Food and Wine Matching

If we have heard one saying over and over again: 'There's no rules when matching food and wine' and whilst this is true..I'll pass on matching my snapper fillet with a big glass of gutsy Shiraz! 

When pairing wine and food, you’re matching properties of the wine; tannin and acid with the components in food; salt and fat. A good food-and-wine pairing will keep all of these components in balance, but a great food-and-wine pairing will elevate both the food and the wine.

Scallops with lemon caper butter

Scallops with lemon caper butter

The perfect match for textural and crisp whites. Look for good acidity to complement the lemon and capers.

Recipe - The Queen Kitchen

Lemon caper and parsley scallops 

12 scallops in the half shell 
100 grams of butter 
1 tbs lilliput capers 
3 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley 
Zest of 2 lemons 
Zest of 1 lime 
1 clove of garlic finely minced 
5 tbs bread crumbs 
Sea salt 

Wash scallops and shells and pat dry 
Melt butter and add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. 

Spoon a tbs of butter mixture on top of each scallop and place under a hot grill for 5-6 min or until bread crumbs are toasted and scallops are firm. 

Alternatively you can BBQ or roast in a hot oven. 

Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken

Look to richer more full bodied reds like Chardonnay or lighter red such as Gamay and Pinot Noir

Recipe - Stephanie Alexander

This is from the Queen of all recipe writers Stephanie Alexander.

Roast Chicken

1 chicken, 1.8 kg

1 lemon, halved

2–3 cloves garlic


freshly ground black pepper

1 large sprig rosemary

walnut sized piece of butter

2–3 red-skinned potatoes, quartered

mixed vegetables, cut into chunks

extra fresh rosemary

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

white wine, or vermouth, verjuice, stock or water


An hour and a quarter before dinner, preheat oven to 220°C. Rub chicken vigorously inside and out with lemon. Crush garlic with the back of a knife, roll in salt and pepper and insert in cavity with lemon halves, rosemary sprig and butter. Put chicken into a large baking dish.

Put vegetables into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add a few rosemary leaves and oil and toss to coat. Scatter vegetables around chicken and massage its skin with the seasoned olive oil. Turn chicken on its side.

Place baking dish in centre of oven. After 20 minutes, turn chicken over onto its other side and carefully turn vegetables. After a further 20 minutes, turn chicken breast-side up, baste with juices, loosen vegetables and roast for another 20 minutes. (During this final cooking time, dry and dress a large green salad.)

Reduce oven temperature to 160°C. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a heatproof plate and rest in oven. Discard all fat from baking dish and deglaze over heat with wine. Stir vigorously to dislodge all the cooked-on good bits, and lengthen with either a little more wine or add some home-made stock or tomato sauce or cream. Joint chicken, arrange on a serving platter with vegetables and pour over juices.

short cut If you only have 45 minutes before dinner, cut the chicken in half down either side of the backbone using heavy scissors. (Reserve the backbone for stock.) Season and massage chicken as above. Put the garlic and lemon halves underneath the chicken in the baking dish. The vegetables will need to be cut smaller to cook in time (or forget roast vegetables and serve a salad and grilled eggplant or green beans). There will be no need to turn the chicken, although it should be basted with juices after the first 20 minutes.

gravy If you believe that chicken must have gravy, stir 1 tablespoon plain flour into the baking dish before deglazing. Wait until the flour is a good brown colour before adding 1 cup deglazing liquid and stirring very vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps. As an alternative to plain flour, mix 2 teaspoons flour to a paste with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.

roast chicken stock While you are clearing up, put the chicken carcass (together with neck, giblets and backbone, if reserved) in a saucepan with a sliced onion, carrot and bay leaf and barely cover with cold water. Add parsley stalks and celery if you have them. Simmer for an hour or so, then strain and chill overnight. The following day, pour the stock into ice-cream or ice-cube trays and freeze. The next time you roast a chicken, you will have some light stock to add flavour to the juices.

Crisp pork belly with fennel, witlof and white anchovy salad

Crisp pork belly with fennel, witlof and white anchovy salad


Pork is one of the most versatile foods when it comes to wine pairing. It can be rich but also can be very light. Pork needs something that will be high in acidity. It sounds broad but it could be white or red, or even rosé.

Recipe - The Queen Kitchen

Forget the Sunday lamb and try some pork belly for a change! It needs to be crisp and the fat rendered but if you get that right this is a big winner. Pork works best with aromatic whites. It’s texture and weight helps balance the richness of pork belly. This recipe will serve 4 people but you could easily squeeze to 6 for a lunch.

Crisp pork belly with fennel witlof and white anchovy salad


10 gm sea salt

50ml olive oil

1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted

1 tsp coarsely chopped rosemary


800 gm pork belly


1 bulb baby fennel, thinly

sliced (mandolin if you have)

4 Witlof

12 pickled white anchovies


55 ml extra-virgin olive oil

20 ml white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp honey

Preheat the oven to a very high temperature. With a very sharp knife score the skin, trying not to cut the meat. About 1 cm wide. Place rosemary, fennel seeds and salt into mortar and with pestle pound till fine consistency. Pour oil over pork and rub in fennel mixture trying to get into the scores.

Place seasoned pork in roasting tray skin side up. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 180C and cook for another 30 minutes or until cooked through and the skin is crisp. Rest for 10 minutes.


Combine fennel, witlof and anchovies in a bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together andtoss through salad. Slice pork into slices around 1-2cm and serve with salad.

Roast Duck with Shiitake Mushrooms

Roast Duck with Shiitake Mushrooms

Baby Octopus in red wine and tomato

Baby Octopus in red wine and tomato

Caccio e pepe

Caccio e pepe

Pinot and duck may be a cliché but let’s not mince words: it’s a perfect match. Duck is quite rich and is best paired with a wine that has an aromatic profile. 

Recipe - The Queens Kitchen

Roast Duck with Shiitake Mushrooms

Serves 4

1 whole roast duck

Shitake Rice

100gm shitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced

3 cloves finely sliced garlic

1 tablespoon of peeled ginger minced

1 cup shelled edamame

2 eggs

1/2 cup spring onions

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup peanut oil

1tsp sesame oil

5 cups cooked medium-grain white rice

This dish is a lot easier than it sounds! If you are up for the challenge you can roast your own duck. We cheat and buy ours from Chinatown. Pinot and duck may be a cliché but let’s not mince words: it’s a perfect match. Duck is quite rich and is best paired with a wine that has an aromatic profile. The Glaetzer ‘Nouveau’ hits the mark. Duck - Joint duck and place in hot oven. Place skin-side up to warm through and crisp up skin. When the rice is ready slice up the breast meat. Rice Heat peanut oil in wok until it is just smoking and starts to shimmer. Lightly stir in beaten eggs and gently move around wok till just set. Remove egg and slice into pieces.Add extra peanut oil and fry ginger and garlic until aromatic. Add shitake mushrooms and stir until tender. Add rice, egg, soy sauce, spring onions, edamame and sesame oil. Stir for about 3 minutes till heated through. Serve in bowls and divide duck as desired.

Braised octopus is quite versatile and can handle a lot of wine styes. This dish is braided in red wine so we are teaming it with a medium bodied tempranillo that will work with the richness.

Recipe - The Queens Kitchen

Baby Octopus in red wine and tomato

Serves 6

1 kg baby octopus cleaned

1 brown onion finely diced

80ml olive oil

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried pimento

250ml red wine

500gm peeled tin tomatoes

1 fresh bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme

Half cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat oil, garlic and onion in a large casserole stirring till soft. Add cleaned octopus and pimento and stir for around 3 minutes on medium heat. Add wine and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add tomato and herbs and 100ml water and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Season to taste and cover and place in oven 180C for an hour. Check and if it need a little longer add for another 20 minutes. 

 Serve with bread and fresh parsley

The peppery spiciness of the dish brings to mind a subtle white or a juicy, youthful earthy red. It would almost be a crime to not pair this with a medium bodied Italian.

Recipe - The Queens Kitchen

 Caccio e pepe

Caccio e pepe is the definition of Italian comfort food, and only uses a few ingrediets.

 400g spaghetti

320g pecorino romano, very finely grated, plus extra to serve

120g parmigiano reggiano, very finely grated, plus extra to serve

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra to serve

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Lightly salt and add the pasta. Cook so still slightly under. Scoop 1 cups of the starchy water off the top and place to the side. 

 In a large bowl mix, pecorino, parmigiano and black pepper.

 When pasta is al dente drain, add to the cheese mixture. Mix well and add in some of the reserved cooking water, a small amount at a time until the cheese melts and coats the pasta. It should coat all the pasta and have a consistency of thick cream. 

Divide into 4 bowls and add a little extra of both cheeses and cracked pepper