Category Archives: Top Tips

Top Eight Movies for Wine Lovers

Picture the scene: the fire is lit and you’re tucked up in your warmest clothes; it’s raining outside, and all you have is a bottle of your favourite wine (be it red, white or even orange!). It’s perfect.

There’s nothing I love more than sitting back with a good film or documentary, and really easing into what it’s all about.

I’m by no means an expert when it comes to wine, but I do love it completely. Its complexity constantly leaves me in awe and its ability to make me keep wanting to learn more, excites me.

Here are some of my favourite movies about the beloved bottles of vino that I care about so much:

Red Obsession (2013)

Taking a look at China’s early 21st century frenzy over Bordeaux’s heavily sough premier cru, this documentary shows the impact of wine as a luxury product for the richest of the rich. Narrated by Russell Crowe, the film interviews industry experts, critics and wine lovers.

Sideways (2004)

A comedy-drama that revolves around wine, Sideways stars Paul Giamatti agus Thomas Haden Church as almost mismatched friends that head out on a trip for a last single-guy bonding experience before a wedding!

A Year in Burgundy (2013)

The film follows seven wine-making families in the, you guessed it, Burgundy region of France throughout the course of a full year. It takes a look at the creativity involved with making wine and its ties to the terroir.

SOMM (2013)

An emotional and illuminating look at the Court of Master Sommeliers and its incredibly difficult Master Sommelier Exam. Since the court’s inception there are less than 200 people who have claimed the title. If you think you know about wine – think again!

MondoVino (2004)

Focusing on the impact of globalization on the world’s different wine regions – It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and a César Award.

Blood Into Wine (2010)

A transition from rock star to farmer! This film takes a look at the Northern Arizona wine industry, focusing in on multi-platinum recording artist Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski, and their Caduceus brand wine.

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

In an Italian town renowned for its vineyards, the residents discover that Nazi troops plan to take all their wine for themselves. Determined to keep as many bottles as they can, the townsfolk all team up in attempt to hide it away.

Barolo Boys: The Story of a Revolution (2014)

Ever heard of Barolo wine? This film tells the story of how it became a world phenomenon through the initiative of a group of small-scale wine producers, known as the Barolo Boys.

Barolo Boys.The Story of a Revolution (2014) International Trailer HD from Stuffilm on Vimeo.

(Lead image via WikimediaCommons/Bujar I Gashi)

Essential Italian words for your food journey

“Everything you see I owe to pasta.” – Sophia Loren

If you’re looking for a quick cheat sheet on ordering some Italian grub, you’ve come to the right place.

This week we’re celebrating all things Italian, and so I thought it’d be quite useful if I dished out some essential words to use if you ever find yourself in Italy (or at least for when you’re reading an Italian menu!).

Please note that this is a very basic guide and is just to act as mini-list to help you recognise words on a menu! I’m far from fluent in Italian.

Breakfast: Colazione ~ Lunch: Pranzo ~ Dinner: Cena

At the restaurant

  • Appetisers/Starter: Antipasto
  • First Course: Primo
  • Main Course: Secondo
  • Dessert: Dolce
  • Side Dishes: I contorni
  • The Bill: Il conto
  • Service charge: coperto
  • Excluded: Escluso
  • Included: Compreso

On the menu

  • Bread: Pane
  • Soup: Zuppa
  • Meat: Carne
  • Chicken: Pollo
  • Pork: Maiale
  • Lamb: Agnello
  • Fish: Pesce
  • Prawns: Gamberi
  • Mussels: Cozze
  • Squid: Calamari
  • Octopus: Polpo
  • Vegetables: Verdura
  • Potatoes: Patate
  • Rice: Riso
  • Green Salad: Insalata
  • Cheese: Formaggio
  • Wine: Vino
  • Beer: Birra
  • Red/White: Rossa/Biano
  • Water: Acqua
  • Caffè: Coffee
  • Latte: Milk
  • Salt and Pepper: Sale e pepe
  • Ice Cream: Gelato

(Image via Wikimedia Commons/Alpha)

Top 6 Movies Featuring Chinese Food

“To the ruler, the people are heaven; to the people, food is heaven” – Ancient Chinese Proverb

As part of Chinese Week here on the blog, I felt that it’d be a fun idea to sit back and take a look at movies that featured real Chinese food at its core.

Forget that synthetic, gooey stuff you see so often at the takeaway, these movies will give you a real feel for what it’s all about (if you don’t mind your mouth watering!)

Eat Drink Man Woman

Directed by Ang Lee, this is the follow up to his successful movie The Wedding Banquet. It takes a look at ethnic conflicts within a Chinese family, using food as the main focus of the film.

Food is Heaven

“From the steamy kitchens of Canton to the arid moonscape of the north, food is the very heart and soul of China. But increasing development and dwindling water supplies threaten the nation’s ability to feed itself.

“Meet the men and women who celebrate the glory of authentic Chinese cuisine – while working to preserve a healthy food supply for future generations”.

The Chinese Feast

With its climax at the prestigious Manchu Han Imperial Feast culinary competition, The Chinese Feast is a great little comedy.

the-chinese-feast-1995-2

(Image via ChineseMov.com)

My Life as McDull

Winner of the FIPRESCI prize at the 26th Hong Kong International Film Festival (2002), this lovely animated feature is about a piglet in a world populated by both animals and humans.

Though strictly not food-based, it’s still quite special. The narrative is written in several set pieces involving McDull’s birth, education, with trips to his mother’s TV cooking show and indulging in local food.

The God of Cookery

A Hong Kong comedy directed by comedian, actor and director, Stephen Chow, this movie takes a look at a corrupt chef who really doesn’t know much about food!

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World

A BBC Four documentary that takes a look at West Lake Restaurant in Changsha. The restaurant boasts 1,000 staff and 5,000 tables. That’s a LOT of food.

(Lead image via mubi.com)

6 tips for cooks who work on their feet all day

Do you ever have that aching feeling that runs through your arches and makes its way up through your legs? Believe me, I’ve been there!

From standing around prepping ingredients to bustling around during service, doing 6 or 12-hour shifts can really take its toll on your feet.

With rarely a chance to rest, it’s so important to look after the two things that keep you stable throughout the day.

Here are my top six tips for those with aching feet:

Wear the right shoes

Considering that they’re protecting you from a hard floor; having the right footwear is vitally important. You need to have shoes that allow you to stand for hours on end while offering you comfort and safety. eBay has a handy list of the top 10 shoes for chefs but I tend to stick to trusty Crocs from Nisbets. No need to be fashion conscious in the kitchen!

Consider the sock

One can never have too many socks but it’s definitely best to know which ones will actually go with the shoe to offer you a more cushioned experience. You need a sock with good compression to encourage circulation. Trust me, it’s really worthwhile to invest in at least two pairs of compression socks.

Though normally associated with older people – my Grandad had a pair – compression socks will help the foot when it comes to ankle swelling. You can find them online, from physios or sometimes in pharmacies. Alternatively, if they’re not your thing, head into a sports shop and check out their socks for runners.

Shake it out

Taking a five minute break? Try stretching out those limbs. A simple point and flex exercise can offer relief along with rising slowly on the balls of your feet and gently lowering them down.

I usually do mini-stretches when I’m tackling my 20kgs worth of potatoes!

Sit down during lunch

Though it may be tempting to have a working lunch, if you can, try to nab a chair and enjoy your food. It’s a real opportunity to take the weight off of your feet. Short of chairs? It’s not unreasonable to bring in a small fold-up one and place it somewhere safe while you eat.

Change out of your shoes after work

Because I walk home after a shift, I automatically switch into a new pair – and what a relief it is! Apart from having the amazing feeling of freedom after you take off your shoes, it’s even better when you slip on a fresh pair.

Invest in some Epsom salts

If you have a small basin, some hot water and a sprinkling of Epsom salts, you could have yourself a mini-heaven in a tub! The magnesium in the salt helps your muscles to relax and reduce pain.

Don’t have salts? Place your feet on a rolling pin and roll back and forth or get a tennis ball and place it under your arches (if you’re lucky enough to have a willing significant other, you can ask them for a foot massage!

 

Do you have any other tips for people who are constantly on their feet? Let me know in the comments below!

 

(Lead image via Wikimedia Commons/Beigal Bake Kitchen)

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