Once a month i cook for a Food Club at Trish's house. We concentrate on a different topic for every class, the most recent was Beer from Emersons.  Not only did we have the pleasure of five of his finest but we also had Richard Emerson himself paring them with the food i demonstrated and cooked. It was a brilliant night with many great people.  Look forward to the next...


Homemade pork scratchings

Coarse Pork Terrine, Beer bread and chutneys from our pantry

Mexican (1812 Indian Pale Ale) marinated chicken, smashed avocado, wrapped in lettuce

Venison Pie

Homemade Truffles



2 Tbsp olive oil
175g onions, finely chopped
100g rindless back bacon, cut into small pieces
1kg belly bacon, cut into small pieces
175g lambs liver
2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
Large handful parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp chopped rosemary
1 ½ Tbsp chopped thyme
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Crusty bread


Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry gently until soft but not browned. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.

Put the pork belly into a food processor and chop, using the pulse button, into a coarse but not too coarse mixture. Add to the onions in the bowl. Put the bacon and liver in the food processor and again, coarsely chop, then transfer to the bowl.

Add the garlic, chopped herbs, salt and pepper and mix everything together really well - the best way of distributing the ingredients evenly is with your hands.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Put the mixture into a lightly oiled 1.5 litre terrine dish or loaf tin and slightly round off the top. Cover with a lid or some foil, put into a small roasting tin and pour enough hot water into the tin to come half way up the sides of the dish. Bake for 1.5 hours.

Uncover the terrine and cook for a further 15 minutes, until it is lightly coloured on top. Remove the dish from the roasting tin and leave to cool, then weight down the terrine overnight in the fridge. The easiest way to do this is to cut out a piece of cardboard that will fit inside the rim of the dish, cover it with foil, then place it on top of the terrine and place a few weights or unopened cans on top.

To serve, remove the terrine from the dish in slices. Accompany with lots of crusty bread, chutney and some cornichons.


Makes 1 loaf

450g plain flour
1 level tsp caster sugar

1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
200ml buttermilk or sour milk
100ml beer


Preheat the oven to 230°C

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in most of the buttermilk (leaving about 60ml) and add the beer. Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk if necessary. Do not knead the mixture or it will become heavy. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky.

When it comes together, turn onto a floured work surface and bring together a little more. Pat the dough into a round, about 4cm (11/2in) deep and cut a deep cross in it.

Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to
200°C and cook for 30 minutes more. When cooked, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the base and be golden in colour. I often turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Beer Bread

Serves 6 - 8

Venison Filling

4 tbsp olive oil
250 g speck, diced or good quality bacon
¼ cup plain flour
1.3 kg cubed venison
2 cloves garlic, chopped
10 shallots, diced
6 large mushrooms, sliced
400ml Emersons Old 95 or London Porter
300 ml beef or veal stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
grated rind of an orange
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp juniper berries
extra stock if needed
2 sprigs of rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Ensure the venison is trimmed of sinew and diced into small pieces. Roll the venison in plain flour, shaking off excess and setting aside. Bruise the juniper berries, cinnamon and cloves in a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil on medium heat in a large saucepan then add the onion and garlic, frying until transparent. Add the juniper, cinnamon and cloves and mix well. Then add the diced venison and speck cooking until browned for about 8 minutes. Add the stock, beer, orange rind, rosemary and mushrooms and cook on medium to high heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to low, place the lid on the pan and cook for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally until meat is tender and sauce is thick and dark. Add the seasoning to taste and set aside to cool. Prepare the pastry while the filling is cooking.

Maggie Beer's Pastry
200 g of chilled unsalted butter, chopped
250 g of plain flour
½ cup of sour cream
1 beaten egg


Grease a 23 cm deep pie dish. Put the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor, then pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and pulse again until the dough just forms a ball. Carefully wrap the dough in plastic film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the cooled filling into the greased pie dish filling till it is about 1 cm below the rim. Roll out the dough until it is about 5 mm thick, then carefully folding the dough back over the rolling pin, place it over the filled pie dish and press to seal the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Chill the filled pie for about an extra 20 minutes, this will reduce shrinkage. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and coat the pastry top with beaten egg. Cook the pie for approximately 45 minutes until warmed through and the pastry is lightly golden.


Serves 4

400g chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200ml 1812 Indian Pale Ale
juice of half an orange
1 chilli , finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
8 large crunchy lettuce leaves (iceburg or cos)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions
1 avocado, peeled and mashed with the juice of a lime
3-4 tbsp crème fraîche
Coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Cut the chicken breast in half lengthways with a sharp knife. Marinate the chicken in the olive oil, garlic, orange juice, beer chilli and seasoning for 30 minutes.

Heat up a griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan until smoking hot and add the olive oil.

Top the spring onions and peel off the outer skin before chopping them up into 2-3cm lengths. Season with salt and pepper and put onto the hot griddle.

Pat the chicken dry with some kitchen paper and add to the griddle pan. Sear for a minute on each side (or 90 seconds, tops). Leave to stand for a minute on a warm plate while you finish cooking the spring onions. They should be soft and slightly charred. When the spring onions are cooked, remove from the pan, add the reserved marinade from the chicken and let it sizzle up before pouring over the chicken. Chop up the chicken on the angle into bite sized pieces.

Fill a lettuce leaf up with the chicken, spring onions and some mashed avocado, a drizzle of crème fraich and some coriander.

Eat up at once!


1 cup Crème Fraîche
320g Dark Chocolate (use very high quality, 70% cocoa solids)
180g Additional Dark Chocolate
1 ½ cups Cocoa Powder (the highest quality you can find)
3 Tbsp. Butter (optional)


Chocolate Ganache;

Break chocolate into small pieces and put in a large bowl.
Bring cream slowly to a light boil.
Pour boiling cream over chocolate and keep stirring until all the chocolate has melted and the batter is homogenous.

If you want to add butter, do so now, before the batter cools, and thickens.
This batter is called Ganache and is the base for all French truffle recipes!

When the ganache is warm it is very creamy. You can thicken it
1. by whisking it (the oxygen causes it to thicken) or
2. by putting it in the refrigerator.
You want the ganache to be just thick enough to easily form the truffle balls…

Forming the Truffles:

Using two spoons form even and round balls. Place them on parchment or wax paper.

Melt the rest of the chocolate in a bain-marie (double-boiler).

Dip each ball in the melted chocolate and then roll it in the cocoa powder.