The best way to cook with beer, of course, is to have one while you cook. And then, of course, another while you eat.
‘Tis indeed the season for lifestyle upheaval, with many folks choosing to put down the pint glass and pick up a kettlebell instead.
As a company that makes beer, we’d love for you to commit to the beautiful brew. But we’re also human. We know that overindulgence is fun on occasion, but won’t do you much good in the long run. As we all know from the post-Christmas period, after putting on a few pounds and not venturing far from the sofa during the festive season, sometimes a healthier choice will do us good.
In the spirit of the new year, many of us feel the need for a lifestyle shake-up, so efforts like Dry January tend to pop up around this time.
Formally, Dry January started as an initiative by the charity Alcohol Change UK back in 2013, but the concept of sobriety and temperance at the start of the year is one that dates back throughout history.
It’s a pretty good thing, overall – Dry January is said to help people better understand their drinking habits, and its effects last much longer into the year.
You don’t have to commit to a full month without booze, but it’s worth looking at some healthier options at this time of year. So if you’re thinking about changing up your relationship with booze, there’s a few different approaches you can take.
Beer Battered Fish
This one’s an absolute classic. Full of flavour and guaranteed to fill you up on a cosy Sunday evening, beer-battered fish is the inseparable partner of chunky chips and mushy peas. And it’s not particularly difficult to make.
115g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
150ml Seven Brothers Craft Lager, chilled
4x 175g white fish fillets that have been lightly coated in flour
Sift the flour & baking powder into your bowl and stir the salt in. Dig a well in the middle and slowly whisk the lager in, making a smooth, thick batter.
Heat your oil in a large, deep pan to 180 degrees C. Then dip two of the fish fillets in the batter, coating them on both sides, and slowly lower them into the oil. Fry them for 6-7 minutes until the batter is crisp and a golden brown colour.
Then take them out, drain them on kitchen paper, and repeat for the remaining fillets.
Serve with chunky chips (skin on preferably) and some proper mushy peas. And the remaining beer, of course – should still be nice and chilled – your reward for arranging such a culinary delicacy.
Beer and Onion Gravy
This one’s sure to liven up your next roast, with some hoppy, slightly fruity flavours added to a classic gravy by the addition of a Good Day IPA. Thanks to the gravy gurus at food.com for inspiration on this one.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large sliced onions
2 crushed garlic gloves
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
25g plain flour
200ml Seven Brothers Good Day IPA
500ml vegetable stock
2 teaspoons Marmite
Heat your vegetable oil in a big saucepan. Chuck in the onions, garlic and sugar and fry it all over a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, til the onions are browned nicely.
Sprinkle the flour in and gradually add the IPA, stock and marmite and bring it to the boil, and stir. After a moment reduce it to simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s nice and thick.
Drizzle over some meat & spuds and treat yourself to the rest of the IPA. Done!
Marshmallow black velvet baby cakes
Thought you couldn’t get beer into a dessert? Think again. BBC Good Food has a really good recipe for Black Velvet baby cakes.
In this case, we’d replace the popular Irish stout in the recipe with a tastier option: Seven Brothers’ very own Marshmallow Stout. This should give a slightly sweeter flavour to the mix with a similar texture. Yum.
175g brown sugar
100g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
Half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
A few teaspoons of cocoa for dusting
150ml Seven Brothers’ Marshmallow Stout
200ml double cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar.
Heat your oven to 180 degrees (160 for a fan oven).
Grease the bases of six cake moulds and line them with greaseproof baking paper.
Mix the other stuff in a bowl – butter, sugar, egg, flour, almonds, bicarb, cocoa and Marshmallow Stout and mix it til the lumps are gone. Put the mixture in the cake moulds and bake them for 20-25 minutes. You can poke them with a skewer and if it comes out clean, they’re ready. Take them out and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
For the cream, just whip it with the icing sugar until it’s thick, then dab a spoonful on the top of each cake. Shake a bit of cocoa dust on top and you’re sorted.
Then drink the rest of the stout yourself, obviously.
IPA Chicken burger
Here’s one from our very own kitchen at the Seven Brothers Beerhouses.
Get yourself a fresh chicken fillet and marinate it in Seven Brothers IPA for 24 hours beforehand.
When it’s ready, slowly cook it on a griddle – medium heat at first, then turn up the heat towards the end to crisp it up. When it’s ready, chuck it in a bun, serve alongside chunky chips (or sweet potato fries) with a side salad. As for the sauce, that’s up to you, but you can’t go wrong with some simple ketchup or a bit of peri-peri mayo.
Want to try some beer-bettered food before you cook? You could always head down to the Seven Brothers Beerhouse – not only can you enjoy a tidy Session or delicious Stout with your meal, but you can sit back and relax while our chefs do the work for you.