Thursday, 31 December 2015

Looking forward to 2016

My Checklist

It's resolution time and every year people make way too many that they lose track of their goals. 

Making resolutions is easy; keeping them is another beast altogether. How do you do it? The obvious is write them down, and commit to them on your timetable. 

Here's my checklist 

More Brain. Less Pain.

Increasing smarts is something I constantly strive for, but in 2016 I've committed to the goal, by investing in DK's Boost Your Brain. It promises to help me switch on my brain with more than 300 puzzles, tips, and teasers. That should get me through the year. 


I also am curious about Chris Bailey's The Productivity Project. Published by Random House Canada this book, promises to help you set your life on fire. (Yup, that's my goal is for 2016!) Here's some tips that are hightlighted on the back cover of the book:
1. Consume caffeine strategically, not habitually. 
2. Work on your hardest, highest-return tasks at your peak energy of the day.
3. Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is simply less productive. 
4. Compartmentalize email and social media to specific times during the day. 


Broadened Reading Horizons
One of my bookish pals on Twitter (@Booktrovert) triggered a reminder. Although generally I do pride myself on my eclectic taste in books, this year I will make a conscious effort to check off all the tiles on this handy Bingo Challenge by @LiteraryHorder. If you are interested, you can also join the @cbcbooks challenge on @goodreads. http://ow.ly/Ws7E3 


Indulge In Some Winter Activities
Bracing windshields of minus forty isn't my thing, but taking an intimate stroll through italic ice wine villages in Niagara is an intriguing prospect. Especially given the El Nino effect forecast for this winter, pour me some ice wine and I'm a happy camper. January is the ideal time to sip and savour these delights at various Icewine festivals. Check out the Icewine Festival Guide at Visit Niagara's site to plan your sweet adventure. 

Practice Culinary Skills 
Eliminate routine, and spice up things in the kitchen. Last year I received several delightful cookbooks. Now, it's time to put my culinary adventures to the test. 







Increase Financial Literacy
Index funds, bonds, stocks, GICS....I do have a working understanding of these, but it's time to up my game and take control of my financial future. Check back here for some financial literacy content throughout 2016. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Photography by Tom Ang (Published by DK Press)

A picture says a thousand words, or so goes the idiom, and the sweep of recent history enforces this notion --  stories have been told through the camera lens for the preceding two centuries and that is only increasing now with the ubiquity of social media and the accessibility of modern digital photography.

Cover of Photography: The Definitive Visual History
(by Tom Ang | published by DK )
While the medium is the message, photography has been the medium of choice. 
In Photography: The Definitive Visual History, prolific author and professional photographer Tom Ang (Twitter handle: @Tom_Ang ) provides an invaluable tome to those new to the genre as well as those experts looking for an elegant hardbound addition to their library. 

Picking up the book and leafing through the high archival quality pages one immediately senses the love for the craft. From the cover featuring Richard Avedon's 'Carmen (Homage to Munkacsi), coat by Cardin', Place Francois-Premier, Paris, 1957  through to the unforgettable images by the likes of Sebastio Salgado, Henri Cartier Bresson, Cindy Sherman, Steve McCurry, Joe Rosenthal, Stanley Forman, Marc Riboud, Luigi Ghirri, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Agustin Casasola, Man Ray (the list in seemingly endless) this tour de force is encyclopedic without being academic. It succeeds in teaching and informing without being sterile.

It is necessary to point out that Tom Ang isn't a shrinking violet. He is passionate about his craft, eagerly relaying the minutiae that those with an untrained eye may miss, and he doesn't mind taking a political position.


In Ang's own words:
Anyone with any interest in photography will find something they like. And those who know a lot may find something they don’t like. Because I am not afraid to express my opinion, or to reveal the uncomfortable truths. But I also take you on human stories too.

  • That Robert Capa was literally kicked in the butt onto the Normandy Beaches
  • The leading portrait photographers of New York in the late 19th century were women
  • The Leica was invented by an asthmatic engineer who enjoyed hill rambling
  • The inventors of Kodachrome were world-class musicians
(bold emphasis added)

The 480 pages may be dizzying in its depth for neophytes but the question of treating photography as a visual art practice is clear. Some have argued that art in the modern context has lost its meaning by being commodified for markets but this book, which Ang had originally penned as Photography - the story, gives a narrative that takes us from The Dawn of Photography (1825-1849) to The Digital Age (2000-Present) with an homage to the artistry and the technology.




We recommend this as a great addition to anyone's bookshelf but more so with the holidays around the corner.



Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that talent combined with 10,000 hours of practice can lead to greatness. Well there really isn't a better place to start for anyone, be they casual learners or voracious autodidacts, than DK Canada’s Gift Boutique, where you’ll find a superb collection of books that will make you an expert in everything from Coffee to Whiskey, and everything in between.


DK Books are a gem of knowledge. Each one aims to educate and enlighten, while enriching our lives with a thirst for curiousity. Here's the preview DK Gift Boutique for 2015. 




This article was originally published on our sister site sukasareads.com

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Understanding Kaiseki 懐石

A wonderfully accessible article on Understanding Kaiseki by Vaughn Tan (Twitter: @vaughn_tan ) in The Atlantic from 2009 (excerpt below):
Definitions of "kaiseki" often emphasize the multicourse, highly-seasonal nature of a kaiseki meal, and compare it to tasting menus and "Western-style haute cuisine"; it is the kind of meal you would go to When Only The Best Will Do. This is true. A kaiseki restaurant is a bit like a Michelin-starred restaurant: both will likely feature labor-intensive preparations, use choice ingredients, and be expensive. But there's more to kaiseki, at least the Platonic ideal of it that was described to me.

Kaiseki can be written in Japanese using two sets of ideograms: the first, 懐石, stands (approximately) for "stone in the robe;" the second, 会席, stands (again approximately) for "formal occasion." There is broad agreement that the second evolved out of the first. The stone in the robe form of kaiseki is much rarer today. This branch derives from the tea ceremony and from the vegetarian cooking traditions of Zen monasteries (you may sometimes see it referred to as shojin ryōri), and emphasises economy and wise use of materials instead of lavish ingredients and showing-off. The story (too convenient and thus singularly unconvincing) is that the food was so austere that monks in temples would warm stones and keep them in their robes next to their stomachs to ward off hunger pangs--hence the name. (Vaughn Tan, Understanding Kaiseki, The Atlantic, October 8, 2009)

The true exponent of Kaiseki in Toronto is Masaki Hashimoto, owner of the eponymously named  Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto ), whose meals range from $200 to $300 per head depending on the option chosen (as per below)


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Poggiotondo Brunello di Montalcino and The Venetian Bargain

It is back. 


By 'it' we mean the 2010 vintage of Poggiotondo Brunello di Montalcino which retails for $39.95 at Vintages locations withing Ontario LCBO's (VINTAGES 276576 | 750 mL bottle).

The Venetian Bargain
The 2010 vintage, described as 
"Rich and supple in texture, framing cherry, raspberry, licorice, tobacco and subtle underbrush flavors" by Bruce Sanderson of Wine Spectator does require laying down for a few years. If you insist on drinking now then please decant and take your time. While subjective, it will probably reach its prime drinking age in a couple of years and be good for another decade (from now).

We also suggest avid readers curl up with a good book to accompany it if there aren't friends around. Check out The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato which was reviewed at SukasaReads in 2014.
This beautiful period piece embodies the sights and sounds of Venice, while portraying the horror of the times.
The prose is descriptive and poignant. It is nice to see a young female lead who embodies character and brains, in a time when women weren’t necessarily known to hold their own professional status. (Sukasa Reads Review, 13 May 2014) 
On this Wine Wednesday we at SukasaStyle recognize that life isn't perfect but if it were then we would suggest the 2006 vintage of Poggiotondo Brunello di Montalcino which we reviewed in August 2013. It was aging well back then and should be better now. The noble sangiovese grape ages better than most others. As Eric Asimov of The New York Times wrote this year (on Brunellos in general)  "...the best examples of Brunello di Montalcino are among the world’s greatest wines".

Halloween is over, and the holiday season is just around the corner. Put your feet up and relax with this stellar wine and book paring while you have the opportunity.


This is a SukasaStyle Books & Wine post. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ghost Pines and The Troop

With All Hallows' Eve around the corner, this Wine Wednesday your friends at Sukasa Style have paired one scary book, The Troop by Nick Cutter with one scary good value wine, Ghost Pines Chardonnay Winemaker's Blend.

What is the Ghost Pines story?
As the winery's website states, Ghost Pines knows no boundaries. Inspired by the free-form nature of the indigenous gray pines that loom mysteriously throughout Northern California, Ghost Pines embodies the progressive spirit of California winemaking. Rather than dwelling on traditional boundaries like AVAs or vineyards, grapes are chosen solely for their quality and flavour from California's best regions. This selective practice results in a collection of wines that offer a distinct balance of texture, acidity and flavour that could never be mistaken for ordinary.

The Chardonnay Winemaker's Blend is priced at $19.95 (LCBO#: 308122 | 750 mL bottle). The 2013 expression is a full bodied and a rich entry that the LCBO describes as "Pale straw colour; intense oak, vanilla and butterscotch nose with some pear and tropical fruit on the palate followed by a medium-long, sweet vanilla finish."

We suggest you heat some popcorn -- butter it if you dare -- and keep a treat or two on the side as you curl up with The Troop. We reviewed it in November 2014 and stated at that time that,
 "Nick Cutter has done a phenomenal job developing his characters and the storyline side-by-side with the overarching theme engaging all our senses. His beautiful interrupted story-telling format enhances the reading experience. The Troop has been categorized as part Lord Of The Flies and part 28 Days Later, and with a perfect pace and beautiful dialogue and character buildup, it’s one of the best disturbing novels that I’ve enjoyed in a long time. A truly lovely Canadian horror gem."

Of course, avid readers will note that Nick Cutter is a pen name for author Craig Davidson, and it is rumored that book has been optioned for a film. Whatever the case, we're sure you'll enjoy the book and the wine.

TASTE PROFILE
Selected from three of California’s most recognized Chardonnay appellations -- Sonoma, Monterey and Napa -- Ghost Pines Chardonnay offers expressive, fruit-forward characteristics. The artful combination of these three regions delivers baked apple, pear and lemon cream flavors, accented by an elegant finish of sweet vanilla.

VARIETAL CONTENT: 100% Chardonnay
APPELLATION: 38% Monterey County; 33% Sonoma County; 29% Napa County
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.5%
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 0.53 G/100ML
TITRATABLE ACIDITY: 0.52 G/100ML
P H : 3.55

Porducer's tasting notes here

Sukasa Style Notes
Ghost Pines Chardonnay Winemaker's is clearly a new world expression: full tilt oak, vanilla, hints of lemon and meringue and a dollop of apple pie. After a hair-raising night chasing after ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, and entertaining trick or treating munchkins, you should treat yourself to another year scared off with this rich wine.

★★★★☆ (4.2 Sukasa stars out of 5)
QPR (Quality Price Ratio): Good

Monday, 26 October 2015

Books & Wine So Divine


"Free your mind. Express yourself. And above all be open." 

Detective Lars Winkler has to have an open mind to solve this @jakobmelander novel. #thescreamofthebutterfly chills well with @OPEN_Wines Reisling-Gewürztraminer. 


Books & Wine so divine  This is the start of something new. Stay tuned for other book and wine pairings from SukasaStyle. 




Wednesday, 21 October 2015

For the cellar: Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello Di Montalcino 2010

This Sukasa Style Wine Wednesday is dedicated to those that love a serious wine. As austere goes there's little to compete with a Brunello. And for those that like Brunello there you would be hard pressed to find a better recent vintages than the 2010 so consider the 2010 vintage of Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello Di Montalcino (VINTAGES 372250 | $69.95 per 750 mL bottle) as one to lay down in the cellar for four years.

The wine (100% Sangiovese) has the following specifications from the producer:

METHOD OF PRODUCTION
Method: In our custom hybrid fermenters of stainless-steel and French oak.
Temperature: 27-29 degrees centigrade
Length: 10-12 days
Malolactic: Yes, in barriques
Length of Barrel Aging: 24 months                    
Origin of Barrel: 10% Slavonian Oak Casks (60hl & 120hl), 90% in French Oak barriques (350 l.)
BRIX 26.5

ALCOHOL 14.4%
PH 3.56
EXTRACT JUICE NET (G/LT.) 31.6
RESIDUAL SUGAR (G/LT.) 1.1
COLOR INTENSITY 0.78
TOTAL ACIDITY 5.1
MALIC ACIDITY 0.01
VOLATILE ACIDITY 0.53
SO2 (MG/LT.) TOTAL 121 | FREE 38


TASTING NOTES
The color is a beautiful deep red. The complexity of the aromas reveals notes of blackberry jam, tobacco and vanilla. In the mouth we immediately feel the great, soft and well balanced structure. The final is soft and persistent; this wine is certainly endowed with enormous potential of aging.

We recommend these notes from the producer as well.

Sukasa Style Notes
Food Pairing:
Red meat: lamb, venison, beef, veal.
Cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano; Pecorino Romano; Pecorino Toscano.
Game

If you just must drink now then decant and enjoy this beauty with a loved one, and true friends. Contemplate, and savour this muscular full-bodied and firm entry that gives way to a captivating mouth feel and a long and lingering finish.

Highly recommended.

★★★★☆ (4.5 Sukasa stars out of 5)
QPR (Quality Price Ratio): Good

Sunday, 11 October 2015

This Thanksgiving listen to the whispers of salty sea spray, rich coffee and roasted chestnuts

It's a special Thanksgiving Sunday in Canada and we are happy to bring back one of our favourite posts --#ScotchSunday by SukasaStyle.

Today's feature is something we picked up in London, England. The Isle of Jura can be found nestled off the west coast of Scotland. It's a place famed as much for its folklore as it is for its whisky. 



Introducing Jura Superstition

The ancient Egyptian symbol on @jura_whisky is rumoured to bring good fortune - just so long as you pour the whisky in the correct manner. Hold the bottle with the Ankh cross in the centre of your palm, they say, and the good fortune will surely follow. #SukasaSTYLE #ScotchSunday #scotchwhisky 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Hamilton on Broadway - A Resurrection of America's Forgotten Founding Father

"It must be nice. It must be nice to have Washington on your side."
Thomas Jefferson & Aaron Burr 
(Source: @DavidKorins )


“How does a bastard, orphan and son of a whore, and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”
~ Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.)  


Those outside the microcosm of New York City may not understand or have even heard of the hyperbole surrounding Hamilton -- the most coveted ticket on Broadway -- but it is the logical culmination of a decade plus long resurrection of America' forgotten Founding Father. The musical, originally played off-- Broadway at the Public Theater, ran to rave reviews in its initial New York incarnation. Could that acclaim be topped as it made its Broadway debut in August? The answer has been a resounding yes. We were fortunate enough to attend the September 9th evening show and came away duly impressed with the talent, passion, athleticism, and joy on display to a packed house in Manhattan.

To be clear, the revival of Alexander Hamilton (the person) isn't without criticism. But any such criticism has nothing to do with the artistry of the production; it would be aimed at the arguably Manichean narrative of Hamilton as principled protagonist and Burr as an embodiment of Machiavellian opportunism. In terms of accuracy historians such as William Hogeland have taken exception to Ron Chernow's view (on whose book Alexander Hamilton published in 2004 proved to be the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda's stunning work) of America's first treasury secretary. Hamilton's legacy which is on display for public consumption ignores events such as the Newburgh Conspiracy. Those striving for historical accuracy will claim that Chernow's work paints an undeserving and positive Panglossian color of the Founding Father in a world where that realities of politics and statecraft are anything but black and white.

Make no mistake though that despite any historical misgivings, Hamilton the Broadway musical, running close to 3 hours was superb. 

To the uninitiated it is atypical of Broadway: comprising a cast of color resembling America's urban youth, interjecting a lingua franca of clearly enunciated rap to tell the story as it would be told in the streets of modern America rather than in slavish homage to an 18th America that one may find in a period piece made for PBS. 

But the delivery of the story isn't a predictable monotonous monologue; the hip-hop prose is interspersed with colonial english, modern R&B and familiar Broadway fare. The sometimes colorful language is balanced by the gravitas of The Federalist Papers, of Hamilton's unlikely rise through the force of his intellect, his capacity to work tirelessly, his proclivity to womanize, and the friendships forged through camaraderie and militancy during America's infancy in becoming an independent nation state breaking away from the empire of Great Britain's George III.
Lafayette, Hercules Mulligan, John Laurens, and Alexander Hamilton
(Source: New Yorker featuring picture by Joan Marcus)

All the while we see stirring performances that complement one another rather than dominate at center stage: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lead role is played with a gravitas portraying an Alexander Hamilton always running out of time, never satisfied with his lot in life; Leslie Odom Jr. executes with precision the calculating Aaron Burr, confident at the beginning then becoming bemused, befuddled and becalmed by Hamilton's rise when he believed his patience and cunning on the sidelines was the right way forward for success; Daveed Diggs insouciance as the returning Thomas Jefferson in post independence America is counter-posed by his portrayal of Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat with a cause, in Act I during the fight for independence from the British Monarchy; and Christopher Jackson as the steely Commander-in-Chief delivers with a deftness that is animated and fiery. 

Not to be outdone are the leading ladies, Phillipa Soo and Renee Elise Goldsberry Jones (who played two of the three Schuyler sisters) whose love of theater are clearly on display for the audience to see with their performances that are respectfully measured when necessary and emotionally charged when required -- their scenes required classical Broadway virtuosity and range -- and they delivered. In addition, Jonathan Groff's cameos of King George, where he has the stage to himself, provide the audience with the necessary comedic relief valve as the plot's rising action thickens around him. Indeed, Groff delivers an unforgettable performance fit for a mad King turned jilted lover.

Hamilton director, Thomas Kail, Miranda's co-conspirator / co-creator from his Wesleyan University days, must surely be on the short list for the 70th Tony Awards and set designer David Korins illustrates a devotion to his craft in employing a clever revolving stage (reminiscent of Les Misérables) that is there for more than a visual effect; it is an indispensable tool as the production surges forward with Andy Blakenbuehler's choreography that successfully cross-pollinates the flair and mentality of modern hip hop with the rigor of ballet and strut of Broadway show tunes.

In our minds there is little doubt that we are seeing the beginning of what will be much more to come from Hamilton the Broadway musical. It will go on tour, it will be made into a movie one day, but arguably its long lasting legacy will be the full resurrection of America's Forgotten Founding Father for the digital generation. Alexander Hamilton's likeness may be coming off the US ten dollar bill but the victory of the supporters of the Hamiltonian project to make Alexander Hamilton part of today's zeitgeist is complete.

If you are fortunate to see the Broadway production with this current cast then do so.


★★★★★ (out of 5 Sukasa Stars)

Hamilton

Runtime 2 hrs and 55 min.

Credits Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda; Inspired By The Book "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow; Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler; Directed by Thomas Kail; Set design by David Korins

Cast Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Javier Muñoz as Alexander Hamilton (currently for Sunday performances), Daveed Diggs as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Jonathan Groff as King George, Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr and Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton; Also Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds and Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison

Richard Rodgers Theatre
226 W. 46th St.
Midtown West
212-221-1211

website



Guest Blog post by @ArijitBanik (Banking professional and independent thinker who occasionally scribbles at arijitbanik.com and www.correlationmatrix.ca) 


Friday, 18 September 2015

The evolution of wine tasting

We came across Jancis Robinson's views on the evolution in the wine market, wine tasting and opinions that come with it; suffice to say that Ms. Robinson's views show that there isn't one objective analysis.

Source: Jancis Robinson on wine experts versus amateurs (Financial Times, September 4, 2015 1:47 pm)

See our post on Wine Tasting Is Bullshit? Here's Why Not and read the rest of Robinson's post (behind FT's paywall).

You want wine with that steak?

Good advice from Jeff Flowers (Twitter handle: @Bukowsky) on pairing wine with specific steak cuts:
Specific Wines for Specific Cuts of Meat 
If you’re at the wine store and having trouble deciding which specific wine you should pair with your steak, there are a few labels that can help ease your burden.
Well-Marbled Ribeyes — Balance this steak out with a high-tannin wine, such as Mastroberardino’s Taurasi Radici Riserva.
New York Strips — The perfect pairing for this steak is a bold Pinot Noir, such as Lucia Vineyards Gary’s Vineyard “Lucia”.
Filets — Give your senses an aromatic lift by pairing this steak with an elegant Syrah, such as Patrick Jasmin Cote Rotie.
Ribeyes & Strips — A hearty red blend with acidity and dried fruity notes are the perfect complement for these steaks. We’d suggest pairing with any red from Tommaso Bussola.
Steaks with Pepper Crust — The Colonial Estate “Exile” is made with rich fruit characteristics such as watermelon, pomegranate and jam, all of which are a well-balanced combination for steaks made with Diane sauces or pepper crust.
Read the rest of his article here: How to Pair Wine With Steak 


If you are in Ontario and don't have the wines listed above readily available, here are some SukasaStyle recommended options to consider:


Well-Marbled Ribeyes
Taurasi Red 2008 VINTAGES#: 418707 - $44.95 for a 750 ml bottle.





New York Strips

La Crema Pinot Noir 2013 VINTAGES#: 58024  - $45.95 for a 750 ml bottle.







Filets

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2011 VINTAGES#: 73072 - $39.95 for a 750 ml bottle.





Ribeyes and strips

Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino 2008 VINTAGES#: 579094 - $44.95 for a 750 ml bottle.







Steaks with pepper crusts

Ridge Lytton Springs 2012 VINTAGES#: 982413 - $52.95 for a 750 ml bottle












Please remember to trust your own palate. These are merely suggestions for the various cuts; we have leaned towards the full bodied end of the robust red spectrum as we feel these varietals and blends pair best with the cuts of meat described above.


Salut! 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Bring On The Summer!

Hello Summer, 2015 is about to get better! 

FINALLY! Most of us who have gone through this past winter, can’t wait to kick off those shoes and slip into some flip flops. Lounge by the pool (if you’ve got one) or just spend every single waking moment outdoors.

And, if you are like me and have hibernated indoors for most of this past winter, you are most likely anxiously awaiting garden get-togethers, BBQs, and my most favourite thing in the world, COCKTAILS!

“Even for those who live in latitudes where the sun shines year-round, summer is a special word, conjuring youth in all its lightheartedness, troubles shrugged off a freckled, golden shoulder.”

I’ll be featuring a few delicious books throughout the season, but to kick it off let me tell you about Summer Cocktails by Maria Del Mar Sacasa. From Peachy Keen Punch to Ginger-Lemongrass Piña Colada, Summer Cocktails features over 100 seasonal recipes for punches and pitchers, frosty drinks, classics and throwbacks, and more.

Plus, you can craft your beverages from the bottom up with underpinnings straight from your summer garden, including Strawberry-Rosemary Shrub, Rhubarb Syrup, or Tomatillo and Coriander Tequila. And because ice and olives can’t always be considered dinner, you’ll find recipes for savory snacks tucked in the back of the book. Summer Cocktails is the perfect companion to round out the perfect party.

Taste, experiment and enjoy!


Salud!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Cathedral Cellar Shiraz (2012)

Cathedral Cellar, part of the KWV portfolio in South Africa's Western Cape, brings us some wines that can help stretch your dollar in that search for the sweet spot of quality and value.  

This week SukasaStyle continues its value quest at the LCBO by reviewing a bottle of Cathedral Cellar Shiraz (2012 vintage)  (VINTAGES # 561142 | $15.95 - 750 ml). As a comparison if you hop across the border to Quebec you pay $19.00 for the 2011 VINTAGE (SAQ code :  00902429). 

LCBO Tasting Notes:
South Africa has been giving Australia a run for its money with shiraz for a few years. This very attractive example shows plenty of fruit and complexity, all harnessed to fresh acidity that contributes juiciness to the texture. It's dry, with easy-going tannins, and although it's young, it's ready to drink now and over the next three or four years. It represents very good value. Score - 4 Stars out of 5. (Rod Phillips, rodphillipsonwine.com, June 18, 2013)

SukasaStyle Tasting Notes:
The nose reminded us of a campfire and fruits and burnt cinnamon. Full bodied and smooth where a spicy palate is followed by tannins that were balanced with mild acidity. This is more of an homage to the syrah of Rhone than New World shiraz. It didn't require time to open up in our estimation and was equally palatable as a food or sipping wine.

Pairing: Try with lamb stew, kebabs, thick gourmet burgers, fajitas. Think of meat and pair with this.

Under the hood:
Conditions for the 100% syrah/shiraz 2012 vintage (as described by Cathedral Cellar winery) follow: 


Terroir:

Wine analysis
.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 SukasaStars
Quality Price Ratio: Excellent


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Curtis Stone is back with "Good Food, Good Life"

“Food has made all my dreams come true…But when I really hone in on what it is that I love most about food, it’s the really simple stuff like sitting around a dinner table sharing stories and celebrating occasions over really delicious home-cooked food, while showing a little love to the special people in my world.” 
~ Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone needs no introduction. The Australian chef, nicknamed “The Quiet Terminator” has one of the most recognizable faces on the food scene. And, why shouldn’t he. Look at him. But he’s more that just brains and brawn, he’s mastered the art of perfecting good wholesome simple food. After the success of his last book, What’s For Dinner, Curtis Stone returns with another cookbook, Good Food, Good Life. Why? Because he believes in just that: through tasty, well-cooked food prepared with fresh, quality, and seasonal produce you can have an incredible life.

He’s certain you’ll fall for the Chocolate Salted Caramel Kisses. And from his restaurant's to your table he brings you the recipe for Sesame Shrimp Toast. He mastered the art of making these at nineteen years of age while he was an apprentice in Melborne. He insists that this version of the recipe can be replicated by all levels of cooks. And that is good news indeed.


Now, bring on the Popcorn With Bacon And Parmesan and let’s get cooking.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist for @BlinkCanada, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: sukasareads.com T: @SukasaReads)