FROM IONA'S KITCHEN

Melanzane with One Man Band Red

With all the ubiquitous salads being served during the holidays sometimes I crave a warm, generous cooked vegetable dish. I have made a lot of melanzane in my life and my days of using about a litre of olive oil to fry 8 bringals cut into slices (only to have it all drain out again onto kitchen paper) are over. So try this and not only will you not have to lie in a darkened room at the end of the preparation but you may well even prefer it to the more "correct" version.

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Omelette and Iona Chardonnay

This is for when you are "gatvol" of having a house full of people and starting to seriously regret having asked the whole family to stay. You're already sick of food and even more sick of cooking. So you send them all off to have a pizza somewhere and you have your kitchen to yourself. Now you make yourself the best omelette ever and eat it at a properly laid table with a cold glass of Iona Cy. This is pretty much my favourite meal. If you keep hens as we do, go and collect some eggs ... Or buy free range. Simple dishes require good ingredients. Making any egg dish properly is always about temperature – but follow me and I'll show you a good time ...

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Magna Cauda and One Man Band White

I'm useless at snacks (this is what happens when you had a mother who blasted you if you let so much as a sprig of parsley pass your lips before a meal in case you "ruined your appetite"), and so I prefer to do this dish as a starter. It's essentially a "warm bath" of anchovy and garlic sauce into which you dip a variety of raw or lightly steamed vegetables. I use half a slightly baked red pepper per person as a little container for the warm sauce.

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Roast Duck with Apples, Prunes and Iona Pinot Noir

I'm including this Roast Duck recipe because it's what I would want to eat with Iona Pinot Noir 2015. Juliette and Jacqui, my trusty advisors who know much more about food and wine pairing than I do, tell me it should be seared Salmon – no question. But I'm writing this so I get to choose.

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Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder paired with Solace Syrah

We all need a slow cooked meat dish in our repertoire. It basically means you can cook a meal for 12 people without exhausting yourself or ending up in the nut house. The genius of this recipe is that it is a complete doddle to make, it cooks while you sleep, literally – so you need to start this the evening before the day you need it, and has the advantage of being able to be two entirely different meals, depending on what you fancy. I will explain this at the end ... I am well aware that eating Pig is forbidden by most major religions but this one is for the Christians and their "Christmas" and of course any other universal soldiers out there.

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Mussels paired with Iona Sauvignon Blanc

Some folk are daunted by serving mussels at home, but if you have access to fresh mussels (frozen are horrible ... don't even go there) then I can't think of an easier way to make a really special but casual lunch. I get mine from the Gordon's Bay Fisheries and they are bullet proof. Served with Iona Sauvignon Blanc and some crusty bread this is Christmas holidays in a bowl.

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Tosca Blueberry Cake with Mr P Pinot Noir

So the wine doesn't actually go with the cake. I'm of the opinion that no dry wine goes with pudding – not even very bitter chocolate ones. I'm also determined to give you a dessert recipe because it is Christmas after all, and I happen to think this is a tip-top one. So having said all that, I suggest you just drink the wine while making the cake ...

The smell of toasted almonds and ripe blueberries are your pairing to this bright jewel of a wine and you can listen to Puccini's beloved opera of the same name in who's honour this cake was supposedly named if you really want to get into the spirit of things.

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Raspberry Coconut Cake

Elgin has been producing blueberries for quite some time now, but recently there seems to be a flush of raspberries coming on stream. They are just gorgeous, really perfumed with a tart acidity which makes them perfect to counter the sweetness of puddings and cakes. This recipe comes straight from the Marie Claire Seasonal Kitchen, and I promise that I have not fiddled with anything except that I used freshly grated coconut instead of dried desiccated coconut which can surely only count as an improvement ... I think?

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Asian Braised Chicken

This is for anyone is who desperate to do something different on Roast Chicken night. I got the idea from Neil Perry's beautiful book Rockpool. He would probably have a complete fit if he saw how I have butchered his recipe for Red Braised Pork Hock. But it is testament to the man's genius that even in this embarrassingly simplified and speeded up form, these ingredients combine to make for a fragrant, mind clearing and beautiful supper. After trying this you might even be inspired to try the real thing ... one day when you have lots of time!

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Tarte Tatin

This recipe is just fantastic and so easy it's worth trying. If you're having a whole bunch of people over for lunch you can take the pressure off and make the pastry the day before and then the rest is a doddle.

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Gluten Free Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I am not much one for desserts, strange considering my Namesake and great aunt, Rosie, would politely endure a meal as a means of getting stuck into the pudding course. She lived fiercely until she was 97 so it worked for her. The following dessert is so jam packed full of nutritious ingredients it would no doubt have added years onto her life, although taken a few off my mom and her her sisters who looked after her!

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Barley & Quinoa Salad with a Dill Dressing

Last summer we had our daughter in law spend a few weeks with us. She is a complete health nut and one of the most uncompromising eaters I have encountered. The following recipes are inspired by some of the fabulous recipes she brought into our kitchen and cooked for us. Nourishing and delicious.

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From Iona's Kitchen - Autumn/Winter Edition

It’s all well and good being on top of a mountain when it comes to grape growing, but when the wind is howling and the rain pelts down at  such an angle that it actually “rains” under your front door and through the closed windows – emergency measures in the kitchen are called for.  There’s nothing quite as consoling and warming as a steaming bowl of French onion soup.

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