Freshly Picked!

Caroline: Something about fruit you pick yourself makes it taste better! Don’t you think? I love this time of the year when it seems like everything in the garden shoots up and is ready to eat all at once!

Kris: We have a small, productive vege patch, but on our Tuesday off this week it was a treat to forage and cook out of our friends Matt and Bridget’s garden. There is nothing more rewarding than cooking with the freshest ingredients and it’s always great to enjoy some delicious food matched with some fantastic beer and wine. These are just two recipes (below)we prepared and enjoyed for dinner.
Caroline: While Bridget and I picked strawberries and raspberries, the boys dug up some potatoes, baby asparagus, fresh garlic, and zucchini flowers…

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

(Serves 4)

4 zucchini flowers

100g goats chevre

1 piece preserved lemon ( finely diced)

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

1 Tbs chopped dill

salt and pepper

 olive oil


 Mix the goats cheese, preserved lemon, garlic and dill in a bowl

Season with salt and pepper

Preferably leave the mixture over night

Stuff the zucchini flowers with the mixture

Coat the flowers in olive oil and fry on a BBQ for 2 minutes on each side

Kris : I love matching food with beer, but as I have said before, I do enjoy wine also and I think Riesling is my favourite varietal, especially if they are dry, citrusy and mineral-y. The 2009 Trimbach was a great match for the zucchini flowers and a classic example of Alsace Riesling.

Caroline: The zucchini flowers were awesome. The flower itself is so soft and delicate and the softness of the goats cheese made it so beautiful to eat. The stuffing was zippy and salty, a perfect appetizer..

Caroline: I love dinner parties with these two, there is never a shortage of amazing drinks to choose from! We sipped on G&T’s while we prepared the rest of dinner and had some reds on hand to match with our dishes.

BBQ Quail with Fresh Garden Asian Salad

(Serves 4)

4 Quails

3 Tbs Oyster Sauce 

1 Tbs soy sauce

2 Tbs good quality honey

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 red chilli (finely diced)

4-5 slices fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic

2-3 star anise

1/2 tsp ground coriander


Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger, chilli,sesame oil,honey, garlic and spices in a bowl and stir until combined

Place the quails breast side down on a clean chopping board and flatten with the palm of your hand

Place the quails in the marinade and rub into the skin of the quails

Leave the bowl (covered) in the fridge overnight

Heat a BBQ and grill the quail for 6-7 minutes per side

Baste the quail with the extra marinade during cooking

Allow the quail to rest for 5 minutes before serving

I also made a simple, fresh salad straight from the garden to serve with the quails. I harvested mesculin, mint, basil, coriander flowers and radish and made a dressing with sesame oil and lemon juice.

Kris:I thought we would try Meantime Brewery’s Union Vienna Amber lager and Innis and Gunn’s Rum Barrel Aged Scottish Ale with the dish. The Union is a 4.9% Amber Lager, which was an ideal match with the quail. The sweet malt complimented the sweetness of the BBQ Quail and it’s clean, crisp finish cut through the richness of the marinade. The Rum Barrel Aged Ale was also an ideal beer to compliment the sweetness of the quail. If you are wanting to drink wine, a cool climate Shiraz or medium bodied Pinot Noir would work well.Thanks to Matt and Bridget for letting us forage in their garden. It is one of our favourite ways of cooking.

Caroline: These quails were delicious, they were so fat! Plenty to munch on. Cooking them on the BBQ added this great smokiness and char-y flavor to the skin making it crunchy and sweet! These two beers were a great match as well, they were really malty so they complimented the sweetness of the bird really well. It was a perfect match.

What a fun night! Bridget made lemon curd tarts with meringue and passionfruit and an awesome cocktail to match…I’ll see if i can’t nab her recipes to share!

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.