I reckon I’d be considered a seasoned campaigner rather than a seasonal campaigner, but that’s not to say I’m dismissive of seasonal change. Anything but, because spring does it for me — in spades.
It did it last weekend — and from memory (it’s the wine that does it — OK, maybe old age is having a say too) I think the weather was decidedly spring — and I made it a perfect example of things good and things easy. I hit the market to buy some goodies and have a “welcome-to-spring” feed.
After plenty of toing and froing, organic fettuccine was the order of the day (OK, it was the night by the time I ate it) and the sauce could not be any easier: butter (lots of it), flat-leafed parsley, basil, garlic, a hint of chilli and a splash of olive oil. And no cooking.
I chopped the lot into a pretty coarse mixture, boiled the pasta and, voila, eight minutes later I was eating a healthy meal that tasted of spring. The butter gave it a richness, the other stuff (each ingredient spent time on centre stage) a wonderful seasonal freshness that was rounded off with an earthy, wholesome feel-good, taste-good smugness on my part. Spring, what a wonderful bastard you are.
The wine to go with it? Well, I broke my own rule by opting for a New Zealand sauvignon blanc (from Marlborough). It’s normally verboten on my to-drink list. It’s the almost gum hurting, make you pucker, strip the coating off your mouth, Christ there’s just too much fruit happening, kind of thing that has given sav blanc the No.1 spot on my banned list.
The New Zealand Wine website says Kiwi sauvignon blanc is famed for its pungently aromatic green capsicum (bell pepper), gooseberry and lush passionfruit characters. Styles can vary from this traditional style to those showing fresh-cut grass, tomato stalks, melons and lime. The Marlborough region represents 80% of all plantings. North Island styles tend to show soft, ripe, more tropical characters, whereas the more southerly styles show crisper, lighter more vibrant styles. I usually prefer my description.
Anyway, I had a bottle of 2010 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Sauvignon Blanc (priced somewhere in the early 20s) and, for me, it broke down some prejudices. Sure, it was like smelling everything in a fruit shop (aren’t all sav blancs?), with loads of grassy character and passionfruit by the basketful, but it wasn’t to the detriment of the wine, or the drinker. Although by the end of the bottle, I was pretty mellow (OK, it’s just 13.5% alcohol, but it had been a big, big weekend).
In the mouth it was as clean as all get out; soft, well-balanced, crisp and the fruit lingered on and on. It was spring in a glass and the perfect foil for the pasta.
To round off a memorable, really easy and healthy meal, I’d somehow managed to bake two lemon tarts (one to take to the office and share the next afternoon). The recipe is at the bottom of my blog.
A decent-sized wedge of tart with some King Island pure cream (thicker than the accent of a pissed Scottish soccer fan) and I knew I’d be duty bound to do some extra walking the next day. Done. And there was some tart left for the next night.
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.