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, there's 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

  • This post originally appeared on YFGF's Facebook page, albeit in even snapshot-ier form.
  • "Award-winning beer writer Melissa Cole has spent nearly 20 years writing about the beer and pub industry and is respected the world over for her insight and exceptional palate."
  • For more from YFGF:

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