Beer Ravioli

Recently I had a week off work, a mini-holiday, and it seemed the perfect time to get a little creative in the kitchen and try my hand at pasta. Me being me I wanted to include beer in the mix …

I’ve been meaning to try and make pasta for a while but then I see half price fresh pasta on sale at [insert giant supermarket chain here] and I end up buying a few packets cause it’s cheap and convenient. Recently I had a week off work, a mini-holiday, and it seemed the perfect time to get a little creative in the kitchen and try my hand at pasta. Me being me I wanted to include beer in the mix so I went straight for The Beeroness website and found Jackie’s recipe for Homemade Beer Pasta. Jackie’s recipe calls for wheat beer but since I was already drinking a Coopers Sparkling Ale that’s what went in!

2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup wheat beer

I mixed all ingredients together in a large bowl until I had a nice elastic dough which was then left to rest for half an hour. In this time you can make whatever mix you would like for your ravioli, I decided on a mushroom, chive and goat’s cheese filling –

300g button mushrooms, finely diced
Handful fresh garlic chives
white pepper
2 tablespoons goat’s cheese
Put olive oil into pan and add mushrooms, leave to slowly cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add white pepper when about half way cooked through. When mushrooms are cooked place in bowl and mix in chives and cheese.

Back to the pasta – cut the dough into 4 – 6 manageable pieces, start with one and leave the others in a bowl with a damp teatowel over the top to stop the dough from drying out. Rolled the piece of dough into a flat and roughly rectangular (and I do mean “roughly”) shape about 2mm thick. If you have a pasta roller this will probably be a lot easier and quicker than a rolling pin but if not, a rolling pin will still get the job done. Place heaped teaspoons of your filling and lay it out evenly on the pasta, be sure to give yourself enough space to cut into ravioli.

Laying out the mushroom mix
Laying out the mushroom mix

Next you want to roll out a second piece of pasta, hopefully of similar size and shape to the first and place it over the top. This can be a little tricky, you want to try and get it right the first time as it’s kinda like when you put contact paper on your school books as a kid, if you peel back a section to start again it ends up a little sticky and not quite right!

Lay another sheet of pasta over the top
Lay another sheet of pasta over the top

Squish the two pasta layers together whilst getting rid of any of the pesky air pockets that have probably formed. Use a pastry brush to lightly moisten the pasta around the filling (i.e. not on the lumps) then take a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut out the ravioli squares. The water should help you squish the layers together so your ravioli stays together.

Toss into salted boiling water and ta-DA now you have fresh homemade ravioli!

Homemade Mushroom, Chive & Goats Cheese Beer Ravioli, tossed in Parmesan and Fresh Thyme
Homemade Mushroom, Chive & Goats Cheese Beer Ravioli, tossed in Parmesan and Fresh Thyme

And now that you’re an expert on homemade ravioli you can play with different fillings –

BBQ Sweet Potato, Ricotta and Baby Spinach
BBQ Sweet Potato, Ricotta and Baby Spinach
Sweet Potato, Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli
Sweet Potato, Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli

Doctor Who + Moon Dog

When sitting down to watch the big 50th Doctor Who anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor I was keen to find a beer match for my Doctor-ing adventures.

I really like Doctor Who; I like it a little less when there are weeping angels involved but generally speaking it makes me almost as happy as beer does. When sitting down to watch the big 50th Doctor Who anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor I was keen to find a beer match for my Doctor-ing adventures.

50th_iconic_wallpaper_16x9

Initially I was going to open Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude on the grounds that the beer was going to be full of big, unapologetic flavours, exhibiting a TARDIS like ‘bigger on the inside’ sort of vibe.

Instead I went for a Moon Dog/Nogne Selvmordstokt – a wheat porter with cherry sour wine. So what makes the beer and The Day of the Doctor go together so well?

  • The beer is a collaboration brew … the episode features three Doctors working together, does it get more collaborative than 3 Time Lords? I doubt it.
  • The beer combines three elements – wheat, porter and cherry sour wine .. remember, three Doctors.
  • One of the breweries involved is Moon Dog … moon = space, dog = K9 … it was meant to be!

Even the name of the beer “Selvormordstokt”sounds like a far away planet, doesn’t it?!?

Beer and Doctor Who

As for the beer itself, it’s fantastic (said in my best Christopher Eccleston voice) with an aroma of cherries in brandy and flavours of black cherry, chocolate, a little coconut and a soft sour kiss on the end. An ideal sipping beer to have whilst pretending Time Lords are real and many things are be bigger and more interesting on the inside.

Beer appropriate to Doctor Who

Beer Bread is Best

It’s kinda like damper or soda bread; the result is a crumbly hard crust with a soft, dense middle. It’s super tasty and great with a slathering of butter or a dab of beer bacon jam!

I’ve been loving the recipes and fun of The Beeroness for a while now so it’s probably unsurprisingly that one of my most recent purchases was a book from the Beeroness herself, Jackie Dodd – The Craft Beer Cook Book by Jackie Dodd. Packed full of great recipes, I’m sure the pages of this book will end up dog-eared and sauce stained in no time!

The first recipe I went for was the Beer Bread – it’s no yeast, no resting time and no fuss! It’s kinda like damper or soda bread; the result is a crumbly hard crust with a soft, dense middle. It’s super tasty and great with a slathering of butter or a dab of beer bacon jam!

Beer Bacon Jam on top of Beer Bread ... that's a lot of B's! Modeled my partner's hand and the wagging tail in the background is our dog, not a big rat :P
Beer Bacon Jam on top of Beer Bread … that’s a lot of B’s!
Modeled in partner’s hand and the wagging tail in the background is our dog hoping for a crumb or two!

Here’s what you’ll need …

3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups wheat beer
4 tablespoons melted butter (for mix)
2 tablespoons melted butter (for topping just before baking)

The only wheat beer I had in the fridge was from Norwegian brewers Hanndbryggeriet, their Bavarian Weizen, so in that went and the remainder in my glass (any excuse to open a beer!) It’s a very lovely wheat beer minus the big sweet banana character sometimes found with the style, instead it’s spicy, citrusy with hints of white pepper.

The dough might look a little rough but that's half the fun!
The dough might look a little rough but that’s half the fun!

To make the bread you want to mix all your dry ingredients together then add beer and butter. Combine ingredients well – this may require you to get your hands in there! Throw the dough into a lightly oiled loaf pan and top with last bit of butter. Bake at 190C for 30-40 minutes (depending on how temperamental your oven is) or until golden brown.

I also put a pan of water, about 2 cups, at the bottom of the oven as it’s something I’ve found suggested in a lot of bread recipes. Even in recipes that do not call for it, it has, for me, resulted in a softer and more evenly baked bread.

My only other advice would to be make two batches, it’s likely to be devoured quickly!

Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
Tasty fresh beer bread
Tasty fresh beer bread

From here you can also make your own additions, get a little wild and crazy!

For my rosemary and garlic beer bread I simply added:

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For my cayenne pepper beer bread I simply added:

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Both turned out lovely, the cayenne pepper was just enough to know it was there but not enough to turn you into an eye-watering, red-faced lunatic.

Next time I think I’ll try cheese and paprika!

On a side note, I used Coopers Sparkling for both these breads and I reckon it contributed to a slightly softer bread with more rise to it – thank you yeast! Of course I’m speculating and could be wrong but it just means I have to make more bread and experiment with different beers. All in the name of science of course.

L: Rosemary and Garlic R: Cayenne Pepper
L: Rosemary and Garlic
R: Cayenne Pepper
Making a little mess whilst making lots of beer bread
Making a little mess whilst making lots of beer bread

girl + clout stout

I’m a big fan of Perth’s Nail Brewing, their beers are gorgeous, balanced and a single glass is never enough. Their Clout Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout released every year in limited quantities, is no exception.

I’m a big fan of Perth’s Nail Brewing, their beers are gorgeous, balanced and a single glass is never enough. Their Clout Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout released every year in limited quantities, is no exception.

My Nail Clout Stout 2011
The beer comes in a 750ml bottle and the box is marked with which number it is and when it was packaged

When I purchased my very own bottle of 2011 Nail Clout Stout it was the most money I’d spent on a single beer so I decided it would be opened on an undetermined special occasion in the future.

The bottle sat for months, unopened and still in its black box, waiting for that special occasion to come around. Birthdays, Christmas, New Years, they all came and went and the bottle wasn’t opened.

I always fall into this trap of allocating a beer for a special occasion. I end up over-thinking the whole thing, the point of enjoying a sensational beer in the first place gets lost in my determination to match beer to occasion.

The best time to open a special beer is whenever you damn well feel like it because first and foremost it’s there to be enjoyed

I opened my bottle of Clout Stout on a Friday night, an ordinary Friday night because I really, really felt like it. I documented the occasion with photos from box to glass, an idea from my partner –

Enjoying a 2012 Nail Clout Stout ... from box to glass
From box to glass …
2012 Clout Stout ... from opening the box to pouring it into a glass
From box to glass …
Nail Clout Stout
From box to glass

The beer was drop dead gorgeous. Nuts, chocolate and fortified wine aromas backed up by flavours of dark chocolate and fruitcake encased in a surprisingly light-medium bodied stout. There’s a nice booziness that lingers on the palate too.

It seemed fitting to break out some cheese to accompany the beer and it just so happened we had some Stilton in the fridge. It was left over from a tasting session I did with Eagle Bay to prepare for our Beer & Cheese Masterclass at the recent Fremantle BeerFest. The cheese was Bassett Colston Stilton, a cow’s milk cheese from England with a mushroomy rind wrapped around a rich, salty blue body. 

The Stilton was a nice complement to the Clout Stout, a contrast of sweet chocolate stout flavours with the strong mouldy blue.

If you see Clout Stout, buy it. You won’t regret it. Just remember to share it with people who will love it too.

2011 Clout Stout & Bassett Colston Stilton
2011 Clout Stout & Bassett Colston Stilton