Posted by: jacksterja | 13 May, 2008

Necessity and her daughter

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well this story isn’t quite about necessity, but the spirit of the cliche remains!

The background: On Saturday night, NTB returned from a night out and decided on a nightcap before bed. He opened one of those expensive boutique beers he likes so much, and promptly fell asleep on the couch before taking even a mouthful.

The next morning he was relaying the sorrowful tale and bemoaning the waste.

But to me it wasn’t so much a waste as a challenge.

So I put my inventors hat on (I really do have a hat for every occasion!).

I remember my mum & grandma used to make beer cake that was pretty good. They probably still do, but I haven’t seen any for a while, which isn’t overly surpising since I don’t get to spend as much time with either of them as I would like these days (bloody nomadic family!)

Anyway, I briefly considered ringing mum for the recipe (it’s not even uncommon for me or one of my other siblings to call in search of a half-forgotten recipe), but I decided against cake on the grounds that I have no self-control if something like that is around. It’s just better not to have baked items in the house altogether.

The next thouight that occurred to me was beer batter. I did a bit of research and looked at various types of batter. I couldn’t find a recipe that quite fit the bill…or maybe I’m fussy. My crietria were…

  1. I wanted a batter that used beer
  2. I wanted a light tempura-style batter, rather than a heavy fish-&-chips style batter
  3. I have a general rule about only using wholegrain wherever possible, so all I had in the house was wholemeal flour.

So for dinner we had wholemeal-beer-batter-tempura vegetables according to my invented new recipe. The veggies were:

  1. Eggplant (slices)
  2. Zucchini (slices)
  3. Broccoli (florets)
  4. Cauliflower (florets)
  5. Sweet Potato (sliced & microwaved witha  tablespoon of water for about 3-4 minutes to slightly pre-cook)
  6. Mushrooms (little button ones)

First I marinated the mushrooms while I prepared all the rest of the veggies and the batter. I I made the marinade from:

  1. A decent amount of sesame oil – more than I’d normally use for cooking
  2. Rice Wine Vinegar
  3. Soy Sauce
  4. Minced Garlic, ginger and coriander – I was even lazy and used the pre-minced jar stuff as I didn’t get to the grocers until Sunday this week.

**Hint – make a very generous amount of the marinade as we’re not done with it yet!

The batter was made with:

  • Wholemeal flour
  • A bottle of beer (Little Creatures Bright Ale, in this case)
  • One egg
  • A dash of milk
  • A dash of olive oil
  • and then water to make it the right consistency

I made the batter in advance and let it sit and the flour absorb the moisture for a while before using.

When it came to cooking, I used 2 pans – a skillet for the sliced items and a normal flat frypan for the rounder ones. I shallow fried in a reasonably generous amount of olive oil, then drained on paper towel before serving.

I dished up and served piping hot with Byron Bay Sauce Company Coriander Chilli Sauce (otherwise known as the tastiest shilli sauce on the planet) on the side, and the remainder of the marinade as a dipping sauce (although it was so good we ended up spooning it over the top of the lot).

I actually overcatered on this dish, but the leftovers were just as good the next night reheated in a hot oven (avoided the microwave to avoid sogginess)



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