Australian Semillon is Good with Indonesian Spicy Chicken

We tried Indonesian Spicy Chicken with Coconut Milk,  a recipe downloaded a while ago from the Cooking Asian Food website that now appears to no longer exist.

Shallots, cumin seeds, garlic and turmeric are blended into a paste and chicken breasts are cooked in the paste together with kaffir lime leaves, fresh coriander, nutmeg, black pepper, coconut milk and water. We served the chicken with egg noodles, garnished with coriander leaves.

We opened a bottle of Denman Hunter Valley Semillon 2013, an Australian white from Tesco. It was very slightly off-dry, delicately flavoured with zesty citrus and tropical fruit flavours.   A good match with the chicken.

An Australian Cabernet Merlot is Good with Beef Pot Roast

We revisited pot roast with garlic and wine from Supercook, a recipe that we had not cooked for a long time. Pancetta is fried off and discarded and the top rump of beef is then browned. Onions, garlic and carrots are then added and tomato purée, bouquet garni and red wine are poured over the beef. It is then casseroled in the oven.

After cooking, the liquid is strained and the sauce is thickened with a beurre manié. Tomatoes are then stirred in. Finally the meat is sliced and green olives are scattered over. The sauce is served over and the remainder is put in a sauce boat to accompany. We served the meal with little roastie potatoes and garlic bread.2016-04-01 19.06.41

We thought a Cabernet/Merlot blend would be a good pairing and opened a bottle of Pitchfork, Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2012, a full-bodied Australian red from the Wine Society.

We detected vanilla on the nose followed by creamy, smooth, chocolaty black fruits on the palate, with a slight spiciness. A good match with the beef.

Which Drink Pairings for a Mexican Buffet?

2016-03-25 18.03.382016-03-25 18.17.572016-03-25 18.22.49We enjoyed a family holiday on the Riviera Maya in February and decided to get together with our family and some friends who had also been to the same resort to enjoy a photo evening. We thought a Mexican buffet would be a good idea. Our son contributed his own delicious version of chicken enchiladas and one of our friends supplied a chilli con carne with dark chocolate in the sauce. Our daughter and son-in-law provided a spectacular nachos, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo and salad. We did Justine Patisson’s pulled pork tacos from the BBC Good Food website.

What to drink with such a variety of flavours? A couple of different Shirazes were on offer, including Blaxland Estate 2015, from Tesco. 2016-03-25 18.23.572016-03-25 19.15.19Those preferring white wine, enjoyed Louis Felipe Edwards Sauvignon Blanc, supplied by our son because it was one of the house whites from our Mexican hotel. There was also Guinness West Indies Porter available as an alternative to wine.

With such a variety of flavours it was impossible to find something that paired well with everything, especially with dishes like the pork tacos that contained marked sweetness. My preference was Shiraz, but the porter was also popular. Overall, a buffet with such diverse flavours is probably not the best occasion to bring out the fine wines.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a Great Match with Beef Wellington

We tried a couple of Beef Wellingtons from Bakers of Nailsea, our local butcher and we watched them being prepared in the shop.

A fillet steak is placed on a sheet of pastry and pâté with duxelles is spread over it. The steak is then wrapped in the pastry.  OK not the most sophisticated Wellington, but all we needed to do was pop them in the oven for an easy meal. We served with sautéed potatoes and green beans tossed in garlic butter and lemon juice.2016-03-20 18.37.14 2016-03-20 18.49.23

Our wine choice was a bottle of H. Valrasque Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014, a full-bodied French red blend from Tesco.

We detected black fruits on the nose, with red and black fruits on the palate and a hint of spice and chocolate on the finish.  Probably not the best example of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but still a very good match with the Beef Wellington.

South African Chenin is Great with Apple & Pork Casserole

We revisited a recipe that we hadn’t cooked for a very long time, Apple and Pork Casserole from Supercook.

Cubed pork is casseroled with onions, sage, seasoning, and apples. The mixture is topped with potatoes. We served with puréed carrots and swedes.

We paired this simple casserole with a bottle of The Huguenot Chenin Blanc 2014, an off-dry South African white from Sunday Times Wine Club.

There was a slight sweetness with apples, pineapples and tropical fruit flavours. The wine was a very good match with the meal.2016-03-18 18.18.42

Off-Dry Whites Work Well with Thai Massaman Curry

2016-03-12 18.33.37We tried Madhur Jaffrey’s version of Beef and Potato Massaman Curry,  a Thai dish.

Pieces of beef skirt are fried with coconut cream, bay leaf and Massaman curry paste, which is made from red chillies, white peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, curry powder and shrimp paste.

Fish sauce, tamarind, palm sugar, potatoes and water are then added and the curry is simmered.  Fried shallots are sprinkled over before serving.

We attempted to pair the meal with a bottle of Villa Maria Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014, a New Zealand white from Costco.  However, more sweetness was needed, so we set it aside in favour of a bottle of Awatere Pinot Grigio 2013, an off-dry New Zealand white from Tesco.2016-03-12 18.29.26

We tasted tropical fruits with a pineapple sweetness and grapefruit sharpness. This wine was a reasonably good match with the food.

We tried a bottle of Houghton Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013, an Australian white from Costco, with the leftovers a couple of days later and thought this was also a good match.  See here for a another good food pairing for this wine.

An Italian White is a Better Match with Mexican Pork Chops Than a Red

Having just returned from holiday in Mexico, we fancied cooking a favourite from Supercook – Costillas a la Mexicana, which is Mexican pork chops.

Garlic is rubbed over the chops and they are refrigerated while the Salsa Mexicana is made. Chillies, tomatoes, onion and garlic are chopped and blended and salt added. The chops are pan-fried and the sauce is poured over at the end. We served with tortillas.

We tried a bottle of the excellent Ravenswood Zinfandel, but we quickly decided this didn’t work and switched to an Italian white – The Society’s Pinot Grigio 2014, from the Wine Society.2016-03-08 18.04.40 2016-03-08 18.16.16

We detected a slight pineapple sweetness with flavours of tropical fruits and nectarines. A good wine and a good match with the pork.

An Aussie Shiraz is Good with Spicy Slow-Cooked Chicken

We saw an interesting recipe video on the Tasty Facebook page for a whole slow-cooked chicken.

Salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, pepper and minced garlic are mixed together and rubbed into the chicken. Garlic cloves, lemon and onion are stuffed into the the cavity.

Carrots, celery, onion and potato are added to the slow cooker, the chicken is placed on top and the meal is cooked on low for 8 hours.

The chicken is then sliced and served with the vegetables. We had left out the potato and served instead with croquettes cooked separately.

The chicken had interesting flavours reminiscent of Cajun cuisine.

We were unsure what wine would go with the meal and had a little taste with a sip of South African Cabernet Sauvignon, but rejected this. Instead we opened a bottle of Burge Benchmark Shiraz 2014, a full-bodied Australian red from the Wine Society.2016-02-12 18.23.13

We detected raspberries on the nose followed by smooth red fruits and a savoury, spicy finish. Whilst the wine was a good match with the chicken, it would be interesting to discover next time whether a white would be better.

A Great Pairing for Red Bean & Lamb Casserole is Elusive

It’s been a long time since we cooked Red Bean and Lamb Casserole, a Supercook favourite. It’s an adaptation of an Iranian dish.

Cubed lamb is casseroled in chicken stock with onions, garlic, tomatoes, kidney beans, turmeric, salt, pepper, lemon juice, coriander and mint. Yoghurt is stirred in at the end and the dish is garnished with parsley. We served with mashed potato and roasted courgettes.

We initially tried to pair the meal with Glorioso Crianza Rioja 2011, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society, but surprisingly the flavours of the lamb casserole did the wine no favours, so we set the wine aside.

We thought a wine with more sweetness might be better and opted for a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red that is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo. We last enjoyed this with a lamb korma.

We detected intense red fruits on the nose with vanilla sweetness, black and red fruits and a slight mocha finish.  A good match, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine.2016-01-30 18.07.10

For the leftovers we decided to switch to a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines that we had enjoyed previously with a beef carbonnade.

We detected black fruits on the nose with vanilla sweetness and intense red and black fruits on the palate. The finish was smooth, peppery and spicy. The wine was a slightly better match than the Rioja, but we were left wondering what wine would have been a really good match.

Aussie Red Better Pairing than Rioja with Turkish Lamb Stew

We enjoyed Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” tv programme last year and we tried his Lamb Kleftiko. A couple of very good pairings with that dish can be found here.

This time we cooked his rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi).

Boned lamb shoulder is cooked with red pepper paste, tomato paste, onion, garlic, green chilli, green pepper, tomatoes, oregano and seasoning. The lamb stew is served on a bed of aubergine purée made from mashed aubergine, milk, flour, Parmesan, lemon juice and seasoning. We served with flatbread.

We opened a bottle of Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva from the Co-op.  A previous bottle of this medium-bodied Spanish red was very good with lamb chops.

There were black fruits on the nose, a vanilla sweetness with mocha and sweet black fruits on the palate. A good match with the meal, but we thought the flavours in the aubergine purée may have detracted a little from the pairing.2016-01-15 18.01.11

We finished off the leftovers with a bottle of Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2014, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. We chose this wine because it had previously made a very good match with lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.

There were brambly fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness on the palate, with blackberry fruit and a milk chocolate and coffee mocha finish. The Shiraz was a better match than the Rioja with this particular combination of Turkish lamb stew and aubergine purée.