Simon’s 8 Course Dinner matched with Beer

Kris: I have been cooking for guests a lot lately (not that I’m complaining, I love it). It was a treat to be invited to an 8 course dinner, hosted by Luke and cooked by his friend, Simon. It was Simon’s first visit to Tasmania, so he was inspired to use some local produce as well as what is growing in Luke’s garden. His style of cooking is close to my heart; Local, fresh and in the company of good friends. He is a great cook and is our first honorary Ambersandwich guest chef. I haven’t included all of his dishes, but below is more than enough to whet your appetite.

First Course was smoked eel, served on a crouton with pea, salmon roe and dill flower. I chose the Le Pere Jules Poire to match with the dish. It has an aroma of sweet, ripe pears and has a zippy lemony finish. It was an ideal match, the pear is a classic match with eel and the acidity cut through the oiliness of the fish.

Caroline: The Le Pere Jules is a pear cider, a bit sweet with a lemony finish and very delicious. It was a great match for our ‘amuse bouche’ which was so delicate, it was nice that the cider didn’t overpower it.

Kris: Next up was Beetroot, Plum, peas, olive powder, oregano and zucchini flower. I thought the Belgian classic Saison Dupont would be a great accompaniment to this recipe. It’s earthiness and subtle sweetness complimented the beetroot, peas and the olive powder. The tartness of the beer added a bit of zing to the dish.

Caroline: Beetroot is something that isn’t eaten very much in the States, but it has quickly become one of my favorite vegetables! It just tastes so fresh and earthy! The ‘olive dust’ was also a great earthy component. One of our friends at dinner detested olives until she tasted these! That’s how good it was!

Above –  Hot smoked ocean trout, tarragon oil, pea veloute, charred cucumber, marscapone and chive flowers. We decided beer or wine would over power the dish, so we enjoyed it as is.

The next dish we decided to match with beer was Chicken, Cauliflower puree, burnt leek, cabbage, almond crumble and lemon myrtle. My pick of beers to match was the Badger Golden Champion (brewed by Hall and Woodhouse) from the United Kingdom. It is an English style Summer Ale brewed with elderflowers. It is slightly sweet, nutty and very floral. It was a match made in heaven, and an awesome summer beer; definitely a highlight for me.

 A lager and lemon granita was a fantastic palate cleanser in between dishes. We added some fresh mint leaves from the back garden to the granita and topped it up in the glass with some Monteiths Bohemian Pilsner.

Caroline: Granita is a fancy term for snow cone. Delicious, beer snow cone.

Kris: Stewed peaches, nectarine, chocolate, blueberries, blue goats cheese emulsion, nougat and beetroot granita was a perfect end to a long and thoroughly enjoyable night of eating and drinking.

Thanks again to Simon for putting together such an amazing menu.

Caroline: There’s nothing better then a long dinner shared with friends! After 8 courses, a couple bottles of wine and beer, and 5 hours of fun we were all ready to be rolled home and fall into a food coma! Thanks again for dinner Simon and Luke!

Roast Pumpkin, Fetta and Pine Nut Salad with Lambic Dressing

Caroline: It’s getting warmer out! Too warm for duck or turkey? Not to worry! Beer is great in salad. YES! SALAD!

To start I roasted some chopped up pumpkin and cherry tomatoes in some olive oil with salt and pepper in a 180C oven for 45 min.

Half way through take them out and give them a shake to unstick them from the pan and roll them around…So, here was my mistake…I put the pumpkin and tomatoes in together and as a result, the tomatoes were a little over cooked . They still tasted great, they just lost their shape a bit…Next time, I would put the pumpkin in and cook for 25 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for another 20.

Ok Beer time! I used a lambic because the sourness of this kind of beer is a great substitute for the acid you would typically put in a dressing (like lemon or vinegar).

Geuze Salad Dressing

80 ml olive oil

80ml lambic (belgian sour ale)

1 Tbs good quality honey

1 Tbs seeded mustard

1 small clove garlic (minced)

Shake well (a clean jar with a lid works) so all ingredients smoosh together

Caroline: SALAD! (See my sad deflated tomatoes?)
So, in this salad I put some danish fetta (really creamy yum), pan roasted pine nuts (til brown), the roasted pumpkin and tomatoes, Red Coral Lettuce and the Lambic salad dressing. It was delicious! Crunchy pine nuts and creamy cheese! And I recommend serving while the pumpkin and tomato are still warm, I love the contrast in temperatures as well!

Kris: I do enjoy salad when the weather is warm. It’s also good to balance out your diet too. I decided to match this dish with 4 Pines Pale Ale from Manly, NSW. It’s 5.1% and brewed withPale, Munich,Wheat and Crystal malt and derives it’s subtle but balanced hop character from the addition of Cascade, Amarillo and Citra hops. The sweetness of the malt compliments the sweetness in the pumpkin and the tomatoes and balances the acidity in the dressing. The citrus hop character also compliments the dressing and the subtle, hop bitterness doesn’t over power the salad. Another great combination!

Caroline: There you have it, BEER IN SALAD. Who was skeptical? (I was) Yum!
Also, this recipe for dressing is enough for a couple of salads. It’s handy to make the dressing in a jar because after shaking and using you can just pop it in the fridge as is.

 Delicious and healthy, who would have thought?