a trio of ales

On Saturday night I had what you might call “a tale of ales” – Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale, Golden Nail and Feral Hop Hog. As I tucked into each of these beers I realised that in many ways they are a tale of a different part of craft beer in WA and even my own craft beer journey …

I’m not sure what the collective noun for many ales would be. A hop back of ales? A tank of ales? A headache of ales perhaps? On Saturday night I had what you might call “a tale of ales” – Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale, Golden Nail and Feral Hop Hog. It wasn’t a conscious decision to get these specific beers instead my partner and I had been doing food shopping at the Bunbury Farmers Market popped into Dan Murphy’s on the way home. We happily grabbed the last 6 pack of Golden Nail, there was a 2 for deal on the four packs of Alpha and, frankly, it’s hard to go past the Hog without it leaping from the shelf and begging to be taken home.

As I tucked into each of these beers I realised that in many ways they are a tale of a different part of craft beer in WA and even my own craft beer journey …

a trio of ales

Matilda Bay Brewing – their story, my stories and their Alpha Pale Ale

The short version of the Matilda Bay story starts in 1984, brewing at The Sail & Anchor in Fremantle and this is generally considered the birth of craft beer in WA. It came about when a few friends wanted to make tasty, hand crafted and full flavoured beers. A lot of years, cash and beer and several moves later the brewery is now in Melbourne.

I was lucky to be able to go through the Matilda Bay Brewery in WA before they shut up shop and moved east. They had these big beautiful copper tanks that looked amazing. There was also a big occupational health and safety poster on the wall with an extreme close up of an eyeball with a nail in it. Who on earth brings a nail gun to a brewery?! Anyway, moving along …

The story of Matilda Bay is fairly well known however I have to giggle when I read this from their website:

They purchased a small pub called the Freemasons Hotel in Fremantle, Western Australia, installed a brewery and reopened as the Sail & Anchor Hotel. The brewery at the pub enabled the guys to control the quality and presentation of the beers and talk directly to the growing legions of converts.

I don’t giggle to make mockery of them or because I disagree, I don’t at all. I have a lot of respect for Matilda Bay. I only giggle because the way Phil Sexton, co-founder of Matilda Bay, once told the story to me, well me and a group of other people …

In 2010 I was working for Little Creatures Brewing which was then still part owned by Phil Sexton. I was a sales rep and during one of our sales conferences we were lucky enough to do a beer tasting with Phil. He picked a small range of beers and we sat, tasted the beers and we all asked a LOT of questions of Phil, hammering him like some kind of beery interrogation. After all how often do you get to pick the brain of someone who co-founded the likes of Matilda Bay, Dome Coffee and Little Creatures?

Taking a break from the sales conference and playing footy across from the brewery (2010)
Taking a break from the sales conference and playing footy across from the brewery (2010)

I remember asking Phil what had made them decide to buy a pub? I had braced myself for an answer filled with strategic thinking and powerful foresight. Instead Phil laughed and replied with a very simple answer – no-one wanted to buy their beer, if they wanted to sell their beer they were going to have to buy a pub so they could sell it themselves. It was hard to imagine Phil Sexton rocking up to bottle shops and bars and his beer being rejected by all of them. But that’s what happened.

So they bought a pub and you might be wondering, like I was, why that one in particular? Why The Sail & Anchor? I asked Phil. He smiled and simply said, “because it was the cheapest”.

Brilliant! I love this answer because it removes all the marketing spin and business awe and takes into account a) sheer determination b) dumb luck and c) a ‘screw you, I’ll find another way’ attitude that I think makes for a far more entertaining story than the one on the website.

But what about the beer?

Well Redback Original is my nostalgic favourite of the Matilda Bay line up. It brings back fond memories of my dad drinking it at The Sail & Anchor after a morning of him, me and mum wandering through the Fremantle Markets. However if you’re talking about flavour and taste then it’s gotta be Alpha Pale Ale. Piney, tropical fruits, pineapple and just a seriously tasty pale ale. I know my craft beer heart isn’t supposed to like Matilda Bay beers since they are one of the big brewers, the enemy, etc etc but this is a damn good drop.

Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale

girl + Dead Pony Club

My first thought when I poured the beer into a glass was “fat bubbles!” It’s full of fresh and crisp fruity hops with a dry bitter finish that practically dares you to take another sip. It’s also a mere 3.8% abv. Yippee! A tasty lower alcohol beer!

Brewdog Dead Pony Club

For those unfamiliar with the beer called Dead Pony Club from Scottish brewers Brewdog, the title of this post may seem a touch weird / creepy / a cry for help. For everyone else it’s just another blog post about a nice tasting beer.

So, Dead Pony Club – why the name? I honestly couldn’t say. I love a quirky website and punchy beer blurb but this made zero sense to me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know anything about howitzers, internal combustion or mufflers. Heck, I don’t know anything about ponies either. My dad has two miniature horses which are definitely not ponies and that’s as far as my pony knowledge goes but I’m getting somewhat sidetracked. Why is this beer called Dead Pony Club? I don’t know. Does it taste good? Yes it does.

Something you can't do with bottles ...
Something you can’t do with bottles …

My first thought when I poured the beer into a glass was “fat bubbles!” It’s full of fresh and crisp fruity hops with a dry bitter finish that practically dares you to take another sip. This beer is all about the hops but not in an overbearing way. There’s piney, grapefruit and citrus notes and I got a little grassiness and biscuit flavours to boot.

It’s also a mere 3.8% abv. Yippee! A tasty lower alcohol beer!

For whatever reason the beers with big booze numbers get a fair bit of attention. Big booze is sometimes mistakenly equated with brilliance. The same can be said for high IBU and massively hopped beers. In reality, and I’m probably stating the obvious, it’s about balance over and above claiming the “biggest” something.

Dead Pony Club is well balanced and tasty with great fresh hop characters and is less than 5% abv, adding to it’s appeal. I can have a few of these and not worry about the booze factor too much or more accurately about the headache the next day. I’ve noticed that since turning thirty I don’t bounce back from boozy nights as brightly as I used to.

The problem is that great tasting, full flavoured lower alcohol beers are hard to come by. Recently my partner tried a booze free beer and when I asked how it tasted he replied “like sadness”.

Here are a few of my favourite low booze beers that don’t taste like sadness, regret or any other depressing flavours …

Little Creatures Rogers’

3.8% abv | Little Creatures Brewing | Fremantle (WA)

This is my go-to lower alcohol beer. Fun fact about this beer – the name is Rogers’ not Roger’s, as in it doesn’t belong to one guy named Roger but it belongs to two guys named Roger – namely Roger Bussell and Roger Bailey who designed the beer. I guess “fun fact” might depend on your definition of fun. Anyway, this malty, hoppy amber ale has long been a favourite of mine and has become pretty widely available.

Cheeky Monkey Travelling Monk

3.5% abv | Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery | Margaret River (WA)

It pours a gorgeous deep amber colour, you gotta love a sexy appearance, and is a great balance of sweet malt and fresh hops. I get hints of marmalade and oranges too. Available at the brewery, in bottles and mini kegs.

P1040867
Mini Kegs from Cheeky Monkey

Eagle Bay Mild Ale

3.5% abv | Eagle Bay Brewing | Eagle Bay (WA)

Tropical fruits, a little citrus and good bitterness. Available at the brewery and in bottles.

P1060594
Eagle Bay Mild at Morrie’s Anytime, Margaret River

Pizza + Beer

Pizza + Beer … have two words ever been so beautiful together? And before you shout “beer and burger” or “sex and violence” at me, I was just trying to have a catchy opening for this blog post. Let’s go on …

Pizza + Beer … have two words ever been so beautiful together? And before you shout “beer and burger” or “sex and violence” at me, I was just trying to have a catchy opening for this blog post. Let’s go on …

Since pizza is just such a good beer food I have recently been working on my pizza making skills. In the beginning my skills were actually less about skill and more about how-much-stuff-can-I-put-onto-one-piece-of-Lebanese-bread. This was followed by the fun game of ‘how do I get it into the oven’. The process often resembled an attempt at a magic trick as I quickly slid the pizza from cutting board to tray. All in all it was a fairly messy affair.

Since then I’ve tried, with some success, to adapt to the ‘less is more’ style of pizza topping. I have also been trying my hand at making my own pizza dough from scratch.

Making dough and drinking beer
Making dough and drinking beer(not a case of Sapporo, that just holds our onions & garlic)

The recipe I’ve been using comes from The Australian Woman’s Weekly Kitchen book, a Christmas gift from my dad many years ago. I love it, I use it all the time and I’m not just saying that because he reads this. The dough recipe is as follows –
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Dough Instructions

It is a simple recipe and the dough freezes/defrosts very well. The fun and sense of accomplishment in making my own pizza dough, so far, outweighs the convenience of buying Lebanese or pita bread from the shops. However I do acknowledge that perhaps over time this will change and I’ll get lazy/latch onto something else I want to cook obsessively but for the time being I’m all about the dough. Plus putting floury hand prints around the house/partners face/dog is lots of fun.

Mexican Pizza!
Mexican Pizza! Tomato paste, cheese, spicy beef mince with mushrooms, onion and red capsicum, jalapenos, sour cream and fresh lime

Having been successful with this recipe I was inspired by The Beeroness’ own pizza dough recipe that uses beer, garlic powder and fresh minced rosemary. Sadly I had no appropriate beers to use as either a) they were huge imperial somethings or b) I wanted to savour every last drop and not bake. Instead I took on the rosemary and garlic powder measures and threw it into my already tried and tested pizza dough recipe. The result was four delicious pizza dough balls ready to bake or wrap up and toss into the freezer for another time.

Freezing dough

Frozen pizza dough

Thawing pizza dough

Rolling out pizza dough

Baking Instructions

more doughy photos
don’t worry, it’s pesto on the left and not some strange growth

I’ve never really understood garlic powder until I put it into my pizza dough. Why would you use powder when fresh garlic is so amazing? Well, for dough, it’s perfect for a whack of flavour without the added moisture that you’d probably get from the fresh stuff.

The next pizza dough adventure will be adding beer. As I add more and more ingredients to the pizza dough I might end up going full circle back to my original pizza making theory of “more is MORE!”. We’ll see …

Last Friday night, as they all should be with good food and great beer
Last Friday night, as they all should be with good food and great beer

My own private Little Creatures IPA launch

Not since the fruity, “summer in a bottle” Bright Ale has a fresh beer-face been introduced to the flying baby/cherub family so the introduction of Little Creatures IPA was something worthy of celebrating.

Being in the south west has a lot of advantages, like having many, many breweries and beaches on your door step and being surrounded by damn gorgeous scenery. However it also has its disadvantages, like being 200km away from the launch of the new Little Creatures IPA.

Not since the fruity, “summer in a bottle” Bright Ale has a fresh beer-face been introduced to the flying baby/cherub family so the introduction of Little Creatures IPA was something worthy of celebrating.

Little Creatures at Gourmet Escape 2012
The infamous flying baby aka cherub of Little Creatures

Little Creatures IPA is a beer that one could argue was inevitable, at least that’s the conclusion I’ve reached from my two-something years repping for them in Perth, even if that was many years ago. For many West Australians the Pale Ale was their introduction to hoppy beers that took them down a resiney rabbit hole of craft beer and demand for bigger flavours. When Little Creatures released their first limited release beer under the Single Batch banner it was towards the end of my time with the company. It was an IPA whose name I can’t remember but I do remember the response from retailers and bar managers, “they should make this a permanent range” and “it reminds me of the first time I had their Pale Ale”. How close or far this IPA is from the first Single Batch, I couldn’t tell you, I’ve had way too many beers between now and then to even try to make parallels but it’s why I feel an IPA has been a long time coming.

Eager to celebrate the occasion but unable to attend any of the official launches I decided I’d tell myself I was hosting my own private launch at home … for one. It’s all about perception folks!

The highlights of my private launch were the beer itself, the comfortable and familiar venue and the nicely polished glassware. The downside of my private launch was a lack of other people to talk to and the fact that whilst I was engrossed in the beer my dog took the opportunity to ravage my thongs. You win some, you lose some.

The beer was provided by my awesome partner who surprised me with a 4 pack since he was in Perth earlier that week. Yay! I was also fortunate enough to be given a 4 pack by Little Creatures, love getting beer in the mail, thank you LC.

Care package from LC
My care package from Little Creatures

So, what did I think of the beer?

I think it’s great. It does what it says on the bottle – it’s a very good India Pale Ale full of tropical fruits, soft sweet malt, something a little caramely and all with a pleasant booziness. It’s got sessionability about it but with enough flavour to make it interesting. Is it the most insanely amazing incredible Australian IPA I’ve ever had? No. Is it a great example of an IPA, something craft beer nerds and the craft beer curious can get on board with and is it something I’ll happily have a few pints of if I see it at a bar, then the answer is very much yes.

Little Creatures IPA
Oh and fat bubbles, I poured it and thought “hey, fat bubbles!”

Nachos, Pizza + Beer = Dinner for One

I had a craving for nachos and a craving for pizza … so I had both. All by myself and with a beer. Take THAT stereotypes!

Recently my partner went up to Perth for a night so I had the challenge of cooking dinner for one. Even when I cook for two people they end up being sized for a small army of ravenous pigs.

Yep. Pig army.

Moving along …

Adding to my problem, which was admittedly a very first world problem, was my indecision between nachos and pizza.

Cheekily I went for both and topped it all off with a bottle of Sierra Nevada Harvest Southern Hemisphere 2013. Yeah baby!

The 2013 Southern Hemisphere Harvest was delicious; aromas of Anzac biscuits and tropical fruits and I got some great hits of toffee, earthiness and more tropical fruit. Each sip had a nice warming feel too.

Not a bad dinner for one if I don’t say so myself –

Nachos and Sierra Nevada

Beetroot and Feta Pizza

Beery Surprises in Capel

Perth is blessed with Cellarbrations Carlisle, International Beer Shop, Mane Liquor and Phoenix Beers to service their passionate take away beery needs. Here in the south west things are not as abundant, at least not on the scale of the aforementioned shops. On the other hand us lucky folk in the south west have more microbreweries than anywhere else in the country so it probably evens it up.

A very happy me leaving the International Beer Shop with lots of goodies

Perth is blessed with Cellarbrations Carlisle, International Beer ShopMane Liquor and Phoenix Beers to service their passionate take away beery needs. Here in the south west things are not as abundant, at least not on the scale of the aforementioned shops. On the other hand us lucky folk in the south west have more microbreweries than anywhere else in the country so it probably evens it up. But sometimes you want to take the credit card out for a spin by browsing shelf after shelf of gorgeous beer then driving home with a happy tink-tink-tink noise of bottles in a box in your car. Yeah, you know the noise I’m talking about don’t you?

An example of one shopping adventure from Cellarbrations Carlisle

Thankfully bottle shops in the south west are getting on board the craft beer revolution, toot toot! They are stocking not just great local stuff like Duckstein, Bootleg, Feral and Little Creatures but also international favourites like Sierra Nevada, Rogue and Green Flash. I’d say this is due to the great Phoenix Beers, beer distributors with many, many brands whose portfolio was a well used document during my time writing the beer list at Five Bar in Mt Lawley. In Bunbury your best bet Dan Murphy’s, or Man Durphy’s as my partner calls it. In Busselton you’ve got Cape Cellars developing a very decent beer range and with their new (larger) site hopefully coming together before Christmas I’m sure that will mean more great beer. In Dunsborough it’s hard to go past The Pourhouse with a huge bottled list as well as growlers but if they’re not open then Zinn’s Liquor is a good alternative. Further south into Margaret River and it’s gotta be Settler’s Liquor.

Local beer shopping at Cape Cellars in Busselton
Local beer shopping at Cape Cellars in Busselton

Now you can add Cellarbrations Capel to that list of good beer bottle shops. Yup, you read that right – Capel. For those who don’t know the area it’s not where you might stop on your way from Perth to the south west, eager for your relaxing getaway. Not that it’s a bad place, it’s just that it’s easy to miss. Located half way between Bunbury and Busselton it’s just off the highway and also home to a fantastic butcher – seriously, you should stop in for sausages. Trust me, they’re tops. I’ve been buying my Friday afternoon beers from Cellarbrations Capel for a while now. Sometimes it’s a little Garage Project, a Rogue or two or a Nøgne Ø and, more often than not, a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada something. It seems that word is spreading about this little gem of a shop. I was recently went to Bootleg Brewery where I ran into fellow beer enthusiast and Bootleg beer pourer Jamie who told me that his mate had taken him to this great bottle shop in Capel. “Oh trust me, I know!”, I replied. Here’s just a sample of goodies I’ve purchased from Cellarbrations Capel. Thank you Cellarbrations Capel for feeding me good beer and taking the edge off between Cellarbrations Carlisle shopping sprees.

A few purchases from the surprising and growing craft beer selection
A few purchases from the surprising and growing craft beer selection

Oh and there was also this little number … image

#temptingtuesday – September

What the heck is #temptingtuesday I hear you say? (well, in my head you do). It’s combining my love affair with Twitter, the fun of chatting with great people and my eternal affection for beer. The mechanics are simple, just like its author, where on the first Tuesday of each month I ask the big wide Twitterverse a beer related question. I get inspired and blog the results.

girl+beer logo with twitter

What the heck is #temptingtuesday I hear you say? (well, in my head you do). It’s combining my love affair with Twitter, the fun of chatting with great people and my eternal affection for beer. The mechanics are simple, just like its author, where on the first Tuesday of each month I ask the big wide Twitterverse a beer related question. I get inspired and blog the results.

Hello September! I used this months #temptingtuesday as a way to outsource a beer to pair with a specific dish I wanted to make for dinner.

Prawn and Chorizo Linguine

I went to Chris’s Sea to You seafood van in Busselton for the prawns and used the last bit of Coat of Arms Chorizo we had in the fridge. For those unfamiliar with Coat of Arms Chorizo, it’s from the Margaret River Venison Farm and it’s amazing. Spicy, rich and totally over-the-top and tasty as hell. It’s name comes from the two animals it’s made from …

Coat of Arms

I found a recipe from taste.com.au that suited my craving – chorizo and prawn fideos (a very quick Google search told me it’s Spanish for noodles) and it was a delicious success. It’s also a nice way of using a single pan for cooking dinner, spaghetti and all! God I hate dishes.

Cooking up a storm ... well, pasta anyway

Armed with a bare boned descriptor of “prawn and chorizo linguine” I got back some great suggestions for potential beer pairings. Most of them were pilsners or imperial pilsners, the crowd had spoken so I set to work on dinner.

Since the Coat of Arms chorizo is very punchy I thought an imperial pilsner would be in order and so I opened this …

Garage Project's Hops on Pointe

Now you might be saying “but girl+beer, that’s not an imperial pilsner!” and you’d be right, it isn’t but for some reason I had it in my head that it was. From when I poured it into the glass and right up until I read the label, I thought I was about to delve into an imperial pilsner. I don’t know why. It’s actually a lager.

Moving past this little beery misjudgement the beer itself was lovely. Another nice drop from Kiwi outfit Garage Project and according to their website it was brewed to “celebrate the world’s first ‘Beer Ballet’ called Bier Halle” being staged by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The lager is brewed with German malts and New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops, a variety that gets it’s name from it’s sauvignon blanc grape like flavours.

Hops on Pointe had soft honey and melon aromas and I got floral, grassy, bready and slight bitterness on tasting.

As far as matching to prawn and chorizo fideos, it was a bit of a debate. My partner thought the delicate beer got spanked by the richness of the meal. I thought (or perhaps hoped, considering my incorrect style assumption) the beer acted almost like a palate cleanser, its soft bitterness kinda tingling over the spicy chorizo.

Either way, a delicious meal and a good beer but I reckon an imperial pilsner would have been great! Mental note to self, don’t rely on memory, it’s been marinating in booze for more than a decade, read the label!

Dinner is served!

Accidental Pairing

Guacamole and Sierra Nevada Kellerweis – why hasn’t anyone told me about this before?! Delicious!

On Saturday I sat down to a snack and a beer, nothing unusual there, and unwittingly found my new favourite and dead easy beer and food pairing – Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and guacamole.

I had bought a 6 pack of Kellerweis on Friday as I had a bit of a craving for it and the avocados were fresh from the farmers market that morning. I had no idea they’d be so good together!

My new favourite thingFrom the first mouthful of guacamole followed up with a swig of Kellerweis I was sold. As I munched away, happily loading up my toasted pita bread with mounds of tasty green stuff I realised the pairing was actually very obvious. You’ve got lots of similar flavours happening between the two – coriander, citrus, bitterness/acidity. Plus the beers carbonation cuts through the avocado beautifully.

Then it hit me – my mini revelation wasn’t anything of the sort. Two Birds Brewing made a delicious hoppy wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn called Taco for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular beer back in May. Damn that was a good beer, perhaps it left a bigger imprint on me than I had originally thought, the remnants of those wonderful flavours all coming out in this pairing.

The pairing reminded me of something I had recently read at The Beeroness about her beer and food matching considerations – “think about all the flavours being in one bowl“. So true. Often I have mistakenly tried to match to the dominant flavour in the dish and the resulting pairing was alright but lacking in that “holy-freaking-hell” moment.

This was a little bit of a “holy freaking hell” moment and probably the closest I’ll get to another tasty glass of Two Birds Taco. Mmm, taco …

Clancy’s + Nail

There are a few venues that have dishes that I cannot resist, when I’m there I have to have them. I approach some beers in the same way too. Variety is fantastic but sometimes there’s beer that are almost tradition to order or just downright irresistible …

(edit: bear with me here folks, what’s about to follow is a rambling introduction but it involves a lot of tasty food so hopefully you’ll read on!)

There are certain dishes you just can’t go past when you’re in a particular venue. For instance, when I was assistant manager at Five Bar in Perth we served up slow roasted field mushrooms in sherry vinegar on toasted baguette. I think if we had removed this item from the menu we would have been subject to much swearing and slapping. People loved this dish, people told their friends about it and people ordered it time and time again.

Slow Roasted Field Mushrooms in Sherry Vinegar
Who would have thought mushroom, cheese and bread would cause such love!?

For me it’s the crab spaghettini with tomato sugo and spinach at The Boulevard (Perth). This dish just does weird things to me. There’s a sensational photo by the equally sensational David Gardiner, PR and Events guru, here on Urbanspoon.

The duck liver parfait at Must Wine Bar (Perth) is another compulsory order dish. Simply put, if you don’t have this whilst at Must then you are doing it wrong.

On to the battered side of food life I always have to have the fried mice – jalapenos stuffed with feta and deep fried when at any of the four Clancy’s Fish Pub venues. Whilst each venue might put a twist on the dish, City Beach crumb their jalapenos in panko bread crumbs, the principle remains delicious.

Fried Mice ... two ways!

So that was a really long winded way of saying that I was recently at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough with my partner and yes, we got a serve of the fried mice.

And just like I have compulsory dishes to order when at particular venues, there are also beers I just have to have. Of course I love variety, don’t get me wrong, but how could you ever visit Feral Brewing (Swan Valley) and not have a Hop Hog or Bootleg Brewery (Margaret River) and not have a Raging Bull. It can’t be done. For me, Clancy’s and Nail Ale go hand in hand, or should that be “pint in hand”?

Nail Ale and Clancy's ... they go together like a horse and carriage

Nail Brewing (Bassendean) have been supporting Clancy’s, and visa versa, for as long as I can remember, ignoring the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be and just accept the analogy. So if you’ve always had a Nail when you’ve been at Clancy’s then the tradition must continue.

Nine times out of ten, the Nail Ale beer on tap is the classic, the one and only, Nail Pale Ale. An Australian Pale Ale full of fresh fruity, piney hops and crisp citrus.

However, this last visit to Clancy’s was different because they were not pouring the Pale Ale, instead it was Nail Dunn Brown Ale. It’s named after Hugh Dunn in honour of his contribution to the brewing community through Edith Cowan University. It’s a limited release English style brown ale that is currently being prepared to hit shelves in your favourite beery bottleshop, you can check out the label design here.

This is worth putting on your “beer shopping list”; you all have one of those, right?! Aromas are nutty, biscuity and bready with great toasty, earthy (so many y’s) and a little fruit. Basically it’s fabulous.

(apologies for my rotten photo that really doesn’t do this beer justice)

An unflattering photo of Nail Dunn Brown

Add it to your list or just start one now …

Indian + Coopers Red

Despite how I might make it look in my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds I don’t do all the cooking in the house. My partner has dished up some truly tasty meals and I felt it was about time I shared one of these with you (and yes, you can probably come around for dinner, just make sure you bring beer!).

Despite how I might make it look on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds I don’t do all the cooking in the house. My partner has dished up some truly tasty meals and I felt it was about time I shared one of his great dinners with you (and yes, you can come over for dinner, just make sure you bring beer!

This recipe was taken from a book simply called “India Cookbook” and the recipe is also known as Handiwala Murg. The “handi” part refers to the earthware pot used for slow cooking and “murg” I think refers to the chicken; aren’t my googling skills amazing?!

The recipe calls for the chicken thighs to be made into “lollipops”, think a little ball of meat on the end of the bone. My partner opted not to do this since a) it’s fiddly as hell and b) why take off meat when there’s so many awesome spices to coat them in! He hates waste.

India Cookbook

The list of spices in this dish is incredible (a common theme throughout the book, who’d have thunk it!?) which meant that our random purchasing of spices proved very handy, in particular my recent discovery of 2 Brothers Foods for all our spice buying needs. The fun of online shopping from these guys is enhanced by the huge aromas that waft from the parcel before you’ve even opened it.

Lots of spices!

The chicken thighs are marinated in fresh coriander, ginger, garlic, yoghurt, lemon juice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. They are slow cooked in a frying pan (since we had no appropriate earthware pots) before having tomatoes (he used tinned chopped tomatoes which was way easier than dicing that many fresh ones!) with even more seasoning for simmering the chicken in.

Simmering chicken goodness

The result is a complicated, heavily spiced but very balanced dish that’s rich and warming. We had Coopers Sparkling in the fridge, my partner is very fond of this beer, and it was a pretty good match to the meal. It was nice to have something cold, refreshing and lightly fruity to wash over the food.

Ta-DA!