Keeping it real … Real Ale
Recently I had a few conversations and seen a couple of blog posts on the beers we used to drink when we were younger, B.C (before craft!), some of our gateway beers and maybe even beers we used to like then but didn’t really drink no more. Around the same time, I was asked if I would like to sample the Badger Ales (Hall & Woodhouse) selection, I had turned it down once before mainly because I knew it was beer I didn’t really drink any more, but during the talks of previous beers we used to drink Badger Ales came up a lot, so I thought it would be interesting to revisit them after years of absence. Bottles of Fursty Ferret are incredibly easy to get hold of, even Aldi stock them along with a few other of their beers. Firstly, I want to get my biggest moan out of the way, clear glass bottles… WHY, why, why!!?? Some of the range are in dark brown bottles so why not put them all in the correct glass bottles, I don’t think we really need to underestimate drinkers any more to the point that they need to be shown what colour the beer is, so do the beer a favour (as we know all the negative reasons for clear bottles) and put it in correct packaging, Badger Ales are not alone here though many breweries still do it.
As the Spring sun started to show up, one Sunday afternoon I turned down the original thought of a pub lunch in a beer garden somewhere and had a beer with lunch in my own garden. A lovely bit of calamari and salad was paired with a bottle of Badger Ales Leaping Legend. It was a nice Sunday afternoon lunch time drink and it did take me back to a time before the hop heads and murk bombs. Brewed with Amarillo hops and British Fuggles Leaping Legend has a very citrus, lemon and malt flavour. It is easy drinking and went well with the early Spring afternoon sun, it’s a beer I would happily go back to. Returning to the Badger Ales beers started well with Leaping Legend, but there was a couple of other bottles that I didn’t enjoy as much, not because there was anything particularly wrong with the beers just that I think my personal taste has developed a lot from when I used to drink these before. However, one I was caught by surprise by was Tangle Foot, I’m not sure this is a beer that I remember drinking much of when I was younger, when I saw it in cans I must admit I thought it was a best bitter but I was pleasantly surprised by the easy drinking refreshing pale ale.
Badger Ales website has a whole section on cooking with their beer, this is what sealed the deal for when I was asked if I would like to try the Countryside Collection, as beer and food is a big part of my blog. With lots of different recipes that use their beer in the cooking there is something for everyone to try. I was sent a new recipe for Fursty Ferret Lamb just in time for Easter and I thought I would review their recipe.
Badger Ale Fursty Ferret Easter Leg Lamb
First preheat your oven to 220C, fan 200C, gas 6. Place your leg of lamb in a large roasting tin and rub the lemon juice all over the lamb.
Grind together the oregano and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar, then grate in some lemon zest, with a good amount of salt and pepper and grind together. Sprinkle over the leg of lamb and place bits of butter in the pan and lamb.
Mix Badger Ales Fursty Ferret Ale with 350ml of water, keeping back half of the mixture. Splash over some olive oil and put in the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes.
While this is cooking, grate your cucumber and place in a sieve with a bowl underneath, then add salt. Squeeze the juice out of the cucumber and leave it to drip for 20 minutes.
When the 30 minutes are up take the lamb out of oven, turn the oven down to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. Add chopped potatoes to the pan, celeriac and the remaining beer and water mixture. Cover with tin foil tightly and place back in the oven for 3 hours. Check every hour, turning the vegetables and adding a little water if needed.
Once the lamb is back in the oven, mix the mint, oregano and olive oil together. Squeeze all the left over cucumber juice out and add the cucumber to the yogurt with the herb mix and lemon juice and stir. Season well with salt and pepper.
Serve lamb shredded with the potatoes, herby yogurt and watercress, fennel and radish salad.
This recipe is super easy and with great results, anyone can do it and it is perfect for Easter weekend. I did tinker with the yogurt dip a little bit, I felt it needed a little bit more mint to my personal taste. Also, I used a slightly smaller leg of lamb (a reasonable £9 for the half leg in Aldi) so I cut the cooking time down slightly and we also couldn’t pick up any celeriac or fennel while shopping. The lamb was so soft and just cut away with real ease, we had enough for two greedy dinners and enough for another dinner each the following night. The potatoes were best left in the oven for a little longer after taking the lamb out to rest, increasing the heat and removing the liquid in the roasting dish, doing this made them a bit crispier. As we were left with a good amount of left over lamb and yogurt dip, the next day we made some lovely Fursty Ferret Left Over Easter Lab Wraps.
Left Over Fursty Ferret Left Over Lamb Wraps
Chop the remaining lamb into small chunks and once cooled down put in the fridge till the next dinner. Reheat the lamb either in the oven till piping hot or for a couple minutes in the microwave till all the lamb is piping. Chop up some lettuce, the remaining half of the cucumber from the roast recipe, red onion, spring onions, tomatoes and some diced halloumi cheese that has had a few minutes in a frying pan to heat up.
Place hand full of all the ingredients, a good dollop of yogurt also with a squirt of hot sauce in a wrap that has been warmed up and placed on some tin foil. Fold the wrap over in half like a pasty, wrap your hands over the wrap contents, like typing on a keyboard, then gently push the food into a wrap shape, fold in one side tightly and roll over. Roll the wrap in the tin foil, screw up the bottom end then fold and peal open the top end with the unfolded side of the wrap so you can eat it.
The lamb was delicious and it has made me want to explore more Badger Ales cooking with beer recipes that they have on their website and even try a little something myself. My favourite bottle of beer from them was Poachers Choice, a rich ruby beer with dark fruit flavours, I have a few ideas for a dish with this beer so watch this space.
Disclaimer – I was kindly sent a Country Collection Box of Badger Ales for free, this included their entire range of beers and cider. Thanks to Badger Ales and Nudge PR for the beers and the recipe. Although the beers were free this did not change my opinion on them. All other ingredients in this recipe was paid for by myself.