This week is National Pie Week in the UK - not that we Brits need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
If you're vegetarian - or catering for one - you expect more than the Christmas sides while everyone else tucks into the turkey. This delicious pie from Rachel Demuth of Demuths Cookery School in Bath fits the bill perfectly.
A re-run of an old post following a visit to Alsace, updating my recommendations on the best pairings for the region's dry and off-dry white wines.
As some of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook will know I lost my husband suddenly three weeks ago. It’s obviously hard to write about it while it's still so raw but I wanted to tell you about something quite unexpected that has helped - and is helping - to heal the pain.
As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine
With the sun shining and the World Cup just a week away what could be better than a South African-style braai. Let alone one that involves a pie . . .
if you're planning to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving here are some great wine and other pairings to serve with it.
This impressive Moroccan-style pie from Josceline Dimbleby's food memoir Orchards in the Oasis would make a great centrepiece for a dinner party or more casual supper with friends.
Despite the emphasis that winemakers place on the different crus or terroirs of Chablis three factors seem to me to influence a food match more than any other for most of the Chablis you’ll taste - the age of the wine, the vintage and the degree of oak influence, if any.
I love pies but you can’t get away from the fact that they’re fiddly and time-consuming so here’s a neat idea for cutting the time they take by at least half and possibly trimming a few calories off the meal into the bargain.
The great thing about going to old country pubs is that they tend to have wines you can’t find anywhere else - or certainly not at the price. Like the bottle of Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994 we found at the Nobody Inn in Doddiscombleigh in Devon at the weekend.
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
Why has no-one had the genius idea of putting beef bourguignon into a pie before? Here's the recipe courtesy of the brilliant Ginger Pig Meat Book which I reviewed here.
This spring is seeing a bumper crop of new cookery books of which Catherine Phipps' Citrus is one of the most enticing ...
Today is the third International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.
I have a bit of a problem with pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin and I don't have a massively sweet tooth which makes the thought of partnering it with a sweet wine a bit of a killer. But I know I'm in a minority and with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday here are my top picks:
Real perry - as opposed to the often confected and artificially flavoured pear cider - has a different taste from cider. It’s more delicate, more fragrant, a better match for delicate ingredients like fish.
Chicken pie - or chicken pot pie - must be one of everyone’s favourite meals but what sort of drink goes with it best? Wine, beer or cider?
Or 'what wine should I drink with hachis parmentier?' - the French answer to shepherd's and cottage pie.
Vegetarians often get overlooked at this time of year so if you’re vegetarian yourself or cooking for one here are some perfect pairings for some delicious festive recipes from the web.
OK, pie and beer is not rocket science but sometimes it’s good to be reminded what a very good match they can be. Especially when both the pie and the beer come from the same place.
Today, being St George’s Day, what other pairing could I offer you but a classic British dish with a classic British beer?
Any of you who have been to J Sheekey's in the West End will probably have succumbed to their unbelievably good fish pie. Here's the recipe from their cookbook J Sheekey Fish.
I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.
If you’re looking for a match for a serious white burgundy you couldn’t do better than this elaborate pike and crayfish pie or tourte de brochet, bisque écrevisse as they billed it at the Château de Montreuil last week.
We rarely think of tawny port as a flexible pairing for food. We serve it with stilton, obviously and with hard cheeses like cheddar, with nuts and dried fruits and over Christmas with fruit cake and mince pies but that’s usually as far as it goes.
One of the most intriguing things to find out about chefs is not what they cook in their restaurants but what they feed their family and friends. True, at St John one morphs into the other, but the lunch they held in London this week to celebrate the publication of Fergus Henderson’s new book The Complete Nose to Tail was one I’d have been more than proud to put on for my mates.
Sherry gets a bad rap for being granny’s tipple of choice but if you’ve never tried an authentic Spanish style sweet sherry you haven’t lived.
It’s amazing how many different styles of eating you can pack into a week, particularly when you’re travelling. At the moment I’m in sunny Chile stuffing myself with seafood and sauvignon blanc so I'm finding it hard to remember that just six days ago I was in rain-ravaged Britain craving pies and stews.
I always think it’s misleading to describe pork as a ‘white meat’. Strictly that's accurate, I suppose, but ‘whiteness’ somehow seems to suggest lack of flavour.
The other day I won a selection of Pieminister pies in a raffle and as my husband was away rather sneakily found myself scoffing them for supper (until guilt set in and I put the rest in the freezer). As I also had some beers to taste from a new Marks and Spencer range I decided to pick one to partner with each pie and the combination that really impressed me was their London Porter with the Pieminister ‘Moo and Blue’ (aka steak and Stilton).
Chicken can be served so many different ways you might wonder which type of wine makes the best pairing. The truth is there’s no single answer - it depends on your own personal taste and the way it’s cooked - but here's a simple guide:
This week’s match is a blast from the past - a visit to the historic Rules restaurant in London’s Covent Garden where we tucked into the kind of food you’d have eaten 50 years ago - if not 100.
I know Thanksgiving has past but I came across such a good pairing for pecan pie at a friend's* house the other day I had to tell you about it. Her pie by the way was quite distinctive with a thin layer of soft caramel in the centre (and, obviously, crisp pecans on the top).
I spent three days last week travelling through France (about which more over the next few days) so it’s a tough call to decide which food and wine combination came out tops but I think it would have to be the Matthieu Cosse Cahors and the duck ‘parmentier’ I ate at a delightful modern bistro in Cahors called L’O à la Bouche.
Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?
There’s a distinct nip in the air this week that makes makes me suddenly feel much less like eating summery food. Last night we went round to friends and shared some absolutely awesome steak pies they’d brought back from a butcher called Murray Mitchell in St Andrews in Scotland (they will send them by mail order in the UK apparently if you ring them on 01334 474465).
This was the dessert I raved about at Blackfoot in Exmouth market the other day and which I was thrilled to see was in their consultant chef Allegra McEvedy's terrific new book Big Table, Busy Kitchen. I know we're not supposed to be eating puds in January but make an exception for this one.
This is the kind of recipe (or rather idea) that I used to put on my old blog The Frugal Cook. But as I’ve given up on it (I know - I shouldn’t have done) I’m posting it here.
In the wake of the great cider boom that has gripped the UK over the past year or so perry - which is cider made from pears - is also undergoing a renaissance. Typically drier than cider it goes well with the sort of dishes with which you’d drink a light dry white wine like a Chenin Blanc or a Chardonnay.
The first thing to bear in mind about Thanksgiving - and for that matter Christmas - is that it’s as much about mood as food. Who you’re inviting, what age they are and how big your party is are factors every bit as important as what you’re eating.
As usual spring weather is all over the place with blazing sun one minute and hail the next so here's a light lunch to enjoy with a couple of friends that has a touch of spring about it but still includes a warming stew.
A muggy evening in mid-July might seem an odd occasion to focus on wine and game matching but there were two reasons for last night’s Louis Jadot game dinner and the Westminster Kingsway catering college. One is that they hoped to engage the attention of consumer magazines who work 4-6 months ahead in terms of feature planning and the second is that the Game-to-Eat campaign is trying to encourage us all to think of eating game year round.
Every so often a restaurant comes along that gets the critics overly excited. At the end of last year it was Gymkhana. In the early weeks of 2014 it’s The Lockhart.
Cherry is one of the fruit flavours most often found in wine and liqueurs so does that make them a good pairing for cherry desserts? It depends how intense the cherry flavour is.
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
Whether it's topped with mashed potato or pastry fish pie is a relatively straightforward dish to match but some wines work better than others.
As with my previous ‘learn by heart’ posts this is simply a quick way to remember great food and wine pairings at a busy time of year. There are of course other possibilities to which the links will guide you.
Last week we had one of our periodic Cheese Schools - an event where we explore the best artisanal British cheeses and pair different drinks with them. A regular feature is a beer vs wine ‘smackdown’ but I sneaked in this amazing Blenheim Superb dessert cider* from Once Upon a Tree with the pud.
Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,
A classic match for this time of year but no less enjoyable for that.
With just over three weeks to go to Christmas it’s time to begin planning your holiday drinking if you haven’t done so already. You may have already decided what to eat and drink for the Big Meal itself but chances are you’ll have to provide several other meals over the holiday period for which it’s useful to have an appropriate bottle.
If you want to understand what British cooking is about - not the magpie character of of modern British but the genteel English country house tradition - head for Soho where Jeremy Lee has taken up residence behind the stoves at Quo Vadis.
A show-stopping lemon meringue pie with a fashionable twist from Will Torrent's Patisserie at Home - a great book if you aspire to cook like a pastry chef (but don't be daunted. The instructions are particularly clear.)
It’s hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day. Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish whiskey are the usual suspects but if none of these appeals here are the sort of wines that will work with classic Irish fare.
You might think it odd to pick out South African Chenin rather than Chenin Blanc in general but I do think the wines are distinctive, particularly when it comes to the crisper styles which are much zestier than they tend to be in the Loire
Malbec is getting so popular it may have become one of your favourite reds but what are the best kind of dishes to eat with it?
With Hallowe'en just a couple of weeks away here's a sophisticated supper for those of you who don't have to go out trick or treating . . .
Only a merchant with a pedigree like Berry Bros & Rudd could consider an £8.45 bottle a ‘house wine’ but if your usual fare is classed growth claret I guess it is.
Matching a rich dish like pigeon with wine is quite challenging, especially if you serve it with an intense jus like this one so should you go for something equally rich or a refreshing contrast?
No visit to Tuscany is complete without a glass of Vin Santo or ‘holy wine’, a (usually) sweet wine that is served at the end of the meal, almost always with hard little ‘cantucci’ biscuits.
This month’s issue of Observer Food Monthly hasa special on TV dinners featuring celebrities talking about their favourite snacks. Very few beverages are mentioned so I thought I’d suggest a few pairings ;-)
A couple of years ago I went to a chutney-making demonstration and tasting. No, not at the WI - it was held by the family owned company Tracklements at leading London cheesemonger La Fromagerie which has recently expanded its empire into the neighbouring shop and now has a fancy new tasting room.
A general idea has got about that Chardonnay is for chavs but as anyone who has a taste for top white burgundy or other premium new world Chardonnays will know it’s a spectacular food wine.
Although there are obviously differences between the two types of beer, dark stouts and porters tend to match similar types of food. Here are my top matches ...
It’s true that lamb is one of the most wine-friendly of meats, as at home with red Bordeaux and Rioja as it is with the fruitier wines of the new world. But if you’re looking for a spot-on match it’s worth thinking just how - and for how long - you’re going to cook it.
Amontillado sherry has richer, nuttier flavours than a classic fino or manzanilla sherry and calls for different food matches. Think more in terms of cured meat, game and cheese than seafood and richer, meatier tapas.
Being surrounded by peaches and nectarines at the moment has reminded me what a brilliant match they are for a glass of dessert wine. And, surprisingly, even for a red!
It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.
The answer to that may well be ‘whatever wine’s left over’ - if there is any, of course - but if you’re looking for a wine that will match specific dishes here are a few ideas:
I had a conversation on Twitter before Christmas with Elly from The Durham Brewery about whether there was a perfect beer for Christmas pudding.
Salmon is in many ways the chicken of the fish world - an ingredient you can serve in many different ways and therefore match with a number of different wines.
The classic tarte au citron is tricky with wine, particularly if it’s home made. And the sharper and more lemony (and delicious) it is, the harder it is to find a good match.
The Spanish are more adventurous than us when it comes to matching sherry and food. I remember drinking a dry oloroso with roast partridge a few years back in Jerez. But what else could you pair with it?
One of the world’s most underrated grapes yet capable of making some of its most delicious dry whites, Sémillon isn’t on the radar for many. So if you get hold of a bottle what should you pair with it?
You might be surprised to know that red wine isn’t the first pairing I think of with steak tartare, which for those of you who haven’t tried it is chopped raw beef flavoured with punchy seasonings such as capers, parsley and hot pepper sauce. I actually think it pairs really well with sparkling wine, especially Champagne but last week I was down in the Languedoc and that didn’t really seem appropriate.
Apple tarts are one of the most flattering desserts to match with sweet wines but what do you drink with other apple-based desserts?
Rioja - and by that I mean red rioja - is one of the UK's best-loved wines and one of the easiest ones to match with food too.
I don’t know why a group of us got swept up by a bout of nostalgia for vol-au-vents on Twitter last week but it became so irresistible my friend Kate and her lodger Mike felt compelled to rustle up a batch to accompany an informal wine tasting the other night.
After the wild winds and lashing rain we’ve endured in the UK this week my drink of the week really had to be a full-bodied red and what better choice than a Malbec?
As the kids were off home straight after the New Year we jumped the gun by a few days with the last of the seasonal treats, a celebratory galette des rois. Traditionally eaten in France on the 6th of January (Twelfth Night) it celebrates the arrival of the three kings to visit the infant Jesus.