown that these antioxidants could help people keep heart healthy, helping to increase ‘good’ cholesterol in the body, which in turn can help prevent heart disease and protect the arteries from getting damaged. Even the Egyptians used it as an antiseptic. And today, people include it in a recipe for colds - hot red wine with honey and some chopped up, dried nuts, such as walnuts and almonds.
Try it! And even if you still have the cold, you would have had a glass of wine (smile).
So why all the hype? It’s simple. Wine and partying go hand in hand. You can’t have a social gathering without ‘bottled poetry’. Red wine turns every meal into an occasion, makes every table more elegant and turns every moment into a memorable one. But everything in moderation, for a drink of wine will enliven your mood but lighten your head.
So, depending on who you ask…it may be all hype for now, but as the hype dies down, the facts behind the benefits of these powerful antioxidants will soon be celebrated. So go ahead and have a glass (or two) of your favourite Red
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