Cooking with wine can be a pleasure and an enhancement to good food and a fine meal! When wine is heated, the alcoholic content as well as sulphites evaporates, leaving only the essence imparting a subtle flavour.

Wine has three main uses in the kitchen:

  • Marinade ingredient
  • Cooking liquid
  • Adding flavour to a finished dish

The function of wine in cooking is to intensify, enhance and accent the flavour and aroma of food - not to mask the flavour of what you are cooking but rather to fortify it. As with any seasoning used in cooking, care should be taken in the amount of wine used - too little is inconsequential and too much will be overpowering. Neither extreme is desirable. A small quantity of wine will enhance the flavour of the dish.

For best results, wine should not be added to a dish just before serving. The wine should simmer with the food, or sauce, to enhance the flavour of the dish. If added late in the preparation, it could impart a harsh quality. A wine needs time to impart its flavour in your dish. Wait 10 minutes or more to taste before adding more wine.


  • Use only wines in your cooking that you would drink.
  • Never, ever use any wine that you would not drink. If you do not like the taste of a wine, you will not like the dish you choose to use it in.
  • An expensive wine is not necessary, although a cheap wine will not bring out the best characteristics of your dish.
  • A good quality wine, that you enjoy, will provide the same flavour to a dish as a premium wine.
  • Save the premium wine to serve with the meal.


1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine = 2 tablespoons of wine reduction.
For ultimate flavour, wine should be reduced slowly over low heat. This method takes more time and effort, but will achieve a superior sauce because the flavour compounds present in the wine are better preserved.



Cathy's Favourite Chocolate Cake Recipe


For the cake:


1 cup treacle sugar

125 g butter (real butter!)

2 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ cup cocoa powder

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1 cup sour cream or buttermilk

1 tablespoon vinegar (I love apple cider vinegar)


  1. Preheat oven to 180º C
  2. Cream butter and sugar
  3. Add eggs one by one
  4. Add vanilla essence and buttermilk
  5. Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture
  6. Pour in 24cm pan and bake for 30 minutes


Strawberry mousse filling:

2x175ml tubs of strawberry yogurt

1 teaspoon red food colouring

½ cup cream, beaten

3 teaspoons gelatine

3 tablespoons water


  1. Beat cream until thick
  2. Add yogurt
  3. Dissolve gelatine in water by zapping in microwave for a few seconds
  4. Fold gelatine mixture in creamy yogurt mixture.
  5. Put in fridge to set


Putting the cake together:

When the cake has cooled down, cut in three thin layers.

Line cake tin with cling film.

Put one layer back in tin and spread half of the strawberry mousse filling.

Put second layer and spread the other half of the mousse filling

Put third layer on top, cover with cling film, put a heavy plate on top

Then put in fridge for a few hours.


Chocolate Ganache icing:

2 slabs good quality dark chocolate

1 cup cream


  1. Scald the cream, but to not boil
  2. Remove from stove
  3. Break chocolate in blocks and add to hot cream
  4. Slowly stir until all the chocolate has melted


When cake has been removed from pan, place on plate and slowly pour chocolate ganache over cake. Use your spatula to spread it evenly.

Decorate with either strawberries, raspberries, fresh edible flowers or sugar flowers.


Rocket & Baby Spinach Salad with Honey Roasted Butternut, Pumpkin seeds, Gorgonzola & dried Cranberries

This recipe was sent to us by Peta Wills


  • 500g butternut peeled and diced into plus minus 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 For the vinaigrette: 

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and fresh black pepper

 For the salad: 

  • 250g Rocket . Baby Spinach / Salad herb mix
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola


Preheat the oven to 220°.

Toss butternut cubes in olive oil, honey, salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 - 25 minutes (give them a turn half way). When nice and tender, remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile start on the vinaigrette: Combine vinegar, shallots, honey, mustard. Whisk in oil, add some salt & pepper to taste.

Place rocket spinach salad mix on a large flat dish (or whatever you have), place the butternut on top. Roast pumpkin seeds lightly in a pan with some oil (optional), and sprinkle on top with the cranberries and crumbled Gorgonzola.

Finally drizzle the dressing on top and serve immediately.

Delicious with seared Tuna and your favourite bottle of Chardonnay!


Chilled Cucumber Summer Soup

This recipe was sent to us by Dot Donnelly


2 English Cucumbers (grated with skin on)

1 Onion finely chopped

1 Green Pepper finely chopped

2 cloves garlic crushed (optional)

500ml buttermilk

500ml chicken stock (Two cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water, and let stand to cool slightly)

5 rashers of bacon



Mix cucumber, onion, green pepper and garlic together.

Mix the buttermilk and chicken stock together and add to the mixture

Add salt & lemon pepper or black pepper to taste

Fry 5 rashers of bacon crisply and chop – sprinkle over top (optional)

Make one day before serving and chill in refrigerator

Serve with a little finely chopped parsley as garnish


Cumberland Sauce


1 medium lemon

1 medium orange

4 heaped tablespoons good quality redcurrant jelly

4 tablespoons port

1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder

1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger



Thinly pare off the zest of both the lemon and the orange, using a potato peeler.

Cut them into very small strips ½ inch (1 cm) long and as thin as possible.

Boil them in water for 5 minutes to extract any bitterness, then drain well.

Place the redcurrant jelly in a saucepan with the port and melt, whisking them together over a low heat for about 5 or 10 minutes.

The redcurrant jelly won't melt completely, so it's best to sieve it afterwards to get rid of any obstinate little globules.

In a serving bowl, mix the mustard and ginger with the juice of half the lemon until smooth, then add the juice of the whole orange, the port and redcurrant mixture, and finally the strips of lemon and orange zest.

Mix well and the sauce is ready to use.

Cumberland sauce stores well in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Delicious with pork!

Creamy Brie Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon granules
340g Brie cheese, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sauté chopped onion and sliced celery in butter until soft. Stir in flour
Remove from the heat and stir in milk, chicken broth, and chicken base
Mix well. Return to the heat and simmer
Stir, until the soup thickens
Add diced Brie cheese and stir until melted
Transfer the soup to a food processor and blend until smooth
Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Heat through.



More Articles...

Page 1 of 3


Where we are

Contact Us

Click here for our contact details

Social Networks

Contact Info

Tel: 028 316 3988

View Map