Oh baby: Saturday Kitchen

(by peter)

This was an extra special edition of Saturday Kitchen for us.

Not only was it the last live show of the season, showcasing the usual gastronomic fireworks. It also featured a very special announcement: that of the arrival of our new son, Thomas Frederick, born on 6th July.

They flashed up some photos of the little fella together with proud parents and James Martin kindly congratulated us on the news. So thanks to all the lovely people at Cactus Studios, as well as to James, for that very kind gesture.

(And not bad for a 4-day-old to have made his BBC debut already…does a career in the spotlight beckon?!)

Both of our children have been involved in Saturday Kitchen in some shape or form, and it’s a lovely connection. We went into hospital to have our eldest just after we’d been watching me on SK, back in July 2007. (A few years later we took her into the studio to enjoy the fun – she ate all the fruit in the Green Room.) And now here I was off filming the day after Thomas arrived, the result being his 15 seconds of glory this past weekend.

As for the other 89 and three-quarter minutes of the show, it was a cracker. James was on top form and chefs Jun Tanaka and Mark Sargeant were characteristically brilliant.

Jun was cooking lamb breast with bulgur wheat salad, to partner which I chose the Celliers des Dauphins Coteaux du Tricastin 2009 – a lovely, herb-and-meat scented red, ideal for summer dishes, and which also happens to be on a brilliant deal at Waitrose (down to £4.49 from £5.99 until 27th July 2010).

It got a great reception in studio. Jun said he was doing a barbeque that afternoon and he’d be buying a bottle – a vote of confidence if ever there was one (it’s not every day a chef votes with his wallet for a wine). James said it was a ‘great wine combination’ and Mark described it as ‘really good’ with the dish.

It was home-made chorizo from Mark, served in a couple of tapas-style dishes, one of which included prawns.

Chorizo can be a tricky match, full of flavour as it is, but often used in a variety of dishes incorporating all kinds of sauces and ingredients, from seafood to vegetables to other meats. The trick is to focus on the chorizo, which tends to be a dominant flavour, but not overwhelm the other elements of the dish.

I could have gone for a dry amontillado or fino sherry but in the end I plumped for the delicious Raso de la Cruz Cariñena 2008 (£6.49, Marks & Spencer). This succulent Spanish red is not only great value but also an elegant match for the spicy chorizo and the more delicate prawns.

Mark certainly liked it. ‘I’m not a wine buff,’ he admitted, ‘but this is really good…the spiciness holds up really well.’ Now that’s the kind of chef’s comment we like: honest yet perceptive and intuitive – not to mention informative for the viewers. Bravo Mark!

To go with Miranda Raison’s (she of Spooks) food heaven – lobster ravioli – the Muga Rioja Blanco 2009 (£8.99, Majestic) made a fine match.

As ever, the show is available via the BBC iplayer for a week from the date of broadcast (which was 10/7/10). Click here to see it.

Wine bits are at 17:20 and 58:21 – baby bit at 19:15!

(As a post-script, we later opened a magnum of Bollinger RD 1997 to celebrate both Thomas’ arrival and our elder daughter’s birthday – just two days apart. It was sensational: drinking beautifully in that classically austere, intensely savoury, utterly beguiling style so typical of Bollinger’s RD. Maybe not the most powerful, awe-inspiring vintage but a beautiful wine nonetheless. And another sensational way to mark a very special occasion.)