Seems to be food week for the broadsheets. The Guardian has a food supplement with menus from Britain’s top chefs (matched with wines by their wine columnist Victoria Moore) while the Indy has an extra-long selection of summer main courses and puds from their cookery writer Mark Hix. Since you can find Victoria’s matches online I’m tackling Mark’s dishes today:
Tabbouleh with smoked duck breast
There’s an interesting practical tip with this recipe: Mark suggests you can smoke the duck in a Savu food smoker bag from Finland which you can buy from a company called Carrilon (0800 917 0898). Much less expensive than buying a smoker and less hassle and mess than smoking in a wok.
Anyway, the match. It’s an unusual combination which steers me away from Pinot Noir, my failsafe choice with duck, towards a dry aromatic white. A German, Austrian or Alsace riesling would be perfect. Or a young Alsace Pinot Gris, always good with smoky food. But, given the Tabbouleh, make it a dry one.
Theodore's Real Greek souvlaki
There’s something about eating in the open air that drives wine matching out of the window. The meat, which is marinated in olive oil, red wine and lemon juice, is really tangy so will make any accompanying wine taste more rounded and mellow. Personally I’d go for a gutsy, rustic, possibly Greek red but a full-bodied dry ros would be great too as would a sharp, lemony Greek white such as Assyrtiko. (White wine and lamb works well when it’s cooked the Greek way)
Tomato, red pepper and feta tart
The feta, which is added uncooked at the end is the dominant note here and along with the red peppers and tomatoes would suggest a citrussy Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon blend such as the refreshing Alain Brumont Gros Manseng-Sauvignon 2007 I’ve been drinking this week. That’s not a bad bet as the tart is likely to be served with one or more accompanying salads
Wild salmon with samphire and cucumber salad
Wild salmon is an expensive rarity these days so treat yourself to a classy white to accompany it. A young unoaked premier cru Chablis, a Puligny Montrachet or a pukka Pouilly Fum would all work well. Remember samphire is salty which is going to make any accompanying wine taste slightly sweeter than it normally would so keep the wine dry.
Lobster with broad beans
A less fancy, more rustic way of cooking lobster than is usual which steers me away from my usual pick of top quality white burgundy. I’d be inclined to try a Viognier which has an affinity with saffron which is also in the dish. I particularly like the ones made by Laurent Miquel in the Languedoc. Waitrose Wine Direct is selling the latest vintage of his Verit Viognier for £12.34
With its sharp raspberry flavoured sauce and accompanying ice cream peach melba isn’t the easiest dessert to match with a wine. You could try a well chilled Australian botrytis semillon or other new world late harvest semillon or sauvignon but I’m not sure I wouldn’t be tempted to serve an accompanying near-frozen shot of peach liqueur with it. (Marie Brizard rather than Archers!)
Dorset Blueberry Trifle
I love the sound of this recipe! Again trifles are tricky because they include their own booze but there’s plenty of cream to act as a counterbalance and kick a sweet wine into touch. I’d be inclined to go for a Sauternes or a cheaper Sauternes lookalike such as Saussignac. Sainsbury’s used to stock one but I couldn’t spot it on their website this morning.
Prosecco granita with strawberries
I’m sure prosecco producers would be horrified at Mark’s suggestion of shoving their wine into the freezer (along with some sugar syrup) but you have to admit it sounds fabulous. No need for a glass with it though . . .
Cranachan with raspberries
Yet another dessert that includes its own booze - whisky in this case. And again, I wouldn’t try to partner it with more. Wine and whisky just don’t work and an accompanying dram of whisky would taste too dry. It's perfectly balanced as it is.