Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018's best cookbook, "with beer."

Melissa Cole's Malt Loaf
I love malt loaf [made with dried fruits, wholemeal flour, mild ale, and malt extract, among other ingredients]. It's something that was a feature of my childhood because either my Mum had made it or because my friends' Mums had or it was from a yellow packet — whichever way it came, it was always handed to me toasted and with lashings of salted butter on it. ¶ My heart doesn't want to give you a beer pairing for this, because I think it should be enjoyed for the innocent treat it is so, just like fish and chips, Grandad Biscuits, and any form of breakfast. I'm not going to directly suggest a pairing, I'm just going to mention that the mild [ale] you cooked it with wouldn't be terrible on the side.
Magnificent Malt Loaf, p. 126.

Published in October, The Beer Kitchen: The Art & Science of Cooking & Pairing, with Beer, by U.K. beer author Melissa Cole, lives up to its subtitle. The chapters:
  • Why Beer & Food
  • How to Assess a Beer
  • How to Pair to Perfection
  • Store-cupboard & Fridge Staples
  • Most-used Bits of Kit
  • So simple [recipes]
  • Some Effort [Ibid.]
  • Show Off! [Ibid.]
  • Sya Cheese! [Ibid.]
  • About the Author
As to the science, or the application thereof, Ms. Cole expounds gently. Take, for example, these two salient points:
Don't deglaze your pan with beer — all this does is burn the sugars in the beer, which creates bitter compounds, concentrates hop bitterness, and drives off all the aroma compounds. ¶ Don't just think about adding beer, think about how it will enhance the flavours — what does it actually add to the dish should always be your first question. If it's basically nothing, then save it for your mouth, not the pot.

Vegetarianism being a subplot of this blog, I should note that the book is far from a vegetarian cookbook. (It wasn't written to be one, although several recipes are vegetarian.) Who's perfect? But there is that Magnificent Malt Loaf. (pictured above)

And, of course, cheese. (Beer-baked Cheese!)
Cheese and beer are the most perfest of partners. It may sound odd, as we are always told about cheese and wine but, trust me, try it, and you'll never look back.

My snapshot review of The Beer Kitchen? For the home-cook, it's the best cookbook of 2018, "with beer."

The Beer Kitchen


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Krampus Christmas trees?

Krampus Cristmas trees?

Would you take the risk?

As seen (or not seen) from the Trolley Trail, through deep fog, in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, on the morning of 5 November 2018.


Sunday, December 02, 2018

A warming St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

A warming St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Brouwerij St. Bernardus (Watou, Belgium)

Not Trappist, but derived from that ecclesiastical pedigree (and mycological filigree).

On draught, at My Parents' Basement, a pub (and comic book shop) in Avondale Estates, Georgia, 30 November 2018.

Dark brown/red, tinged with purple. Scant head, but lasting carbonation. Tasting of (but not derived from) raisins, peaches, apples, anise, cinnamon, circus peanuts, marzipan, malt syrup. At 10% alcohol-by-volume (abv), you know it's strong, but, by Yule, it's smoothly sweet, finishing only just off-dry. Delicious.

Fire extinguished; beer not char-boiled; drinker warmed.

Drinking, Again!
A series of occasional reviews of beers (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Mist on the Fen.

Mist on the fen

A veil draped on the fen.
Familiar became wunderlich.
The quiet ... loud.

And it was 'chilled.'

At seven, Sunday morning, 25 November 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia's Gilliam Park.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Pink Grass

Pink grass (02)

It's pink; it's prolific; it's native to the southeastern U.S. It's pink muhly grass.

Scientifically Muhlenbergia capillaris and also called hair-awn muhly or pink hairgrass ...
this southeastern native grass is found in both the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain regions but in different environments. According to the Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (May 2015), in the Piedmont it is found “primarily in clayey or thin rocky soils (especially in areas which formerly burned and were prairie-like) and in open woodlands.” In the Coastal Plain, the habitat description is “in savannas, dry woodlands, and coastal grasslands (where sometimes in close proximity with M. sericea), in the Mountains around calcareous rock outcrops.”
Using Georgia Native Plants

In the photo above, pink muhly grass is extensively planted about a two-acre pond in Atlanta, Georgia's Historic Fourth Ward Park where (until 2011) ...
stood little more than cracked asphalt and trash-strewn fields [but that now] provides not only an arresting visual and natural gathering place, but also serves in a functional capacity as a stormwater detention basin. In this role, the lake increases the sewer capacity, reduces the burden on aging city infrastructure, and minimizes downstream flooding and property damage. The use of native plants helps reduce the cost of maintaining the 17-acre park, and organic land-care with dynamic soil biology helps reduce the need for irrigation, minimize storm water runoff, and curtail the likelihood of disease.
Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy

Pond at Historic Fourth Ward Park (02)

Top photo: 18 November 2018. Bottom photo: 31 October 2018.