Smoked Paprika, Tomato & Garlic Dip with Crostini

Sometimes, using up what’s left in the fridge leads to something that stops you dead in your tracks.  How astonished were we when we put this number together and accompanied it with Cotes du Rhone Rose from Georges Darriaud, a deliciously dry, full-flavoured rose wine from southern France.  Great for a summer’s evening whilst waiting for your chicken to do its thing on the BBQ.

Ingredients :

  • 400g very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50ml Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 30ml PX (Pedro Ximenez) Sherry Vinegar – you can get this from Waitrose.  It has to be PX
  • Pinch of Smoked Paprika
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 slices rustic bread (ideally sourdough)

Method :

Toast the bread, then rip it up into shreds.  Cut tomatoes (no need to peel), then slice garlic.

Combine all ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth.  Then refrigerate.  Serve with bread sticks or crostini and a generous glass of the pink stuff.




Everyone agrees that the simple things in life tend to be the best ones.  And when it comes to marrying the right food and wine combinations, there is nothing better.  But it’s a tricky old business and for years I worked with top chefs and sommeliers, trying to work out the ultimate combos, so often failing.  More often than not, we settled for ‘satisfactory’ combinations.  Which is why it is the ultimate joy when you hit upon perfection – like a Blue Moon, perfection doesn’t happen very often so we shout about it when it does. Tartare with egg

Here’s one that Jude came up with the other day in anticipation of our Lockdown Live event for Race Against Dementia (Wed 4th Nov 7pm) and wow, were we blown away. The secret is in the curing of the egg – the texture of the yolk becomes rich, creamy and substantial – if you’ve never tried this, give it a go.  It’s a mind-blower!

Beef Tartare with Cured Egg Yolk accompanied by Casas del Bosque Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva


We finally pulled out the stops last week and dipped our toes into the unchartered waters of online live-streaming our wine & food event.  Our chosen platform is Facebook Live and we’re going to be back live on air this coming Thursday for Episode 2, at the slightly earlier time of 18.30 BST.   As these events are unscripted, anything can happen (and probably will), but you can be sure it will be fun, light-hearted and interactive.  We hope you will join us – this week’s wine and food pairings are :

Albarino, accompanied with Salmon & Beetroot Tartare  and

Valpolicello Ripasso, accompanied with Asian Meatballs

Check out the recipes here – and maybe cook up the canapes ahead of the event.

See you Thursday!

Today is Pancake Day!  And on the drive into the office this morning, Jack (our student intern) and I discussed our preferred pancake fillings.  It was no surprise to hear this 19 year old’s response, “Nutella!” he declared.  Indeed, he’d already checked the shelves to see if there was any – sadly not.

My own favourite savoury option is asparagus tips, ham and grated Cheddar, along with a glass of zesty Riesling – it’s a proper feast.  (Jack, needless to say, doesn’t like asparagus, “too green”, he claims.)  

But when it came to the ultimate Pancake combo, there was no discussion – we both agreed that the ‘go to’ option was the classic lemon juice and castor sugar.  Isn’t it curious how some classics are timeless?  As for wine accompaniments, I’m not sure I want to drink anything other than a fresh, light glass of bubbly.  And so it is that today we run a quick competition through our social media – share a video with us of your best pancake ‘flip’, tag us @hannibalbrown on any of our social media feeds – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and make sure to use #pancakesandprosecco.  Post your entry BEFORE 23.59 tonight!  We’ll choose the best entry and the winner will be announced tomorrow and receive a bottle of Prosecco, compliments of Hannibal Brown.

In this food and wine pairing, it’s all about the fruit characteristic of the Merlot which couples nicely with the contents of the muffin – sweet, ripe beetroot and fruity goat’s cheese.  The components sit comfortably together in an attractive, gentle way.

The touch of Mourvedre blended into this Merlot provides structure and backbone without too much grip.  ‘Smooth’ it the ultimate wine and food descriptive here and an ultimate crowd-pleaser, hence our chosen musical accompaniment:  Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik

Join us tomorrow night Friday 19th 7.30 at Wimbledon Library – Measure For Measure – it’s gonna be a blast!

The American, An Architect & A Truffle

Just 3 days to go before Measure 4 Measure throws open its doors – and we’re crazy with anticipation!  The latest, carefully crafted wine, food and music combination has been agreed…  What better ‘crafted’ wine than one that is actually namedThe Architect‘?  One of the finest winemakers in Australia today, Philip Shaw’s Chardonnay really is a piece of architectural wine perfection.

We’ve paired this wine with a wild mushroom risotto, itself dosed with a generous topping of truffle.  Together, this will be quite a humdinger of a flavour sensation.  And so our choice of music is too…. Antonin Dvorak’s ‘American’ – we think the pairing is inspired and we hope you do too!

Join us this Friday 19th October to Wimbledon Library (next door to the train station) and experience the entire wine and music discovery for yourself.  Details and tickets HERE>

Those of you ‘in-the-know’, or just simply local to Loseley House will be familiar with its history of producing the irrisistible Cornish ice-cream.

Liquid nectar from Campbells

From the milk of the local grazing cows, Loseley has been synonymous with this small delight since the ’60s and the brand continues its success to this day.


Question is, does wine sit comfortably with ice cream?  Answer: not very often.  But I can honestly say that there is one wine that stands out and is an absolute must with the vanilla variety – Campbells Topaque from Australia.

Topaque is the Australian lingo for Tokaji (same grape, different name) and at this time of year, we love to shout its virtues, poured neatly over vanilla ice cream.  The wine is deep, honeyed and thick  – fortified to 18% ABV, it has some punch but still retains it sprightly elegance.

We are exhibiting at the Loseley Christmas Fair this year and are hopeful that we’ll have an opportunity to show-case this glorious wine.  If the ice cream is to hand, we’ll even offer the combo and hope that visitors to the event agree with our serving suggestion.  (Indeed, if you’re not an ice-cream fanatic, Campbells Topaque also favours a good old Christmas pud!)

Nestled down in Godalming, Surrey, in the depths of the Surrey countryside, Loseley House is well worth a visit.  The gardens of this old manor house are particularly spectacular, whatever time of the year.  Loseley Christmas Fair is on from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th November, 9am to 5pm everyday.  Hannibal will be out in full force, offering visitors the chance to try seasonal wines with hand-made cheese delights from our old friends at the Orsom Dairy.   Not forgetting our unique Christmas gift idea of personalising wines on the spot.  Hope you can join us!

Pork Pie Heaven

Heaven in a Pie

Did you hear that?  The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Festival took place this past weekend. Radio 2’s Chris Evans had me salivating for one of my porky favourites at 7am on Friday – it’s never too early for a pork pie in my book.

I cannot believe I have never visited a Pork Pie festival and I am about to put it in the diary at the next first opportunity.  To me, it’s always what to serve a pork pie with.  Mustard – English? French? Grain?  Mayonnaise? – has to always be the real stuff out the jar.  Pickled onions?  Branston?  Tomato relish?  Piccallili?  The amazing fact is that there is an occasion when all of these make for the perfect accompaniment (not all at once of course).  Or just plain pork pie, on its lonesome, rammed into your mouth.  Pure Heaven.

So if the condiments all have a place, what about drinks choice?  Well some will argue that a pint of ale is best, others a lager, and others a Guinness.  Once again, they all work.

So does it follow that wine choice is equally as flexible?  Well, I’ve tried pork pies with Pinot Noir – tick; Cabernets – tick; Grenache – tick; Roses – tick; and an abundance of dry whites – tick, tick, tick.   Basically anything with a dry, fruity character and not sweet.

And finally, don’t settle for those shocking supermarket excuses for a pork pie.  Take yourself off to a farmers’ market this coming weekend (better still, join us at the Foodies Festival, Alexandra Palace on Bank Holiday weekend) and select a proper hand-made piece of glory!

For more advice about pork pie choices, contact our very own pork pie gastro-‘gnome’ (Pamela) direct on 07552 123951.   And don’t forget Hannibal Brown’s wine and food tasting events in your own home.

This is a perfect recipe this Autumn.  Porcini mushrooms are easy to recognise so if you’re feeling brave, why not forage for your own!

You will need :

  • Wild Porcini mushrooms (also known as Cepes)
  • A good blob of butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Splash of white wine – Nuviana ‘unoaked’ Chardonnay would be great
  • 500g Fusilli pasta
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan

The king of fungi!

Remove traces of dirt from mushrooms then slice (not too thin, not too thick).   Place in frying pan on a high heat, flipping from time to time and allowing to dry through and begin to colour.  Add the butter and garlic and continue to cook until golden brown. Pour enough wine to cover the bottom of the pan and allow to simmer gently. Add the cream and cooked pasta to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the cheese and parsley.   Serve with a chilled bottle of Gavi di Tassarolo

Our glorious summer seems to have drawn to an abrupt, chilly end!  And with it, those delicious BBQ lamb marinades have had to take a back seat, reluctantly replaced by a warm pair of slippers in front of the telly.

But with this change in weather, I’ve suddenly realised I’ve been suffering a touch of curry deprivation.Prawn & spinach curry

So with the help of the lovely Anjula Devi (check out her fabulous curry sauce) and our great friend Anouk Bastian (supplier of top notch Riesling from Luxembourg), I’ve come up with a perfect food and drink solution to enjoy this weekend  –  Goan Prawn Curry with Mathis Bastian Riesling Grand 1er Cru 2013.    This Riesling is sensational with spicy food – it cuts through the spice like a knife.  The recipe is simple to prepare and delicious, made all the more enjoyable by a Riesling that has subtle fruit connotations, rounded and drawn out by the spice of the dish.  Here’s the recipe :

2 x tbsp butter (clarified is best, but maybe worse for the arteries!)

1 onion

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 red chilli, seeded & sliced

3 massive tablespoons of Anjula’s curry marinade (if you don’t have Anjula’s, a good brand balti paste)

400ml coconut milk

3 good tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp coriander

200g spinach

300g king prawns (ideally raw)


Heat the butter in a saucepan, then add garlic, ginger, chilli and onion.  Cook gently until soft and golden.  Add curry marinade, coconut milk & toms, then cover and simmer for 10 mins.

Stir in the spinach and prawns and simmer for another 2 mins.    Place in serving dish and sprinkle with a little fresh coriander.

Serve with basmati rice or naan bread and  a chilled glass of Mathis Bastian Riesling.