To clarify: I’m not going to write about which wine goes with which foods, however appealing the thought seems. Sadly, I’m not qualified to perorate on the topic, regardless of how much wine I should quaff.
It’s all a load of piffle anyway: the modern guidance tells you to drink whatever you fancy with whatever you fancy. ‘Wine flights’ are only another method of extracting money out of loaded punters in these desperate times. Still, I’m happy to supply a link to some simple guidance so knock yourselves out.
The pairing I focus on here is a different what-goes-with-what: some brilliant, sometimes unexpected matches to make in your pan, in the baking tray and on the plate.
I am always keen on unusual combos, ever since insisting, as a kid, that my cheese sandwiches had jam in them. Wasn’t I right too! Much nicer than - arguably similar sweet with salty - the American peanut butter & jam which they call jelly (no disrespect though not my thing), Cheddar or Emmental with a lick of raspberry conserve is seriously superior. And that goes for toasted sandwiches too – take that, America! Try grilling your PB&J, huh?
That’s my no-recipe out of the way. Let’s look at some ideas that will take us way beyond a slab of meat with two veg.
A slab of meat (well, not literally) goes beautifully with fruit. Just check out the pineapple duck, chicken and grape tray bake or beef short rib braised with plums. Adding fruit to a salad with chicken makes it super lively – peach salsa in the chicken-halloumi combo or chicken and feta with melon.
Fish never goes with cheese? Wait till you try salmon parcel with blue cheese. Cheese in general has far more versatile applications than we usually put it in. With fruit: pears, figs or peaches; with raw, shaved brussels sprout salad or in a tian of autumnal, root vegetables.
Cabbage makes a great filling for a vegetarian lasagne. Tomatoes go with figs famously well. A chocolate sauce is indeed perfect for venison, and monkfish benefits from chorizo’s company. Forget Greek salad: dress your cucumbers and feta with honey for a benefit to your gut. And next time you have white or sweet baked potato, fill it with tahini butter.
Speaking of tahini: would you believe how wonderful an addition of tahini makes a carrot cake? If you’re doubtful, try for yourself. Happy pairing!