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Herb encrusted lamb & Barbaresco

January 18, 2011 by Inez No Comments »

Just because christmas is over doesn’t mean to say the food and wine has to end, well not in my world anyway!! I made this recipe for the girls I live with and it went down a treat.  Im not suprised that it they enjoyed it so much normally they have a diet of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and Lyons Tea so it was only natural that the lamb was a welcome change!!!

Herb Encrusted Lamb
1 rack of lamb, enough for 4 people with the fat taken off
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of dried Thyme
1 tbsp of dried Rosemarry
1 tbsp of dried Oregon
1 tbsp of dried Parsley
2 tbsp of bread crumbs
2 or 3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl then simply smear the the herb mixture over the rack of lamb. Place the lamb on any container which will contain the juices and put in the oven for 40-45mins.  Ensure that the oven is not too hot as the herbs on the outside will burn.
I then prepared some mash potatoes with dill, and some carrots and beans with butter and a little onion. 

A dish like this must have a good wine to go with it,  lamb being a highly flavoursome and fairly heavy meat should have an equally flavoursome and full bodied wine to match.  As I was lashing out I decided to have a Barbaresco by Elvio Cogno.Elvio Cogno
Elvio Cogno is a winery situated in the heart of the Langhe district in Piedmonte and naturally they produce two of Italy’s most famous red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco!!! The Barbarescois made from the same Nebbiolo grape as the Barolo however it is not as full bodied as the Barolo.  Barbesco is a very elegant and aromatic wine and this is because of the excellent vinification methods. It must be aged for at least 2 years one of which must be in oak barells, and is best drunk after 5-10 years.  The Barbaresco is rich and spicy and has wonderful flavours of  rose petal, red fruits, tar, and earth.  It does need to be decantered though but after good 30mins it was smooth, and soft and lived up to its name of being a highly elegant wine.  These wondeful array of flavours and aromas make it a perfect match for the lamb and all in all you have an amazing meal on your hands.


Inez O’Shea
“A Taste of Italy”


Mulled wine and Mince Pies

January 10, 2011 by Inez No Comments »
Mulled wine and mince pies go hand in hand at christmas time!! I suggest a nice deep Montepulciano di Abruzzo by Pietrantonj.   This wine has a lot of depth and goes nicely with all of the spices.  I prefer good mince pies from a bakery rather then the supermarket, as I often find the mince pies in the supermarket very artificial and rich.  Naturally the mince pies MUST be served with freshly whipped cream!!
Here is a lovely recipe for Mulled wine!!
• 2 clementines
• peel of 1 lemon
• peel of 1 lime
• 250g caster sugar
• 6 whole cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 fresh bay leaves                                                                               
• 1 whole nutmeg
• 1 whole vanilla pod, halved                            
• 2 star anise
• 2 bottles of Chianti, or other Italian red wine
Method: Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It’s important to do make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.  When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and both bottles of wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.
Mulled wine and mince pies Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration
Merry Christmas from all of us at A Taste of Italy
Inez O’Shea
“A Taste of Italy”




A Taste of Spain!!!

November 2, 2010 by Inez 3 Comments »

I know we are “A taste of Italy” however on the weekend I strayed from my usual stomping ground and went to Spain, and what a pleasure it was, despite the fact that my wallet was stolen the Spanish hospitality and culture was its usual friendly, relaxed, and hospitable self.  The reason for my visit was to see a friend, and she, like me “lives and breathes” food and wine, so the first stop was to the deli to buy copious amounts of Jamon, Chorizo, and as many types of Spanish cheeses we could get our hands on!!!

The next objective was to prepare the famous “Paella”. I know I must seem like a bit of “Jack of all trades, Master of none” (as my Dad would say) by cooking Italian, Asian, Malaysian, foods but I really do like to try my hand at everything. Which is exactly what we did. Here is a lovely little recipe which we thorougly enjoyed.  Dont be daunted by the list of ingredients, once you have the ingredients and chopped them up,  its smooth sailing, so long as you follow the method closely,  you will have a delicious Spanish speciality to enjoy!!

weinflascheBecause the majority of the ingredients are white meat, ie chicken or rabbit and seafood I would recommend the Pinot Grigio by Cantina Terlano. Cantina Terlano is a famous winery from Trentino Alto Adige and they produce elegant crisp wines. They are of an extremely high quality and this is due to their scrupulous production methods and also the “Terroir”  of the winery ie volcanic soil, high alpine altitude and the high quality of their grapes, as a result the wine is crisp in flavour yet highly elegant. I personally found the Pinot Grigio by Terlano so light and subtle I was truly amazed. Often I find Pinot Grigio’s to be quite powerful and sharp however this wine is quite the opposite it has aromas reminiscent of ripe honeydew melons, and on the palate the flavours are of pear, apples and slight almond notes. It is soft and balanced with a long finish. It goes extremely well with the Paella as it doesn’t overpower the seafood or chicken and is nicely complimented by the flavours of the chilli, paprika, and garlic.


  • 170g/6oz chorizo, cut into thin slices
    pancetta, cut into small dice
    2 cloves
    garlic finely chopped
    1 large Spanish
    onion, finely diced
    1 red pepper, diced                                                        

    1 tsp soft
    thyme leaves
    ¼ tsp dried red chilli flakes
    570ml/1pint calasparra (Spanish short-grain) rice

    1 tsp
    125ml/4fl oz dry white wine
    1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock, heated with ¼ tsp saffron strands
    chicken thighs, each chopped in half and browned
    18 small
    clams, cleaned
    110g/4oz fresh or frozen
    4 large tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
    125ml/4fl oz good
    olive oilPaella
    1 head
    garlic, cloves separated and peeled
    12 jumbo raw
    prawns, in shells
    squid, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
    5 tbsp chopped flatleaf
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Preparation method

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a paella dish or heavy-based saucepan. Add the chorizo and pancetta and fry until crisp. Add the garlic, onion and pepper and heat until softened. Add the thyme, chilli flakes and calasparra rice, and stir until all the grains of rice are nicely coated and glossy. Now add the paprika and dry white wine and when it is bubbling, pour in the hot chicken stock, add the chicken thighs and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Now place the clams into the dish with the join facing down so that the edges open outwards. Sprinkle in the peas and chopped tomatoes and continue to cook gently for another 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil with the garlic cloves in a separate pan and add the prawns. Fry quickly for a minute or two then add them to the paella. Now do the same with the squid and add them to the paella too.
  4. Scatter the chopped parsley over the paella and serve immediately

Inez O’Shea
“A taste of Italy”


Seafood Laksa and Gewürztraminer

October 12, 2010 by Inez 1 Comment »

Having just returned from Australia I have rediscovered Asian foods. Because Australia is so close to Asia we have a very similiar climate and have the ability to grow many of the ingredients found in Asia. As a result very little is imported and in my oppinion the quality is fantastic.  Having based my trip in the North of Australia in a placed called Cairns the climate is tropical, so in other words hot and humid and in my oppinion the fruit, vegetables and herbs here are unbeatable!!  There also is a very large Asian population in Cairns so as you can imagine the food is pretty close to the “Real McCoy”.
As the climate is extremely hot no wine is produced in Cairns however all of the fantastic wines from New Zealand and Southern Australia are readily available. Very little red wine is drunk here as its simply too hot to even consider thinking about drinking anything above 6 or 7 degrees!!  So generally its white wine which didnt bother me. In fact it was nice to enjoy white wines for a change, as here in Europe its red wine for most of the year!!

Laksa (Rice noodle soup with prawns, S.E. Asia)My favourite meal was a Seafood Laksa unfortunately I didnt have time to make my own Laksa paste but there are excellent paste’s on the market which are just as nice!! Here is the recipe I used!!


1 packet of Seafood Laksa curry paste
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 litre chicken stock
500ml coconut milk
18 medium green Prawns, peeled and deveined
300g white fish, preferably a thick fillet
200g flat rice noodles, soaked in boiling water 10-15 minutes, until soft
2 limes, juiced
1 handful of bean sprouts
1 handful of snow peas
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 bunch Vietnamese mint, to serve
1 bunch coriander, to serve
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and shredded
1½ limes, extra, to serve

Heat oil in a wok. Add Laksa Paste and fry for 5-10 minutes, until oil floats to the top and it smells aromatic. Add chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fish balls, simmer for 2 minutes then add Prawns, increase heat and return to the boil then remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.

Divide drained rice noodles between 6 deep bowls, add tofu, green onions and bean sprouts. Stir half the lime juice and fish sauce through the soup, taste and add more if needed. Ladle soup into bowls and top with Vietnamese mint, coriander, cucumber, and lime wedges.

The most ideal wine to serve with  Asian foods is the Gewürztraminer. The Gewurtztraminer is a grape traditionally grown in Italy’s Trentino region however now it has spread to Germany and France’s Alsace region.  The Gewürztraminer grape produces a full-bodied strong, heady wine. It has spicy, exotic lychee-nut flavour’s, with hints of passionfruit and and has a fairly heavy-oily texture, which is why the strong flavours of a curry help to “cut it down”, so to speak.  This wine needs a dish to balance it out and for example a delicate piece of fish is just no match for the spicy, strong and powerful flavours of the Gewürztraminer, similarly an elegant soft wine would be lost on a spicy, flavoursome curry!! All in all a wonderful flavoursome meal is in store and I hope you enjoy the wine and food together!!

Inez O’Shea
“A taste of Italy”


Recipe for the week!!!

August 30, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

Champagne Rice!!!                                                 


This is a recipe for the ladies!! So Gentelmen if you’re wishing to make a good impression, keep this recipe in mind!!


1 lt of  vegetable stock
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan                                                   
1/4 onion
2 handlfuls of risotto per person
3-4 tablespoons of butter
1.5 cups of Prosecco or Champagne
(This recipe is for 4 people)

Dice the onion and brown with a tablespoon of butter.  At the same time heat up the stock so its hot but not boiling. Add the rice to and stir for a few seconds,using a wood spoon so that it is a little crunchy. Keep the heat low, and now add one glass of champagne. Wait until the rice has abosorbed the champagne and with a ladle add 1 ladle of stock, continue to stir the rice until again it has been absorbed, repeat this process for about 20 mintues or so until you can see that the rice is a thick consistency and if you try a small amount on a spoon, it should be soft!! Just before its ready, add 1 cup of parmesan, half a glass of champagne, and a good dollp of butter, and continue to stir!!
Serve in a bowl, and if you wish add some cracked pepper and a little more parmesan on top.

Enjoy with the remaining champage, but once this has finished, you could move onto a good glass of Greco. Greco, by Cantina Tabourno is from Campania, near Napoli!! Its a step up from the light crisp Prosecco and for me I prefer to enjoy with the rice as I find that with all the different flavours of the risotto, a wine with a bit of body really adds to it and seems to accentuate all of the different flavours not only in the rice but also in the wine as well!!
Greco by Cantina Tabourno, is medium bodied.  You will notice hints of almonds, this is due to the volcanic soil.  The aroma’s are of lemons and tropical fruits.  To drink its FULL of flavour yet suprisingly smooth, it is refreshing and quite crisp, with the predmoninant flavours being of  lemons, pears and toasted almonds!!

Greco comes from a very warm environment, and there are many influences on its flavours. First and formost the Volcanic soil of Campania really changes the taste of the wine, it gives the wine the mineral notes which it is extremely famous for. Then of course being right on the sea it has the influences of the fresh sea breezes and not to forget the intense  sun of Napoli. With all of these elements combined a spectacular white wine has been born!

I hope you enjoy the meal and my recommendations!!

Enjoy!!Inez O’Shea
” A taste of Italy”


Cocktail Recipe

August 24, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

Ok Summer is still here and its still not too late to whip up a cocktail!!!

This week I suggest a simple and easy recipe, no blenders, no crushed ice, just nice  cold ingredients and away you go!!!

Take 1 bottle of Prosecco
1/2 litre of Cranberry Juice
2 cap fulls of Contreau
4 or 5 sprigs of mint

As you can see it doesnt take much other then  large punch bowl and a group of enthuastic drinkers!!!


Inez “A taste of Italy”


Italian Summer recipes

July 5, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

My thoughts on Italian cooking.

Being Australian, I have grown up in a very multi-cultural society, which my Mother embraced!! Growing up every night for dinner was a dish from any cuisine in the world, my Mother specialised in Asian cooking, but she would always try her hand at anything and everything!!! For Christmas one year I remember us all sitting around the table rolling coriander, and prawn Vietnamese rolls, and for dinner most nights it was an Indian curry to a stir fry, to a Thai curry to Mexican or to some good old lamb chops!!

It was this environment that instilled a huge passion for food, and good quality food!! So when I arrived in Italy, I went crazy!!! I basically ate my way through Italy for 1 year, then I decided that I had eaten enough in restaurants, and would like to try my hand at a bit of Italian cooking. What I came to discover is that much of the food served in Italy is very basic, but what makes it so delicious is the quality of the ingredients. Having now moved to Ireland I thought that it was impossibile to make nice Italian food in Ireland, however I have found a few small shops which source good quality produce, so if im making something particular then I always try to buy my ingredients from them. I also have a very good bottle of Italian oil which for me is the key ingredient in most Italian dishes, it can make or break the dish!! Of  course there are some things which you simply can’t get here in Ireland however, for many of the recipes I have been able to get it pretty close to the “real deal”. So here are some of my favourites….

Classic Pesto                            Stock Illustration - basil. fotosearch  - search clipart,  illustration,  drawings and vector  eps graphics images  

5 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, peeled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup  grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Method:  Pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube and process, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture forms a thick paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the Parmigiano. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

This can then be added to spaghetti with  a sprinkling of parmesan over the top, or I love to spread it on crackers and add feta or cheese of any kind, of course Italian cheese is ideal!!

Chicken with Pesto

Method: Take the chicken breast and with a knife smear the pesto on either side of the breast, then cover with grated parmesan, and finally wrap the breast with prosciuto. Place the chicken in a glass oven dish and add a small amount of oil to stop the chicken from sticking. Cook in a moderate oven 180 degrees for 25-30mins depending on the size of the chicken.  Serve with a tossed greek salad.


2 slices of white oven loaf bread
2 vine ripened tomatoes
1 handful of basil
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper

Method: Take the bread and slightly toast, once it is crusty on the outside take the clove of garlic and rub it on the bread. Dice the tomatoes, and break up the basil and mix in with the tomatoes, pour a small amount of oil in with the tomatoes and stir just to combine everything. Then add a pinch of salt and pepper. With the bread pour small amount of oil onto the top and place in the oven for 5 or 10 mins.  Spoon the tomatoes on top of the bread and if you would like the tomatoes to be slightly warmed you can place it into the oven together, otherwise just spoon the tomatoes onto the bread once you have removed the bread from the oven.

Wine Recommendations

I recommend our the Masetto Bianco by Endrizzi, it is a blend of  Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Riesling and Sauvignon. It is quite rounded rather then being sharp, and is very soft and makes easy pleasant drinking, and will go excellently with all of the above recipe’s.

Inez O’Shea “A taste of Italy”                                              


Recipe and Wine Recomendation for the Week!!

June 4, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

Warm Lamb Salad on Avocado Mint Couscous
1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
500g lean lamb fillets
2 avocados
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons currants
¼ cup flaked almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra

Bring 275ml water to boil in a large saucepan. Sprinkle over couscous. Cover. Remove from heat and allow to steam for 10 minutes.
Combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and brush over the lamb fillets.
Char-grill or barbeque, brushing with the oil and lemon until cooked as preferred. (medium- rare will be most tender) Cover with foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Dice avocados.
When the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, gently fluff with a fork and fold in the diced avocado, mint, currants, almond, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon juice. Place on serving plates. Slice the lamb and arrange on top of couscous. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and olive oil.
Garnish with mint leaves.                                                                      

To compliment we recomend a bottle of our San Vincenzo by Anselmi. Anselmi is based in the Veneto region in the North of Italy. The San Vincenzo is made from the Garganega grape, and has a light straw color. The aroma is crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, apples, bananas and lemon blossoms. It is a medium-bodied wine, which is dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit, pear, grapefruit and hints of hazelnut.

Enjoy the Long Weekend!!

Inez  O’Shea”A taste of Italy”


Embracing Summer with Food and Wine

May 21, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

stock vector : Bright summer sunshine vector background. EPS10 file.  We never thought it would arrive but it has, Summer!!!! At long last!! So to celebrate its arrival we thought we would give you a lovely summer recipe with a  great wine recommendation, so you can embrace the season in every way!!


Grilled Chicken with a Coriander and a Mint Salsa

1 tbsp coriander roughly chopped
2 tbsp mint leaves
1 spring onion-finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
150ml olive oil
ground  salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl.

Grill the chicken on a bbq or stove top, when it is ready transfer to a plate and lightly pour the salsa over the top.

Chop a banana and place into a bowl, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and add some grated coconut.                                                                      stock vector : flowers on papyrus background

Wine Recommendation
As this dish is very light and fresh we suggest a wine which is similiar to the dish, so heavy red wine would not go very well at all. However the Gavi di Gavi, by Cantina Produttori del Gavi would be a wonderful accompaniment. 
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gavi, it comes from the Piemonte region in Italy, and is made from the Cortese grape. Its best known for its,crisp, floral, peachy, aromatic qualities and is very light, fresh and sometimes has hints of melon, almonds or hazlenuts.  The soil in the Gavi region is made up of clay and limstone which gives the wine its unique taste!!

The Gavi di Gavi will comliment the flavours of mint, coriander and garlic in the recipe and make sure it is nicely chilled before serving!! 

With the sun shining, some good classic rock  blaring on the stereo and great company its impossibile not to enjoy!!!

Have Fun!!
Inez  O’Shea”A taste of Italy”

stock vector : Grunge flower background with butterfly, element for design, vector illustration                                                                                 stock vector : floral background


Easter Menu!!

March 17, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

We Irish always eat Lamb at Easter!!

A good hearty leg of lamb and a bottle of wine is the perfect Easter lunch!!

Recipe for Easter Sunday lunch!!

See full size image


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2kg/4lb leg of lamb
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 75cl dry white wine
  • 600ml/1 pint chicken stock
  • 1tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp redcurrent jellyy
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees
2. Pour the oil into a large, sturdy roasting tin and set it over the hob
3. Season the lamb, then roll it in the flour.  Brown the lamb all over in the hot oil for 5-10mins
4. Add the onions and cook for a further 5-10mins, turning the lamb and stirring the onions until both are nicely browned.
5. Add the garlic, white wine, stock, oregano, redcurrent jelly, bring to simmer and cook in the over for 3-3.5 hours, basting now and again with the liquor. There should be a good quantity of wine left in the bottom of the tin to serve with the lamb and if you feel it is getting  too dry just cover with foil.
6. Take the lamb out of the tin and place on a large board to rest in a warm place. While the lamb is resting, sit the tin back on the hob and simmer the pan juices for a few minutes, reducing the luquid if there is a lot, to make a tasty gravy.
7. Cut the lamb into thick slices- you’ll find the meat fall away from the bone!!
8. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and the wine gravy!!

Wine Menu for Easter Sunday!!!

  • Before Lunch enjoy our Vinvita Prosecco!!
  • With your the lunch perfect wine to compliment the lamb is our Valpolicella Ripasso, by Le Tobele!!
  • After lunch try our sweet Endrizzi Moscato Rosa!!

Tasting Notes:

Valpolicella Classico Ripasso D.O.C.

Grapes:         Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella.
Colour:          Ruby red
Aroma:         Vinous and delicate.

Taste:             Dry, harmonious and soft
Drink with:   All meats and cheeses.

Moscato Rosa  2006

Grape:              Moscato Rosa
Aroma:             Rich, complex and elegent bouquet with an aroma that strongly recalls Roses
Taste:                The rich mouth-feel and pleasantly sweet-taste charm with their special harmony and finesse.
Drink with:       A special aperitif. Typical meditation wine to be enjoyed alone or with dry pastries.