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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Jurançon Sec is a Very Good Match with Roast Chicken

2015-11-17 18.32.15We cooked a modified version of Jamie’s Roast Chicken with all the Trimmings.

The chicken is rubbed all over with butter flavoured with lemon zest and thyme.  A lemon and thyme sprigs are placed in the cavity and the chicken is then roasted with garlic, sliced potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips. However, we used turnips instead of parsnips.

We have read that Jurançon Sec is a good match with roast chicken and so we opened a bottle of Domaine Cauhapé Chant de Vignes Jurançon Sec 2012, a Southern French white from the Wine Society.

We detected a slight initial sweetness, smooth tropical fruits, followed by a pleasant tangy grapefruit finish. We though the wine was a very good match with the roast chicken.

A German White is Good with Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

We tried Sri Lankan Chicken Curry from Rick Stein.

Chicken pieces are fried with cinnamon, cardamon pods, cloves, shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, turmeric and roasted Sri Lankan curry powder.  The curry powder consists of rice, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, a cinnamon stick, fenugreek seeds, cloves, cardamon seeds, black mustard seeds, black peppercorns and dried red kashmiri chillies, all ground into a fine powder.

The chicken is then cooked with chopped tomatoes, curry leaves, pandan leaf (we used bay leaf with dried basil), lemongrass, and green chillies.  Coconut milk is added near the end.  We served with Thai rice and prawn crackers.

Given the ingredients involved we were surprised that the overall flavour of the curry was a bit muted.  Still pleasant enough though.2015-10-22 18.10.52

We opened a bottle of The Society’s Ruppertsberg 2013, a slightly off-dry German white from the Wine Society.

We enjoyed its good acidity and citrussy lemon and lime flavours.  A good match with the meal.

A Portuguese White is Very Good with Curried Chicken Durban Style

2015-10-17 17.54.10We cooked Madhur Jaffrey’s Curried Whole Chicken Durban Style.  A delightful recipe.

Lemon juice, ginger, garlic, green chillies, salt, olive oil, cumin and coriander are blended into a paste and then rubbed into a skinned whole chicken.  The chicken is then dusted with chilli powder and pepper and roasted.  We served the chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and salad.

With the meal we enjoyed a bottle of Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2013, a Portuguese white from Waitrose. There was an initial fizzy acidity on the tongue, followed by flavours of apples, grapefruits and lemons, with a zingy finish.  A very good match with the chicken.2015-10-17 18.02.13

A South African Chenin is Very Good with Chilli Chicken Pasta

We tried Paul Ainsworth’s Chilli chicken pasta with red pesto sauce from the Great British Chefs website.

Chicken breast strips are cooked with a sauce containing onion, garlic purée, vegetable stock, sweet chilli sauce, red pesto, crème fraîche, basil, tomatoes and seasoning.  The mixture is served over fresh pasta and we used tagliatelle.

We decided on a bottle of Esporao Monte Velho Tinto Alentejano 2013, a Portuguese red from the Wine Society.  A good wine but a clash with this particular dish. 2015-07-15 18.27.54

We turned to a bottle of The Huguenot Chenin Blanc 2014, an off-dry South African white from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  See here for a previous pairing with this wine.

We tasted tropical fruits, especially pineapple and peach, and the finish was slightly citrussy.  The wine was a very good match with the pasta.2015-07-15 18.34.07 HDR

A South African White Blend is Good with Barbecued Chilli Chicken

I have recently rediscovered Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible website and there’s a good selection of interesting recipes on there. We decided to do a barbie at short notice to take advantage of a rare sunny day in a dreadful English May. We decided on Green Chile (Chilli) Chicken Under Bricks. Chicken breasts are marinated in a mixture of salt, black peppercorns, cumin, garlic, green chilli (we only had red ones), chopped cilantro (coriander), lime juice and olive oil.  We didn’t use the bricks as recommended in the recipe, but the chicken was deliciously succulent.

We served the chicken with Delia’s Anya Potato Salad with Shallots and Vinaigrette and mixed leaves with a vinaigrette dressing.  An excellent al fresco meal.2015-05-30 14.51.42

We paired the meal with a bottle of Lion’s Gate Sauvignon blanc Semillon 2014, a South African white from Tesco.

The nose was grassy and the palate started slightly sweet, followed by tropical fruit flavours, with a drier finish.  The wine was a good match with the barbecued chilli chicken.