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Paul Mercurio's recipes - 26 August


Scotch ale and ricotta cheese muffins

Jalapeno poppers in beer batter

Cockle and beer butter pasta

Scotch Ale and Ricotta Cheese Muffins

Time: 35 mins
Serves: 12
Costs: $13

Ingredients

2 cups of self raising flour
80g butter melted
8 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp chopped fresh rosemary 
1 cup ricotta cheese 
1 cup Red Hill Scotch Ale
Pinch of salt

Method

Preheat oven 160degC (fan).

In a bowl mix the flour, pinch of salt and chopped rosemary together. In another bowl add the eggs, cheese, sugar, beer and melted butter and give this a really good mix to combine all the ingredients. Tip the wet mix in to the bowl with the flour and fold through until combined - do not over mix.

Dived mixture evenly into a 12 cup muffin tray that has been either oiled or has large paper pans inserted in to the muffin holes. Bake in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Note - the Red Hill Scotch Ale is a malt driven dark ale with quite a sweet character and carries 5.8% alc. Not many breweries in Australia are making a Scotch Ale which is a shame because it is a great style with a lovely complexity. The Red Hill Scotch Ale goes really well with the rosemary and ricotta cheese in this recipe.


Jalapeno Poppers in Beer Batter

Time: 20 mins
Serves: 6
Costs: $16

Ingredients

12 Green Jalapeno's about 5 - 6 cm long
250g packet of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 bunch of fresh Mint
1 bunch of fresh chives
1 cup plain flour
1 bottle of American Style Pale Ale - Arctic Fox, Hargreaves Hill, Wicked Elf Pale, Temple Pale Ale
Salt
Oil for deep frying

Method

In a wok, fry pan, saucepan or chip fryer add enough oil to fry the jalapenos and bring up to heat.

Make batter first so it can stand and improve whilst you stuff jalapenos. Put 1 cup of flour into a bowl season with salt and then mix in the cold beer until you reach the consistency you prefer. You don't want it too thick or too thin. Keep the batter cold by resting it in the freezer while you prepare the Jalapenos.

Place the jalapenos under a hot grill and char the skins until black turning them as you go. When blackened and charred all the way put them in a plastic bag to sweat for 5 minutes this makes them easier to peel. Peel all the skin off but make sure you leave the stems intact and long. Slice down one side and carefully remove the seeds and the vein - this removes most of the heat so if you want them hot leave some of the vein and seeds in - how ever I recommend you make them without the seeds the first time so you know what you are getting in to.

In a mixing bowl add 1 1/2 tbsp of finely chopped chives and 1 1/2 tbsp of finely chopped mint together with the cheese and mix vigorously so that the cheese softens and the herbs get mixed thoroughly into the mixture. Taste the mix to check the flavour balance between the mint, chives and cheese and adjust if needed i.e. add a little more of one or the other herbs. Using a teaspoon carefully stuff the jalapeno with the cheese mixture until they are full and resemble what they looked like before you grilled them. Carefully push the cut sides together over the cheese so that the jalapeno looks whole and intact.

Remove the batter from the freezer and dip the stuffed jalapeno into the beer batter and gently put them into the hot oil. Deep fry till golden brown then remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper. Let them cool down just a little and then eat.

Best to eat with the beer you used for the batter!


Cockle and Beer Butter Pasta

Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Costs: $20

Ingredients

1 tbspbutter
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 small red chili finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 small spring onions - white part finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
1 bunch of broccolini - cut into 3cm pieces
150ml chicken stock
150ml of Wheat Beer - eg Redback, Red Hill Wheat, Tuatara, 2 Brothers Tricktser
50g unsalted butter chopped in to 6 pieces
600g cockles
1 packet Angel Hair pasta
Salt
Pepper

Method

Fill a large pot with water, add a generous pinch of salt and put it on the stove over high heat and bring to the boil.

In a fry pan over medium high heat add the butter and oil and when the butter begins to foam add the chopped chili, garlic and spring onion.

Fry for a minute or two and then turn the heat to medium and allow the mixture to cook for several minutes being careful to not burn it.

Add the coriander and cook for a couple more minutes. Turn the heat up, add the chicken stock and the beer and allow to boil until reduced by two thirds.

Turn the heat to medium high and add the broccolini and give it a good stir and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper then add the cockles stirring them through the sauce.

Cover the pan and cook for three minutes giving the pan a shake once or twice during this time. Put 400 g of Angel Hair into the boiling water and cook until al dente - this pasta only takes two minutes to cook.

Once cooked drain the pasta. Remove the lid from the fry pan with the cockles, add the chopped butter and stir through the sauce.

Tip the drained pasta into the sauce and give it all a good mix around so the pasta is well coated with the sauce.

Divide equally between four bowls.

You could use a German style wheat beer for this dish or the Belgian Wit style then again most of the Micro Breweries are making their own style of wheat Beer which is every bit as good to drink as it is to put in this dish. Jump in the car and drive to your local micro try the beers buy a mixed six pack take them home and start cooking!


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