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.
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!