The Liquor Cabinet

Weeknight winners: the best food and drink pairings for November

Wondering what to drink with dinner tonight – or still choosing what to cook? We’ve got the food and drinks covered with this handy midweek guide.

As the days get longer and warmer, we get hungrier for the new season produce that lies ahead (and thirstier for new drinks to crack open at the table). The less time you spend shopping and in the kitchen, the more time you have to kick back and enjoy those balmy spring evenings. That’s why we’ve chosen no-fail dinner recipes that are minimal on ingredients and short on prep and cooking time – all of them ready in just 30 minutes – to take the hassle out of weeknights.

Aussie lager with mango and prawns

Salad kits are great for dinner shortcuts, but this clever recipe proves you can still get creative with them. Here we’ve added some juicy Calypso mango to the mix for a tropical-tasting salad to enjoy with a classic Queensland lager.

Make this: Prawn & mango salad bowls – using microwavable rice means this tasty meal is on the table in 15 minutes.

Pair it with: Great Northern Super Crisp Lager – an Aussie favourite that’s perfect for dinner out on the deck or in the garden.

Why it works: A clean, crisp lager is your go-to for Asian-style salad bowls. This one is light, smooth, and easy to drink with low bitterness that won’t overpower all the different tropical flavours in the dish. The fruity aromas in the beer also pair well with the mango in the salad.

Chardonnay with veggie flatbreads

Love pizza night, but want to lighten it up for spring and summer? This easy veggie recipe has you covered. It’s quick and easy to make and, just like a glass of good Aussie chardonnay, it’s packed with flavour.

Make this: Pumpkin & zucchini flatbreads – bakery flatbreads topped with sweet roasted veggies, tangy chutney and dollops of creamy ricotta.

Pair it with: Beyond the Wilderness Chardonnay – an award-winning white wine crafted from select Tasmanian-grown fruit.

Why it works: Roast pumpkin and rich, nutty chardonnay is one of the classic food and drink pairings. This wine has ripe fruity notes with a hint of spice to complement the flavours in the toppings and enough crisp acidity to cut through the sweetness in the veggies and chutney. Plus, its smooth, creamy finish works perfectly with the ricotta.

Pinot noir with pork and quinoa

Quinoa (‘keen-wah’) is an amazing gluten-free wholegrain (although technically it’s a seed) to have in your pantry for easy dinners – it’s cooked the same way as rice. Then all you need for a cracking dish is a few fresh salad ingredients, your favourite protein, and a glass of easy-going wine to sip alongside.

Make this: Green goddess quinoa salad with pork – it sounds fancy but only has 5 ingredients and is on the table in just 20 minutes.

Pair it with: Two Towns Pinot Noir from Adelaide – it’s a full-flavoured red that’s not too heavy for pairing with seasonal salads.

Why it works: This vibrant pinot noir was made for roast or grilled pork with its cocoa and red plum aromas, strawberry and red cherry flavours and savoury finish. These all come together to make a satisfying pairing for the crisp and nutty textures of the quinoa salad, the juicy, succulent pork and that creamy green goddess dressing.

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