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 #12: Berliner Weisse and Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

I’m a firm believer in the “Hair of the Dog” cure for a hangover. You need to replenish your body with salt, sugar, water and more beer. There’s a meme that claims the human body is 90% water, so we are basically just cucumbers with anxiety. This is untrue, the human body is around 60% water so maybe we drink beer to try to reach the higher consciousness of an anxious cucumber but we never quite get there.

I found this cucumber beer quite extraordinary the first time I tried it. I kept imagining I was having a Hendricks gin and tonic rather than beer (which is probably a good way to approach drinking sour beers if you haven’t tried them before). The Berliner Weisse is a cloudy, white, sour beer style from (you guessed it) Northern Germany. It is typically 3-4% alcohol. It was the most popular style at one point in the 19th Century Berlin, and was commonly flavoured with fruit syrups. I think this cucumber version is probably better, in fact right now I think it is the best beer in the world.

To cure your hangover, and improve your life in general, try this pairing:

#12 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy Berliner Weisse + Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tsp sugar, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • red chilli flakes
  • coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)
  • you’ll probably want 2 cans of this amazing beer

Method:

  1. Wash the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthways
  2. Place a tea towel under your chopping board, then place the cucumbers flesh side down and use a knife to gently press or smash the cucumbers to release the seeds and some juice
  3. Cut them into rough pieces around 2cm long/wide
  4. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer over a large bowl. Sprinkle in some sugar and salt, then mix this through and leave them to drain. Place a saucer on top to press them down, and put them in the fridge for around 30 mins.
  5. Mix the sugar and salt into the rice vinegar. Then add the sesame oil and soy sauce.
  6. Take the drained cucumbers from the fridge and put them in a mixing bowl, then mix through the olive oil. Add half the garlic, half the vinegar mix, and a pinch of chilli flakes. Taste, then keep seasoning until you find a balance you like. I used the full amount of seasoning but I think it’s wise to add half at a time. You may like to add more salt. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Eat and rejuvenate!

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Beer + food pairing #12: Berliner Weisse and Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

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.

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Beer + food pairing #9