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Cooking with Beer Paperback – 5 Sep 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books (5 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 174266542X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742665429
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Paul Mercurio is familiar to television audiences through his appearances in Strictly Ballroom, Dancing with the Stars and Mercurio's Menu. He is also a beer judge and has judged at International and New Zealand beer awards as well as participating in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and similar festivals.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Australian "dancer, choreographer, actor and television personality" Paul Mercurio is quite obviously not a trained chef, but is a real food enthusiast who has a "food-based programme of his own in Australia "Mercurio's Menu". Here he offers 87 of his favourite beer related recipes.

It's not JUST recipes with beer though - the first chapter contains recipes for things to eat WITH beer rather than containing it (which perhaps is cheating a bit).

Consequently it isn't until page 50 until we get the first beer recipe - which includes "Beer-battered sichuan flathead tails". I've never heard of Sichuan peppercorns or flathead tails (a type of fish) and I am unsure how easy these are to get in the UK but he offers no alternatives if you cannot get hold of these. He does go into details about what beers are best to use in the recipe. Similarly the third recipe is for "Witlof" - again I've never heard of this but after these few strange naming foods the book settles down into ingredients us Brits CAN get easily.

There are many recipes which have a "beer twist" on old favourites including Cassoulet, risotto, fish pie, and chilli con carne. I can't wait to try both "Beef beer bourginon" and "Dark Ale Lamb Tagine". Each give the specific types of beer that Mercurio believes is best for each dish. As Mercurio says "beer picks up the ingredients it's brewed with" so each has its own flavour and goes with different foods. You've got to admire his enthusiasm - he clearly loves beer and he clearly loves food - it shines through in this book.

As Mercurio says on the cover "if there's liquid in a recipe, it might as well be beer". I am sure that is a sentiment many blokes and quite a few women would echo!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Being more prone to cooking with wine rather than beer I needed to be convinced that beer could provide just as much flavour. Additionally the cover screamed 'macho book' so was a little wary of the layout of the contents. Although cookbooks are essentially a pragmatic genre, these days we are so used to glossy studio-set up photos, trendy page layouts, flashy headings, informative side notes and a useful index. Well, the book has it all without being over-the-top and it is a great asset to any cookbook collection and will be much referred to (watch out cooking stains on those mouth-watering photos and thumb marks on the recipe pages!). The recipe pages are set on what looks like papyrus paper so thumb marks, scribbles and beer stains won't be too out of place. The photos depict down-to-earth cookware and tableware - very pragmatic and yet stylish. Any man or woman would feel proud to own this book (if they like the taste of beer of course).

The fact that the author is a beer judge is a stamp of approval for the beers chosen for each dish and this should be taken into account when assessing the recipes.

The recipes have both down-to-earth and stylish names -e.g. 'surprisingly good beer-braised sausages and peas'; 'beer-braised beef osso bucco'; 'dark ale lamb tagine'; 'crisp beer-battered prawns' as well as some amusing distortions of common sweet dishes such as 'hop panna cotta with a grapefruit and orange salad' or 'Chocolate stout brownies' or to tickle your fancy how about 'birramisu'! So yes, you can have beer for dessert as well as the starter and the main course! I haven't tried any of the desserts - yet!

In choosing the recipes it is first of all vital to ascertain if you can actually buy the beer ingredient proposed.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Did you know you can cook anything with beer (Not just barbeque) it depends on your taste of course and what type of beer you would not use a stout to make ice cream would you ? Well yes there is a great recipe for a Chocolate and chilly ice cream which uses Guinness (Other stouts are available)
The book takes on a guide through starters, mains and side dishes, breads and deserts all made with a little or a lot of beers, ales, lagers, stouts porters and pretty much anything which has a hop in it, and many of the really are good, a great birthday book for that beer loving cousin.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cooking with beer is a great British tradition - who hasn't enjoyed a steak and ale pie in a country pub or had a casserole flavoured with a dark stout or perhaps Guinness. But over the years the influence of so many cooks on tv and the printed page have persuaded us that wine is the best basis for good food and beer should be relegated to the more basic dishes.

In his book Cooking With Beer, Australian Paul Mercurio sucessfully demonstrates that beer is the neglected ingredient in a vast range of dishes. I had never thought of using beer as a basis for a dish of mussels or other shell fish but after a bit of experimentation with his book in hand I can say that it works really well. One reason being of course that there are a vast range of beers (ably described in the book) and that the slightly citrusy Hoegaarden for example presents quite a delicately flavoured compliment to the fish.

The book tends to be a little too prescriptive about the exact brand of beer required for each recipe and this can be frustrating for those who don't live in Australia. However, its not difficult to work out the type of beer required and with the supermarket shelves being stocked so well with beers from around the world its easy to find an equivalent beer to the ones he suggests in his book. Personally I find that Leffe Blonde can be substituted for any of the lighter recipes in the book, or Leffe Brun for anything based on beef.

The book is very well produced - a substantial production with good binding and quality paper that won't fall apart in the kitchen. I see no problem with the odd Australianism which at first takes some working out - after all most of us have the odd Italian or French-based cook books which may present even greater difficulties.
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