Smoked Kangaroo and Persian Fetta matched with Kooinda Pale Ale

Kris: I have always thoroughly enjoyed the cheese from Yarra Valley Dairy . I found some of their amazing Persian fetta at the Queen Victoria Markets, as well as some smoked kangaroo. I also grabbed a Kooinda Pale Ale, a favourite Victorian beer of mine and one that I thought would go really well with the marinated cheese and the kangaroo.

Kris: The smoked kangaroo, marinated fetta and Kooinda pale ale were a beautiful unity of flavours. The fruity/malty character and hop bitterness of the beer balanced the creaminess of the cheese and the smoky/sweet flavours of the kangaroo. A great entree to a bout of Jenga.

Caroline: The Fetta and Roo were really just fuel to get us through the Jenga championship round. It’s very serious, as you can see.

Caroline: As Jenga stakes rose, it was time to up the anti beer wise as well. An epic game needs an epic beer, Stone Vertical Epic from San Diego  11-11-11 to be exact.

Kris: I must say a massive thanks to Mike C for bringing this beer all the way back from San Diego to share with us all during our last visit to Melbourne. It truly was a treat. I did actually get to try last years release in 2010 whilst in the U.S., so it was great to be able to compare the two. It is a yearly release from one of the world’s greatest breweries and is definitely one for sharing with good friends. It is a 9.4 % Belgian Strong Pale Ale, brewed with a belgian yeast, a big mash up of hops and chili’s. I wish we had another couple to taste over the next couple of years. Sweet malt and yeast character matched with some piney/fruity hops and a nice touch of pepper/cinnamon and clove flavours.

Caroline: The pressure was almost unbearable; palms sweating, hearts pounding, snacks diminishing, and beer warming. This round separated the amateurs from the pros, and as you can see, not everyone could handle it.

(By the way, I never toppled the tower)

Kris: Subtle Caroline.

Caroline: What? did someone say something?

Kris: Yes. You’re very good at Jenga.

Caroline: just sayin…

Kris: You forgot I didn’t lose a round either!

Thai Flathead and Mussel Curry

Kris: I grew up in Queensland, so I am used to hot weather. But I certainly didn’t expect it to be 36 C and super humid in Tasmania? The afternoon thunderstorm reminded me of home also. Anyway, what better food to eat on a balmy night than a fragrant, fresh thai seafood curry. (With a beer or two as well)

Thai Flathead and Mussel Curry

1 small brown onion

1 Tbs grated ginger

2-3 cloves garlic

1 tsp shrimp paste

1 tsp tamarind

1 tsp galangal

1 tsp dried chilli

1 tsp coriander seed

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tbs fresh coriander root

4-5 lemon myrtle leaves (or substitute 1 Tbs fresh lemon grass)

1 can coconut milk

1 cup fish stock

1 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs palm sugar

1 flathead fillet (skin on)

300g mussels

1 tomato

1 carrot

1 mango

fresh mint

fresh coriander

2 limes


Place all the spices, coriander root, ginger, tamarind, shrimp paste and garlic in a mortar and pestle

Make a paste

Fry the thinly sliced onion in a pan on medium heat for 5 minutes

Add the paste and fry off  for 5 minutes

Add the coconut milk and fish stock

Simmer for 25 minutes

If the sauce thickens too much add some more fish stock

Add the carrot (thinly sliced)

Add the tomato (diced)

Squeexe in 1 of the limes

Add the flathead (cut into slices)

Add the mussels

Cover the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes

Place the curry in a bowl

Garnish with fresh coriander, thinly sliced carrot and fresh chilli

Squeeze over the remaining lime

Serve with rice and a simple mango and mint salsa (a diced mango with some fresh mint)

Kris: I was thinking the Tuatara APA would possibly compliment the curry with it’s sweet malt and fruity hop character. It was actually  a bit too big for the dish. A lighter style pale ale could work, so would a Pilsner or Lager, maybe a Saison. Regardless of the matching not quite working, I was very impressed with the beer. The Tuatara Aotearoa Pale Ale is a big, hoppy Pale Ale with pine and tropical fruit hop aroma. It’s 5.7% ABV is well balanced with it’s sweet malt and hop bitterness.

Caroline: This is the best curry Kris has ever made. I love coconut based curries, and this one was no exception. It was creamy, zippy, spicy and hearty; everything was amazing. The flathead was tender and sweet and the mussels held their flavor and texture perfectly! I was eating just the sauce on rice when everything else was finished in the end, I couldn’t get enough. The beer was too sweet for this dish, I agree with Kris a simpler crisper lager would have been better. I think the curry needs to be the star in this match.