Broccoli, Beer and Blue Cheese Soup

Kris: As you have seen from previous posts, we have a small but productive garden in our backyard. Our broccoli is ready, so I thought I would make some soup to eat with 2 hoppy Amber Ales that I grabbed from the bottle shop; the Baird Red Rose Amber Ale from Japan and the Red Duck Hoppy Amber from Victoria.

Broccoli, Beer and Blue Cheese Soup

1 fresh leek

2 Tbs olive oil

Fresh parsley

fresh thyme

500g broccoli

1 potato

1 litre beef stock

330ml American style brown ale

150 g Gorgonzola

100ml cream

salt and pepper

Method

Fry off the sliced leek and some fresh thyme in the olive oil

Add a small amount of the beer and cook the leeks until translucent

Add diced potato and chopped broccoli and fry for 5-6 minutes

Add the remaining beer and stock

Bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30minutes

Let it cool a little and blitz using a blender

Put the soup back on a low heat and add the cream and blue cheese and stir until creamy and combined

Season with salt and pepper to taste

(Some blue cheese can be really salty so season to your own taste)

Serve with some fresh parsley and fresh bread

Kris:  Such an easy, tasty lunch on a mild winters day in Hobart. It is even better when the broccoli, thyme and parsley are all from your own garden.

Caroline: Such a hearty, sweet and salty lunch! Perfect with some crusty bread and a beer. A very warming meal for our freezing house..

Kris: I thought American style Amber Ales would be a perfect match to the Broccoli, Beer and Blue Cheese soup. The earthy, malty character compliments the vegetables and the big, hoppy flavours and aromas can stand up to the blue cheese. The Baird Red Rose Amber Ale is produced by an American brewer, who now resides in Japan. It is lighter bodied than most American Ambers, but was still a great match to the soup. The Red Duck Hoppy Amber, from Victoria, was the beer I used in the recipe, but it also worked fantastically as a match with our lunch. Bold, sweet malt and piney, resinous hop character, along with an ABV of 5.6%, this was the perfect beer to enjoy with a hearty bowl of our soup.

Caroline: Delicious lunch, thanks Kris

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Spring Dinner

It was such a nice day today, it really felt like the first day of spring. Caroline and I were inspired to spend time outside on our day off. We got our garden started (finally) with some herbs, salad greens, tomatoes, and chillis.

The small plants on the right are the ones we planted today. On the left are some pinkeye potatoes that have been going for a while already.

Caroline: Since it was so warm today, we were craving some seafood and some cold beer (and wine).
We got a kilo of mussels (a perfect amount for 2 people) for only $10!

Mussels are delicious, inexpensive, and SO easy to prepare. They’re also really versatile, you can use pretty much whatever veggies you have on hand and stock, beer, or wine for your liquid base. Mussels and beer are a classic match and exactly what we felt like eating tonight. Below is our recipe.

Finely slice a small onion and fry in some olive oil until trasparent.

Add some julienne (finely sliced) carrot, fennel and asparagus and 2 -3 cloves of crushed garlic.

After a few minutes, place the mussels in the pot and pour in about 1/3 of a bottle of beer (lager or the classic belgian witbier works best).Otherwise, you can use dry white wine. ( Also, make sure you have removed the beards from the mussels)

Give them a stir and place the lid on for 8-10 minutes, until the mussels have opened their shells.

Season with some cracked pepper and add finely diced fresh tomato and some flat leaf parsley. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve with some fresh crusty bread and butter.

Caroline: I had a glass of Pooley 2010 Late Harvest Riesling with my mussels. I LOVE late harvest riesling (and Pooley) but it was too sweet for the mussels. A dryer riesling would have worked much better. The sweetness of the late harvest ended up making the mussels taste a bit soapy, so I moved onto to Kris’ beer for the rest of the meal. By itself, the wine was great, so I just enjoyed it by itself as my dessert instead. I think Kris had the better match with beer….

Kris: I opted for Weihenstephaner Original Bayrisch Mild (Helles) Lager from Germany. It was a great match with the mussels.It was an easy drinking lager with slightly sweet, honey malt character and some citrus hop flavour. Nothing too exciting. I do like a dry Pilsner or Belgian Witbier with mussels too.

Caroline: Thanks for dinner Kris.

Kris: No problem tiger.

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