A German Riesling is Good with Malaysian Nyonya Chicken

We were looking for a recipe to pair with a slightly off-dry Riesling and decided on Amy’s Spicy Nyonya Chicken, a Malaysian dish from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey.

Chicken pieces are simmered in water with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and a spice paste of Kashmiri chillies, shallots, lemongrass, garlic, shrimp paste and ginger.  Lime juice and palm sugar are added at the end.  We served with Jasmine rice.

We paired the meal with a bottle of Peter and Peter Riesling aus der Steillage 2013, an off-dry German white from Tesco.2015-02-20 18.06.50

We have not been successful in finding good pairings for this wine previously as can be seen here and here.  However, we thought the wine’s tropical and citrus fruits with a slight sweetness went well with the meal.  A good match at last.

A French Sauvignon Better Than a German Riesling with Slow-Cooked Pork Belly

We wanted to slow-cook some pork belly and found a Heston Blummenthal recipe on the Waitrose website.  The pork is cooked with carrots, parsnips, turnip, garlic, chicken stock and sage.  However, we modified the recipe by using the slow cooker rather than the oven and dispensed with the crackling and the parsnips. We served the pork with roast potatoes.

We thought a dry Riesling would be good with the pork and opened a bottle of Peter and Peter Riesling 2013, an off-dry German white from Tesco.  We were surprised that this wine didn’t work with the meal and we set it aside.2014-12-07 17.54.13

We turned to a bottle of Domaine de l’Arjolle Sauvignon Blanc 2012, a Southern French white from the Wine Society. There was a slight sweetness, with apples, a creamy smoothness and a slightly tangy grapefruit finish. The wine successfully cut through the fat and was a good match with the meal.2014-12-07 18.07.42

A Rueda from Spain is Very Good with Slow-Cooked Chicken in White Wine

We tried Chicken in White Wine from the Slow Cook Book. 2014-11-13 10.49.10

Chicken pieces are marinated in white wine, onions, celery, garlic and peppercorns.  The marinated chicken is then slow-cooked in its marinade with shallots, chicken stock and bouquet garni.  Mushrooms are added towards the end. We served the meal with mashed potato.

We paired this tasty and warming casserole with a bottle of Libra Rueda Verdejo 2013, a Spanish white wine from Waitrose.

The wine was slightly off-dry, fresh, zingy, with a touch of apple, but the predominant flavours were smooth slightly creamy pineapple and mangoes.  The finish was crisp.  We thought this enjoyable wine was a very good match with the slow-cooked chicken.2014-11-13 18.24.03

An Argentinian Torrontes is Very Good with a Cambodian Pork Curry

We tried a Cambodian recipe from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey – Khmer Pork, Coconut & Pineapple Curry.

The Khmer curry paste is made from galangal (or ginger), turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai shrimp paste and a green chilli and a little water.

Cubed pork is cooked with the curry paste and then simmered in water.  Grated coconut, pineapple, aubergines, coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind water and Thai sweet basil leaves are added towards the end.

We served this unusual curry with egg noodles and prawn crackers.2014-11-01 17.38.34

We thought carefully about choosing a wine that would be able to cope with the combination of sweet and savoury flavours.  We have found Torrontes wines successful previously, so we opened a bottle of Mauricio Lorca Angel’s Reserve Torrontes 2013, an Argentinian white from Naked Wines.

We tasted intense tropical fruits with hints of lime and peaches on the finish.  A lovely wine and a very good match with the curry.

A Southern French Grenache Blanc is Very Good with a Sri Lankan Curry

2014-10-17 17.55.29We tried a Sri Lankan dish called Lamb Curry with Fresh and Dried Coriander from Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Bible.

The recipe requires grinding mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cloves and blending shallots, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and chillies. The lamb is fried in cinnamon, cardamon, curry leaves and pandanus leaf.  Unfortunately nowhere local to us stocks pandanus leaf.  However, we read that bay leaf with a little dried basil can be used as a substitute.

The lamb is then cooked in the ground and blended spices together with water, turmeric and lemon juice.  Coconut milk is added at the end.  We served this delicious aromatic curry with naan bread.

We thought a slightly off-dry wine would work nicely and opened a bottle of Domaine du Bosc Grenache Blanc 2012, a southern French white from the Wine Society.

We tasted creamy peaches, a slight sweetness, citrus and a smooth finish.  The wine was a very good match with the curry.

An Australian Riesling Struggles a Bit with Chinese-Style Pork Ribs

2014-08-03 18.54.01 HDR2014-08-03 18.50.08For a barbecue we decided to try Five-Spice Rib-Stickers from the Great Big Barbecue Cookbook.

The pork spare ribs are marinated in 5-spice powder, garlic. ginger, chilli sauce, dark soy sauce, dark brown sugar and sunflower oil.  We grilled the ribs on the barbie and served them with blackbean and roasted garlic stir-fried egg noodles.

To pair with the meal we opened a bottle of Blind Spot Clare Valley Riesling 2012, an Australian white from the Wine Society.

The wine was slightly off-dry and we found it citrussy with pronounced lemon and lime flavours.  Whilst this was a reasonable match with the ribs, the sweetness in the coating needed a slightly sweeter wine to cope with it.

A South African Chenin Blanc is Very Good with Pork Normandy

We tried Pork Normandy from the Slow Cook Book. Lean pork is cubed and slow cooked with onions, Dijon mustard, garlic, celery, carrots, Rosemary, Bramley apples, dry cider, chicken stock, black peppercorns and double cream. We served this very tasty recipe with mashed potato.

To pair with the meal we opened a bottle of The Huguenot Chenin Blanc 2012, a 2014-06-08 20.32.42South African white from the Sunday Times Wine Club.

We tasted apples, creamy tropical fruits, a slight sweetness and a zesty finish.  We thought the wine was a very good match with the pork.

Mixed Results for German and Hungarian Whites with Two Chinese Stir-Fries

For quick midweek meals we’ve cooked a couple of Chinese stir-fried chicken dishes recently.

In the first we stir-fried the chicken with light soy sauce, carrots, pak choi, white cabbage, red onion, mushrooms, red pepper, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, garlic and ginger.  To this mixture we added Tesco’s Sweet Chilli and Ginger stir-fry sauce that also contains yellow bean and garlic. We served this with sesame oil egg noodles.

The sweet flavours in this dish called for a medium-dry white wine and fortunately we had a suitable bottle in the fridge – Steillage Riesling Mosel Qualitätswein 2012 from Tesco’s Finest range.

This German white was pale gold in the glass and fresh with good minerality.  We tasted pineapple and other tropical fruits with a creamy sweetness. An excellent match with an enjoyable stir-fry. 2014-04-16 18.31.58

The second stir-fry combined chicken with the same vegetables, but this time we added Tesco’s Chinese stir-fry sauce, which contains soy, ginger, garlic and five-spice.  We also served this with sesame oil egg noodles.

We found the flavours of this stir-fry to be a little bland and overall disappointing. There was a slight sweetness in this dish, so we opened a bottle of Peter & Peter Riesling 2013, an off-dry German white from Tesco. However, we quickly concluded this was a lacklustre match and set it aside.2014-04-23 18.26.37

We decided to try a a dry white from Hungary – Lakeview Grüner Veltliner 2012, also from Tesco.

This was clean tasting with peach and apple flavours and hints of tropical fruits.  However, it was no more than an adequate match with the meal.2014-04-23 18.36.20

We are looking forward to achieving better food pairings for these wines in future.

South African and French Whites Both Good with Coriander Chicken

We revisited one of our favourite cookbooks Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Bible and tried Green Coriander Chicken (Dhania Chicken), a Kenyan dish.

The chicken pieces are marinated overnight in ginger, garlic and lemon juice and then cooked in a thick blended sauce containing green chillies, lots of coriander leaves and stalks, tomato purée and yoghurt.

We served with Naan bread and Basmati rice.

We chose a bottle of The Gooseberry Bush Colombard/Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a South African white from the Sunday Times Wine Club to pair with this delicious meal.2014-04-05 18.40.42

This was bone dry, fresh and crisp, with tropical fruit flavours.  We couldn’t detect the guava and figs mentioned on the bottle.

We thought this was a good match, but wondered whether we could do better with the lefovers the following day.

This time we went for a bottle of Heritage de Calvet Côtes du Rhône 2012, a French white from Tesco.

This Grenache Blanc is slightly off-dry and its tangy tropical fruit flavours had a better affinity with the coriander sauce.  An improved match.2014-04-06 19.09.22

A German Riesling is a Good Match with Beef Rendang

Metro’s Food Editor, Chloe Scott wrote an article on how to cook the perfect rendang curry and included her Beef Rendang recipe, which we tried.

The extensive list of ingredients for this Malaysian dish include stewing beef, coconut milk, lemongrass, cinnamon, star anise, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, coconut flakes, and a paste made from shallots, garlic, cloves, birds-eye chillies, ginger and turmeric.  We served the curry with Jasmine rice and we’ll definitely do this recipe again.

We paired the meal with a bottle of Kendermann’s Special Edition Riesling, 2012, an off-dry German white from Waitrose.  They suggest it matches particularly well with oriental and spicy foods and we wouldn’t disagree.

We found it fresh, citrussy, with flavours of pineapples, melon and tropical fruits, with a smooth, creamy finish. A good match with the curry.

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