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 French Sauvignon Better Than a German Riesling with Slow-Cooked Pork Belly

We wanted to slow-cook some pork belly and found a Heston Blummenthal recipe on the Waitrose website.  The pork is cooked with carrots, parsnips, turnip, garlic, chicken stock and sage.  However, we modified the recipe by using the slow cooker rather than the oven and dispensed with the crackling and the parsnips. We served the pork with roast potatoes.

We thought a dry Riesling would be good with the pork and opened a bottle of Peter and Peter Riesling 2013, an off-dry German white from Tesco.  We were surprised that this wine didn’t work with the meal and we set it aside.2014-12-07 17.54.13

We turned to a bottle of Domaine de l’Arjolle Sauvignon Blanc 2012, a Southern French white from the Wine Society. There was a slight sweetness, with apples, a creamy smoothness and a slightly tangy grapefruit finish. The wine successfully cut through the fat and was a good match with the meal.2014-12-07 18.07.42

A Southern French White Matches a Lamb and Cashew Nut Curry Very Well

Lamb and Cashew Nut Curry from Supercook requires the blending of ginger, garlic, green chillies, cashew nuts, cloves, coriander seeds and white poppy seeds into a spice paste.

Cubed lamb is then cooked in the paste along with yoghurt, saffron, salt and lemon juice.  The dish is garnished with lemon slices and fresh coriander leaves.

We served the curry with parathas and rice.2014-11-15 19.05.11

We thought a white wine would be best and opened a bottle of Les Pierres Bordes Marsanne-Viognier, Pays d’Oc 2012.  This is a Southern French white from the Wine Society.

The wine was very slightly off-dry, fruity with creamy peaches and melon flavours.  It also had a lovely tangy spiciness to complement the flavours of the curry.  A very good match.

A Southern French Grenache Blanc is Very Good with a Sri Lankan Curry

2014-10-17 17.55.29We tried a Sri Lankan dish called Lamb Curry with Fresh and Dried Coriander from Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Bible.

The recipe requires grinding mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cloves and blending shallots, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and chillies. The lamb is fried in cinnamon, cardamon, curry leaves and pandanus leaf.  Unfortunately nowhere local to us stocks pandanus leaf.  However, we read that bay leaf with a little dried basil can be used as a substitute.

The lamb is then cooked in the ground and blended spices together with water, turmeric and lemon juice.  Coconut milk is added at the end.  We served this delicious aromatic curry with naan bread.

We thought a slightly off-dry wine would work nicely and opened a bottle of Domaine du Bosc Grenache Blanc 2012, a southern French white from the Wine Society.

We tasted creamy peaches, a slight sweetness, citrus and a smooth finish.  The wine was a very good match with the curry.

South African and French Whites Both Good with Coriander Chicken

We revisited one of our favourite cookbooks Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Bible and tried Green Coriander Chicken (Dhania Chicken), a Kenyan dish.

The chicken pieces are marinated overnight in ginger, garlic and lemon juice and then cooked in a thick blended sauce containing green chillies, lots of coriander leaves and stalks, tomato purée and yoghurt.

We served with Naan bread and Basmati rice.

We chose a bottle of The Gooseberry Bush Colombard/Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a South African white from the Sunday Times Wine Club to pair with this delicious meal.2014-04-05 18.40.42

This was bone dry, fresh and crisp, with tropical fruit flavours.  We couldn’t detect the guava and figs mentioned on the bottle.

We thought this was a good match, but wondered whether we could do better with the lefovers the following day.

This time we went for a bottle of Heritage de Calvet Côtes du Rhône 2012, a French white from Tesco.

This Grenache Blanc is slightly off-dry and its tangy tropical fruit flavours had a better affinity with the coriander sauce.  An improved match.2014-04-06 19.09.22

A Southern French White Blend is Very Good with Persian Chicken Koresh

2014-03-16 18.38.20Continuing our quest for more subtly-flavoured recipes, we tried Chicken and Aubergine Koresh, a Persian dish from Best Chicken Recipes.

The chicken thighs were cooked with onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, lemon juice and cinnamon.  We served the meal with rice.

We chose another interesting Southern French white from the Wine Society – Pelerin Blanc, Pays de Caux, Chartreuse de Mougeres 2012, a blend of Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc.  This was delicately-flavoured with tropical fruits of melon and pineapple and creamy smooth, with no edges.  Delightful and a very good match with the chicken.

An Interesting Southern French White Very Good with Lemon and Garlic Chicken

2014-03-14 19.38.13Having just returned from a holiday indulging in rich food, we decided on something more restrained and tried Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic from the Best Chicken recipes book.

The chicken is cooked with lots of garlic cloves, lemon, white wine and parsley and we served with a jacket potato and green beans.

Despite the quantity of garlic the dish was fairly mildly flavoured and we paired it with a bottle of Corbieres Blanc, Vieilles Vignes, Dom Roque Sestiers 2012, a Southern French white from the Wine Society.

The wine is made from the Maccabeu grape and we tasted apple and lemon, with good tangy acidity, yet the wine was smooth and almost creamy.  A distinctive and interesting wine that was a very good match with the chicken.

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.

A Gascogne White Enjoyable with Chicken Tikka Masala

For curry lovers a visit to Tewkesbury should include a visit to the excellent Eastern Eye.  This is essentially a takeaway, with a tiny seating area for those wishing to eat in.

The food quality is very good and the portions are outrageously generous.  Doggie bags are inevitable.  Take a look at the leftovers! IMG_0195.JPG (2)

I usually look for new dishes to try, but on this occasion thought I would order a Chicken Tikka Masala and I would say this was one of the best I had tasted from a curry house.  It had a sweetness with a minty, creamy, spicy kick.

We enjoyed the substantial remains of our meal at home the following evening with a bottle of The Society’s Vin de Pays Côtes de Gasgogne 2011.  The wine is a blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard and was crisp, with citrus, grapefruit and a hint of sharp apples.  It was an enjoyable match with the food.



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.