So, we decided to have a Guilty Pleasures dinner party. Myself, Niamh, Chris, Helen and Dan from Bibendum met up at Denise's lovely flat (I got massive flat envy). On the menu: Cheesy sausage biscuits (picture above, Denise), Marmite and cucumber sandwiches (Helen), Spam ramen noodles by my good self, Bovril on toast (Chris), macaroni cheese (Niamh), and a blind tasting from Dan with wines from Bibendum - the theme being 'everyday wines you’ll probably like’ vs. ‘posher wines you should like but might not’.
So, after starting the evening off with gin martinis, we kicked off with the cheesy sausage biscuits. They were delicious - slightly herby and warm. Once I get my hands on some Bisquick I am making me some of these. Helen's Marmite and cucumber sandwiches, specifically on white bread, were next and were great, with no hint of sogginess.
Next: Spam Ramen Noodles. Everyone loved them! (No, really, they did). It was quite a common dish when I was growing up; in fact, much of Hong Kong and South East Asia (as well as Hawaii) still love their Spam without shame. I promised a recipe, so here it is...
Spam Ramen Noodles
1 block of instant noodles per person
1 large tin of Spam, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
Light soy sauce
Toasted sesame oil
In a non-stick pan, add the slices of Spam. There's no need to add any oil, Spam is quite fatty enough. Fry until crispy on both sides, and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Add the noodles to a pot of boiling water and stir with a fork or chopsticks to loosen the noodles. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add a few splashes of soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil to each bowl, then divide up the noodles with a few tablespoons of the cooking water to moisten. Toss the noodles, then lay the Spam slices on top, garnish with the spring onions. Eat with gusto, then cry a little about how guilty you feel. Or not - as you can see from the photo, the dishes were polished off.
Next, came the macaroni cheese. It was impressive - a huge baking tray filled with the stuff. It was seriously tasty too, due to an inclusion of bacon, and topped with panko breadcrumbs for added crunch. I like to eat mine with ketchup, which I suppose may be another guilty pleasure of mine.
By this time, there was some bloating occuring. It's not easy eating all this stodge, but we soldiered on gamely. Bovril on toast surprised us by being on rather artisan toasted sourdough, slathered with butter. Delicious, and really comforting. It must've been a night of revelation as Dan had never tried Marmite, Spam or Bovril.
So what about the wines? I get a bit lost when it comes to tastings. I can get the flavours once someone mentions them, but conjuring them up on my own is difficult for me. The first were two whites - #1 was Katnook Founders Block ‘07 Chardonnay, which I vastly preferred to #2 - a 1er cru ‘03 Meursault. Incidentally, most of the wines tasted better when eaten with a sliver of the extremely delicious Tomme de Savoire cheese Dan had brought.
Next up we had rosés. The first one I could barely drink; it was sweet and sickly, much too much so for my palate. The second, a salmon pink colour was much more palatable and I loved it, possibly my favourite of the night; I remember drinking rosé similar to this when I was in Provence briefly last year. Anyway, they were revealed as California Zinfandel ‘07 Delicato for the first - eurgh! - and the second as Chateau des Sarrins Cotes de Provence ‘07 Rose. Lovely stuff.
Lastly, the reds, and an Old World vs. New. I much prefered the Los Alamos '06 Cabernet Sauvignon to the Les Tourelles de Longueville 2003, Pauillac.
So what did I learn? I have common taste in wine, unless it's a rosé. But then I knew that anyway.
All in all, a great night, rounded off by a selection of ales, some seriously tasty Eis Wein and... er... some penny sweets. It was pleasurable, and I sure felt guilty by how much cheese I'd consumed.