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.

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.

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.

New World Whites Work Well with Peanut Butter Chicken Stew

Last month we cooked Caribbean Peanut Chicken and particularly enjoyed the peanut butter flavours.  We were entertaining guests and fancied trying another recipe with similar ingredients and chose Peanut Butter Chicken Stew from Supercook.

This is a West African dish that we served with boiled rice and sweet potato.  Chicken pieces are cooked with onion and a paste made from chicken stock, salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cumin and chilli powder.  Tomatoes are added later and the dish is garnished with parsley. Delicious and even better than the previous recipe.

We opened a couple of wines to pair with the meal – Lions Gate Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2011, a South African white blend from Tesco and Wairau Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a New Zealand white also from Tesco. Both these wines went well with the meal, with the New Zealand wine having the edge.

We had the leftovers with a bottle of Bleasdale Langhorne Crossing Verdelho/Sauvignon Blanc 2014, an Australian white blend from the Wine Society.

This was crisp, fresh, slightly off-dry with grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours.  The wine was a good match with the chicken.2015-06-14 19.11.01

Which Wines to Drink with Ostrich and Crocodile Burgers?

Iceland has started selling a range of exotic meats and we thought we’d try some burgers out on the barbecue.  We served them with potato salad and green leaves.

Ostrich Burgers

These have a fairly beefy flavour, but they are leaner and have a dry texture. We didn’t think they were particularly distinctive.

We paired the ostrich burgers with Lascar Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, a Chilean red from the Wine Society.

We tasted black berry fruits and some spiciness.  This was a good barbecue wine, but it was only an adequate match with the ostrich.2015-04-15 17.05.14 HDR

Crocodile Burgers

A much lighter-coloured meat.  Moist, slightly salty with a distinctive unique flavour.  These were much better and we would buy them again.

These burgers needed a white wine and we opened a bottle of Brancott Marlborough Chardonnay 2013, a New Zealand white from Costco.

The wine was lean, with creamy apple and lemon flavours and was a good match with the crocodile burgers.2015-04-15 17.48.31

We plan to try the kangaroo burgers and wild boar sausages next.

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.

An Australian Chardonnay is Very Good with a Slow-Cooked Chicken and Beer Stew

We slow-cooked a Chicken and Beer Stew recipe from the Slow Cook Book.

The chicken pieces were cooked with onions, brandy, mushrooms, bouquet garni, crushed juniper berries, beer (a can of Hobgoblin in this case), chicken stock and double cream.

The meal was garnished with parsley and served with a jacket potato. Very enjoyable too.

We thought a not too oaked-Chardonnay would be good and opened a bottle of Tesco’s Finest Del Rios Victoria Chardonnay 2011.

This Australian white was lemony, with fresh tropical fruits and a smooth creamy finish that intensified IMG_0598as the meal progressed.  A very good match.

Various Whites Struggle to Pair Well with a Panang Curry

We bought some Panang or Penang curry paste from Wai Yee Hong, an excellent Oriental supermarket in Bristol that we have previously written about.

We combined the curry paste with chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, fresh chilli and kaffir lime leaves.  We garnished the curry with Thai basil leaves and served it with Jasmine rice and prawn crackers.  Lovely.

However, we struggled to find the right wine to accompany this dish.  First we tried a bottle of Blind Spot Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2012, an Australian white from the Wine Society.IMG_0437

This was fresh, zingy with flavours of grapefruit, lemon and lime, with good acidity and was great to drink on its own.  It was also OK with the food, but we think something off-dry would have gone better.

Here’s the verdict on other wines we tried to match with the dish both on this occasion and a couple of days later with the leftovers:-

  • Les Combelles Colombard/Ugni Blanc 2011, a French white from the Sunday Times Wine Club – reasonable, but not a great match
  • Rawnsley Sauvignon Blanc 2011, an Australian white from Tesco – didn’t work at all
  • Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a New Zealand white from Costco – acceptable, but not great

So, no stunning matches this time. Interestingly, we had an off-dry Australian Riesling with a Penang curry a few years back and it’s the only decent match we’ve achieved so far.

A Restrained New Zealand Sauvignon Works with Beef Kofta Curry

We tried Beef Kofta Curry from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. Rick says this is the Indian version of Italian meatballs in tomato sauce.IMG_0427

The curry contains coriander, cumin, Garam masala, Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric, onions, garlic, green cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, curry leaves and green chillies.  We served the Kofta with plain boiled rice.

The dish was okay and we enjoyed it more as the meal progressed, but overall it didn’t excite us and we won’t be doing this recipe again.

Finding a good wine pairing also proved somewhat problematic.  We started with a bottle of Blind Spot Pinot Gris 2012, an Australian white from the Wine Society.  We previously sucessfully paired this with Devil’s Curry, also from Rick Stein, but this time there was no affinity with the dish, so we set the wine aside.

Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a New Zealand white from Costco was an improvement, but still not a great match. Enjoyment seemed to vary from mouthful to mouthful.

We used up the leftover curry a couple of days later and the flavours became considerably hotter.  We tried a bottle of Ocean’s Edge Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, from Tesco.

This wine still had intense peachy flavours, but was not so overtly fruity as the Brancott and was overall more restrained.

We thought this was a better match with the curry and probably a more versatile food wine.

An Australian Pinot Gris is a Good Pairing with an Unusual Malaysian Curry

Rick Stein’s Devil’s Curry from his Far Eastern Odyssey cook book is a Malaysian chicken curry with a difference. It contains dark soy sauce, rice vineagar, mustard seeds, onions, garlic, Devil’s curry paste, potatoes, tomatoes and chilli. The curry paste is made from Kashmiri chillies, paprika, ginger, onions, garlic, nuts, coriander seeds and turmeric. Hot and sour, we weren’t sure at first about this recipe, but found this to be a grower.  Rick suggests serving the curry with plain rice, which we did.

We paired this with a bottle of Blind SpoIMG_0427t Pinot Gris, Yarra Valley 2012, an Australian white from the Wine Society.

This was fresh with tropical fruits, particularly melons, pineapples and with some grapefruit on the finish. A good match with this unusual curry.

When we heated the remainder of the curry the next day, the flavours became more intense and the Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 New Zealand white from Costco we paired with it was also a good match.