With nights out in our favourite restaurants off the menu, Brits are turning to their cupboards for culinary inspiration. While some out there will be flipping open their Nigella and Jamie cookbooks, a fair few of us are resorting to classic dishes from tins, packets and the freezer.
But a return to regular meals of beans on toast and pasta needn’t mean leaving the wine on the shelf, far from it. We asked Chef Tony for his wine pairings for self-isolating days. Enjoy.
Baked Beans on Toast
Chef Tony says: Mmm, a staple dish if ever I saw one. Tomato-based baked beans have a slight tang which would match perfectly with Zinfandel. This is a variety of black-skinned wine grape commonly grown in Californian vineyards.
Chef Tony says: With stories of panic-buying of pasta in the news, it’s likely that the majority of households in the UK now have dried pasta in their cupboards. If you’re opting for a simple tomato-based sauce with your penne or spaghetti, a medium-bodied wine would be perfect. Think Sangiovese (a red Italian grape variety) or Tempranillo (fruity and earthy).
Chef Tony says: Ah, this old favourite. From Bombay Big Boy to Original Curry, there are loads of flavours to choose from when peeling open that tin foil lid and smothering the noodles with boiling water. If you’re a fan of spicy Pot Noodles, go for a Riesling (an aromatic white grape). More earthy flavours would pair well with Pinot Noir (a popular wine and a dinner party favourite) while tomato-based pots lend themselves to our old pal, Zinfandel.
Chef Tony says: My mother-in-law makes a terrific chicken soup but any old tin from the back of the cupboard could be married up with a semi-dry white wine like a Pinot Blanc. Or you could opt for an unoaked Chardonnay. If red is more your thing, try a low tannin bottle like Beaujolais.
Jacket Potato with Tuna
Chef Tony says: As tuna overpowers the taste of the potato, we’re back to unoaked white wines. Another option is a Riesling.
Chef Tony says: A meat-eater’s favourite, the pepperoni pizza is an absolute classic. Italian wines are a must with pizza and, in this case, the spiciness of the pepperoni goes nicely with Sangiovese, Barbera (known for its full body) or Nero d’Avola (an important and widely-planted red wine grape in Sicily).
Chef Tony says: Forget about that Diet Coke or fizzy water, it’s got to be a slightly sweet wine if you’re having a cheese sandwich. Try Moscato (the Italian name for Muscat Blanc) or Riesling. Or why not push the boat out and crack open a bottle of bubbly?
Chips and Mushy Peas
Chef Tony says: Oooh, chippy tea. While the grease is part of the pleasure of a chip supper, in order to break through it you can pair this newspaper-wrapped meal with a Chenin Blanc or a Sauvignon Blanc. They are crisp and citrusy and therefore just the ticket.
Chef Tony says: This is an easy one. It’s got to be a Cabernet Sauvignon, full-bodied and tannic to combat the beef.