Wednesday, 12 October 2016

SKA beer and food matching at BOOMA for #londonskaweek

There's nothing we like more than a good beer and food match, so we were pleased to be invited to this event hosted by Euroboozer who have just started importing SKA canned beers to the UK. It didn't disappoint and we enjoyed an evening of great beer paired with some fantastic Indian cooking provided by new Brixton restaurant BOOMA. A few highlights are below.

BOOMA Specialises in craft beer matching with Indian food

SKA Pinstripe Red Ale - 5.2% ABV (Poppadoms); A thoroughly drinkable British style bitter, brewed with Liberty hops.

SKA True Blonde - 5% ABV (Tandoori Subji); This has a hint of honey and wheat, and is mostly Cascade hops. It worked very well pitched against tandoori vegetables which were yoghurty and heavily spiced. 

SKA Rudie Session IPA - 4.5% ABV (Malai Tikka); Brewed with Eldorado and Galaxy hops, this is fruity - citrussy with a hint of pineapple, and when paired with the herbed chicken dish, took on it's own herbaceous characteristics. A very accessible beer for non-US-hop-loving peeps like me...and possibly the first US IPA that I have ever enjoyed drinking!

SKA Special ESB - 5.8% ABV ('Booma' Lamb Burger); This beer gives the impression of being quite boozy, with a big flavour, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover it was less than 6% ABV. Brewed with a hop I'm not familiar with - Galena - this is another take on a classic British style, and was the first beer SKA ever brewed. It also has the claim to fame of being the 2nd ever craft beer to be canned (only missing out on being the first by a week). Alongside the delicious and quite heavily spiced lamb patty it went down a treat.


SKA Buster Nut Brown - 5.3% ABV (Khumb Chaat); I really enjoyed this beer, and it was possibly my favourite of the night. It's an earthy and autumnal flavoured beer, working very well with the mushroom dish.

SKA Modus Hoperandi IPA - 6.8% ABV (Chettinaad Pork Ribs); This is their flagship and biggest selling beer, with bags of hops and pine but very well balanced. As this leans towards the heavy hopped US style IPAs this wasn't my favourite, but it did appear to be that of the rest of the room! It worked well with anise and spiced ribs which were the highlight of the night food-wise.

SKA Modus Mandarina IPA - 6.8% ABV (Chocolate Mousse); This tasted both fresh and aged at the same time. The base beer is Modus Hoperandi IPA with orange added. There is a marmalade character accompanying the citrus and piney hops, it's big on flavour and stood up well to the chocolate and cardamom mousse.

All in all it was a fantastic night and we had a chance to sample some great beers. We were also incredibly impressed with the quality of the food at BOOMA, as well as the knowledge and dedication of the staff when describing the way the beers complimented the dishes according to their flavour profiles. After a sneaky peak at the 'normal' menu, we will definitely back to try some of the impressive combinations of craft beer and food which they've recommended. 

There are events all week for #londonskaweek which you can find out about by taking a look here or by following the hashtag on twitter.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Hungerlust Guide to Eating and Drinking in Lyon

Lyon is a wonderful place for food and drink lovers to visit for a holiday. It's sandwiched between two great wine regions and is considered the culinary capital of France. But there are so many restaurants, wine bars and food based things to do that it can at first seem a little overwhelming. So here is the Hungerlust Guide to some of our favourite places in Lyon.

Chateauneuf De Peuple

Chateauneuf de Peuple is a truly unique and special wine bar in the old town of Lyon. The owner and your guide into his world of wine, Mahdi, is an intriguing host. Sitting down in what feels like his front room for the first time, you won't know what to expect.

There is no wine list and the only food menu is a chalk board declaring a choice of cheese and charcuterie. But spend some time here and let yourself be guided by Mahdi through his intriguing collection of natural wines and you won't be sorry. That plate of cheese and meat is huge and will sate you for the whole evening. His wine collection is extensive and it's a pleasure to let yourself be guided through the international and fascinating natural wine list.

Chope De Lug

If you thought that French beer was just Kronenburg and not much else then a visit to this beer shop deep in the winding streets of the old town will set you straight. They stock a vast range of beers and beer styles from the Rhone region and we bought an excellent range of beers that Nate and I tasted on the first episode of my brand new podcast Parched and Peckish. The beers from this shop typically come in beautiful 750ml bottles adorned with particularly artful labels.


Octopus and Caulifower starter
We've been eating at Archange since we first visited Lyon back in 2012. It's a charming restaurant with a compact and impressive menu of seemingly classic french dishes but done with a modern flair. We always start with the unusual house kir made with a red pepper syrup. Like the menu, the wine list is also short but well formed and service from the proprietor is always personal and excellent.
Langoustine ravioli
Cafe Gadagne
If you are wandering around the traboules of the old town and looking for somewhere for a tasty lunch then you could do a lot worse than this popular cafe at the top of the Musee Gadagne. It's worth the wait for a table for their substantial salads and charcuterie.

It's always fun to take a chance on a new restaurant that you like the look of on holiday. We spied this one from our upstairs window at Le Potager Des Halles. L'Ebauche seats 26 people and is open for lunch and dinner. A simple sounding menu of three starters, three mains and three desserts belies the sophistication of this bistronomic delight. We especially liked the veal with polenta, boudin noir puree and apple. More charming service from the host who told us that the chef was working in Sketch in London prior to returning to Lyon to set up this cosy little nook of a restaurant.

The veal and black pudding

Puzzle Cafe
Puzzle is a cool little cafe serving great coffee and patisserie on Rue de la Poulaillerie near the Saint-Nizier Church. Drop in for a drip coffee and a slice of clafoutis.

AOC Les Halles
AOC in the famous Bocuse Halles is always our first stop when we arrive in Lyon. They pride themselves on the quality of their steak but it is their cheese and charcuterie plate that we always get for lunch. Excellent pate, saucisson and cheese from the markets along with some of the best bread and butter we've had in Lyon.

Les Fleurs Du Malt
Les Fleurs Du Malt have a couple of bars and a beer shop but it was at the basement bar near the banks of the SaƓne river that we enjoyed an international craft beer list, served unusually at the bar only. At first glance the bar looks tiny but it opens up into the basement arches to make a large hall that can gets buzzy when busy at the weekends.

Vins Nature
Vins Nature have a few shops in Lyon where they sell an exceptional range of natural wines from all over France and also a small selection of local and international beers.

The Ninkasi brewery was formed in 1997. They have ten bars and venues spread out around Lyon, Villeurbanne and Menuires. The large venue in the Gerland region of Lyon hosts music concerts, DJs, BBQ events and has it's own fast food bar which serves excellent burgers.

The beers themselves are solid examples of modern craft staples. The seasonal beers are excellent, when we were there last they were serving a smoked brown ale in honour of Lemmy from Motorhead.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Kinnie Chicken Wings

The Maltese soft drink, Kinnie, is a favourite in our household. It's bitter orange and herbal flavours transport me straight back to scorching hot summers in Sliema. I've written about my love for Kinnie here and I have to say that Kinnie is one of the best mixers for vodka. I'm always trying to think of incorporating Kinnie into recipes so when Lizzie Mabbott posted her Hong Kong inspired chicken wings in Cola recipe on her blog, Lizzie Eats London, I knew I had to try it with my beloved Kinnie. Sometimes the Kinnie experiments don't work but in this case it works perfectly. Kinnie is perfect for sticky Chinese style dishes - as it reduces it creates a delicious sugary glaze that is offset by the bitterness of the chinotto orange. Big props to Lizzie for inspiring this recipe.  

You can buy Kinnie on Amazon or at the Maltese cafe, Parparellu, in Hammersmith. 

Kinnie Chicken Wings

10-12 chicken wings
2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb sized piece of ginger
2 tbsp dark soy
2 tbsp light soy 
1 star anise
300mL Kinnie 
2 spring onions
2 tbsp oil

Mix the chicken wings with the dark soy sauce in a bowl and marinade for a couple of hours. The key to wok based recipes is to make sure you have your ingredients prepped in advance. So while the wings are sitting in the soy, grate your ginger, chop your spring onions and crush your garlic. 

Heat up your wok, add the oil and fry the wings till the skin is golden brown. Take them out and put to one side. Add a little more oil is necessary and fry off your carefully chopped garlic, ginger, spring onions and the star anise. Put the wings back into the mix and add the light soy. Pour your Kinnie on top, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes. Mix up the wings frequently so that they get an even contact with the Kinnie. As you reach the end of the cooking time look out for the sauce being reduced enough to cover glaze the wings. If it hasn't reached this point carry on simmering. Serve with white rice and napkins!