beer and food Snacks to beer

Snacks to beer: Doner Kebab

Doner kebab sign, London
From Flickr Creative Commons, taken by Renaissancechambara.

We usually leave recipes to the experts but make the occasional exception when it comes to foods which are an inextricable part of our beer culture.

In Britain, after several beers, when everything else is closed, you can always rely on the kebab shop and everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure: lamb doner kebab. No-one would dream of eating one while sober. The great round of meat is often referred to as an “elephant leg” because it is so heavily processed that it’s hard to be sure exactly what it is composed of. Meat, fat and salt are the three main ingredients but beyond that… Asbestos? Industrial grease? Who knows.

Nonetheless, they are delicious, and we decided to make one at home so that we could feel a bit less grotty eating it.

We were inspired partly by Kenny McGovern’s The Take Away Secret although we ended up adapting his recipe substantially for our own. The main tip we picked up from McGovern is the importance of garlic powder. It’s the magic ingredient in most fast food.

beer and food Snacks to beer

Snacks to Beer: Sea Laver!?

Crispy sea laver snack -- Beer Mate

beer and food Germany Poland Snacks to beer

Snacks to beer part 2 — schmaltz/smalec

I have very happy memories of visiting Poland. Chief among them is the great joy I experienced in Wroc?aw when presented with a free — yes, free! — plate of bread and dripping with my first pint at Piwnica Swidnicka.

Since then, I’ve also enjoyed it at as ‘schmaltz‘ in various places in Germany, most notably Klosterbräu in Bamberg which has several varieties, including goose fat.

They say you shouldn’t eat greasy food with beer and, yes, if you’re carrying out any kind of formal tasting, it’s probably a bad idea. But, in the real world, nothing makes a wheat beer zing like a piece of rye bread spread thickly with spicy, salty, onion-laced lard.

These days, it’s thankfully very easy to get schmaltz/smalec in the UK in any shop which stocks Polish foods.

The one I bought to eat with my beery bread had a higher meat content than some (try saying “mechanically recovered chicken and pork” without saying “mmmmmmm”…) and was very satisfying indeed. Sometimes, you’ll find it in tins; in blocks like butter or lard; or in glass jars. It’s cheap however it comes.

Let’s be clear, though: it is not health food.

That salad I had with it cancels out the fat, though, right? Right? And it’s normal to have shooting pains in your left arm, isn’t it?

If you like your grease cut with other fats, why not give Obazda a go?


beer and food Snacks to beer

Snacks to beer part 1 — beery rye bread

I’ll be telling you tomorrow all about my personal favourite snack for accompanying beer — something I prefer even to pork scratchings, and which is even filthier — but, to make the most of it, I’ll need some special bread. So, today, I’m sharing the recipe for a dark rye bread with a couple of extra beer-geek tweaks.

Snacks to beer

Snacks to beer #5: schnitzel Wiener art


Schnitzels are a real guilty pleasure of ours. Boak likes one or two a year; Bailey would eat them every night, if he could.

They’re pretty cheap and easy to make, although they’re not good for you, and do generate a lot of washing up. This recipe has been tweaked to reduce the amount of butter used and, we think, make the schnitzels crisper and less greasy than some of the oily, orange slabs you get served in German pubs.

A couple of notes:

1. We use pork rather than veal. If you use veal, you’ve got a bona fide Wiener schnitzel. German pubs tend to go for pork because it’s cheaper and describe them as ‘in the Vienna style’.

2. The origin of the schnitzel is disputed but we like the theory that it comes from Austria’s near-neighbour, Italy. Certainly, your best bet for finding a decent schnitzel in the UK is to go to an Italian restaurant and order a Cotoletta alla Milanese.

3. That’s what schnitzel means, by the way — cutlet.

Recipe after the jump.