Forwards into February and I’m always so pleased at this time of year that the early evenings are a bit lighter, and we can start to look forward to Spring. After the freezing winter we’ve had, and a certain amount of ‘being good’ over diet, exercise and money during last month, I’m definitely up for some fun!
I’m going to spend plenty of time over delicious feasts this month, treating myself, my partner and friends to some great evenings in, cooking up warming feasts and opening some lovely wines to go with them. ‘The girls’ are heading over soon, for an evening full of chat and the kind of food that’s perfect shared with close mates. I’ll be making vegetable samosas followed by a big chicken curry, with plenty of spicy, scented ginger, garlic and coriander. To drink with it, we’ll be cracking into some rich, fruity white wines - like buttery, rounded Australian Semillon-Chardonnay blends, and peachy, perfumed Viogniers. At this time of year, I prefer my whites pretty ‘full on’, aromatic, fruit-driven and packed with flavour - and these whites stand up to fairly hot spices too.
But the main date in my February diary is Valentine’s Day. Last year we had a real treat - pan-seared, Indian spiced duck breasts, with an utterly irresistible Pinot Noir to go with it. The Pinot Noir grape creates red wines which are exceptionally smooth, soft and juicy - and they go especially well with tender, succulent meat like duck. For those who prefer lamb, switch to reds made from the Carmenere grape which is more gutsy and has a distinctive peppery twist. Carmenere - usually from Chile - is almost ‘savoury’ in style, with a spicy, cinnamon and clove character too. Perfect with rogan josh and other classic lamb curries.
Which just leaves room for a chocolate or two. I’m raising my glass, then, to a truly sociable and, of course, very