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

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.

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 Bordeaux Blanc is Good with Cullen Skink

We tried Cullen Skink from Supercook. This is an old Scottish recipe, which is a mixture of a soup and a stew. The basis of this dish is smoked haddock that orginated in the fishing port of Findon or Finan on the northeast coast of Scotland.

The smoked haddock is served in a liquid containing onions, seasoning, potatoes and milk.  A warming meal for a winter’s day and lovely with some crusty bread.

To drink with the meal we opened a bottle of Château La Perrière, Bordeaux 2011 from the Wine Society.  We last drank this Sauvignon/Semillon blend with a chicken pie.

We thought the wine was fresh, clean, crisp with lemony acidity and a nice tangy citrus finish.  IMG_0562A good match with the Cullen Skink.

A Bordeaux Blanc is an Agreeable Match with Jamie’s Chicken Pie

The chicken pie recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals contains chicken breasts, spring onions, mushrooms, mustard, crème fraîche, chicken stock, thyme and nutmeg.  We served it with a green salad.

We opened a bottle of Château La Perrière, Bordeaux 2011 from the Wine Society. This white is a blend of Sauvignon and Semillon and was grassy with fresh lemon, grapefruit and peach flavours and a zesty finish.  A good match with the pie, but we might try an unoaked Chardonnay next time.IMG_0540

Chilean Sauvignon and Australian Sauvignon Semillon Both Fine with Plaice Baked with Mushrooms

We cooked one of our favourite fish recipes – Plaice Baked with Mushrooms, from Supercook.  As well as mushrooms, the fish is baked with cream, lemon juice, white wine, black peppercorns, chervil, cayenne pepper and is topped with melted cheddar cheese.  As recommended, we served it with croquette potatoes.  Delicious.

We accompanied the meal with a bottle of the Society’s Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2011, from the Wine Society.  This white was crisp, intensely fruity, with hints of pineapple and was IMG_0211.JPG (2)a good match with the plaice.

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We cooked this dish again a few months later, but this time we tried a bottle of Blind Spot Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012, an Australian white, also from the Wine Society.

We found this crisp, lemony with hints of apple and minerality.  The wine had an affinity with the lemon in the sauce.  Another good match.

A French Semillon Goes Adequately with a Fish Tagine

IMG_0192.JPG (2)We tried Fish Tagine from the Slow Cook Book.  We used sea bass fillets that were cooked with onions, celery, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, carrots, red peppers, new potatoes and tomatoes.  The fish was also infused with a Charmoula, which is a North African marinade of coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin, paprika, turmeric, red chilli, lemon juice and coriander leaves.

We thought the Tagine would pair well with a bottle of Grand Gaillard Semillon Reserve 2008, a French white from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  The wine was fresh, lemony, smooth, creamy and full.  It was a very good wine, but surprisingly it was no more than an adequate match with the Tagine.