Cooking with Beer by Paul Mercurio – ISBN: 174266542X [great pdf books to read]

  • Full Title: Cooking with Beer: "If There’s Liquid in a Recipe, It Might as Well Be Beer." Paul Mercurio
  • Autor: Paul Mercurio
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Metro Books
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 174266542X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742665429
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 8,29 Mb
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Paul has a great fondness for beer and a wealth of knowledge about it. He has spent considerable time developing recipes in which beer plays a significant role, not as a gimmick, but as an essential flavouring. His recipes display a depth of knowledge about the flavours and qualities of various beers and the dishes that they best complement. The 80-plus recipes include both bold and subtle dishes, from traditional beerbased favourites such as Lamb Shanks in Guinness, to variations on classics, such as Beer-Braised Beef Osso Bucco, to those that use beer in unexpected but wholly delicious ways, such as Birramisu and Sticky Date Pudding. Key points include: friendly, approachable tone; notes on which beers go well with which dishes, both as an ingredient and to drink with them; and detailed, clearly explained methods.


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I only ever wanted to live in nature. I grew up in fields, messing about in streams, learning about flowers, nestled in a hedge bank with a book. As soon as I could after graduating I moved with my husband, Jamie, to West Wales, one of the wilder parts of Britain, where the coast is tortuous, long and never far away, the population sparse and the wooded river valleys full of wild flowers. There I learned to forage, to gather mushrooms in the woods, to make nettle soup and to pick wild garlic.

I shouldn’t paint this existence as a pastoral idyll. In the mess of a working and family life, all this pure escapism is reduced to the functional day to day. But I have often wanted to represent an affinity with a particular place and landscape in my work, first when Jamie and I were designing and making knitwear, then more recently in our invention of the Toast brand and the associated goods and shops you may know today. In the expansive final stages of many long upland walks, our tongues loosened by exercise, I have long dreamed and sketched out plans for a recipe book about place.

This is a book about landscape and food, about imagining food that, in some way, both comes from and represents landscape. A plate that feels like a place, if you will.

I am interested in the idea that a deep, intense human love of something may prompt a desire to savour and connect with the mouth and lips: the feeling of wanting to ‘eat it all up’. The passion we may have for our natural world can be recreated afresh by tasting the salty essence of sea marsh in samphire, or savouring feelings of cold uplands in pine jelly, or perhaps enjoying anew the residual warmth of late summer in toasted hay potatoes.

On these islands, many of us enjoy an intimate relationship with landscape and the natural world. Stitched into our psyche is an obsession with weather; we find a soothing connection with untrammelled nature when listening to the shipping forecast. Our cultural life is peppered with representations of our land through artists such as Constable, Nash, Nicholson and at times even Hockney, while the literature and poetry of Ted Hughes, Heaney, Hardy and Muir is underpinned by a connection with the (not always cosy) nature of our rich and varied landscape. There are countless such examples. This is our heritage and part of who we still are.

I have no qualifications as a professional cook. This has been a long journey for me (over four years from initial idea to fruition). I come from a family of enthusiastic cooks, learning with my sister and brother at my mother’s side. In our home food was celebrated, my mum keen and open to try new tastes and ingredients, her food always delicious. Responding, my dad brought home the first avocado we had seen – rock hard, taut and intensely green, turning it over in his hand without a thought of what to do with it. Mum taught us joy in food, cooking appetizing food daily and often making simple ad hoc picnics of good red wine, bread and roast chicken. In Italy, lacking the language and not caring how she would appear, she used hilarious mime and gesture to buy those ingredients for us to eat on a sleeper train journey back home through the Alps. She always cooked from scratch when other mums fell gratefully on Vesta chicken curries to soothe the drudgery of the homemaker. Later, in my own home, she would lean over my shoulder while I was at the cooker and ask what I was making and how and why.

I have been very fortunate that my idea of representing landscape in food was taken up with great enthusiasm by Anna Colquhoun – an experienced professional chef and culinary anthropologist and my collaborator on this project – who totally understood and empathized with my ideas from the start. She has guided me in my inexperience and informed the whole process. I have learned so much and I couldn’t have made this book without her.

Now most of us live in cities, landscape and wilderness play a lesser role in our lives. Our struggles are not those of wrenching a livelihood from an impersonal, wild and intractable environment. We have tamed the land and stripped the sea and bent them to our will. But perhaps now – because of this new reality – there is a need to feel it more.

Thus there is a great and very positive groundswell happening in the world of food: young and not-so-young women and men, very bright and committed and hard-working, have set up small hands-on businesses. Artisanal bakers in railway arches; cheese makers in country barns; biodynamic vegetable growers; brewers; salmon smokers; distillers; free-range pig farmers; mutton-prod
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. The typical meals may change from day to day, but most people have some vegetable antipasti and a leafy salad or two, maybe some cheeses or salumi, and then split a few pastas and a few pizzas and share a couple of gelati and coppette. I do not think that after our first year anyone even noticed that there are no standard meat- or fish-based main courses served in the restaurant. And if you have been paying attention to the current food brain-trust literati, it seems that our customers were ahead of the curve. Not really vegetarian, they’ve nonetheless been eating a diet heavy on vegetables, mostly leafy, with some grains thrown in, in the form of pasta and pizza, plus farro and legumes in salads, and very little protein from animals.

What you will certainly notice quite quickly is that this cookbook is radically different from all of the others I have written in its complete lack of traditional main courses. We do not serve any “meat and potatoes” plates at Otto, and we never have. What seems to be all the rage in the smart world of foodies is simply an extension of the traditional Italian table, where farming, foraging, and gardening have always yielded the bulk of the food in the daily diet, and where the occasional pig, chicken, or cow has been the exception to the rule. The health implications of this style of diet are no new shakes either, but I think that what you will note when dining on the following group of recipes is a kind of happy passing sense of content and fullness not associated with the consumption of a huge steak or chop. Most of the protein comes from small portions of cured meats, cheeses, and grains, with any animal protein as the flavoring and the bulk of the actual comestibles plant-based, whether leaf, stalk, flower, seed, or drupe. An ideal meal for several people from this book might consist of two or three vegetable antipasti, and a salad, followed by a pasta or two and a cheese course. Or maybe a plate of salumi and then some pizzas, with a couple of gelati and a coppetta or two.

The real trick is to let the market inspire you to buy and forage for the right things, then take them home and prepare them—and spend at least that amount of time enjoying them. You will notice that many of the recipes in this book are less than half a page long. This reflects the fact that they are indeed simple and a real part of the daily lives of many Italian people, who base a lot of their cooking and eating more on great products that they merely adorn.

But I do not want to weigh you down with a lot of political rigamarole. What is most important about food is the pleasure and nourishment it gives us. The sourcing is as significant a component of the process as the cooking, but let’s not forget that the main event is not just to care for ourselves, but also to create energy for our constantly moving lives and our brains, and our laughing and singing and dancing and playing. So look at these recipes and ideas and think about smaller plates of food in a meal much less reliant on a big main course, yet still involving big beautiful flavors, and, most important, variation with the seasons. Many of the recipes are, in fact, organized by seasonal availability.



There is nothing that inspires me more, no matter where I am in the world, than a visit to a local farmers’ market. To see what the sweet earth is giving up to those who care enough to coax it into fruition is my main gauge of the greatness of a town or city in any society.

From London’s Borough Market to the Boqueria in Barcelona and Rome’s Campo dei Fiori to Pike Place Market in Seattle and the Union Square Greenmarket near my home in NYC, there is the constant source of inspiration driven by the fact that the general constituency of both purveyor and customer represents everything I love about great food and its potential. The single most exciting word in food for me is geo-specificity. If I can find something that is grown close to where I buy it (and plan on eating it), and it tastes like the smell of the wind on a rainy day in May or July or September, I have found something unique.

The recipes in this chapter are based on things we can find at our greenmarket in New York City, and they are generally so simple that I can for the first time put several recipes on a single page. (This is a new format for me and maybe for you too.) As usual, the best thing to do is go to the market and find the finest stuff, buy it, and bring it home. Then peruse the books you have—including this one—and find the simplest recipe you can for those ingredients. And then? Cook them and eat them with your friends and family!! It is the Italian way and the French way and the Spanish way and the Chinese way—I could go on and on describing the best food cultures from antiquity to the present. A series of four or five of these dishes might be a light snack or a brunch. Add a plate or two of salumi a
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Act which officially recognized distilling as a “Farm use”.

The act also significantly reduced the size of the financial obligation necessary to obtain a distillers license. A three year Class A distiller’s license (the “commercial” variety license) costs $50,800, which includes the license fee, filing costs and ancillary fees set by statute. A micro-distiller license was then made available for $1,450 for three years, as long as at least 75% of their raw materials were sourced from New York and production was kept under 35,000 gallons. In addition, the Farm Distillery license is issued on an annual basis with a total cost of $579.

The license also authorized sale in bulk from the licensed premises of the manufacturer as well as tasting rooms, to increase engagement with the public. Since that bill passed in 2007, 55 Farm Distilleries have started in New York State.

With these new regulations in place, the art of distilling that was forbidden since the days of Prohibition, now resulted in an avalanche of opportunities for local farmers and aspiring distillers alike.

While writing this book, on November 13th 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Craft Beverage Act, amending certain provisions regarding manufacturing licenses, making it easier for craft beverages to increase their business. Tom Donohue – Special Counsel at the State Liquor Authority and Jacqueline Flug, the agency’s General Counsel were instrumental in composing the law that the governor signed, along with Dennis Rosen, Chairman of the State Liquor Authority who was appointed with the mandate to address problems with the agency and led the efforts to gain passage of the bill.

The law provided the following:

Allow each licensed manufacturer to conduct tastings and sell for on and off-premise consumption the alcoholic beverages it produces

Allow each farm distiller to operate one “branch office”

Change/ease the requirement for the on-premise license that a manufacturer can get

Increase the production caps (without an increase in the license fee) for the “farm” and “micro” manufacturers as follows: farm wineries and farm cideries from 150,000 gallons to 250,000; farm brewers and micro-brewers from 60,000 barrels to 75,000 barrels; farm distillers and micro-distillers from 35,000 gallons to 75,000 gallons.

Imposes minimum production requirements for licensed manufacturers: 50 gallons for any of the liquor, wine or cider manufacturers; and 50 barrels for any of the beer manufacturers.

What a different day it is. What was previously an illegal practice relegated to basements and nameless alleys has now made way for the dawn of a new day. Today, New York’s New Distillers are feverishly making their mark on what it means to be “Distilled In New York”.

Much like terroir; the geography, geology and climate of a region, is often used when referring to the effect that is has on the characteristics of grapes for wine; we are quickly approaching a time when we will refer to terroir in the making of spirits in New York as well. There has been a significant increase in the number of farmers of grain, to facilitate this new industry, giving the term “Product of New York” new meaning.

At the time of this writing, New York State has approximately 2,000 acres of malt barley. It has been estimated, that malt barley production will have to grow to 30,000 acres in the near future to meet the needs of New York State brewers and distillers. As a result, in January 2015, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer launched an effort to establish a crop insurance program for malt barley to encourage further growth.

According to Senator Schumer, “Distilleries and breweries throughout the Capital Region pour local products and jobs into our economy, which is why it is important we continue to support this industry and provide them with the tools needed to succeed. In order for local craft distillers and brewers to expand right here in the Capital Region, we need a strong local malt barley industry, since the crop is so important to the production of beer and spirits.”

Senator Schumer also noted that “the lack of insurance for malt barley is preventing farmers from planting this crucial crop. Without protections, the risk is just too high, and that is preventing our craft breweries and distilleries from really taking off.”

Senator Schumer urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand its malt barley crop insurance program to include New York State. He also called on the USDA and the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to educate local malt barley farmers on federal financing. This is particularly important because it is anticipated that over the next decade, New York State will require farm craft brewers and distillers to source 90 percent of ingredients from local farms and malt houses.

This is c
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l am I supposed to do now?

The two boys’ roads crossed in the kitchen of a restaurant in Sollentuna.

It was decided: one day they would do something together.

Without throwing caution to the wind, however, nothing gets its continuation; without audacity, the world does not widen.

So, Frantzén and Lindeberg were left with a few options: Falsify work certificates to be employed as an apprentice at a two-star restaurant in London with a small space on lovely Charlotte Street?

Why not, when an opportunity for employment presents itself.

Work hard and work long hours for pocket change.

Live like a dog.

Burn your hands and scar your arms.

And every day come back for more and more and more in some sort of methodical, nearly unbearable, purposeful madness.

And later a boat crosses the English Channel.

There, in Paris’ seventh arrondissement, at dinky Rue de Varenne, the skin gets even more blisters and the bags under the eyes darken, but what does that matter when you can learn how Alain Passard draws the mystique out of his vegetables, despite a clattering chaos in the kitchen every night?


Few names command as much respect among gourmets. Why? Well, there is a standard in Passard’s cooking, a direction, and a clear ambition.

Then, it’s back home to Stockholm to look for a space; for now, years later, the boys, now young men, will “do something together.”

Ultimately, after a long search, the dreamers find a home on a sweet and cozy street in Old Town.

To paraphrase Raymond Carver, the phenomenal writer who portrayed the everyday in literature, there is an abundance of talent in humans, but talent properly utilized is much rarer.

I know that Carver’s words are true.

Evidence of utilized talent can be tasted in real life. Where?

At Lilla Nygatan, for instance.

Frantzén/Lindeberg was never supposed to become a gastronomical shrine.

Rather, it was the space that led the decision to go in that direction. “What can we do here?” was the question asked when the contract was signed.

The space had previously been the home of one of Stockholm’s most prominent restaurants, and F/L carried the torch in many ways.

In my opinion, there is something extraordinary about allowing one’s circumstances to shape something, rather than trying to shape reality based on a specific idea or thought. Call it an exploring curiosity, a childlike openness to existence that few adults can, or dare to, allow themselves.

In the early days of Lilla Nygatan, there was a sense of humor.

It can easily turn out that way when a person is subjected to a challenge that seems overwhelming. How to gather all the possibilities a gastronomically top-tier restaurant requires, how to bring the seemingly endless stretch of various nows, into one whole? To a functional, brain- and soul-nurturing, lingering experience?

Where to begin? Continue? How to stop?

It is easy to seek laughter in such situations and the relief that such exhalation offers. You can always count on a laugh, that’s for sure.

And so, the guests of F/L could order the “Tour de France,” a France-shaped plate with a representative cheese from six stops along the Tour de France, and listen their way through the cheese plate from an iPod’s recorded audioguide to the flavors, narrated by Swedish broadcaster Ulf Elfving or actor Stellan Skarsgård.

They could bathe in a cloud of cinnamon smoke.

But day by day, F/L chiseled its own aesthetic, taking control over more and more of those aspects that together make a gastronomical universe, and just as suddenly, there is no longer room for circuses.

“It didn’t feel right,” is the short explanation.

I think of the restaurant’s own vegetable gardens, where beloved–yes, almost adored– vegetables are harvested at their very best.

How many Swedish restaurants have their very own vegetable gardens?

Not many, as far as I know.

F/L has two, painstakingly obtained and maintained at that, given our somewhat hostile climate and in ways limited gastronomical culture.

I can also imagine the owners’ great sorrow the day a fox broke in and stole their restaurant’s own black chickens. Then it was certainly easy to hold back laughter and feel in the deeper chambers of the heart.

One of the world’s most developed culinary areas is San Sebastián in the Basque Country. The doyen in the area is a man by the name of Juan Mari Arzak who has on multiple occasions pointed out to me that he tries to see the world through the eyes of a child. He is seventy years old now, but he still wishes for toys on his birthday.

Eduardo Chillida, one of the twentieth century’s greatest sculptors, also lived and worked in San Sebastián.

Chillida argued that art is made up of poetry and construction combined.

What did he mean by this?

I believe it’s about gaining enough knowledge, skill, and practical scope that you can allow your intuition to work freely.

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ahead or maybe even for a whole week.

Eating together at a set table is important – don’t eat in front of the TV!

Make sure your dinner plates are not too big; using smaller plates is a good way to control portion sizes.

Eat all your meals slowly, enjoy your food and taste it. I mean really taste it and focus on what’s on your plate. Learning to eat slowly can be hard in the beginning; I know from my own experience. At the beginning I put my watch next to the plate to keep track of time, and promised myself that the eating had to take at least 30 minutes. It took me a couple of months to get into the habit. I lose the habit frequently and then I have to go back to timing my meals.

Involve other people for support. If you find it difficult to change your habits, tell them how they can help you to achieve your goals.


Make sure you get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation makes you eat more since it will make you suffer from tired spells during the day and then you will be inclined to turn to sugar as the solution.


Start your new diet by examining everything in your cupboards, getting rid of not-very-healthy convenience items, such as ready meals, canned soups, snack bars, milk chocolate, fizzy drinks, crisps, cereals containing sugar, etc. Then restock your cupboards with real food, spices, good oils and vinegars, whole grains, oats, nuts, flours, mustards. This replacement process can, of course, be rather expensive. If so, you can do it over time, but try to get rid of all the unhealthy choices in your cupboards as quickly as possible. That is the surest way not to be tempted to eat them.

BMI = weight in kilograms [divided by] (height in meters)2 [squared]


Below 18.4 Underweight

18.5–24.9 Normal

25–29.9 Overweight

30 and above Obese

Plan what to eat for the whole week ahead, and then only go shopping twice so that you spend time in the kitchen instead of in the shops. When on a diet, planning is the key to success. Shopping when hungry or on the spu of the moment will almost inevitably mean that the wrong things get in your basket.

Make sure you always have vegetables, fresh and dried fruit and nuts in the house, so when you get really hungry or fatigued you have something safe to eat.


In a busy working life you often have to buy lunch or go out for lunch as part of your job. When going out for lunch, do not eat bread and try to avoid alcohol. If it ends up being a big lunch, skip dinner or just eat a raw carrot. Being a little bit hungry now and then will not hurt you.

If you have to buy a takeaway lunch, always avoid sandwiches and go for salad, preferably one with whole grains or quinoa. In any case, the main rule is to stay away from factory-made bread.

High days and holidays

Holidays are always exceptions, and it is only natural to gain a little weight after a couple of weeks with good food and wine every day. That is OK and part of life, but make sure you exercise and perhaps increase your activity level while you have time on your hands.

If you go to a party or have a day when you lunch with friends, or any event where you eat more than planned, just cut down on the following days and you will still lose the amount you need for that week. Dieting is a process that cannot be evaluated day by day but only over weeks or months.


Sodium is an essential mineral, which we mostly get from salt. Unfortunately, getting too much salt is linked with risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Your average intake should not be higher than 6g per day. Weigh 6g salt and see how much it is – that will give you a clear picture of the exact amount and help you to limit it. To avoid too much salt in your diet, do not eat processed food, takeaways, and lots of biscuits and snack bars; they contain a lot of salt because it is a natural flavour enhancer.


Over the last few decades sugar has become the big enemy, not because there is anything wrong with it as such – it is gastronomically a fantastic ingredient and I would not live without it. However, consuming sugar in the quantities we do is a real and threatening problem, leading to all sorts of health issues.

Stop using sugar in your tea and coffee, but do not replace it with any sweetener. Instead get used to the true taste of the coffee and tea. Do this in stages if necessary. Stop drinking fizzy drinks on a daily basis, and instead buy or make some organic cordials (see Fruit cordials) and dilute them with water. Stop eating snack bars, chocolate bars, bought cakes and biscuits, and sweets. When craving swe
r than it usually would – you might all be new at it, so make sure you’re not rushing and allow extra time. Grin and bear it if they don’t do it right, remember that it takes time to perfect skills, and you are doing this for the long term. It’s bound to get messy, too, so try to get everyone to clear up as you go along – wiping surfaces, putting utensils in the sink or dishwasher, and keep a clear area to cook in. To make clearing up really easy, keep a mixing bowl on the worktop to use as a bin as you go along, then just tip it out at the end. No mess!

If you need dinner in a hurry and your enthusiastic younger child is holding up the process because they are struggling to get to grips with a task, hand them a few different pieces of fruit or veg and let them taste, touch and smell them while you crack on. You could even give them a toy plastic knife for chopping if they want to copy you.

If you are working with younger children who have a shorter attention span or are more likely to drift away halfway through your cooking session, get out all the ingredients and equipment you are going to need before calling them into the kitchen, to maximise quality time with them.

Health and safety

Working in the kitchen, of course, has hazards, so before you even start, make sure everyone knows your rules and understands that they are there to keep them safe.

Ensure all potential hazards are away from grabbing hands – turn pot handles inwards on the hob so that they can’t get knocked or pulled off; keep hot food and liquids, sharp or heavy utensils and cleaning products away from unsupervised hands.

Wipe up any spills on the floor immediately to prevent slipping over.

Think about what they can trip over and make sure there is always a clear path if you’re carrying anything hot, sharp or heavy. If in doubt, get them to sit at the kitchen table while you move the hot items around.

Talk the children through rules about washing hands, and not cross-contaminating raw and cooked meat, etc.

Not sure what you can ask your children to do competently and safely? See here for a rough guide.

Tidying up – as a team!

Dinner is done, devoured and everyone is feeling well-fed and happy. What next? Does everyone get up and disappear from the table, leaving you with the clearing up? To make sure everybody gets some quality time in the evening, ask everyone to pitch in with:

Clearing plates, dishes and cutlery from the table.

Stacking the dishwasher or helping with washing-up.

Wiping the table.

Boxing up leftovers to go in the fridge or freezer.

Taking out bins and recycling.

Some jobs might be more unpopular than others and cause an argument or complaints when they are mentioned. If this is the case, create a weekly chart and write down who does what when, so that everyone gets a turn at doing each job. Of course, some jobs might be dependent on age, and if so, explain that to the children.


• Get your children invested in their lunchboxes and making healthy choices. Children from about 7 or 8 years old and above can make or help with their lunchboxes. To make mornings less of a rush, the night before, ask them to gather what they want for their lunchbox, such as a yoghurt or piece of fruit, and pop it all in the box and into the fridge ready for the morning. Older children can make their own sandwich or fruit salad themselves.

• Get them to take responsibility for adding things to the shopping list that they want for lunches, too, and keep the list on the fridge or similar so it’s easy to keep track.

What can they do?

Different children require different levels of help and supervision, so make a judgement on what you are happy to ask them to do.

Under 3s

At this age, children are still developing their fine motor skills, but you can give them jobs that don’t require much precision (but be ready for mess!).

• Washing vegetables.

• Stirring ingredients – but make sure they are at room temperature, not hot.

• Mashing with a fork or potato masher.

• Sprinkling seeds, flour, icing sugar onto foods – if you like, pop a tray underneath to catch any spills.

• Weighing ingredients on scales – with your help!

3–5 Years

Let them carry on with all the jobs that younger children can do and add a few more. At this age, all these tasks still need close supervision.

• Weighing using scales and measuring spoons.

• Cutting soft ingredients – such as butter, soft fruit – with a child’s or table knife.

• Sifting, and breading and flouring bits of chicken, etc.

• Mixing ingredients using a spoon or their hands.

• Kneading, rolling, shaping and cutting dough.

• Picking leaves from herb stalks, picking tomatoes or grapes off vines.

5–7 Years

At this age, you can start to introduce your child to trickier t


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