Jamie Oliver + Porter

First post for 2013 – Happy New Year!

I have recently developed a food-crush on Jamie Oliver so expect to see a lot of his recipes in the coming months (depending on my own cooking success rate of course!). Here’s Tray Baked Chicken and Squashed Potatoes matched with Heretic’s Shallow Grave Porter.

The number of Jamie Oliver books I have has jumped from 1 to 4 in the last eight weeks!

I always knew who Jamie Oliver was of course, having seen a few of his shows over the years and liked what he did, but it wasn’t until recently when I saw a DVD of his 30 minute meals that I developed a big food-crush. I now have 3 different Jamie Oliver cook books (plus a little one that came with the newspaper!) so expect to see a few attempts at Jamie Oliver meals coming up for the next few months …

My first attempt at a Jamie Oliver meal came from his 30 minute meals – Tray Baked Chicken with Squashed Potatoes.

Jamie Oliver Chicken and Potatoes

Jamie Oliver Chicken (2)
In all my food and beer excitement I neglected to photograph the potatoes!
Super easy … Cut into halves and boil for 10-15 minutes (just cooked through), throw into hot frying pan (or BBQ) with olive oil, rosemary, bay leaves and whole garlic cloves and squash (recipe uses a pan lid). Do this a few times to each side until cooked through, golden and tasty!

The dish was, as promised, dead easy (except for the fact that I burnt the bacon that’s supposed to go on top of the chicken) and the Squashed Potatoes was even easier.

One of the best things about these dishes was being able to use fresh rosemary picked from the backyard. Oh and the unpeeled garlic cloves cooked in the pan … I’d forgotten how amazing a clove of garlic could be!

This was one of those food and beer matching moments where I didn’t plan at all – with only a handful of beers in the fridge to choose from I narrowed it down through my desire to open a BIG bottle of beer. It was then a choice between a Barley Wine, Christmas Ale and Porter. I figured the Porter would be the most likely to match with dinner but I wasn’t expecting fireworks.

The Heretic Shallow Grave Porter is a beautifully black beer with big yeasty aromas, fresh lemon, chocolate and maple syrup. The more it warmed up the more chocolate came through. The flavours are balanced between coffee, toast, caramel and a soft bitter finish. I love this beer and I really like the way they label their beers too, the little red eyes almost DARE you to try their beers (and hell yes I’m up for the challenge!)

So no, I didn’t expect the food and beer match to be a winner however I was pleasantly surprised (don’t you just love that!?) to find it was actually a pretty good partner. I think it was all the roasty crispy flavours from the red onions, garlic and chicken that made the match work. In particular the porter went really well with the potatoes, especially when squeezed all over with baked lemon, and the crispy edges of the squashed potatoes with the toasty richness of the beer … YUM!

Heretic Shallow Grave (1)

Laksa + Hops

It’s always a great journey when you discover a new beer, regardless whether you enjoy it or you find it’s not quite your cup of tea. I recently went to visit the guys at Cellarbrations at Carlisle so our fridge currently has a full shelf of beers I have never tried before. During the always difficult selection process, hampered only by my credit card limit, I was asked “do you like hoppy beers?”, “hell yes” I replied, or at least something to that effect. That’s when a bottle of Heretic Evil Cousin landed in my shopping basket. The label had the words “A massively hoppy imperial IPA” on it … what’s a girl to do?!

It’s always a great journey when you discover a new beer, regardless whether you enjoy it or you find it’s not quite your cup of tea.

I recently went to visit the guys at Cellarbrations at Carlisle so our fridge currently has a full shelf of beers I have never tried before. During the always difficult selection process, hampered only by my credit card limit, I was asked “do you like hoppy beers?”, “hell yes” I replied, or at least something to that effect. That’s when a bottle of Heretic Evil Cousin landed in my shopping basket. The label had the words “A massively hoppy imperial IPA” on it … what’s a girl to do?!

The Heretic Brewery comes out of California in the United States from Jamil Zainasheff, a home brewer since 1999 when he first caught the beer-bug. Since then he has won a number of awards, co-authored a couple of books, contributed to many a beer publication, his own blog and podcast and, of course, the Heretic Brewery since early 2011. A quick read through his blog on the Heretic Brewery website and, like all brewers I have met, he comes across as an all round decent guy who just wants to brew great beer and share it with everyone.

“A heretic is a person who practices heresy, and heresy is when you hold an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted. Galileo was considered a heretic for supporting the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. In a world where over 90% of beer drinkers believe mass market light lagers constitute the universe of beer, craft beer lovers are all heretics”, December 2010

“You blithely assume that you can just buy some kegs, put beer in them, and you are good to go. Not so fast. It takes more thought than that. In fact, I can’t believe how much time we’ve put into thinking about packaging so far”, March 2011

“So, one year of blog entries down. Normally I need to think long and hard about committing to another year of writing anything, but these blog entries are different for me. I get to say just about anything I want. I get to ramble on about random thoughts, and as long as the topic somehow relates to beer, everyone seems to be OK with it. Cool gig, huh? But don’t take that as an indication that I don’t care”, February 2012

The Evil Cousin sits at 100 IBU and 8.0% ABV so my boyfriend and I decided it would be the perfect partner to a home made prawn laksa. We sat at the table and poured the ale into a couple of wine glasses, the colour alone put a nice big smile on our faces, bright copper and oh-so-lively. Floral and citrusy hops were basically fighting each other to escape from the bottle, delightful! The taste was chewy and rich, like lollies that are bad for your teeth, and stays true to the American Imperial IPA style with big notes of pine needles and citrus with a generous hop bitterness to finish plus there’s a sweet fruit like sweetness underlying it all.

Home made laksa often features on our rotating list of home dinners, especially during winter, and I decided prawn laksa was the way to go for this occasion. I slowly simmered the prawns in a mix of olive oil, finely diced garlic and fresh red chilli before throwing it into the laksa. It all came together beautifully, and in true laksa tradition, it was messy to eat and down right tasty.

The match of prawn laksa with such a beautifully hoppy Imperial IPA was harmony what with chilli and hops being such good bedfellows. Both dishes were equally rich, all the flavours demanding your attention and for once I hadn’t gone overboard with the chilli so it was nicely balanced and my mouth wasn’t on fire.

Heretic Evil Cousin + Home Made Prawn Laksa

Prawn Laksa

Prawns

Slowly simmered in a mixture of olive oil, finely diced fresh red chilli and garlic, throw into laksa moments before serving.

Laksa 

Button Mushrooms

Red Capsicum

Garlic

Coconut Milk

Spring Onions

Udon Noodles

Laksa Paste

Additional Links:

Beer and Whiskey Brothers

Interview with Brewer Jamil Zainasheff on MoreBeer!

Check out Heretic Evil Cousin Ale currently rating 96 on Rate Beer