Match of the week

 Prawns with ouzo, orzo and courgette and Greek rosé

Prawns with ouzo, orzo and courgette and Greek rosé

I didn’t have plans to go to Greece this year but staying in the UK for the summer has given me itchy feet so I’m cooking my way round the Med instead.

Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino

Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino

After months of lockdown it’s been such a pleasure to return to favourite restaurants like Elliott and Tessa Lidstone’s Box-E and I couldn’t have had a more perfect day to enjoy it. The food too - especially this quintessentially summery dish of courgettes, tomatoes and basil with the lightest, fluffiest polenta - was just perfect for sitting outside on a hot day.

Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino

Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino

Monkfish is regularly referenced as a meaty fish you can pair with red wine, especially when it’s wrapped in pancetta but suppose you serve it with salsa verde instead as they did at the Seahorse al Mare pop-up in Dartmouth last week?

Rainbow trout ceviche and Western Australia riesling

Rainbow trout ceviche and Western Australia riesling

I can’t actually believe I’ve never tried it before but I made some ceviche as part of a Zoom masterclass organised by the Bristol Food Union, a collaboration of local restaurateurs and food producers to raise money for those who have been most affected by the COVID 19 crisis.

Beef cheek arancini with a (very special) Spanish garnacha

Beef cheek arancini with a (very special) Spanish garnacha

In some cases it doesn’t matter what form an ingredient takes, if it’s present in a dish it dominates the match. So Claire Thomson of 5 o’clock apron’s innovative beef cheek and black rice arancini which she brought to a (very soggy) outdoor picnic last week hosted outside by wine importer Carte Blanche was just as good a pairing with a grenache as braised beef cheek would have been. In fact the dark nutty rice added an extra dimension which made it even more interesting.

Pizza and Franciacorta

Pizza and Franciacorta

Expensive Franciacorta might not be the first wine you’d think of drinking with a pizza but bear with, as they say … And not just because it’s Italian.

 Chocolate truffles and PX

Chocolate truffles and PX

You can tell how much I love sherry from the fact that this is the second week running a food pairing involving sherry has been my match of the week.

Paella with pork, chorizo and spinach and palo cortado sherry

Paella with pork, chorizo and spinach and palo cortado sherry

There’s still a tendency to think of sherry as an aperitif or just for drinking with tapas but it can go really well with a more substantial dish as I was reminded this week.

Korean meatballs with mango, lime and ginger gin

Korean meatballs with mango, lime and ginger gin

Oooofff, Korean food is spicy! Even when I toned down the gochujang chilli paste in the meatballs I made on Saturday night they were a challenge for most of the wines I tried with them (a characterful Babylonstoren rosé powered through). But the best match by far was a gin and tonic made from Romy's Edition Mango, Ginger and Lime gin, a collaboration between Bristol-based Six O’Clock Gin and Indian food writer Romy Gill.

 Cacio e pepe and Frappato

Cacio e pepe and Frappato

I’ve never known quite what wine to pair with cacio e pepe, the fashionable pasta dish that’s just based on cheese (usually pecorino) and cracked pepper.

Bacon cheeseburger with Pinea 17 Ribera del Duero

Bacon cheeseburger with Pinea 17 Ribera del Duero

I’m not normally someone who craves a ‘dirty burger’ but when I was sent a couple in a meat delivery from my mate Northern Irish butcher Pete Hannan I thought I’d go the full hog with it.

Linguine carbonara and English chardonnay

Linguine carbonara and English chardonnay

Spaghetti carbonara is one of my favourite pasta recipes so it seemed a brilliant idea to alleviate the boredom of lockdown by having a ‘carbonara night’ with some friends on Zoom.

 Indian veggie food and sauvignon blanc

Indian veggie food and sauvignon blanc

After a lively discussion about what to drink with curry on my #weekendwinematching slot it was good to discover a new angle on pairing wine with Indian food.

Stir-fried pork with Thai basil and Australian riesling

Stir-fried pork with Thai basil and Australian riesling

This week’s match of the week doesn’t come as a big surprise but it’s sometimes good to be reminded of tried and tested pairings rather than ones that come totally out of the blue.

 Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and Casillero del Diablo Merlot

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and Casillero del Diablo Merlot

Those of you who visit the site regularly will know that I’m a great advocate of drinking white wine with cheese and a bit of a sceptic about how well red wine pairs with it.

Koftas with tahini and orange wine

Koftas with tahini and orange wine

I’ve been enthusiastically cooking from Sami Tamimi’s new book Falastin this past couple of weeks and made his recipe for koftas with tahini, potato and onion over the weekend during a Zoom cooking session with a couple of pals in Bristol.

Stuffed piquillo peppers with brandade and Hunter Valley Semillon

Stuffed piquillo peppers with brandade and Hunter Valley Semillon

Like many of you, I suspect, I’ve been working my way through the older bottles in my cellar* and unearthed a 2014 vintage of Brokenwood Semillon the other day which I visited on my last wine visit to the Hunter Valley.

 Italian spinach and ricotta pie with Soave (or Vermentino)

Italian spinach and ricotta pie with Soave (or Vermentino)

To tell you the truth this is as much about the story behind the pie as the wine match but that was good too so let’s kick off with that.

 Thai green curry and English rosé

Thai green curry and English rosé

Those of you who follow the site closely might have noticed the Match of the Week slot had disappeared. Because I was no longer travelling and eating out I thought what I was drinking with what would be of little interest and that you probably wouldn’t be able to get hold of the bottles I was writing about anyway

Miso-glazed cabbage and orange wine

Miso-glazed cabbage and orange wine

The way things are looking I don’t imagine there will be many standout matches of the week over the forthcoming months given that I’m out and about much less than normal. But this one, from Trivet in Bermondsey last week is truly excellent.

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