Thursday, 14 June 2012

Time Out

Back to Sainsbury's Basics will be taking a break between now and mid-July for the summer holidays and some personnel admin. We hope to resume publication when this is done. See you soon!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Hyperdecanting Wine

The process of decanting wine was done in the past to separate sediment that was present in wine. Modern winemaking techniques have substantially reduced the need to do this, and so, most people nowadays would use a decanter in order to expose the wine to air, allowing it to "breathe", in the hopes of having something more pleasant to drink. Hyperdecantation takes this to its logical extreme and substitutes the decanter for a blender, or milk frother, though perhaps at this point it really should be called hyperaeration. Both this and decantation itself have been the subject of intense debate, the former more so since it involves the violent and possibly unjustifiable treatment of good produce.

Recently I have been invited by a friend to a wine-tasting session organised by her sommelier friend at Praelum, a wine bar at Duxton Hill, Singapore. Given that he would probably be more perceptive than me when assessing wine, I figured that he would probably be best placed to determine if hyperdecanting wine actually works. Given that I cannot blog about this without using an item from the Sainsbury's Basics range though, the Basics Red Table Wine was all I could offer. Just as well though, since most people would not wish to put a good wine through a blender, especially for the first time.

The little experiment kicked off once the wine-tasting session was over, with my friend carrying out most of it. The frothy glass of wine next to the traditional decanter has been subject to a milk frother; participants would then be given two glasses, one containing Basics wine as it is, and one that has been blended, and asked to tell the two apart. As it turned out, not only was the sommelier present, his colleagues were also around and showed various levels of curiosity at what we were up to.

Since the Basics Table Wines have a generally poor reputation amongst the drinking community (it is a £3.39 wine after all..), never mind people who know and love their wine, I was a bit wary that the sommelier and his friends would have a lot to come to terms with (having drunk cheap wine put through a blender) within just minutes of getting to know me. All participants involved were able to tell which glass contained the blended wine, a testament to their expertise perhaps, and generally agreed that blending helped things. Given that we started off with a rather low standard of wine however, it was difficult, at best, to determine exactly how much hyperdecanting would be beneficial, other than knowing that the technique helps the wine open up significantly.

[Many thanks to the good and sporting people at Praelum Wine Bistro who were willing to put themselves through this!]

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Chicken Roll

One of the few things I have bought as we pack up over here is Sainsbury's Basics Chicken Roll. This was done as I was looking for something to use to finish up the Sainsbury's Basics sliced bread that I have in the freezer for a while now. Since I have tried the Basics corned beef and ham already, I thought of having chicken roll for a change.

The chicken roll consists of reformed chicken, which, according to this link, is chicken that has been finely chopped, cooked, compressed tightly, then bound together with milk proteins, which give the result its milky colour. There is a Sainsbury's own-brand version of the product, though if you would like to have chicken that has not been processed as much, Sainsbury's does have other products in its range (though not in the Basics range) that is simply, say, sliced roast chicken.

For all intents and purposes though, the Basics Chicken Roll is just chicken. I have used it in a sandwich and found it very palatable, and at 97p for 400g of cooked meat, is a cheap source of protein that does not have as strong a smell as ham.

There has to be more use for chicken roll other than sandwiches though. Unfortunately I couldn't think of any, and so I had to run down the chicken roll with nothing but sandwiches. Feel free to comment here with suggestions as to what I could have done aside from sticking it into bread, for the benefit of other readers.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Chicken Roll£0.9740, 400g+£0.18 for 10, 125g (!)Slightly thicker slices
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