Now that the weather is warming up, it’s the perfect time to start planning a dinner party with friends. Embrace fresh spring ingredients and plan a menu that’s full of vibrant flavours. We’ve got recipes for some of our favourite spring dishes – and some suggestions for wines to match.
This salad takes you to the tropics by matching chicken with pineapple.
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus, 10 minutes marinating and 5 minutes resting time)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Combine the pineapple juice, sugar and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes to develop the flavours. Thread the chicken pieces onto 4 metal skewers. Reserve the marinade.
Heat a barbecue grill or chargrill on medium-high. Cook the chicken skewers for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, cook pineapple on grill for 2 minutes each side or until lightly charred.
While the pineapple is cooking, place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Set aside to cool.
Arrange salad leaves, tomato, carrot, onion, cucumber, pineapple and chicken skewers on a large serving plate. Pour over marinade in the pan. Season.
Serve with coriander leaves.
To drink: Traditionally, a chicken dish would go great with a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc – but considering that pineapple is both sweet and acidic, we’d go for a Riesling instead. Try this Yalumba Y Series Riesling from the Barossa.
The centre of this dish is the juicy, slow-cooked lamb, flanked by the subtle flavours of lentils, spinach and tomato.
Serves: 6 with leftovers
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus, 10 minutes resting time)
Cooking time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Preheat your oven to 150°C. To make the spice mix, mix paprika, coriander, chilli, cumin, ginger, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl.
Arrange onion in the base of a large roasting pan. Stir the oil into the spice mix. Spread evenly over lamb to coat. Place lamb over the onion in the pan. Pour stock around the lamb and cover the pan tightly with foil.
Roast, basting the lamb occasionally with the pan juices, for 4 hours or until the lamb is almost falling off the bone. Uncover the pan and increase oven to 180°C. Roast for 30 minutes or until the lamb is golden brown.
Arrange lentils, tomato and spinach around the lamb in the pan. Roast for 10 minutes or until the lentil mixture is heated through. Loosely cover pan with foil and set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
Coarsely shred the lamb, and chuck out the bone. Arrange the lentil salad in a serving dish. Top with lamb and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with Greek-style yoghurt and flatbread.
To drink: You want a full-bodied red that can really carry the flavour of the lamb. Try a bottle of Mount Tabor Adama Merlot and enjoy its notes of stone fruit and wood and cut through the richness of the meat.
This ginger and honey of this Asian-influenced stir-fry amps up the sweetness of the sugar snap peas.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Whisk the stock, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce and cornflour in a bowl.
Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry the prawns, in 4 batches, for 2 minutes or until prawns curl and change colour. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat remaining oil in wok over high heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until just tender.
Return the prawns to the wok with the snow peas, sugar snap peas and asparagus. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through. Add the stock mixture and stir-fry for 1 minute or until the sauce thickens. Sprinkle with cashews.
To drink: When it comes to seafood, it’s hard to go past a crisp white. Have this dish with a glass or two of Tar & Roses Pinot Grigio.