Aussie Red Better Pairing than Rioja with Turkish Lamb Stew

We enjoyed Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” tv programme last year and we tried his Lamb Kleftiko. A couple of very good pairings with that dish can be found here.

This time we cooked his rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi).

Boned lamb shoulder is cooked with red pepper paste, tomato paste, onion, garlic, green chilli, green pepper, tomatoes, oregano and seasoning. The lamb stew is served on a bed of aubergine purée made from mashed aubergine, milk, flour, Parmesan, lemon juice and seasoning. We served with flatbread.

We opened a bottle of Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva from the Co-op.  A previous bottle of this medium-bodied Spanish red was very good with lamb chops.

There were black fruits on the nose, a vanilla sweetness with mocha and sweet black fruits on the palate. A good match with the meal, but we thought the flavours in the aubergine purée may have detracted a little from the pairing.2016-01-15 18.01.11

We finished off the leftovers with a bottle of Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2014, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. We chose this wine because it had previously made a very good match with lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.

There were brambly fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness on the palate, with blackberry fruit and a milk chocolate and coffee mocha finish. The Shiraz was a better match than the Rioja with this particular combination of Turkish lamb stew and aubergine purée.

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 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.

French and Spanish Reds Very Good with Lamb Kleftiko

We’ve been watching Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” cookery programme and thought we’d try his lamb kleftiko.  However, we modified the recipe by using lamb shanks instead of leg and we cooked it in the slow cooker.

The lamb shanks were put in the slow cooker along with waxy potatoes, red pepper and tomatoes. We poured lemon juice and olive oil over the lamb and added garlic, oregano and water. We added Feta cheese towards the end. Very tasty.

We decided on a bottle of Christian Moueix Bordeaux 2010, a Merlot-based French red from the Wine Society.  We paired a previous bottle of this wine with lamb shanks and enjoyed it.

There was an initial cherry sweetness followed by flavours of blackberries and dark plums, with smooth tannins.  A very good match with the kleftiko.2015-09-25 19.16.33

We enjoyed the leftovers a couple of days later and tried a bottle of Momo Ribero del Duero 2010, a full-bodied Spanish red also from the Wine Society.

This Tempranillo was inky black in the glass with black fruits on the nose.  We tasted vanilla sweetness and black fruits from this powerful and smooth wine.  It was almost as good with the lamb as the Bordeaux.2015-09-27 19.06.10

A New Zealand Sauvignon is Good with Aubergine Curry

2015-08-28 18.10.57We were looking for a recipe for some aubergines we had been given and decided on Rick Stein’s Aubergine Curry with Tomatoes, Ginger and Fennel Seeds. This dish is from Bangladesh and the aubergines are cooked in a curry made from ginger, garlic, green chillies, cumin, fennel seeds, coriander, turmeric, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  The dish is garnished with fresh coriander and mint. We served this very tasty curry with pulao rice.

We paired the curry with a bottle of Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011, a New Zealand white from Tesco.

We thought the flavours were somewhat muted for a New Zealand Sauvignon, but we thought the pairing with the curry was good.  It brought the wine’s grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours to the fore.

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.

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 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.

A Complex Gascogne White Very Good with Rick Stein’s Balinese Pork

We tried Slow-cooked pork with ginger, chilli and sweet soy sauce (Babi Kecap) from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey.

This is braised cubed pork that combines hot, sour and sweet flavours from chilli, tamarind and palm sugar.  It includes kecap manis, the thick and sweet Indonesian soy sauce.  We served this tasty recipe with jasmine rice, rice noodles and a sambal.  IMG_0532

In view of the various flavours in the dish we thought finding a good wine pairing might be a challenge. We opened a bottle of Domaine de Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay Côtes de Gascogne 2011 from the Wine Society.

The wine combined Chenin zestiness, minerality, mixing with tropical fruits and melon, with a rich, smooth, creamy finish.  Complex, with sweet and savoury flavours.  Recommended for “exotic” cuisine and indeed a very good match with this dish.