South African Chenin is Great with Apple & Pork Casserole

We revisited a recipe that we hadn’t cooked for a very long time, Apple and Pork Casserole from Supercook.

Cubed pork is casseroled with onions, sage, seasoning, and apples. The mixture is topped with potatoes. We served with puréed carrots and swedes.

We paired this simple casserole with a bottle of The Huguenot Chenin Blanc 2014, an off-dry South African white from Sunday Times Wine Club.

There was a slight sweetness with apples, pineapples and tropical fruit flavours. The wine was a very good match with the meal.2016-03-18 18.18.42

A Great Pairing for Red Bean & Lamb Casserole is Elusive

It’s been a long time since we cooked Red Bean and Lamb Casserole, a Supercook favourite. It’s an adaptation of an Iranian dish.

Cubed lamb is casseroled in chicken stock with onions, garlic, tomatoes, kidney beans, turmeric, salt, pepper, lemon juice, coriander and mint. Yoghurt is stirred in at the end and the dish is garnished with parsley. We served with mashed potato and roasted courgettes.

We initially tried to pair the meal with Glorioso Crianza Rioja 2011, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society, but surprisingly the flavours of the lamb casserole did the wine no favours, so we set the wine aside.

We thought a wine with more sweetness might be better and opted for a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red that is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo. We last enjoyed this with a lamb korma.

We detected intense red fruits on the nose with vanilla sweetness, black and red fruits and a slight mocha finish.  A good match, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine.2016-01-30 18.07.10

For the leftovers we decided to switch to a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines that we had enjoyed previously with a beef carbonnade.

We detected black fruits on the nose with vanilla sweetness and intense red and black fruits on the palate. The finish was smooth, peppery and spicy. The wine was a slightly better match than the Rioja, but we were left wondering what wine would have been a really good match.

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.

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.

Spanish or Australian Red with Slow-Cooked Lamb Korma?

On a cold rainy January day there is nothing better than something cooked in our crockpot and Lamb Korma from the Slow Cook Book was ideal.

Cubed lamb is fried with onions, ginger, garlic and a spice mixture of dried red chillies, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin, mace and paprika.  The lamb is then slow-cooked with yoghurt and a little salt.  Double cream is stirred through towards the end of cooking.  The korma is then garnished with coriander and served with pilau rice.  We mopped up the sauce with naan bread.  Delicious.

We opened a bottle of The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  There was an initial sweetness, followed by intense blackcurrant fruits and a smooth, spicy finish. The wine was a good match with the korma, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine, such as this one.2016-01-01 17.31.00

However, we managed to improve on the pairing with the leftovers.  We opened a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  This wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo.

We loved its sweet, creamy smooth vanilla red fruits, with a lovely savouriness on the finish.  A very good match with the korma.

Spanish Albariño Good with Serbian Fish

We tried Serbian fish from Supercook. Haddock fillets are marinated in white wine, onion, garlic, fennel seeds, lemon juice and parsley. Meanwhile potato slices are baked in the oven with tomatoes, salt, paprika and flour.  The marinated fish is then added to the baking dish together with chopped bacon, mushrooms and sour cream and returned to the oven.  A tasty way to cook haddock.

To drink with the fish we chose a bottle of 8 Razones Albariño 2013, a Spanish white from Sunday Times Wine Club.

There was a slight sweetness with citrussy, yet mellow nectarine flavours. The wine paired well with the meal.

Australian Red Blend is Great with Pulled Pork Fajitas

We made pulled pork fajitas by loading some tortilla wraps with Tesco‘s BBQ pulled pork, which is slow cooked pork shoulder with a BBQ glaze and a hickory BBQ sauce.  We then added grated Cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and shredded lettuce.  Tasty.

We opened a bottle of Ballingarry Estate, Clare Valley Shiraz/Mataro/Grenache 2009 from the Sunday Times Wine Club.

This wine was a lovely inky black in the glass. We detected black fruits on the nose, followed by an initially sweet palate, spicy black fruits and a long chocolaty finish.  A moreish wine and a very good match with the fajitas.

Two Reds Not Enhanced by Autumn Game Casserole

We fancied trying Autumn game casserole from the Slow Cook Book.  Mixed game meat such as pheasant, venison and rabbit are slow cooked with onion, carrot, parsnip, fennel and mushrooms in cider and chicken stock.  We garnished with chopped parsley and served with mashed potato.

We weren’t sure what to expect and what would be a good wine pairing.  Whilst there were pleasant savoury and sweet flavours in the casserole, our next using game will involve a red wine sauce.

We sampled two reds with the dish.  The first was The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a favourite of ours from the Sunday Times Wine Club.IMG_2187.JPG

This full bodied Australian red delivered a slight sweetness, black fruits and a smooth finish, but its flavours were not enhanced by the pairing. See here and here for some better pairings for this wine.

The next wine was a bottle of Castillo de Viñas Crianza, Rioja 2012, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society made from 90% IMG_2188-0.jpgTempranillo and 10% Graciano.

We detected red fruits on the nose, with flavours of strawberries and a creamy vanilla finish.  A marginally better match, but not great.

 

Which Spanish Red with Lamb Stew with Vegetables?

We cooked a favourite we had not enjoyed for a long time, Lamb Stew with Vegetables, a Supercook recipe.

Cubed lamb is browned in a seasoning made from salt, pepper, nutmeg, mint and turmeric, then fried with onions. The lamb is casseroled with tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, chicken stock and lemon juice.  Cubed potatoes and chick peas are added later.  We served this superb meal with crusty bread.

We opened a bottle of Castillo Catadau Gran Reserva 2006, a full-bodied Spanish red from Naked Wines.  This Tempranillo was deep red in the glass and we tasted creamy vanilla spiciness, dark chocolate with smooth mixed red and black fruits. A very good match.IMG_2162-0.jpg

We finished the leftovers the following evening and decided to stick with a Spanish red, but we opted for a Garnacha for comparison.  The wine was Martinez Bujanda Rioja Garnacha 2011 from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  Again we tasted creamy vanilla but with more sweetness, red fruits and a smooth, savoury, spicy and creamy finish.  A good match, but the Tempranillo worked better.IMG_2163.JPG

A Puglian Red is Good with Pasta alla Norma

We tried Pasta alla Norma from Jamie Oliver.  This famous Sicilian recipe includes a pasta sauce made from aubergines, olive oil, oregano, red chilli, garlic, frsh basil, white wine vinegar, chopped canned tomatoes and seasoning.  Ricotta is used in the authentic recipe, but we used Parmesan.  We served with spaghetti.  A very tasty meal.

Research online suggests the Sicilian grape variety Nero d’Avola is a good wine pairing.  We didn’t have a bottle but we did have Cosiero Nero, Nero di Troia 2013, an Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  This full-bodied wine is from Puglia and we found black fruits on the nose with a palate of black fruits, vanilla sweetness and a smooth, spicy finish.  A good match with the pasta.2015-10-27 17.41.21