New Zealand Sauvignon Great with Burmese Chicken Curry

We tried Burmese Chicken Curry from Madhur Jaffrey. An interesting mix of Indian and Thai flavours.

Cubes of chicken are rubbed with hot curry powder, garam masala and salt. Onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and paprika are blended into a paste and the chicken is stir-fried with the paste, tomatoes, fish sauce and lemongrass. Water is added and the chicken is then simmered.

We served the curry with boiled rice, poppadums and a side dish we found on the Saveur website called Myanmar-Style Long Bean Salad (Pei Daunt Shay Thoke). This was a tasty combination of green beans, shallots, chopped roasted peanuts, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and salt.2016-01-09 18.09.17

We opened a bottle of Mahau Sound Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a New Zealand white from Sunday Times Wine Club, previously enjoyed with a chicken Korma.

We detected a grassy nose and the food pairing brought to the fore intense citrus lemon, tropical fruit flavours with a tangy grapefruit finish. A very good match with the curry.

South African Red Ideal with Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

We cooked an old favourite from Supercook and had forgotten how delicious this recipe is.  It’s called pork chops with mustard sauce.

The pork chops are seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika and served with a sauce made from shallots, garlic, mushrooms, French mustard and double cream.

We served with sauté potatoes and green beans with melted garlic butter.

We paired this superb meal with a bottle of Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, a full-bodied red from Naked Wines.2016-01-05 17.50.02

We detected black fruits on the nose and flavours of sweet chocolate, blackcurrants, and plums, with an intensely savoury, smooth, slightly spicy finish. We even detected coffee notes.  This lovely wine was an excellent match with the pork.

Spanish or Australian Red with Slow-Cooked Lamb Korma?

On a cold rainy January day there is nothing better than something cooked in our crockpot and Lamb Korma from the Slow Cook Book was ideal.

Cubed lamb is fried with onions, ginger, garlic and a spice mixture of dried red chillies, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin, mace and paprika.  The lamb is then slow-cooked with yoghurt and a little salt.  Double cream is stirred through towards the end of cooking.  The korma is then garnished with coriander and served with pilau rice.  We mopped up the sauce with naan bread.  Delicious.

We opened a bottle of The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  There was an initial sweetness, followed by intense blackcurrant fruits and a smooth, spicy finish. The wine was a good match with the korma, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine, such as this one.2016-01-01 17.31.00

However, we managed to improve on the pairing with the leftovers.  We opened a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  This wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo.

We loved its sweet, creamy smooth vanilla red fruits, with a lovely savouriness on the finish.  A very good match with the korma.

Aussie & French Reds Great with Beef Carbonnade

2015-12-18 19.02.38We tried Beef Carbonnade from the Slow Cook Book.  Cubed beef is slow-cooked in a mixture of shallots, seasoning, garlic, sugar, nutmeg, bouquet garni and beer.  We used a can of Hobgoblin.

Slices of French bread spread with Dijon mustard are added halfway through the cooking time. These soak into the pot and enhance the gravy.  Parsley is sprinkled over the top at the end and we served the carbonnade with a jacket potato.  A very enjoyable meal.

We opened a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines.  There were blackberry fruits on the nose and the palate delivered a creamy vanilla sweetness and rich, smooth black fruits.  The wine was a very good match with the meal.

We enjoyed the leftovers of this carbonnade with a bottle of Reserve de Pierre 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red also from Naked Wines.  This blend of Grenache and Syrah displayed nice legs in the glass, a red berry creamy sweetness and a smooth finish with a hint of spice.  Another very good match.

Which White Wine with Rick Stein’s Moghul Chicken Korma?

We tried Rick Stein’s Moghul Chicken Korma.

Chicken pieces are marinated in a spice paste containing ginger, garlic, water, cinnamon, cardamon, coriander, nutmeg, yoghurt and salt. The chicken is then simmered with fried onion paste, ground almonds and more water.  Green chillies, ground poppy seeds and saffron rosewater are then added and the dish is finished with double cream.  We served with pilau rice.

We opened a bottle of Mahau Sound Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a New Zealand white from Sunday Times Wine Club. We detected freshly-cut grass on the nose, followed by citrus, pineapple, grapefruit, gooseberry tropical fruit flavours, with a creaminess and a tangy finish.  A very good match with the Korma.

 We had the leftovers the following day and wondered whether a slightly drier wine would work even better.  We tried a bottle of Villa Maria Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014, a New Zealand white from Costco.  It was not as good with the Korma, so we set it aside in favour of an off-dry wine, Houghton Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013, an Australian white, also from Costco. We tasted zesty lemon, gooseberries and tropical fruits.  This was the best match of all three wines.

Spanish Albariño Good with Serbian Fish

We tried Serbian fish from Supercook. Haddock fillets are marinated in white wine, onion, garlic, fennel seeds, lemon juice and parsley. Meanwhile potato slices are baked in the oven with tomatoes, salt, paprika and flour.  The marinated fish is then added to the baking dish together with chopped bacon, mushrooms and sour cream and returned to the oven.  A tasty way to cook haddock.

To drink with the fish we chose a bottle of 8 Razones Albariño 2013, a Spanish white from Sunday Times Wine Club.

There was a slight sweetness with citrussy, yet mellow nectarine flavours. The wine paired well with the meal.

Hungarian Tokaji is Good with Two Desserts

img_2198.jpegWe don’t drink many dessert wines, not least because we rarely eat desserts unless we are entertaining guests.

However, we had some ready-made desserts in the fridge and a dessert wine we wanted to try.  We had managed to buy a 50cl bottle of St Stephans Crown Tokaji 2008, 5 Puttonyos Hungarian sweet white dessert  wine at a very reasonable price from Tesco. Hungarian Tokaji is viewed by many as an aristocrat among sweet wines.

First up was a Delici sea salt caramel Belgian dessert from Costco. The packaging describes the dessert as a “delicate blend of crushed speculoos cookies and fleur de sel caramel, topped with an intense cream caramel mousse and finished with a dark chocolate ganache.” Very tasty.

The second dessert was a Gü maple and pecan pie from Tesco.  This is described as “a crumbly pecan biscuit base, topped with a creamy maple syrup-infused cheesecake.” Another enjoyable dessert.

Now for the wine.  We found it honeyed with burnt caramel, woodiness and a sweet smoothness.  However, it was not overly sweet.  A lovely wine.

Whilst we thought the wine was a good match with the sea salt caramel dessert, it was better with the maple and pecan pie.

Australian Red Blend is Great with Pulled Pork Fajitas

We made pulled pork fajitas by loading some tortilla wraps with Tesco‘s BBQ pulled pork, which is slow cooked pork shoulder with a BBQ glaze and a hickory BBQ sauce.  We then added grated Cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and shredded lettuce.  Tasty.

We opened a bottle of Ballingarry Estate, Clare Valley Shiraz/Mataro/Grenache 2009 from the Sunday Times Wine Club.

This wine was a lovely inky black in the glass. We detected black fruits on the nose, followed by an initially sweet palate, spicy black fruits and a long chocolaty finish.  A moreish wine and a very good match with the fajitas.

Argentinian Malbec Good with Steak in Sour Cream Sauce

We tried Filetgulasch mit Saurer Sahne, a German recipe from Supercook.  Sirloin steak is coated with seasoning and flour and fried in butter and topped with a mixture of onions, red pepper and paprika.  A reduced sauce made from the steak cooking juices, red wine and sour cream is then poured over the steaks. We served the steaks with sauté potatoes, mushrooms and tomatoes.

We paired the steak in sour cream sauce with a bottle of Uco Valley Malbec 2014 from Aldi’s Exquisite Collection.

This full-bodied Argentinian red displayed violet notes on the nose, a vanilla sweetness on the palate and was very fruity with flavours of plums and blackberries.  The wine was a good match with the meal.

Two Reds Not Enhanced by Autumn Game Casserole

We fancied trying Autumn game casserole from the Slow Cook Book.  Mixed game meat such as pheasant, venison and rabbit are slow cooked with onion, carrot, parsnip, fennel and mushrooms in cider and chicken stock.  We garnished with chopped parsley and served with mashed potato.

We weren’t sure what to expect and what would be a good wine pairing.  Whilst there were pleasant savoury and sweet flavours in the casserole, our next using game will involve a red wine sauce.

We sampled two reds with the dish.  The first was The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a favourite of ours from the Sunday Times Wine Club.IMG_2187.JPG

This full bodied Australian red delivered a slight sweetness, black fruits and a smooth finish, but its flavours were not enhanced by the pairing. See here and here for some better pairings for this wine.

The next wine was a bottle of Castillo de Viñas Crianza, Rioja 2012, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society made from 90% IMG_2188-0.jpgTempranillo and 10% Graciano.

We detected red fruits on the nose, with flavours of strawberries and a creamy vanilla finish.  A marginally better match, but not great.