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Food for fresh, new season, Sauvignon Blanc
© Sue Courtney
16 October 2003

Can you believe that some wine books and web sites say that Sauvignon Blanc is not a wine to have with food or is difficult to match to food? Either the authors of these statements don't drink enough Sauvignon Blanc or they are not very experimental with their matching.

Here in New Zealand we are awash with Sauvignon Blanc and I think it is one of the easiest wines to match to food at any time of the year. But spring, when the new season's wines hit the market, and summer - the season that sauvignon blanc is made for - are the times of year that food matching is simply so easy.

Sauvignon Blanc is fantastic with leafy herbs like coriander, basil, fennel and pineapple sage and terrific with lemon grass too. Sauvignon Blanc loves vegetables like tomatoes, capsicums, cabbage, asparagus and salad greens. Combining these with chicken, ham or fish makes it perfect for picnics and salads or for a light easy meal.

Sauvignon has also been one of the supreme matches with goats' cheese of any kind. I've always liked the Kapiti Cheeses' Saint-Maure, a camembert-styled goats' cheese, and the Bouton D'Or Basil Pesto flavoured feta. The latter company has now produced a new one - Coriander and Lemongrass Feta is perfection with the right Sauvignon Blanc. They combined with Montana and the Saints 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, to launch their product.

New recipes follow but I've other Sauvignon Blanc matches embedded in my Food Files and they'll continue to come.

Here's some from the past -
'Fennel Frenzy' (July 2003) - lots of recipes to match Sauvignon Blanc's zingy herbaceous to the subtle anise flavours of this bulbous herb.

'Going' Corny' (February 2003) has recipes for tomatoes stuffed with Feta and Baked Feta on the barbeque.

'Summer Tomatoes and Basil' (January 2002) is full of recipes that match to Sauvignon Blanc

'Simple Sensations for Sauvignon Blanc' (October 2001) - the title is explanatory.

Now for this month's additions -

* Fusili Pasta with tomatoes and Feta
* Coci-Hoki - Fish, Coconut and Coriander Risotto
* Spinach and Butternut in Coconut Cream
* Cabbage with Coriander and Coconut Cream

Fusili Pasta with tomatoes and Feta
2 cups of tri-coloured Fusilli spiral-shaped Pasta
lemon-flavoured olive oil
one lemon
spring onions
fresh coriander fern
one good-sized tomato
1 packet of Coriander and Lemongrass flavoured Feta

Cook the pasta according to directions on the packet - that would be in approximately 2 litres of boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of oil for about 10 minutes.
Drain the pasta well and put into a bowl.
While it is still warm add 2 tablespoons of lemon-flavoured olive oil and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir to combine.
Then stir in one finely chopped spring onion and half a cup of chopped fresh coriander leaves.
When the pasta has cooled add one finely chopped, good-sized tomato and cubes of Puhoi Coriander and Lemon Grass flavoured Feta. Accompany with new vintage Sauvignon Blanc.
Serves 2 as a lunch dish or 4 as a side salad.

Coci-Hoki - Fish, Coconut and Coriander Risotto
1 cup Arborio medium grain rice
2 spring onions
1 tbsp oil
2 glasses of fresh, zingy, sauvignon blanc
30 grams (or 1/2 of a 60 gram sachet) of instant coconut milk powder
1 cup of water
additional water
1 whole lemon
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
150 grams Hoki

Prepare the fish by flaking it. Hoki is a fish that flakes quite easily in its raw state. Make up the coconut milk powder (readily available in supermarkets). The directions on a 60 gram packet says that 1 sachet makes up 250ml of coconut milk. I use half the sachet - reserving the remainder for later use - and 1 cup of water.

Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the coarsely chopped spring onion and saute for a minute.
Now add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously to coat the grains - at the same time lower the heat on the element.
Add 1/2 glass of the wine and stir until absorbed - the pan is hot so this will happen very quickly. When absorbed add another 1/2 glass of wine and stir until absorbed and repeat again. There should be 1/2 glass of wine left.
Now stir in the coconut milk and lower heat right down to let the rice slowly absorb the milk. When liquid is absorbed stir in more water as necessary until rice is just tender - this will take about 25 minutes.
Now add salt and pepper to the rice and stir in the last half glass of sauvignon blanc and remove the pan form the heat.
Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves over the top of the rice.
Place the pieces of flaked fish over the top of the coriander.
Half the lemon and squeeze the juice over the top of the fish.
Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired.
Place a lid on the pan and let the fish steam on top of the rice for 5 minutes.

Serve using a spatula so the layering effect of fish on top of rice is not disturbed too much.

Accompany with a fresh zingy herbaceous and citrus flavoured new season Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Spinach and Butternut in Coconut Cream
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup butternut cut into julienne sticks about 2 cm long.
6 bunches of fresh spinach, washed and with stalk separated from the leaves.
1 cup of coconut milk, made from 30grams of coconut cream powder. (Use the remainder of the 60g sachet from previous recipe.

Melt butter in a pan.
Saute onion and butternut.
Add spinach stalks, which have been cut into pieces about 2 cm long and saute until starting to go tender.
Then add the spinach leaves and the coconut milk.
Cook until the leaves have wilted and reduced in size - this does not take long.

Pile into a flattish bowl-like plate to serve.

Delicious with sauvignon blanc and also very tasty with gewurztraminer.

For an alternative you could use mushroom instead of butternut, depending on season - I've tried this too and it also matched sauvignon blanc nicely.

Serve as a dinner starter, a vegetable side or bulk into a main meal by serving with pan-fried gurnard.

Cabbage with Coriander and Coconut Cream
I designed this recipe to go with salmon (see A Mystery Box recipe challenge, Feb 2001) but I love the cabbage done this way, especially as an accompaniment with Sauvignon Blanc so I'm reproducing the cabbage part on its own here.

You will need -
2 tbsp butter
About 1/4 of an ordinary green cabbage
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 small onion
small tin of coconut milk (I use the 140ml Ayam brand)
a bunch of fresh coriander

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and the thick white core then slice the rest into very thin but long shreds, then wash and dry well. Slice onions into thin rings then halve the rings to give a small shred.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan.
Add the garlic and onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the cabbage and cook for no longer than 5 minutes so the green of the cabbage is bright and the texture is soft to the bite. Add about 2 heaped tablespoons of chopped coriander and about half the tin (about 70ml) of coconut milk. Stir well to combine, bring to the cusp of the boil then remove from the heat so the cabbage does not overcook and lose its colour.
Spoon the cabbage mixture on to a plate and serve as an addition to your main course, e.g. as in the original recipe with the salmon served on top.


Sue Courtney's recipes are all original creations unless otherwise stated. Recipes are inspired by the season and by the wine matches.

Kia pai te kai

© Sue Courtney
October 2003

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