International Women’s Day: Melissa Cole
Beer, chocolate, sommeliers, and International Women’s Day may not exactly be the first things that comes to mind on a Friday in March, but at Foodies Festival we’re all about combining out-of-this world combinations for an extraordinary culinary experience. It’s exactly this extraordinary experience that we are celebrating in showcasing four of the UK’s most inspiring foodies, and an experience that culinary wonder Melissa Cole is exceptionally brilliant at delivering.
Award-winning writer Melissa’s approach to beer matching and flavour development truly leaves her a cut above the crowd when it comes to the art of mixing beer with food. Balancing taste, strength and aroma to admirable aplomb her newest book ‘The Beer Kitchen‘ is a fantastic guide to exactly how you can achieve the same #BalanceForBetter culinary perfection. As we promote the balance of women in the food industry read on to discover how Melissa’s art is achieved by combining food and chocolate.
Quick Chocolate Pots with Kriek Cranberries
Serves 6 as a small treat or 4 indulgently
There are times when you just feel like you deserve a treat and these little pots are perfect. I had the idea when Tempest Brewing Company sent me some of its bourbon barrel-aged Mexicake – a kind of mole stout, and that’s what I’ve used in this one, but there are plenty of other examples like it out there or you can substitute a barrel-aged stout – bourbon barrel ones work well.
200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
100 g (31/2 oz) spiced or barrel-aged stout
100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant 1/2 cup) double (heavy) cream
2 teaspoons basic olive oil
For the cranberries
25 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) dried cranberries
50 g (2 oz) kriek (see cranberries cook beers below)
2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
tiny pinch of sea salt
Prepare the cranberries first.
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and warm over a low heat until the liquid just starts bubbling. Stir well, then allow to bubble for 4–6 minutes until the liquid is almost gone. Leave to cool. To make the chocolate pots, melt the chocolate, using a microwave method, or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
While that is melting, put the beer in a small pan and heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Swirl the pan a few times but don’t let the beer boil. When the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and add a small amount of the hot beer, beating with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth – don’t panic if it looks granular, you just need to apply some elbow grease! Repeat until all the beer is used and you have a smooth, shiny paste.
Add the cream and oil and beat until you get a smooth mixture. Pour into espresso cups or ramekins (custard cups). Place in the fridge for
30 minutes to set.
Take out of the fridge, top with the soaked cranberries and serve.