Sunday, 5 June 2011

Slow Food - Beer making event

We cheated a bit with the most recent outing of Slow Food Galway and had a slow beer and slow wine event. Josef and Ciara invited us to their home in Furbo to witness and help in the process of making beer, wine and cider.

Initially we did some sampling and started with a home brew Mexican style beer call Cervea which was very refreshing. We then moved on to an elderwood cider and a rustic apple cider. Finally we tasted homemade red and white wine which were both excellent. The beer, wine and elderwood cider were all produced using a similar kit. The kit Josef was using would make approx. 90 litres so might be a good idea for a party.

The group observed the two main processes of beer making during the afternoon. In sterilised containers Josef demonstrated how to prepare the beer mixture (a Canadian Blond) in vats and how to maintain the temperature required using heat pads wrapped around the vats. We then fast forwarded a week using “one Josef had made earlier” to start bottling the beer. The beer will be stored for two weeks before being ready for consumption. Members explained a couple of misadventures in previous beer making attempts highlighting the need to maintain an appropriate temperature when beer making as well as keeping it out of direct sunlight (even suggested that beer could be wrapped in an electric blanket while fermenting – a step too far perhaps). There was general agreement that some of us would have a stab at this at home.

Josef also prepared a white wine and showed how to add an oak flavour to the wine without the need for importing French oak barrels. We also sampled and bottled some elderflower cider.

For inspired brewers, Brian O’Shea from Homebrew West, based in Barna, gave a talk about some of the different kits that they sell. Graciously, they offered a 5% discount on buying anything from Home Brew West to Slow Food Galway members. Check out their website here;

A big thanks again to Ciara and Josef who opened their home (and garden) to us and gave a really interesting demonstration on home brew.

However the event wasn’t totally about booze and everyone brought along some tasty dishes to go with the beer. One such creation was mini corn cakes with a coriander and mint salsa and here is the recipe (thanks Carla).

Mini Corn Cakes (makes 8)

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and grated or crushed
190g potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2tbsp finely chopped red pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp caraway seeds
30g cheddar cheese, grated
salt, to taste
200g canned sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
3 rounded tbsp gram flour

* Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Take off the heat and place in a bowl. Add the potato, chilli, red pepper, spices, cheese and salt.

* Squeeze out as much liquid from the corn as possible. Puree three-quarters of the corn in a blender and add both this and the whole kernels to the onion/potato mixture.

* Place the gram flour in a dry frying pan and stir fry until the flour turns a shade darker and begins to emit it's distinctive smell, around 2-3 minutes. Mix into the corn mix. Make 8 little patties with the mixture.

* Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Add the corn cakes to the pan and cook over a low heat until the bottoms have turned golden. Turn and cook the other side.

Coriander and mint chutney/salsa

40g fresh coriander stems and leaves
8g fresh mint leaves
3-4 tsp lemon juice
salt, to taste
1/2 - 1 thin green chilli, left whole
1 small clove of garlic
3g fresh ginger, peeled
3/4 tsp sugar
15 pistachio nuts

Blend all the ingredients together with 2 tbsps of water to make a smooth puree. Taste and adjust the salt and lemon juice to taste.