Friday, 1 November 2013

A Fabulous Dinner

I've recently started following a website called The Fabulous Ladies' Wine Society. They are a wonderful group of women trying to get more females interested in drinking and learning about wine in a fun way. They hold events, give tasting notes on wines and support females in the Australian wine industry. As part of their website, they also have an online wine club. No forced buying of wines each month at all! This fabulous wine club lists two wines per month for you to try and then rate using their tasting cards. The wines are easily available at regular bottle shops and are not expensive.

This month they have a red and a white and tonight I've made a fancy meal to match with the white. It's a Taltarni Fume Blanc, which is actually the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety, but made in a very different style to the New Zealand type. I'm not such a fan of NZ Sauv Blanc, so am really looking forward to trying this one.

After lots of research in to the flavour of the wine, I've decided on a warm beetroot salad with feta and pan-fried scallops. I'm hoping that this will match perfectly.

Beetroot is another of my favourite vegetables and we tend to eat it quite a bit, especially once the plants in the garden have grown and we have beets on hand. They have such a rich, earthy sweetness, which I love. I grew up with tinned sliced beetroot, which I did love with cheese in a sandwich, but fresh is a world apart!

When you are preparing the beetroot, be aware that the colour will stain your hands and your clothes, so it's best to wear an apron and disposable gloves.

Feta brings a nice tartness and creaminess to the salad and the scallops some sweetness too. As is my preference, go for the creamy Danish feta, rather than the Greek style. I tend to find this much too dry and salty.

If you've never cooked scallops before, don't stress too much. The orange roe on the outside can be eaten, but it's a matter of personal preference. I don't like the taste or texture, but others do. It's up to you whether you want to keep it on, or cut it off. I prefer to cut it off, for a sweeter and cleaner taste.

This would also be the perfect party dish. Served in Asian soup spoons, a dollop of beetroot and feta with a scallop on top would be a great appetiser.

And To Drink...


The 2010 Taltarni Fume Blanc was like no Sauvignon Blanc I have ever tried before. Being a couple of years old, it may not have been as fresh as it could have been, but it was still amazing. Full of passionfruit and stone fruits, with some gentle oakiness, it was perfect drinking.

This was definitely my sort of wine. There was still plenty of that fruitiness that you want in a wine, but it wasn't overpowering in any way. The oak also didn't overpower, as sometimes it can.  If you like a lightly oaked Chardonnay, then you'd love this one!

The sweetness of the beetroot and the scallops matched wonderfully with the fruit and acid in the wine, with the creamy feta adding some tartness. The handful of rocket added some extra pepperiness.

Thanks to The Fabulous Ladies, I've found another wine that I'll be drinking again and again. Next time I might look for a current vintage to compare with.

Warm Beetroot and Feta Salad with Pan-fried Scallops

2 medium beetroot
1 Tbs butter
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbs water
100g Danish feta, chopped
20 scallops, cleaned and roe removed
Salt and pepper to taste
A drizzle of olive oil
Rocket or parsley to serve

Chop the leafy tops off the beetroot and then peel the main section of the vegetable.
Cut them into halves or quarters so you have manageable pieces.
Coursly grate the beetroot and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter, then add the beetroot, vinegar and water. Pop the lid on and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.
Take the lid off and cook for another couple of minutes to boil off any remaining liquid. You want the beetroot to be tender, but not swimming in juices.
Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, stir through the chopped feta.

To cook the scallops, heat a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until hot.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper and then fry for about 40 seconds on each side, or until browned on the outside, but on the slightly raw side inside. How long you need to cook them will depend on how thick the scallops are.

To serve, place a good spoonful of the beetroot salad on the plate and then dot the scallops around it.
Scatter a couple of sprigs of parsley or a handful of rocket over the top and give it a grinding of cracked black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


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