Monthly Archives: March 2012

Baked Salmon Fillets

Many people are scared of cooking fish, they always tell me that they don’t know what to do with it or they have tried it before and it falls to pieces and looks awful on the plate.

Serves Two

2 Salmon fillets

1 lemon

1 tbsp Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic

Pinch dried chillis

Salt and pepper

This recipe is fool-proof and will ensure you perfect salmon every time. First, preheat the oven to 190 degrees and put a small frying pan on a medium heat.

We’re going to fry off the lemon before wrapping it up with the fish, this takes the bitter edge off the lemon and the fish takes on the lemony flavour without the bitterness.

Just slice the lemon into thin rounds and fry for a minute or two on each side until it’s sealed, basically.

Now, get two pieces of tin foil, enough to wrap the salmon fillets individually and lay on a baking tray. Place the oil in the tin foil wraps and then coat the salmon in the oil and place skin side down.

Season with salt and pepper, and then add the dried chilli to give it some extra kick if you like.

Bash the garlic gloves but there’s no need to peel them, just squash them to release the flavour and put them on each of the fillets then add the lemon on top. You can use one or two slices of lemon depending on your taste.

Now, wrap the tin foil up, making sure there are no gaps; this allows the fish to steam as well as bake and reduce the cooking time slightly.

Place in the oven for around 15 minutes. Check them after 15 minutes and if they need another five then that’s fine. It’s better to check them regularly than to overcook the dish

While the fish is in the oven you can boil some broccoli, rice or noodles to go with it.

Noodles and broccoli tends to be my favourite and if you’re on an oriental style theme then you can always throw some soy sauce into the salmon mixture and perhaps some sesame seeds. If not, some couscous with parsley through it works well also.

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Cocktails in The City at Manchester’s Town Hall

Start the Easter weekend with an evening of ‘cocktail-making and drinks enlightenment’ in the beautiful surroundings of Manchester Town Hall’s Great Hall.

Cocktails in the City will take place at The Town Hall on Wednesday April 4 from 5.30pm – 10pm and tickets are now available.

Tickets are priced at £18 and on offer is three cocktails plus many more tasters to add to that. Also, demonstrations and various cocktail-making classes will be taking place throughout the evening.

The event brings together all of Manchester’s top cocktail bars – and some of the world’s finest drinks brands – to offer a night of sipping, socialising and spirited drinks tutoring.

These include an ‘Around the World With Rum’ session from The Liquorists from 6pm – 7pm and ‘Boutique Gins’ from 7.30pm – 8.30pm.

However, if you’re more of a down-to-earth sort of person, you might want to visit the ‘Kitchen Cocktails’ demonstration between 6pm – 6.45pm which will be teaching you how to make delicious cocktails from store-cupboard ingredients.

With over 18 of the city’s top bars involved you can be sure you will go home satisfied. Some of the bars taking part are Apotheca, Black Dog Ballroom, Sandinista, Noho and Socio Rehab.

You’ll be treated to a variety of drinks and there will be something for every taste, including the likes of Ish Gin, The Kraken Rum, Havana Club, Grand Marnier and Grey Goose.

Andrew Scutts, founder of Cocktails In The City, said: “Cocktails In The City is basically a massive masterclass from all the best bars in Manchester under one roof.

“It’s a night of drinks entertainment and education,” he added.

Tickets cost £18 and you will receive £30 worth of cocktails, gifts and tutoring.

Last year’s Cocktails in the City went down very well with bars and tasters so secure your tickets now to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

Buy tickets here: http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Manchester/Manchester-Town-Hall/Cocktails-in-the-City/11601318/

Fun Lovin’ Criminals to play Manchester’s Hard Rock Cafe

The Fun Lovin’ Criminals will be performing at Manchester’s Hard Rock Cafe, with all ticket proceeds going towards charity.

The New York trio will be taking the stage on Wednesday March 28 and playing a live gig in aid of the Bombay Teen Challenge.

There are only 450 tickets available for the gig so get in fast as such an intimate gig for a multi-platinum act is sure to sell-out in no time.

The Fun Lovin’ Criminals, originally formed in 1993, have a unique brand of eclectic rock fused with hip hop, funk and blues which has proved extremely successful over the years.

Everyone will recognise classic anthems such as Scooby Snacks and The Fun Lovin’ Criminal as they continue to cement their place as one of the biggest acts in the world. Front-man Huey Morgan also hosts his own show on BBC6 Music.

Well known for not shying away from hard hitting topics such as poverty, drug abuse and violence in their songs, it is fitting that all ticket proceeds of the gig will go to such a good cause.

The charity was established in 1990 and works tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate the many destitute and desperate people living on the streets of Mumbai.

Bombay Teen Challenge provides services such as shelters for children of women used in prostitution and street children and homes for AIDS orphans to name just a few of it’s causes.

Tickets are priced at £20 per person and doors at are 7pm. You can buy tickets online from Ticketweb.

United States of Ale: A beginner’s guide to American beer in Manchester

The definition of American Beer on Urban Dictionary reads ‘What the rest of the world knows as water’. Well, that was one of the definitions, I couldn’t publish the first one but I do recommend you take a moment to go and read it.

However, a quick spot of research will prove otherwise and there is a large selection of good-quality American beers on offer in the UK and I’m aiming to give you a quick beginners guide.

It seems that it is the usual suspects such as Budweiser, Coors Light and Miller which are all inoffensive and, quite frankly, very bland which are giving the rest a bad name.

These aforementioned lagers are clearly not all that the USA has to offer and I was sent on a tasting mission where my palate was treated to an array of IPA’s, Stouts, Porters, Oaked ale and a Barley wine style ale from states such as Maryland, New York, California and Colarado.

Most people who take a passing interest in beers will have come across Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn and Sam Adams beers in the UK which are having an impact in the UK.

Anna Beam, who works at the Port Street Beer House, is originally from Baltimore and knows agreat deal about beer, which makes her the perfect person to help me on my quest!

When I asked her to talk me through the American beers for sale in Port Street, I realised my request was ridiculous when she simply replied, ‘How much time do you have?’ and pointed to a full fridge full of bottles.

She then informed me that they have around 100 consisting of bottled beers and guests which come and go on draft.

Anna also said that they used to have more American bottles but they’ve had to make an effort to cut back to promote more British beers, proving that beers from the US can stand up to their British rivals.

“I think beers like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada are changing people’s opinions on American beers in this country so far,” she said.

She recommended Odell Brewing Co.’s IPA, which is sold in Port Street for £5.50, quite expensive for a bottle of beer but it is 7% and absolutely delicious. Using the traditional IPA recipe shipped from England to India in the 1700s, they’ve stamped a taste of America on it by adding extra hops and creating a much bolder flavour.

Anna even told me that there are now breweries in the US brewing Belgian-style Lambic beers as well, so they really are getting enthusiastic about beers from all over the world.

This isn’t really surprising after talking to Chris Nelson and Merideth Canham-Nelson, a husband and wife partnership, originally from the states, who travel the world tasting beers.

Merideth told me that her favourite beer is German-style and she loves the Bavarian culture. However, Chris said that if California was a country it’d be the best country in the world for beers.

He said: “Because of Bud, Miller and Coors, I think there are misconceptions of what American beer is. Just like the uninformed here in the States think that beer in England is warm and flat. All countries have their crap lagers but don’t want the perceptions of their brewingcommunity to base upon them.”

Merideth agreed and said that America has something for every taste, which is not surprising given its vastness.

It is not too unusual to find a bar serving a hundred or more different kinds of beer in the US, both bottled and draft, though most will have perhaps a dozen or three, with a half dozen on tap.

While agreeing that it’s great that the US is exporting beers, the couple suggested that for the best experience you have to go over there and try the beer straight from the source, which ties in with Chris’ overall beer philosophy; drink local.

It’s always been said that countries never export their best stuff, for example, Australian’s apparently don’t like Fosters and Spanish folk reckon San Miguel is overly gassy.

As for comparing British beers to American beers, Merideth says comparison is futile.

“One of the special things about beer travel is that you get to experience beer within its own context. The British beer tradition is distinctly their own and needs to be understood that way.

“American craft beer has developed its own identity, which, if I have to define it, would generally be toward bolder, hoppier, in your face versions of traditional beer styles,” she said.

Microbreweries, some of which have grown to be moderately large and/or purchased by one of the major breweries, make every kind of beer in much smaller quantities with traditional methods.

Most microbrews are distributed regionally and bartenders will know the local brands. Some brew pubs make their own beer in-house, and generally only serve the house brand, much like in the UK.

So, there we have it. Drink local, try new things and don’t judge a book (country) by its overly exported cover (beer).

Here’s a small list of beers I’d suggest to start with:

Samuel Adams Boston Lager (Widely available)

Odell Brewing Co. IPA (Available at Port Street Beer House)

Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA (Chris’ favourite beer)

Scrimshaw Pils (Merideth’s favourite beer)

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (Available at Port Street Beer House)

Big thanks to Anna Beam and Ewan Summers of Port Street Beer House who took the time to recommend beers to me. And to Chris and Merideth, otherwise known to the Twitter world as @thebeergeek and @girlbeergeek

BORN IN THE USA: Just some bottles available in Manchester

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