Spaghetti aux palourdes (alle vongole)

Sharing recipes is no way complete, without this favourite favourite dish on the list and I can’t believe I haven’t posted ‘Spaghetti all vongole’ (ie clams, palourdes – as you wish to say it) yet!

Naked Wines (UK and US) kindly posted a photo of our clam pasta/ ‘Spaghetti vongole’ dish online (served with Ben’s Pique Nique Blanc)- and it got me thinking, I should share what’s in it! So I posted the recipe there, and now it’s here at HQ…

This is a super quick and simple dish, and I’ve more or less always followed the Jamie Oliver version (that you can find online). We ate ours outside – yay! – our first dinner outdoors for the season, and with Ben’s Pique Nique (unashamed plug)… it was hard for me to stop eating and drinking.

Perhaps a good thing it was just the one meal outside this week.

I hope you give it a try!

“Spaghetti aux palourdes’ (ie ‘vongole’, ‘clams’ Frenchie style)

+ 1.5 kg rinsed clams
+ 3 x roughly chopped ripe tomatoes/ 15 or so halved cherry tomatoes
+ 2 x finely chopped shallots (or 1x small onion)
+ 4 garlic cloves (I squash them under the knife and then add to pan without chopping)
+ 1 x cup white wine
+ small chopped chilli/ chilli flakes to taste
+ olive oil
+ large handful of chopped parsley and cracked pepper for serving

– Put a large pot of water on to boil*
– In a second large pot over medium-high heat, fry shallots in a generous serving of olive oil until golden
– Increase flame/ electric setting to high heat and add garlic, chilli and tomatoes, stir for 5 minutes, or until softened and colouring
– Add the white wine, stirring continuously

* while you are frying, check to see when water is boiling, and add pasta and cook until al dente

– Once liquid has heated up, pour in clams and put a lid on the pot
– Clams should start opening after 4-5 minutes, keep mixing them around/ shuffling the pot until open.

With clams cooked, pasta cooked – serve with generous scattering of parsley and – cheeky plug!! – a chilled glass of Pique Nique Blanc or Pique Nique Rosé!

Et voila! Bon appetit.

Kat xoxo

a Naked tour

extraordinary-naked-people-metamorphoses25 from Haokuhu (from '4Shared')

Time for your attention and a little update on something Benji and I enjoyed this Summer! (but sorry, you won’t find us in the fleshy mix above).

We hit the road and joined the Naked Wines Tasting Tour of the UK!

There were many special moments, but here’s a glimpse of the wonderful people we met and re-met and chinked glasses with, from all corners of the winemaking world, as we travelled the countryside in a tour bus driven by the lovely Bob, in late June, to show our wares.

the bus in Cardiff
our bus parked out the front of Cardiff City Hall

in the bus!
on the road

the Naked Tour
a bit of spilt red…

Norwich, Cambridge, London, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham – nearly each stop on the 2012 tour (Benji and I could only make half of it) was sold-out and each tasting event held in a beautiful venue of each town.  It’s an impressive sight seeing the doors open to hundreds of wine enthusiasts ready, with ther glasses poised, to try over 140 wines.

glasses to go
glasses to go

tasting in Manchester
tasting in Manchester

tasting Manchester

France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Germany, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, the U.S. and bien sur, Australia! – these are the countries that the winemakers selling their wines with Naked Wines hail from and what a great bunch of people they are!

It was brilliant to finally meet people behind the names I’d seen and admired from the Naked website – and get to try their wines.  We got to chat on the bus, over the breakfast table, behind a tasting table, over a take-away pizza, watching the Australian cricket warming-up in the nets at Lord’s, on a walk trying to find the nearest public loo, disco dancing on a dancefloor until the early hours…  You know, quality times like that. It’s not often I get out of my hamlet and hang with people from around the world in such a short time.  We had so much fun.

And then of course, there were the tasters!  A thriving mass of curious, enthusiastic, incredibly friendly people who came out to our tastings and worked their way through the hundreds of bottles.  Benji and I loved the atmosphere of each tasting and picked up good feedback, first-hand, on his wines.  It was hard not to soak up the fun – obligatory tasting required for quality checks ; )   And then there were all those wines from everyone else that we hadn’t even tried yet….

All in all a wonderful tour.  I kinda like being the Vigneron’s helper.

Ryan does London
Ryan does London

Naked people
what a lovely bunch

the dudes outside at Lord's
out the back at Lord’s

uk tour 2102
a UK tour

some of the wines on show
just some of the wines on show…

And after every good wine tasting, there comes a delicious all five food groups breakfast…

next morning's helpers
…next morning’s helpers: pain killers in a vending machine and a full English breakfast – the lady serving our breakfast in Southampton spied my Vegemite and plonked a whopping jar of Marmite on the table – she insisted I eat ‘their’ stuff while in their country

And they all (well, apart from the couple we saw having a tiff under the tree in Cardiff) went home happy.

going home
heading home

GAGNE!!! (he won!) – flying the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge

Benji flying the bleu blanc rouge

Phew, it was so damn close.  Only 12 votes in it, but he came through!  Allez le frog.

It all happened here!

After all this excitement I need to add a few more little bottles to the ‘drinking’ section!  I’ll keep you posted.

Winemaker of the Year!

A little tiny plug for the Vigneron…

Voting ends today for the Naked Winemaker of the Year competition and he’s not too far behind!  (only a couple of hours to go).   The suspense is kiiling me!! (look I’m so nervous I can’t type properly!)

Go Benji Go!

and p.s. Go for gold and vote ‘1’ for Benji!

Here’s a pic of him taken by our friend Vincent (tres serious Benji).   Lovely shot but a bike, the broom??…  didn’t know he used either!

benji on the terrace
Benji having a think and a drink, taken by Vincent. You are so clever Vinnie.