Wines of the month in Hanoi

motorino

Ruffino Chianti: Chianti DOCG occupies a special place in the heart and history of Ruffino. When Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino founded the winery in 1877, the first wine they produced was a Chianti. In keeping with tradition, Chianti DOCG features a distinct Florentine bottle reminiscent of the fiasco, the straw-dressed flask in which Chianti was originally bottled. Known as a Tuscan red: 70% Sangiovese, blended with varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Tasting Notes: This medium-bodied, well-balanced wine is approachable and aromatic, with classic Chianti aromas of violet and wonderful cherry fruit flavors. It finishes with spicy hints of wild cherry and hazelnut. It retains these fresh and fruity flavors since it receives no wood ageing.

ACCLAIM
Best Buy – 2011 Vintage
World Value Wine Challenge

Gold Medal – 2011 Vintage
Sommelier Challenge

Food Pairing: Pair this Chianti DOCG with a variety of traditional Italian dishes like ravioli and tomato-based pasta sauces, such as the Tuscan slow-simmered Ragù. Pizza is another favorite pairing especially the Margherita and a personal favourite meat pairing is Bistecca alla Fiorentina and beef carpaccio. Cheeses such as Mozzarella, Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino and Ricotta will be simply perfect. Its brightness and acidity also makes it a great companion for some Vietnamese cuisine such as the strong salty meat dishes and spicy pork dishes that are heavy on the garlic.

This wine is Imported by DaLoc wines and you can find this wine in Hanoi’s finest restaurants and as Wine of the month at Il mediterraneo restaurant in Hanoi. A great wine that you can really enjoy with great Italian food.

bottle

 

Cooking Italian in Hanoi’s rainy season – Get Inspired

I found a wonderful article written by author Darren Gall, while under the deluge of rain in nearby Cambodia: He creates a setting, a feeling and emotion,; it’s all about drinking the wine while cooking and definitely listening to great Italian opera to set the scene…

http://www.urban-flavours.com/2013/09/when-the-levy-breaks/

article_zoom_1535_3

Cinghiale in dolceforte – Wild Boar in Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate

chinghiale

This traditional Tuscan recipe dates back to the early 1500s, evolving between the Renaissence and the Baroque. Cinghiale in Dolceforte is a complex dish involving nearly twenty ingredients, creating multiple layers of flavor. It’s a great supper dish for cold weather, or a very impressive dinner party main dish, and it can be served with Creamy Polenta. The dish has an exuberant layering of flavors and use of candied fruits, nuts, bitter  chocolate and red wine, Italian chefs often prefer using half and half: Port and Tuscan red wine for cooking, and the choice of a Tuscan red wine to drink with this dish in an interesting one,  Un Chianti Classico oppure, perché no?, un Brunello di Montalcino…. From Chianti Classico to Brunello di Montalcino….. Read Darren Gall’s wine choices…

The Blood Of Jove: http://www.urban-flavours.com/2014/12/the-blood-of-jove/sfondo_bdv_tignanello_0-630x367

THE RECIPE

Unknown

Ingredients

  • MARINADE:
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • STEW:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried red chili pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 g) prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds wild boar, (if unavailable: stew beef, pork shoulder or other game meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • (Strained marinade liquid; see above)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dried prunes, coarsely chopped (plumped in a small amount of warm water, then drained well)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (plumped in a small amount of warm water, then drained well)
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), grated
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly parsley leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
Preparation

For the marinade:

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring all of the marinade ingredients to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool completely. Submerge the chopped raw meat in the marinade and refrigerate, covered, for 48 hours.

Strain the meat and vegetables out of the liquid (retaining the marinade liquid). Separate meat from vegetables and discard vegetables and bay leaf.

For the stew:

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the garlic in the olive oil just until it turns lightly golden. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onion is transparent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chili pepper flakes and saute for another 30 seconds. Stir in the prosciutto and saute for about 1 minute.

Pat the pieces of meat with a paper towel until dried well, then add to the pot and stir just until browned. Pour in the strained marinade liquid and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the bay leaf. prunes and sugar and return to a simmer. Cover and let simmer over low heat until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.

When meat is tender, stir in the orange zest, raisins, pine nuts, and grated chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as necessary.

Serve over creamy bowls of polenta, sprinkled with finely chopped fresh parsley or nipitella.

wild-boar-stew-tf

Buon appetito da Jess Andrenelli

Polpette Di Melanzane

images

The cooking of Puglia, the region that encompasses the ‘heel’ of the Italian peninsula on the Adriatic Sea, deserves to be much better known. It practically defines the Mediterranean diet, with a strong focus on simply prepared fruits of the sea and fresh produce like fava beans, cime di rape and eggplant. Puglia produces some of the best olive oil in Italy, of the deep green, fruity kind, which is used with abandon in the region’s dishes.

 

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant
100g grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 clove garlic
A handful of parsley
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs (as much as needed)
Olive oil for frying
Directions

Roast the eggplant, whole and unpeeled, in a hot (200°C/400°F) oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let it cool a bit. Skin the eggplant and place the flesh into a food processor. (If you find the flesh is watery, gently squeeze out the excess liquid with some paper towels.) Add the remaining ingredients (other than the bread crumbs) and process until well amalgamated and fairly smooth.
Then, spoonful by spoonful, and using the pulse function on your processor, mix in bread crumbs until the mixture holds together into a soft but workable paste. (Use only as much as you need, no more.)
Take a bit of the mixture at a time, form little ‘meatballs’. Shallow fry the meatballs in olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil, until golden brown on all sides.

BUON APPETITO!!!

Italian Food Tour – This week Calabria

Most of the cuisine of Calabria is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean and is often spicy. Pasta dishes with peppers, onions and sausage sauteed with or without sauce are very common. Frittatas made with pasta and sausage are also prevalent. Eggplant/Aubergine is a favorite dish in the region and is served in a variety of ways, Ciambotta, stewed aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes seasoned with onion and peppers, is eaten either hot or cold. In Calabrian cuisine, pork is the preferred meat. Preserving meat as sausage, ham and salame keeps it fresh through the year. Murseddu is a savory pork and veal liver pie seasoned with tomato and peppers and Capocollo di Calabria is a tender pork marinated with vinegar, massaged and pressed with whole black peppercorns. Anime Beate, a sweet pastry pocket-style dessert is a traditional sweet and another local favourite is Torrone di Bagnara, a sweet nougat.

 

Polpette di Melanzane – Aubergine medallionsimages

Maccheroncini Salsiccia & Oliva – Fresh handmade pasta with aromatised sausage meat and olives.279855_2212872331664_1543210054_2358045_1647251_o

Maiale all’Aceto – Pork tenderloin cooked in a cherry vinegar sauce.dsc_0279

Anime Beate – Calabrian style doughnuts filled with chocolate.baos

Buon appetito!

68942_367420423408673_8178813389816156275_n

 

Recipe – Sarde in Saor – an antipasto with fresh sardines

One of my favourite Italian antipasti, perfect for an aperitif is sarde in saor – fried fresh sardine fillets marinated in softly cooked white onions, usually with vinegar, raisins and pine nuts, all preferably prepared the day before serving. sarde-in-saor-feature-101

The sharpness of the vinegar wakens the tastebuds, while the sweetness of the odd raisin here or there and the creamy nuttiness of the pine nuts balances the sourness. It is the ultimate sweet and sour, or agrodolce, dish.

Sarde in Saor
12 fresh sardines, cleaned, heads and backbone removed and butterflied
Flour for dusting
Vegetable, seed or olive oil for frying
Some white wine
a handful of raisins
1 white onion
250 ml of white wine vinegar
1 clove, ground or crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground or crushed
freshly ground black pepper
a handful of pine nuts
Dust the sardine fillets in flour and deep fry in plenty of oil until golden and crisp. Season with salt and set aside on some paper towel to drain until needed.
Soak the raisins in some white wine to soften them. Meanwhile, slice the white onion finely and saute gently in some olive oil until they are transparent, then add the vinegar, pepper and spices. Let it cook for a few minutes then remove from heat.
In a small terrine or deep dish, place a layer of sardines, top them with some of the onions, some of the raisins (drained) and pine nuts, and continue layering until the sardines are used up, then top with a layer of onions, raisins, pine nuts and finish with the vinegar sauce poured over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate at least 24 hours before serving.
Serve as part of an antipasto, together with a selection of olives and crostini. These are best eaten at room temperature, removing from the fridge a couple of hours beforehand.

Recipe – Saltinbocca Alla Romana – Veal escalopes wrapped with prosciutto, sage & lemon

To celebrate September’s food tour to Lazio, we have chosen one of the special dishes from the menu:piatto-pronto-bicchieri-tovagliolo-azzurro_dettaglio_ricette_slider_grande3

SALTINBOCCA This classic Italian recipe for veal means ‘jump in the mouth’ – serve it with crusty bread to soak up the delicious pan juices. Buon appetito.

Bash out the escalopes until they are about 5mm thick. Place a sage leaf on each one, wrap with the prosciutto, then press another sage leaf on top and flatten out with your hand. Dust lightly with the seasoned flour. ( flour seasoned with black pepper and a pinch of salt) Heat the oil and the butter in a large frying pan until foaming, and fry the veal for 4-5 mins on each side until the prosciutto is crisp, then remove from the pan. Add the Marsala wine to the pan and sizzle to make a sauce. Add the lemon juice to taste. Put the veal back in the pan to heat through, then serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

Ingredients

3 veal escalopes, about 150g each
6 sage leaves
6 slices prosciutto
50g plain flour, seasoned
splash olive oil
small knobs of butter
200ml marsala wine
juice ½ lemon

Italian Food Tour – This week week Lazio

ravioli-con-piselliAt Il Faro this week’s culinary trip is taking you to Lazio. The Lazio region, located in central Italy, has always been a seat of cultural exchange, especially during the Roman Age. Simple pasta sauces, roast meats and pork products dominate the table. The sauces that adorn the pasta dishes in Lazio, vary from the very simple like cacio e pepe, or salty Roman pecorino and pepper, to much more elaborate recipes that may include butter, egg, pancetta or guanciale. The traditional pasta sauce from Amatrice, called Amatriciana, is made by sautéing onions in pork fat, adding tomatoes and spices and allowing the flavors to come together. The sauces are typically served with long pasta noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine. Short, or broken pasta, often appears in soups, where it is pairs with beans, chickpeas, cabbage, or broccoli and flavored with pounded lard, onions and herbs. Beef is the meat of choice in Lazio, however lamb and kid is also served. Coda alla Vaccinara, or braised oxtail, is a popular Roman dish. Outside of the city, and especially during the spring, you can find abbacchio, or lamb, baked in the oven, roasted on a spit or prepared in a fricassee. Many people eat chicken as well and either roast it or cook it with tomato and peppers, or in a pan with fiery spices. The most popular regional pork recipe is porchetta alla romana.

This week we have chosen 4 dishes that are typical of Lazio:

Antipasto:

Prosciutto e Melone – Parma ham a jewel in Italian culinary tradition, a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served with cool melon wedges, an explosion of flavours.

Il Primo:

Agnolotti alla Romana con creme di piselli – Fresh egg pasta parcels filled with roast beef and herbs in a delicious cream pea sauce.agnolottidutto

Il Secondo:

Salti in Bocca – veal Cutlets filled with sage and ham and cooked off in a white wine sauce.piatto-pronto-bicchieri-tovagliolo-azzurro_dettaglio_ricette_slider_grande3

Il Dolce:

Macedonia di Cesare –  A salad of fresh mixed marinated fruits.

 

Come by and try the best dishes from this region. 

10689709_364311800386202_3408508536844092823_n