I love cooking with beer so couldn’t resist this month’s Session with the topic chosen by David Jensen of Beer 47. My Imperial Chilli is one of my greatest culinary creations, made awesome by the addition of a bottle of imperial stout; these beer ribs are fantastic; beer ice cream is very cool, my favourite so far was made with BrewDog RipTide; malty ale in macaroni cheese adds a brilliant depth; and my Barley Wine Cupcakes passed the ultimate test: my girlfriend liked them. And there’s more I want to do with food and beer: a carbonnade challenge of a few different beers; roasted garlic IPA mashed potatoes; beer and cheese soup; spaghetti bolognese made with rauchbier; ice cream made with rauchbier (why not?!); beer jelly; a curry made with Mongozo Coconut… I could go on.
Some people seem to think that cooking with beer is a terrible waste, but I’m not one of them. I love how it adds a different depth to food, how parts of the beer’s make-up come through in unique ways. Plus, I like to experiment with flavours, regularly turning my kitchen upside down with wild ideas of faux culinary genius.
I also love eating with a beer on the side and this is the perfect condiment and snack which also includes beer as an ingredient and has the ability of throwing you up in the air and down on a street somewhere in the middle of Belgium (albeit inexplicably with a delicious meat-wrapped-egg in one hand).
Scotch Eggs and Beer Mayonnaise
I have a weakness for scotch eggs. Not the mini ones which taste like cardboard and egg mayo and not the big chewy, dry ones with taste like sulphurous breadcrumbed pulp, I’m talking about hot, fresh, crispy-on-the-outside-and-soft-in-the-middle-ones. A scotch egg fresh from the heat of the oven (I’m in the baked camp of the baked vs fried argument), cut into quarters with a pile of ketchup/mustard/mayo on the side. They are rightly near the top of the beer snack hierarchy; an all-day breakfast of sausage, egg and bread neatly rolled into a palm-sized ball.
Ketchup is my condiment of choice. A red splodge was on almost every plate of food as I grew up and, while it may now have been gradually made redundant, it’s still very important to some foods, especially sausage-based ones. But through curiosity I tried out beer mayo for this snack.
Like custard, it’s a food which comes with a police tape block of fear around it from the worry of it splitting and ruining, but do it right and there’s no fear of oily egg yolk sick. The recipe I used was from Richard Fox’s The Food & Beer Cook Book and it worked perfectly, leaving a thick and delicious mayo with just a hint of beer (I guess you can use any beer or cider you want; I’d like to try one with lambic next instead of lemon juice).
Scotch eggs are easy to make, even if they do take a few processes. First, soft boil an egg, run it under cold water to stop it cooking in its shell, peel it (peeling eggs sucks; how do they do it in scotch egg factories?! My job from hell would be an egg peeler), and roll a little flour around its quivering white exterior. Then get some sausage meat, either a block of it or take some sausages and remove the meat from the skins. Add any seasoning you want – salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs, spices, chilli, even a few drops of beer, if you want – and then shape a handful of meat around the egg, making sure there are no gaps. Get three bowls out: one for flour, one for beaten egg and one for breadcrumbs. Roll the ball in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Put on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until it’s crispy and cooked.
For the mayo it’s one large egg yolk, two teaspoons each of beer (whatever you’ve got open or whatever you want to use) and lemon juice, one level teaspoon of Dijon mustard, up to 200ml of light oil (the lighter the better so it doesn’t overpower the taste of everything else), seasoning. Mix the yolk, mustard, beer and lemon juice in a bowl and then add the oil a little drizzle at a time, whisking (by hand) constantly. Keep whisking and slowly adding oil until it’s the texture you want it to be. Word is that says that if it splits then add a drop of warm water and whisk like a maniac and it’ll come back together.
As beer snacks go this is one of the best; made with beer and best enjoyed with a beer on the side. Now I’m craving a huge bowl of fries with a slick of homemade lambic mayo and a nice glass of cold beer.