Little Island Kitchen – Beer

There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t happily drink, and in my books the same should definitely go for beer. Luckily, Prince Edward Island is a burgeoning hotspot for the brewing scene. Breweries are dotted across the Island, and are producing a delicious variety of beers, from lagers and witbier to bitters and stouts, with a lot of ales in between. These two recipes feature fine Island beers on either end of the spectrum and are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cooking with beer.

One of my personal favourite brews is Upstreet’s Rhuby Social. It’s a fantastic strawberry rhubarb witbier that has a subtle, tart fruitiness on the palate which works perfectly with the heat in my Rhuby Mussels recipe. The pairing of PEI seafood and PEI beer is a natural one, and the addition of some aromatic Thai influences makes for a special supper.

photo credit: Paige Matthie

Some recipes stand on the shoulders of giants and my Fudgy Chocolate Stout Cake is one of them. There are dozens of variations on the idea, but I’ve taken mine to the extreme end of the fudgy scale. The PEI Brewing Company’s Sydney Street Oatmeal Stout is a perfect choice for a chocolate cake, and the swap of oat flour instead of the usual wheat flour only further enhances the flavours of the stout. 

photo credit: Paige Matthie

Crack open an Island beer next time you’re looking to add some serious flavour to stew, batter, broth, or baking. They are definitely worth drinking, and I highly recommend cooking with them too. Cheers!

Rhuby Mussels
Serves 2 / 30 minutes

2lbs PEI mussels 
2 cloves garlic
2″ piece ginger
3 red Thai chillies, seeds removed
1 handful fresh cilantro
2/3 bottle Upstreet Rhuby Social 
150ml coconut milk
1 tbsp butter
Juice of 1 lime

photo credit: Paige Matthie

Clean the mussels and dispose of dead or damaged ones.

Finely chop the garlic, ginger, chillies and cilantro. You need these ingredients ready before the cooking starts as things will start to move very quickly.

Heat a large pot with a lid to medium and add the butter, garlic, ginger and chillies. Stir and cook until aromatic but not browned, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beer and coconut milk and turn up the heat to medium-high until simmering rapidly.

photo credit: Paige Matthie

Add the mussels and close the lid tight. Steam for 5 minutes or until all the mussels are open and cooked.  Add the cilantro and lime juice and stir.

Serve up with more Rhuby Social and crusty bread or crispy fries.

Fudgy Chocolate Stout Cake
1hr 30mins

1 cup + 1tbsp red cocoa powder (Dutch process)
1 stick (¼ lb) + 1tbsp salted butter
400ml Gahan Oatmeal Stout
2 cups oat flour
3 tsp baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar  
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
1tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Prepare a 9″ spring-form or removable bottom pan by buttering and dusting with cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon each. Try to get a good amount of butter in the seam to prevent leakage. Place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat the stout and remaining butter on medium until melted. Whisk in the cocoa, sugar, and baking soda. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, and sour cream, then stir into the beer mixture.

Last, add the oat flour 1/2 a cup at a time and mix until incorporated.  Pour the batter into the pan with the baking sheet underneath. The batter is very runny and some may escape.

Bake for 1hr, until the cake comes away from the sides of the pan. 

Cool for 15 minutes and remove from the pan. Dust with icing sugar or leave naked, and serve with coffee or with stout for a rich after dinner treat.

photo credit: Paige Matthie