Better together – red wine and seasoned beef rib

When pairing wines you need to take into account the seasoning, for a better together combination.

Salt makes wine taste less dry and bitter, less acidic, and will leave you with a smoother and richer mouth feel, making a tannic wine more palatable.  Tannin’s are mainly found in red wines, it is extracted from the grape skins, stems and seeds.  They bind to the proteins in your saliva so your mouth will feel dry after drinking them, they can be bitter, but add to the richness of texture.

Combine the red wine with fatty seasoned steaks, (the fat on the steak will also make the wine taste less acidic)  go for the chefs choice of rib eye.

Beef rib and red wine pairing
Beef rib

To drink?  Argentinian Malbec from Mendoza is a good place to start.  They have been producing wine since 1557, Mendoza being the largest wine area in Latin America and 5th largest in the world. Malbec is the single most planted grape variety in Argentina and is mainly used as a single varietal.  You are expecting a full bodied, ripe, black fruit tasting wine with some spice.

Where can I buy it? I went cheap, this is only £5 from Tesco at the moment. Give it some time to breathe and do not drink it on its own!  This really needs the seasoned steak to make for a smooth, rich mouth feel.

Any recipe suggestions? Try my beef rib tried and tested recipe, it will make any tannic red wine taste good.


Better together – Hello sweetie!

Take a sweet bottle of fizz and some white chocolate for a better together combination. I have a sweet tooth, so this combination of sweet and sweeter is heaven!  This very much supports my WSET lesson that dishes high in sugar should be matched with a wine that has at least that much sugar.

Why? The two sweet items together balance out the overly sweet taste they have on their own.

To drink? I like a bit of fizz and the sweetness of either Asti DOCG and Moscato d’Asti work fabulously with sweet things.

Where to buy it? All the major supermarkets have Asti DOCG. I like this one from Waitrose. I am partial to Lindt white chocolate truffles but any white chocolate will do, add a sofa and a rom com and I’m sorted for a night in!

Recipe suggestions? If you fancy cooking,  my ripe jackfruit tarte tatin recipe uses sweet jackfruit in a tarte tatin style.  Asti DOCG has a lot of the flavour characteristics of the fruit and will go well.

Ripe jackfruit tarte tatin
Ripe jackfruit tarte tatin

Top facts –  The Asti method of making sparkling wine is different to others as it doesn’t involve the production of a still dry wine such as the Champagne method, using must and pressurised tanks instead. Main grape varieties are Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains.


Better together – taramasalata and salt & vinegar crisps

Highlighting food and drink that are literally better together….

Taramasalata and salt and vinegar crisps are a fabulous dipping combination. A few too many Saturday nights in with friends and a couple of beers brought me to this revelation. The vinegar enhances the fish roe flavour and makes it a whole different dip. Do a test with salted crisps to compare.

Why? The acidity of the vinegar coagulates the protein in the roe,  making it more tender.

To drink? My beer of choice was a Desperados at the time, with its lemony notes working with the vinegar in the crisps it wasn’t the worst choice I could have made!

Where to buy it? I found the tinned soft cod roes in Waitrose, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Asda and Ocado. Ocado also offer fresh smoked roes.

Taramasalata and salt&vinegar crisps
Tara and S&V crisps

Recipe suggestions? Taramasalata and salt & vinegar crisps

Environmental -I have used John West Specialites Soft Cod Roes, certified sustainable seafood.

Top facts – taramasalata is not fluorescent pink.   This is food colouring, if you want yours pink use a little beetroot juice to keep it natural. Fish roe is red and when blended can take on a very light pink tinge which got exaggerated over time.

Nutrional facts per 100g – Cod Roe has 4g of fat of which 0.8g are saturates and 12g of protein