This post is a happy sponsored collaboration with Sherry Wines UK. I have three great new recipes for you for your Bank Holiday picnic! Peach and manzanilla slushie, smoky pork rillettes & olive tapenade. Read on for details and have a great weekend.
Well, what about this sunshine? Isn’t it gorgeous? Summer has come, and with summer my attention turns to outdoor eating and cooking. Barbecues and picnics. Cold drinks, lots of food, and your favourite people to share it with.
Sherry Wines UK asked me to come up with some recipes for a picnic. I had to think twice. Not because I don’t love sherry, precisely because I do. What if everyone realises just how good it is and then the prices go up, as with my other favourite things? Sherry is priced excellently (some say underpriced), given the quality and the age. It is terrific value for money and very delicious.
Sherry is so much more than the sweet sherry cream that your Nan drinks at Christmas. Sherry is a fortified wine (although don’t be put off by this, it tastes light) and people often mistake this for strong, or equate it with a spirit. Most sherry wines are around 15%, and are perfect for the table, or your picnic blanket. Sherry can be bone dry, it can be rich, it can be salty, and it can be decadently sweet. Sherry makes for an excellent food wine. It should always be served chilled.
I worked with three of my favourite sherry wines for this picnic. All of these are wines that I drink regularly and they stand up very well on their own. Too well, at times, I would hazard, they make for very easy drinking. With food, they are even better.
Fino – a dry white wine made from palomino grapes in the bodegas of Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa María. It is light and dry, tasting often lightly of almonds, and is a perfectly refreshing drink with any meal – it matches almost everything – and it is terrific on a hot day.
Manzanilla – also made from palomino grapes but only in the bodegas of Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the mouth of the river Guadalquivar and near the sea. You can taste that in the wine which is very dry but has a slight brine character. It is excellent with seafood, I adore it with clams, and it is also great with nuts like almonds, cheese, especially slightly sweet ones like manchego. It was excellent with the peach in the sherry slushie that I made for my picnic (recipe below!).
Amontillado – a more complex wine with a darker colour and richer flavour due to deliberate oxidation. It is nutty with flavours of hazelnut and I love to pair this with ham and pork. I made a smoky pork rillettes with this and it was gorgeous with the amontillado in, and on the side.
Lets get to cooking!
Peach and Manzanilla Slushie
Are you grinning too? I am. These are SO good. Who said slushies are just for kids anyway?!
Ingredients (per slushie)
1 ripe peach, stone removed
half a glass of crushed ice
a sprig of mint as a garnish, and I can never resist some edible flowers
This is really straightforward, the biggest drama is crushing the ice. My blender has an ice setting, or you can use an ice crusher (who still has a Mr Frosty?!), put the ice in a strong plastic bag, seal it, wrap it in a tea towel and bash it with a rolling pin. Picnic in the park? Buy a bag of ice in a shop nearby and don’t forget your rolling pin, tea towel and bag.
Puree the peach and pass it through a sieve to get it as smooth as possible. Combine with the manzanilla. Pour in your glass and top it up with ice. Stir gently, and serve immediately with the mint and any edible flowers you might have on top.
Smoky Pork Rillettes
Rillettes are so good and so simple. Here the amontillado is a perfect partner with the pork belly, and the smoked paprika gives everything a delicious Spanish twist. The oven does all the work while you raise your glass of amontillado. Leftovers are perfect for snacks when you don’t want to cook. In this heat, ideal. What is not to love?
750g skinless boneless pork belly, cut into large dice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp caraway seed
2 tbsp Spanish paprika (my preference is hot, but sweet works well too)
250ml chicken stock
Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 150 deg C.
Toast the cumin seed and the caraway seed in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until the spices start to pop or you can smell them, no more than a couple of minutes. Grind them in a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. In a lidded pot that is good for the hob and oven (like a dutch oven or similar), add the ground spices to the pork along with the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, stock and amontillado. Add some salt and pepper (not too much, you can add more later if you need to), and stir it all through. Bring to the boil. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours.
Remove the lid and put it back in the oven. You want to evaporate off any excess fluid, retaining the flavours of the amontillado and the stock in the meat. When the rillettes are done, the meat will be firm but yielding. This will take 2.5 – 3 hours depending on your oven, pot, etc!
When the rillettes are ready, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the meat to a plate where you can pull it apart with forks (as you would with pulled pork). Put in a sterilised jar or dish that you will use for your picnic, packing it in. Pour some of the fat on top, which will add flavour, moisture and seal the rillettes so that they keep longer. I don’t think that will be a problem though.
I told you this was easy!
I don’t specify the colour as I made two tapenades, both black and green. I find the green matches better with the fino, but both are gorgeous. Choose your favourite colour and go with it.
300g pitted olives (best to buy them with stones and remove them as they are better quality, also look for the olives stored in extra virgin olive oil)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
8 anchovy fillets
3 tbsp capers
the zest and juice of one lemon
2 tbsp fresh oregano
a handful of fresh basil
75ml extra virgin olive oil
Put the garlic in your food processor first and blitz it until fine. Add the anchovies and pulse again. Then add everything else and pulse until course. This won’t need salt as olives are already salty. Add more lemon and oil if required.
Have a great weekend!