it with what I was convinced was a bottle of milk of magnesia! Out came the Victorian table cloth, and we were served exactly the same meal year in and year out. I guess that our family were the veritable definition of that favourite English institution called ‘tradition’.
We were very seldom, if ever, allowed or even given sweets and were not at all spoilt. But Christmas time was the one time in the year when boundaries softened just a little and we got certain ‘treats’. At Christmas lunch each one of us was given a shiny silver champagne goblet of the palest yellow Perry bubbly called Babycham. Each dinky little green bottle was festooned with a pale blue label sporting the cutest and cuddliest little pale blue baby deer on the entire planet. I felt so very grown up with my goblet of Babycham and I loved everything about the ritual; from the little pale blue and gold Babycham carrier bag to the sparkly stars on the side of the bottle, all except one very important feature, the taste! I hated it! How could something so pretty taste so foul? I stoically quaffed most of my tipple, pretending to enjoy it for I couldn’t possibly be the odd one out!
Oh, how things have changed. I can sniff out and slaughter a bottle of bubbly at two hundred paces these days! However, one libation that I have never really been able to enjoy is beer, but, it seems that this too is changing. Kami and I decided to go for lunch at the Rawdons’ Estate on our Midlands Meander last Saturday. As we drew into the estate I noticed a sign that had something about cheese tasting on it! Even though cheese does not like me I am like a cheese starved church mouse on a bad day. Within five minutes of arriving we found ourselves in the bar partaking of a beer tasting of the
finest of the Nottingham Road Brewing Company. I still can’t believe it but I thoroughly enjoyed these very fine beers.
First we tasted the Whistling Weasel Pale Ale, produced by a chipper ‘whistling brewer’ who believes that whistling a tune while tending his brew adds a dash of joy and light-heartedness to every glass. This was followed by Tiddly Toad Lager which the brewer aptly describes as, “delicious fullness, and has more fine hops than a hyperactive toad. Then the Pye-Eyed Possum Pilsner which has a lot more alcohol content that the first two and is designed for the more seasoned beer lover and lastly the Pickled Pig Porter a full, dark beer that I found a bit too bitter for my liking. Each one of these bottles of Nottie’s Nectar is brewed from spring water found on the estate that is rich in minerals and must be good for one! No preservatives aside, I was feeling fabulous within minutes. Before leaving the estate I bought me a mixed pack of these amber elixirs and a round of the Pickled Porter cheese with which to continue the merriment in my kitchen at home.
After a good few more stops along the meander, a few bars, a Belgian chocolatier, a German deli, another few bars and the infamous ceramic studio from whom I purchased my terracotta brazier it was time to head for home.
On Tuesday I posted my Spicy Apple & Pumpkin Moroccan soup recipe, lovingly prepared in my tagine on top of said brazier. I served the soup with a loaf of beer & cheese bread made with a bottle of the Pickled Pig Porter the dark and slightly bitter ‘stout’ beer and half of the Beer Cheese.
This combination yielded delicious malty, crusty dark fleshy bread punctuated with delicious chunks of beer cheese and was the perfect bread to slather with butter and dunk into bowls of steaming hot soup.
This recipe is not my own, it belongs to one my favourite bloggers Carey of Bits of Carey who comes up with a fabulous array of Monday to Sunday dishes each month in Crush on-line magazine and her recipes are light, delicious and well worth subscribing to. Check out this month’s dishes here.
Carey’s Beer Bread Recipe- Slightly amended to make this dark cheesy loaf.
450ml Bitters or Stout such as Pickled Pig Porter or Guinness
500g Self-Raising Flour
Salt and pepper
Wedges of Cheese
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
Mix the bread ingredients together and spoon into a greased loaf tin.
Push wedges of cheese into the top of the dough
Sprinkle with some thyme and flavoured salt.
Brush the top with some beaten egg yolk or a spray with a dash of olive oil.
Bake for 1 hour.
I cut thick slices of this bread, slathered with butter and served
with the soup. Click on the title above to go to the recipe for the soup.
Here are some other of my soup recipes.
A rich garlic, white wine and creamy soup.
Try making these Mushroom and Spinach Gnudi – they are light little Italian dumplings, just like Gnocchi
but without the potato. They are made with ricotta cheese and can be flavoured with mushroom, spinach, butternut,
cheese or even finely chopped leftover meat! They can be served on a soup, in a broth, or baked with a sauce in the oven.
always I wish you