For a midweek meal we had Old El Paso’s Taco kit. Taco shells are loaded with minced beef cooked with a spice mix containing seasoning, paprika and cumin. The tacos are topped with salsa, tomatoes, grated Cheddar, sour cream, guacamole and crisp lettuce.
With so many flavours, finding a good wine pairing is a challenge. Research online suggested a variety of options including Tempranillo, Shiraz and South American reds.
We decided on a bottle of Corte Ignacio Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, a full-bodied Chilean red from the Wine Society. A couple of mouthfuls indicated this was not a good match, so we set the wine aside.
We turned to a bottle of La Moneda Merlot Reserva 2014, another full-bodied Chilean red, this time from Asda.
We detected red fruits on the nose, dark plum flavours and a spicy finish. Whilst the wine was a good match with the tacos, we will try to improve on the pairing next time.
We decided to cook some steak on our barbecue and chose Rump Steaks with Mustard and Brandy Sauce from Supercook.
The steaks are rubbed all over with crushed garlic and French mustard, then grilled and a brandy, cream and paprika sauce is poured over them. We served the steaks with chunky oven chips, grilled portobello mushrooms and roasted tomatoes.
Like many we enjoy a Malbec with steak. While these are usually Argentinian, we enjoyed a Chilean one – Acaballo Malbec 2011 from the Sunday Times Wine Club.
We tasted mainly red fruits, vanilla sweetness and a smooth, chocolaty creamy finish. A very good match with the steak.
We tried Meat and Potato Hotpot, a Supercook recipe.
Braising steak is slow-cooked in the oven with potatoes, onions, swede, thyme, Worcester sauce and seasoning. A warming Winter’s meal.
We thought a bottle of Cabeza de Toro Bobal 2013 would match. This pleasant medium-bodied Spanish red from the Sunday Times Wine Club had some sweetness to match some of the Hotpot’s ingredients, but it wasn’t powerful enough for the meal, so we set it aside.
We then tried a bottle of Corte Ignacio Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 a full-bodied Chilean red from the Wine Society. We tasted predominantly blackcurrants with a lingering savoury earthiness that had an affinity with the swedes in the dish. A good match.
We did even better with the lefovers though. We paired the Hotpot with a bottle of A1 Muvedre 2012 Tinto Joven Alicante, a medium to full-bodied red also from the the Wine Society. We tasted red fruits, plums, a vanilla sweetness and some spiciness. A very good match with the meal.
For a change we decided to cook something from Caribbean Food Made Easy from Levi Roots. We chose Lamb Carry, which is cubed lamb cooked with onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, thyme, basil, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, chicken stock, coconut milk, cream and lime juice.
We served the meal with Levi’s rice and peas, which contains basmati rice, spring onion, garlic, thyme, allspice berries and red chilli. However, we substituted dessicated coconut instead of fresh and we omitted the black beans. Appropriately we enjoyed some Reggae in the background.
If the meal sounds like a wine pairing challenge, you’d be right. Red or white? We tried a red first off and opened a bottle of The Hundred Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from Sunday Times Wine Club. Nice wine, but not with this dish, so we set it aside.
We switched to white and opened a bottle of Concha y Toro Corte Ignacio Riesling 2012, a Chilean white from the Wine Society. This had a grassy aroma and we tasted zesty tropical fruits and a lemony finish with some minerality. This was a good match, especially with the sauce.
A couple of days later we tried the leftovers with a bottle of Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, a New Zealand white from Costco. This didn’t work at all and we went back to red and tried a bottle of Luis Felipe Edwards Merlot Reserva 2013, a full-bodied Chilean red from Asda. The plum and cherry fruits with chocolatey sweetness from oak worked well with the meal. A good match.
Ras El Hanout is a classic Moroccan rub for lamb, fish or chicken and contains coriander, cinnamon, ginger, lavender flowers, rose petals, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cassia, galangal, pimento, mace, nutmeg, cardamon and clove.
We coated some lamb loin chops with a little olive oil, rubbed on some Ras El Hanout and grilled the lamb on the barbecue. We served the chops with Jersey Royal potatoes and Feta salad.
To go with the meal we opened a bottle of Los Rosales Don Manuel Block Carménère 2009, a full-bodied Chilean red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.
We tasted coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and plum sweetness, with underlying black fruits and a slight spiciness. The finish was complex, rich and smooth. We thought this wine was an exceedingly good match with the lamb.
We enjoyed one of our favourite Supercook recipes that we hadn’t cooked for a long time. It’s a hot, spicy beef and rice stew from Cameroon called Dos.
The stew contains stewing beef, green chilli, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin, chilli powder, ground coriander, onion, tomatoes, green pepper, water and rice. We served it with green beans.
Whilst the stew has strong spicy flavours it tastes completely different from a curry.
To pair with the stew we chose a bottle of Viña Maipo Shiraz 2012, a full-bodied Chilean red from Tesco.
There were blackberry aromas and this was followed through on the palate with black fruits, vanilla sweetness and chocolate spiciness. The pairing improved as the meal progressed and overall we thought it was a good match.
We tried Allegra McEvedy’s Daube of Beef recipe from Economy Gastronomy. Cubed braising steak is cooked with shallots, bay leaves, lardons, thyme, garlic, red wine, beef stock and a tin of beef consommé. Unusually for a daube the recipe did not call for marinating the meat beforehand.
We served the daube with mashed potato and curly kale. Whilst we found the recipe pleasant, we didn’t detect as much depth of flavour as more traditional daubes we have cooked .
We thought a Bordeaux should be a good pairing with the dish and opened a bottle of Chateau Grand Bireau 2008, a medium to full bodied red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. We enjoyed the plum and blackcurrant flavours and smooth tannins of this Merlot-based blend. A good match with the meal.
The next evening we finished the remainder of the daube, which had been thickened with cornflour and the flavours had also intensified a bit.
This time we chose to pair it with a bottle of Los Gansos Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Cono Sur, a Chilean red from the Wine Society.
This wine delivered blackcurrants, plums, with some spiciness and smooth vanilla. Another good match.