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

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

Beer Mac & Cheese

When I found this recipe it was hard to get it out of my head, I wanted to make it right there and then. Sadly I couldn’t but finally I got my beer mac & cheese and damn it was good.

When I found this recipe it was hard to get it out of my head, I wanted to make it right there and then. Sadly I couldn’t but finally I got my beer mac & cheese and damn it was good.

The recipe comes from The Beeroness which I only discovered recently. Her slogan is ‘have your beer and eat it too’ – something I am clearly on board with.

So here’s her recipe for Stove Top Mac & Cheese.

I used Perth’s own Nail Golden Ale mostly because that’s what I was drinking at the time. Turned out very well indeed! Next time I’ll be trying it with IPA to see if it does give it a more beery ompf.

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