Sunday, 22 November 2009

Bacchus and the meal

Finally a story. When we lived in Helsinki a neighbor of ours told us about how the people who work in the Alko are trained to give recommendations about which wines can go with which foods but most of the time they only get to point people to the Korsenkorva. He then went on to relate how he went into his local Alko and the sales assistant's eyes lit up when asked to advise on wine. So I decided to put this to the test.

I had sketched out doing something with chicken and chili and inspired by my neighbours tale I went into the alko and got my recommendation despite delivering one of my worst performances ever in the mangling the Finnish language. The recommendation was this Allora pictured above.

Needless to say I never cooked anything with chili and chicken and the bottle was just enjoyed at some other time that seemed right.


Two months later I decided to see if this wine really went with chili and chicken, did the lady in the Helsinki alko get it right?


Serves 2
1 bottle of allora negroamaro (Alko product code 409797)

1 chicken breast cubed
3 dried red chillies crushed, flaked or otherwise made small and bitty
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp green peppercorns
Sesame oil
1 dash of sake

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and marinade for the whole day. When ready stir fry in a hot wok and serve immediately.

To serve I decided to cook some sticky rice and peas and a little side of yellow peppers and mushrooms with chopped ginger stir fried. You can increase or decrease the amount of ginger used to taste but I decided to do this because ginger does have a heat that compliments the chili. The only other thing to note is I served this side in a little dish separate from the main to make sure the flavours had some integrity.

The result? Excellent, the wine held it's own against the strong chili flavours. It was just a shame that our daughter decided to cry her way through the whole experience meaning that we ate with more of a hurry than such a simple and straightforward yet pleasing meal deserved.

So if you are ever in the alko looking for a bottle of wine you should be confident that the staff will be able to recommend a bottle to go with your ingredients.

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