Saturday, 11 June 2011

Cooking my own beer dinner

It's been a while since I cooked. When I say that I mean properly cooked. I have often felt the urge to cook up my own beer-food preparations in the style of Leigh or Dredge but from experience I know that leaving it to the wife is the safest bet for consistently great meals.

Baltika 7 makes a nice appetiser
So given my very limited cooking skills (scrambled eggs, jacket potatoes, oven chips and steaks deliberately done seconds each side to watch them bleed all over the plate (yeah!)) I knew I had to choose something simple. So with a bit of planning I was ready to go the whole three courses.

To Start.

Baked camembert with caramelised apple chunks served with Jennings Sneck Lifter.

Basically this was chosen by the wife and is a simpler version of what was seen here. The simplification being that the cranberry sauce was redcurrant sauce and came from a jar and no parsnip crisps were involved. I also forgot to season the Camembert, but it was still delicious.

So basically the Camembert went in the oven whilst I heated up the sugar and margarine and fried the apple chunks in the mixture till they softened. After about ten minutes it all goes on the plate with some redcurrant sauce.

Delicious. It's just  a shame that the beer of choice didn't do much for this dish. Maybe if I had chosen a bock or sweet stout it would have been better but the robust roasty character of Sneck Lifter just didn't do it. I get the impression this beer would be more at home with a hearty roast beef dinner or similar, but never mind. As they would say on the telly 'Im sorry Sneck Lifter, but it's a no from me'.

Next up. The mains.

Roast Chicken, carrots and Gruyere mashed potatoes with Hook Norton Old Hooky.

Another simple one. The chicken was stuffed with garlic and stuffing and roasted whilst the mash was adapted from my Lucy Saunders The Best Of American Beer & Food book. The tricky bit was converting the units.

3 potatoes
50g double cream
25g margerine
25g sour cream
50g grated gruyere

(serves two)

Potatoes were boiled up, drained and mashed before being mixed in with a pre-heated mixture of butter and cream. Then I mashed in all the sour cream, gruyere and seasoned with salt and pepper. I also boiled up some carrots to go with it and served it with cranberry sauce.

Overall, a very enjoyable preparation, nice flavours, but it was a tad dry. Old Hooky was a nice match for the chicken and married nicely with the savour flavours of the stuffing and cheesy nature of the mash. The wife was also impressed and even admitted that I had now finally proven to her that beer can go great with food. The trick here was using a nicely food versatile pale ale, so a thumbs up to that one.

The dessert.

Black forest Gateau with Lindermans Kriek.

Another one that went down well with the Wife as Helen generally likes fruit beers. As for the preparation. Well, truth be told, I cheated.

None the less, the Kriek went brilliantly and the original idea came from Fiona and Will Beckett's book An Appetite for Ale. Chocolate, fruit plus sweet fruit beer equals a nice approachable combination for those easily intimidated. But even though I cheated on the dessert at the end of the day I quite enjoyed the cooking experience and Helen enjoyed not cooking even though she did the washing up and had to offer a bit of guidance at certain points.

From the folks at the Panda and Frog home brewery; Cheers


Lucybeercook said...

so glad you enjoyed the mash - adding more butter or cream is always an option :) cheers, Lucy Saunders

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