Cold,but crisp and clear; beautiful, typical mid-winter Gisborne weather, blue skies, warm sun, perfect for a midday stroll through the vines, surrounded by the bird song which means spring is not far off now. Of course we'll have another cold snap or two - or three - to deal with before bud burst, but right now, we're just loving the gorgeous weather!
Still, it's cold enough at night to have a good rib-sticking meal, and this one couldn't be any easier: a few mutton neck chops ( at least three per person) trimmed of any excess fat, browned in olive oil to seal them and leave a few good sticky dark bits on the bottom of the pot. In with some onions and garlic to soften for a minute or two, then a cup of Spade Oak Tempranillo and a cup of stock. Boil off the alcohol, add a tin of tomatoes, a tin of small white beans, a tablespoon of tomato puree and a carrot roughly chopped for sweetness, check for seasoning, pop in a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme and leave to simmer for two hours or so, until the meat is collapsing and the beans have thickened the sauce. Serve piping hot in bowls on mashed spuds or polenta, with a dollop of olive oil, good bread and the rest of the wine.
Put your legs up in front of the fire, take a sip of the Tempranillo and enjoy!
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