BEER + FOOD PAIRING #13: MUSHROOM RISOTTO BALLS + HALLERTAU #3

Hallertau’s #3 Red Ale is an excellent food pairing beer. It’s not aggressively hoppy but it’s robust enough and has lots of roasty, malty flavours with a bit of sweetness. It goes excellently with grilled vegetables, or a wood-fired pizza. Hallertau Brewery is in Riverhead, Northwest of Auckland and is surrounded by lifestyle properties, vineyards and a lot of bike tracks and pine forest. If you were out riding your horse for a day, this is a beer you’d definitely like to finish the day with beside the fire.

I made the addition of a honey drizzle to this recipe, and found that the flavours of honey and mushroom go really well together…. especially with beer…. and with balls. Enjoy! Beer with balls.

Hallertau #3 Copper Tart and Mushroom Risotto Balls

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups vege stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup or 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • oil for shallow frying
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Bring your stock to boil in a saucepan, then keep it to the side at a low simmer.
  2. Sautée the onion and garlic with the olive oil, then stir in the chopped mushrooms and cook 3-4 mins until softened.
  3. Add the rice and stir another 3-4 mins until evenly coated with oil. Add about 1/3 of the stock, stir gently and gently simmer until the stock is reduced, keep adding stock until all is absorbed (15-20 mins). The mixture should be al dente and slightly drier than standard risotto.
  4. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper. Then leave to cool for 1 hour.
  5. In 3 separate bowls, place your flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Heat the frying oil in a pan over a medium heat. Then take tablespoons of the risotto mix, roll it into a ball with your hands and dip it into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the coating of egg and breadcrumbs. Then fry lightly on all sides.
  6. Once browned, place the risotto balls on paper towels to drain. If you are not serving immediately, place them in the oven to keep warm or reheat at 150C.
  7. When ready to serve, prepare a honey sauce with equal parts honey and water. Drizzle this over the top.

HALLERTAU 3

BEER + FOOD PAIRING #13: MUSHROOM RISOTTO BALLS + HALLERTAU #3

Beer + food pairing #11: Salt water gose and seaweed popcorn

I’m not sure if I made a healthier version of popcorn or not, but the addition of kale and seaweed ticks a couple of boxes (vote Green, I love you). I got the kale powder from the health food section of the supermarket, which I accidentally stumbled into while searching for popcorn that didn’t come in a microwave bag. I wanted to make a popcorn mix that wasn’t too heavy and could be an appetizer/light snack before a meal.

It took me a couple of fails before I nailed the perfect beer to go with this one, but as soon as I saw this little silver can with its beaming yellow beacon I knew it was the one. It would be perfect after/during a day at the beach and if you can’t get to the beach then bring the sea to your lips and your hips with this salty seaweed popcorn pairing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup popping corn
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp kale powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 sheets Yaki Nori (roasted seaweed)

Method:

  1. Pop the corn as per instructions on the packet.
  2. Mix the salt, kale powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then cut the seaweed sheets into narrow strips and tear them into pieces. Mix the seaweed pieces into the salt mix, coating them thoroughly.
  3. Once the popcorn is popped and cooled a little, mix through the salt and kale mix.
  4. Pair this with Piha Salt Water Gose, although be warned you will probably want more than one can.

17858052_10155261166914861_1766370360_n

Beer + food pairing #11: Salt water gose and seaweed popcorn

Beer + food pairing #10: Champagne and strawberries, the beer drinkers’ version

Tonight, due to necessity (A.K.A. my resistance to the idea of either leaving the house or making an actual meal) and also creativity (A.K.A. my resistance to tidying my room, yes the truthful words of a 30-something procrastidrinker)…. I came up with this delightful pairing.

3
Something like that.

Champagne and strawberries is a bit of a cliché, but I am not here to deliver your stock standard.

#10 BEER BREAD, STRAWBERRY JAM + GARAGE PROJECT’S CHAMPAGNE PILSNER

I have tried making beer bread before, using a standard beer, but this time I decided to splash out on some quality ingredients. I’m telling you, it’s worth it!!! The smell of this beer bread cooking was fairly saliva inducing.

Maybe this in inadvertently inspired by Garage Project’s Beervana offering of Fairy Bread to match their 5th Birthday themed beers. This is kind of the adult version. I’m hoping they would approve.

I chose a pretty fancy sounding beer (Hops on Pointe was brewed for the Royal NZ Ballet) and initially I had an idea to pair it with something equally high brow. However, when searching the shelves for an appropriate beer to make a beer bread, this one seemed to fit. German malts, Nelson Sauvin hops, and Champagne yeast. A pale gold lager with a crisp, clean palate, rich tropical fruit aromas and tight champagne bubbles.

Hops on Pointe teases the traditional boundaries between high and low culture. I imagine drinking this with good friends and the resulting scene being like something from Absolutely Fabulous.

tumblr_static_tumblr_static__640

Ingredients:

  • 330ml can of Hops on Pointe Champagne Pilsner
  • 2 and 3/4 cups of self raising flour
  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • friends (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • more Hops on Pointe Champagne Pilsner
  • strawberry jam and coconut butter (or whipped cream) to serve

17160367_10155146803354861_520776171_n

Method:

  1. Make sure your beer is at room temperature for the beer bread, or heat it up it slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  3. Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Lightly grease a loaf tin with some coconut oil or butter, pour the bread batter in (it will be quite a wet dough) drizzle with a little more coconut oil or butter and bake for 50 mins.
  4. Slice and serve while warm, with either coconut butter (I’m going for some vegan and dairy free options here, don’t judge me) or cream, and strawberry jam.
  5. Match with Champagne Pilsner, and follow with red wine or anything else you desire.

Beer + food pairing #10: Champagne and strawberries, the beer drinkers’ version

Beer + food pairing #9

Cos beer goes with more than just snarlers on the barbie, here is a perfect (and healthier) Summer BBQ alternative: ceviche.

This classic Peruvian-style raw fish dish is famous all over the world, and goes excellently with the citrus flavours of the Sauvin hops in this beer. Sauvin is a NZ varietal hop named after the grape Sauvignon Blanc due to its fruity, white wine characters. As Sauvignon Blanc is often paired with seafood, it makes sense that this beer should also work well with fish.

#9 CEVICHE + 8 WIRED SAISON SAUVIN

Saison (meaning “Season”) is a French farm-style pale ale. Traditionally it would be brewed in the cooler months to be drunk during Summer by the saisonniers (seasonal workers) who were allocated daily portions. It is a versatile style, as many types of grains, fruit and spices could be added depending what the farmers had on hand. The saison yeast imparts flavours of hay, fruity esters and wholegrain bread.

8 Wired have created a contemporary-style Saison with a blend of malts including Pilsner, Wheat and Crystal malts. It has a balance of earthy notes and tropical flavours due to its Sauvin hops, with a decent body and cloudy appearance.

Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 500g fresh, firm white fish (e.g. kingfish, trevally, snapper, gurnard, tarakihi)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (I used a mixture of half/half)
  • 1/4 telegraph cucumber
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 2 long orange kumara
  • crusty bread to serve
  • a bottle of 8 wired Saison Sauvin

Method:

  1. Peel the orange kumara and cut slices around 2cm wide. Boil in lightly salted water until they are just tender (10-15 mins) then set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the sugar and vinegar in a small bowl and add the red onion. Pop into the fridge to marinate and pickle while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. Prepare the fish. (You want to use the freshest fish you can, because although the citric acid in the lime/lemon juice will denature the proteins in the fish to give it the appearance of being cooked, this curing process does not kill bacteria.) Slice or dice your fish into bite-sized pieces, then add the lime/lemon juice and mix though in a large non-metal bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge until you are ready to make the dish (minimum of 15 mins and max of 3-4 hours).
  4. To make the ceviche, drain the fish but reserve a little of the marinating juice. Drain the red onion slices and mix these through. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and dice the cucumber. Mix these, with chopped coriander leaves and a little marinating juice, into the fish. Season with a little salt to taste.
  5. Serve the ceviche over the cooled kumara slices. Some grilled bread drizzled with olive oil makes a great side to this dish, and of course your 8 wired Saison Sauvin.

Adapted from a recipe by Nadia Lim.

img_1787_2

Beer + food pairing #9

Love + Bitterness: Beer + food pairing #7, Beer + aperitivo pairing A.

Love is just a four-letter word, as sung by Joan Baez in her 1968 cover of Bob Dylan. The desire for love is a driving force behind our interactions as human beings, yet its realization is often elusive and slips away from us.

One way to reliably experience love is through food. For most of us, nothing says “I love you” or “I welcome you” better than sharing a meal or a bite to eat. Hospitality is a way to show respect for others, to share your culture and experiences, to unify and make lasting connections. This applies whether you are in a bar, a restaurant, or someone’s home.

These wonderful cookies are filled with love, nuts and chocolate. I have paired them with a beer that was created to be shared with someone you love, (if you’re single, preach that self-love!) Funk Estate’s Super Afrodisiac Stout.

#7 Funk Estate Super Afrodisiac Stout + The Best Biscuits I’ve Ever Baked

Baking was my gateway drug to cooking, among other things. These cookies are basically foolproof, and are almost as good as therapy. (I know this is a huge claim to make, but I am a massive believer in the power of chocolate.) If the cookies alone aren’t enough to light your fire, you have the added power of Funk Estate’s five aphrodisiac ingredients: vanilla, honey, more chocolate, figs and maca root.

img_0940

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1/3 cup crumbed walnuts (I use a mortar and pestle to crumb them)
  • 150g Whittakers 62% Dark Cacao chocolate
  • 1 can (at least) of Funk Estate Super Afrodisiac Imperial Stout

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan forced oven. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Chop the chocolate block into chunks (you can use chocolate chips if you prefer but I like the texture of larger and smaller chunks of Whittakers chocolate).
  3. Beat egg, oil and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy.
  4. Sift flours over oil mixture; then add the walnuts and chocolate chunks. Stir until well combined.
  5. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and flatten slightly with a fork onto the baking tray (makes 12-15 cookies).
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack until firm.
  7. Enjoy with beer!

On the subject of love, a little bottle of one of my greatest loves fell into my hands this weekend: Campari.

Campari has a long history of love, passion and dedication behind the brand. A classic bitter aperitif, it was created in Italy around 1860, by a young drink maker called Gaspari Campari. It was customary in Italy during this time for each local café to be producing their own distinct aperitivos, amaros and liquers. Gaspari Campari began to sell his product to other cafes, bottled and labelled, with the savvy marketing insights of his wife Laeticia and later their son Davide.

In the early 1900s Davide fell in love with a famed Opera singer named Lina Cavalieri. She never reciprocated his love, but he followed her through Europe on her tours and eventually to Moscow, carrying his stock of Campari with him. In this way, he made Campari an international brand, supporting Surrealists, musicians and artists along the way. He engaged with a broad range of artistic styles to create posters for the brand, favouring innovative and daring images, captivating the interest of the public.

16
Poster art for Campari by artist Marcello Dudovich, 1913

A. Funk Estate Rock Steady XPA + Campari

A departure from the theme of Opera and unrequited love, this little Funk Estate drop has more of a 70s “Free love” vibe. Rock Steady Xtra Pale Ale pairs nicely with Campari without overpowering the bitter Aperitivo flavours I love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Campari
  • pour 3 to 4 parts Xtra Pale Ale

img_0934

This beverage also works well with Panhead Quickchange XPA, or an I.P.A. such as Epic Armageddon if you prefer love to smack you in the mouth with a whop of hop flavours. I feel like Davide Campari might have been that kind of guy.

Interestingly, Davide is not the only man to have become obsessed with Lina Cavalieri. Piero Fornasetti, an Italian painter and designer, created hundreds of items featuring the Opera singer’s face as a motif; “What inspired me to create more than 500 variations on the face of a woman? I don’t know,” he admits, “I began to make them and I never stopped.”

top-fashion-milan-piero-fornasetti-home-decorative-plates-black-white-illustration-8-inch-hanging-dishes-sample
Plates by Piero Fornasetti, mid-20th century

The legacy of Campari has been handed down through the generations, as has its ongoing support of the arts. Vanessa Beecroft, an Italian-born performance and watercolour artist, created a label for Campari’s 150th anniversary. “Her label focused on the female image, coherent with her art vocation that uses women’s prototypes to project the artist’s own image. She imagined an ethereal female character wrapped in a fantastic head of hair, red, like the glass of Campari she is holding”[1] and reminiscent of a) the reputably fiery haired Laeticia Campari b) the socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg or c) the artist Vanessa Beecroft herself.

bottiglia_beecroft
Bottle label by Vanessa Beecroft, 2010
Beecroft’s performance work is something I have come across before; she “paints” individual and group portraits in three dimensions, with living girls and women. The girls stand or sit as if they are waiting for something that never happens, never making eye contact with the viewer, never speaking, in various states of dress and un-dress. Their discomfort echoed in the viewer’s discomfort creates an atmosphere of tension; a mixture of voyeurism, vulnerability, shame and detachment. There are rules unstated, desires unstated. The viewer seems somehow just as out of place as the girls themselves, while Beecroft assumes control.
“Without question Vanessa is a feminist,” states her dealer Jeffrey Deitch “but she’s a very contemporary kind of feminist…. If one is present at a Vanessa Beecroft performance, they are not erotic. You feel the power of the women’s presence. It is an intimidating image.”[2] The cast of later performances has expanded to involve marines, illegal immigrants, stand-ins for victims of genocide in Darfur, and other homogeneous groups in museums, art galleries, and public spaces.
medium-copy
Still of performance piece by Vanessa Beecroft
This legacy of obsession, love and pushing boundaries, adds to the intrigue of this bitter red aperitif.
Many thanks to Daniele Pirotta and David Fletcher from Campari for providing me with the background story, inspiration, and the wee bottle of love and bitterness.
6462_053_campari_1920_dudovich
Poster art for Campari by Marcello Dudovich
[1] http://www.camparigroup.com/sites/default/files/brand/documents/campari_150_campari_art_label_press_kit_eng_0.pdf Retrieved 25 September 2016.
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2005/mar/13/art Retrieved 27 September 2016.
Love + Bitterness: Beer + food pairing #7, Beer + aperitivo pairing A.

Beervana: Consider everything an experiment

While I was down in Wellington, I met some people, drank some beer and saw some art. I also got soaking wet socks, took my suitcase into a supermarket, and totally overcame my fear of drinking alone.

But the best part is looking back on the festival and seeing how much creativity was there and potential for diverse experiences.

The stalls ranged from a simple set-up with a tablecloth and a few bottles, these type of stalls were typically manned or womanned by the brewer themselves, to a slick party-vibe set-up (such as Garage Project, celebrating their 5th birthday who provided party hats and where you could buy fairy bread and Traffic Light themed beverages!)

IMG_0539
Me and Pip on the far right, at Garage Project’s 5th Birthday stall

I also especially liked Eagle Brewery’s “Brewing Bad”, a Breaking Bad themed bar, which is also where I tried the most unusual beer of the night. The Arty Farty Sahti tasted like dried bananas, with a lovely smooth rich mouthfeel. My review on the beervana app is “If u like deep fried bananas this beer is for you!!” Okay maybe I had fried food on my brain by this point in the night, or my brain was totally fried, but it’s accurate!

IMG_0599
Photo credit @EagleBrewingNZ on Twitter

“A complex mix of Juniper, clove, banana and sweet rye malt.” Sahti is a Finnish farm-style beer, developed using ingredients available near the farm such as Juniper branches, berries, herbs and spices. It is a cloudy beer, made using a long step infusion mash and traditionally filtered through Juniper twigs or made using Juniper berries instead of hops. It has yeasty and phenolic flavours and a distinct banana taste due to the production of isoamyl acetate by the yeast used. Some examples have a sour quality, but this one was on the dessert spectrum.

I kind of over-did the sour beers, the Traffic Light from Garage Project literally tipped me over the edge at 3.0% ABV. I was thankful to taste a decent APA (or an IPL from Basecamp Brewery, Oregon). I came across an excellent hoppy Pilsner called “Pop’n Pils” from B.effect Brewing Co. based in Wanaka. They said it was a hit at Ryhthm and Alps, and I can see why. It sings out Summer Festivals for me.

Another interesting discovery were Mash Tun Crackers, reincarnated from mash used to make Tuatara’s Heather Ale “Heather lives on.” I found the Heather Ale a little tart for me at that point, preferring Tuatara’s Wild Pumpkin Ale that had a bit more sweetness and finished with a nice touch of vegetable character. And I just can’t get enough of Good George’s Blueberry Gose, “Fruity, dry, balanced, all round yum-ness” my notes say approvingly.

So those were my highlights. I tasted around 30 beers in total, over three sessions. I made some new friends, partied at the Choice Bros Silent Disco, then made a trip to the Wellington City Gallery the next day. There I discovered a wonderful 1960s pop-hippie artist, a Catholic Nun, activist and teacher called Sister Corita.

sister-love
Image credit Sean St. Lewis from his blog http://www.berlinsixsenses.com
art rules
Sister Corita’s art rules, popularized by John Cage

Sister Corita’s art rules are me in a nutshell. Do the things and worry about why afterwards. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. Drink the beer, talk to the people, go to the places. “Rule 4: Consider Everything An Experiment.”

Beervana: Consider everything an experiment

Beer + food pairing #1, #2

The elusive art form of creating the perfect match!

I’m going to share a few little gems here, but don’t forget that tasting and trialing your own pairings is all part of the fun and experience of drinking! My tastes may differ from yours, and hence the post starts with anchovies. Enjoy!

#1 Strong lager + sherry strawberries

Harrington’s Ngahere Gold paired with poached strawberries and anchovy. Just screams out Summer!

Ingredients:

  • 125g ripe strawberries
  • 30ml medium sherry
  • 8 white anchovies
  • one bottle of strong lager to share

Method:

  1. Slice the strawberries and place in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sherry and reduce a little (3-4 mins).
  2. Turn the heat down and add the anchovy. Stir to coat evenly.
  3. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature before eating. The anchovies turn pink so they look way less intimidating!

Serves 2

P.S. I generally find lagers dull and boring, so I chose a strong lager with sweet, pungent grassy qualities. The sweetness of the strawberry complements this beer while the white anchovy gives a delicate saltiness, so it is crisp and cleansing on the palate.

12506779_10153886942594861_942929729_nIMG_2582.JPG

#2 White IPA + salted toffee cashews

Moa’s Southern Alps is an unusual fusion of Belgian Wit and IPA. I found it paired nicely with the delicate creamy flavour of these scrummy cashews and it brought out the sweet coriander notes in the beer. In fact these nuts will go with basically any beer, so this is an excellent crowd-pleasing match (be warned, it’s hard to stop eating them!)

Ingredients:

  • one cup of raw cashew nuts
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • some good quality flaky salt
  • one bottle of Moa White IPA

Method:

  1. Throw all the ingredients except for the salt and beer into a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat.
  2. Stir gently until the sugar begins to caramelize (about 5 mins).
  3. Grab a sheet of baking paper. Once the cashews are coated in gooey brown toffee, lay them out in clusters on the baking paper to cool.
  4. Once cooled, sprinkle with finely ground salt to taste. Wash them down with beer.

IMG_2531IMG_2523

Beer + food pairing #1, #2