Phillip's food matches for beer

31st October 2014

I recently learnt of some surprising statistics. The UK now boasts more breweries per head of population than any other country, and the largest number since before the Second World War, according to the Campaign for Real Ale who report a swing to real ale drinking by the younger generation. This is an industry Britain truly excels in.

Traditionally, a pint was supped before or after a meal, but as beers become more complex and fuller-flavoured these days, there's some fun in matching them with meals, particularly with these two comfort-food recipes.

Here are my favourite six from Waitrose's burgeoning range:

1.St Austell Proper Job £1.99/500ml

No beer selection would be complete without tipping my hat in the direction of my home county! This is an impressive IPA brewed with Cornish spring water and a blend of malts including Cornish-grown Maris Otter barley. It’s lighter in style with an earthy, hoppy character and fragrant grape fruity flavours. Superb with both the fish and pudding recipes below.

2. Wold Top Wold Gold £2/500ml

Wold Top beers sold so well in Waitrose shops near this brewery in Yorkshire’s East Riding that they are now stocked in branches up and down the country. Wold Top Gold has appealing citrus and marmalade flavours. It’s delicious with the fish and chips here, and goes great with a curry.

3. Fuller's London Porter £2/500ml

This might be a little overpowering for some, but there’s no denying it’s an impressive porter. It is opulent, with coffee, roasted chestnut and chocolate flavours – perfect with the steak pudding, and most meaty dishes. Dive in!

4. Fuller’s 1845 £2.15/500ml

Fuller’s is the daddy of brilliant beer making and the London brewery dates back to 1845, hence the name of this beer. Using a brewing process that lets the beer continue to ferment in the bottle, the flavour develops over time. Fuller’s 1845, a bitter with a lovely texture and well-rounded flavour, has been matured for at least 100 days.

5. Bath Ales Gem £1.99/500ml
If you like honey, this ‘gem’ from an innovative brewery in the South West is for you. The honey colour extends to the flavour which develops to a deeply delicious finish. Made from barley and Kent Goldings hops, this is a lovely fragrant beer that will go with a whole heap of dishes.

6. Wychwood Brewery Gold Hobgoblin £1.99/500ml

If you’ve ever had a drink sitting on a harbour wall, listening to the
sea and the cries of the seagulls, you’ll be reminded of it when you taste this. It’s a very floral, hoppy beer made in the Oxfordshire town of Witney, with toffee and biscuit flavours.


Crispy beer-battered fish

PREPARE 10 minutes, plus standing time
COOK 12 minutes


½ tsp dried active or quick yeast
250ml Duchy Originals From Waitrose Organic Golden Ale
150g self-raising flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp table salt
Large pinch white pepper
Vegetable or ground nut oil, for deep frying
2 x 250g firm white fish fillets, such as cod or haddock
Thick cut chips, mushy peas, lemon wedges, salt and vinegar, to serve


1. To make the batter, mix the yeast and ale together in a jug and leave to stand for 10 minutes until the yeast is soft.

2. Meanwhile place the flour, cornflour, sugar, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the ale mixture until smooth. Leave the batter to stand for a further 15 minutes.

3. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large, deep pan (it should be no more than half full) to 170°C, or until a small piece of bread turns golden and sizzles in under 20 seconds.

4. One at a time, hold the fish fillets by the tail end and dip into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off. Carefully lower each fillet into the hot oil and fry for about 6 minutes or until golden and crisp and cooked through.

5. Remove with a fish slice, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while cooking the other fillet. If you wish, drizzle any excess batter into the oil and cook for a few minutes to make some golden ‘scraps’. Serve with the chips and other accompaniments.

NUTRITION 2673kJ/634kcals/16.5g fat/2.8g saturated fat/71g carbohydrate/6.1g sugars/2.3g fibre/50.3g protein/1.1g salt per serving (excluding chips, peas, lemon to serve)

Steak, kidney and stout pudding

PREPARE 20 minutes
COOK 4-5 hours


675g ox cheeks, trimmed
300g ox kidney, trimmed and core removed
2 tbsp plain flour
1-2 tbsp oil
½ x 400g pack shallots, peeled and quartered
500ml bottle stout, such as Hook Norton Double Stout
½ x 20g pack fresh thyme, leaves only
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Butter, for greasing
350g self-raising flour
175g shredded beef suet


1. Cut the cheeks and kidneys into 2-3cm pieces. Mix the plain flour with some salt and pepper then add the meats and toss well to coat. Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a high heat. Brown the meat well, in batches, adding more oil if necessary. Return all the meat and any juices to the pan and stir in the shallots, followed by the stout, half the thyme and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir well scraping any caramelised pieces from the base of the pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, until tender. Remove from the heat, season to taste and leave to cool completely.

2. Just over 3 hours before you wish to eat, grease a 1.5 litre pudding basin with butter. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add a generous pinch of salt. Rub in the suet then add the remainder of the thyme and enough cold water (about 275-300ml) to make a firm dough. Remove about a quarter of the dough and set aside, then roll out the rest to make a round about 30cm wide and 0.5cm thick. Line the basin with the pastry.

3. Using a slotted spoon transfer the meat into the basin, stopping about 2cm from the top. Keep the leftover gravy covered in the fridge. Roll out the reserved pastry to make a lid. Dampen the edges of the basin with cold water and top with the pastry, then press the edges to seal. Cover with a layer of foil, pleated in the centre to allow the pudding to rise during cooking. Secure with cooks’ string and make a handle so that it is easy to lift the pudding in and out of the pan.

4. Place into a large pan with a flameproof saucer or trivet on the base. Half fill with boiling water, cover and simmer for 3 hours, topping up the water as required. Reheat the reserved gravy until boiling. Invert the pudding onto a plate, cut into wedges and serve with the hot gravy to pour over. Great served with seasonal green vegetables and a glass of Wychwood Brewery Gold Hobgoblin.

NUTRITION 2884kJ/688kcals/33.2g fat/15.3g saturated fat/ 58.9g carbohydrate/6g sugars/2.7g fibre/38.5g protein/1g salt per serving

Please drink responsibility.

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