Monday, 5 March 2012

Why I love English Cider and Three Cider recipes

Cider barrel. Photo by Jojo 77
I always associate cider with joy, in our private family celebration my mother always like to say cheers with a flute glass (like the English aristocracy in the 17th century) of Spanish cider rather than champagne, I am not sure if it was because she really liked it or because the little low content in alcohol or perhaps because the more little in the family can have a little sip without getting tipsy
Then when I grow up and I become a rugby fan Bulmers and Magners cider with their heavy advertisement in Pubs and rugby events did the rest for me, so now I am the kind of guy that I am going first for a cider in the pub rather than a pint of beer.
The cider making process doesn’t differ too much from the wine one, first the apples are washed and pressed, then the yeast is added and fermented for some weeks and then siphoned off from the yeast to mature further in steel tanks, bottles or even oak barrels to add more character.

English Apples. Photo by ant-photos
Luckily England has several regions where you can find great quality cider and even very good organic cider and some very traditional brands of cider makers since 2 centuries ago and don't forget that cider has been drunk in England since before the Romans landed in the British shores
Cider was considered the English champagne, now the English cider is recovering its status lost in the past century (considered a cheap drink for the drunks) and not just the big brands are doing well in the big supermarket, you also can find local and smaller producer making traditional cider and another making new blends, because at the end in Britain there are around 2000 apples varieties.
The last big triumph of the cider makers has been to catch the eye of the rising British cuisine and media chefs like Heston Blumenthal, Jaime Oliver and the BBC Hairy Bikers that are cooking with cider instead of wine or brandy.

Three easy recipes with recipes

Before to start, cooking get a flat cider non-carbonated, start with dry or medium dry ciders before to explore some sweet ciders for your recipes. Cider is a great substitute in wine cooking recipes.

Simple Hake in cider 

Hake with cider is traditional dish from north Spain

You need for 4 serves: 4 hake fillets – 400ml apple cider – 400g potatoes  (peeled and diced in 2x2 cms) – 1 small onion (finely chopped) – 2 garlic cloves (chopped) – 100ml olive oil – 2 cooking apples (peeled and diced) - Flour for coating and chopped parsley to serve. Oven at 180ºC

1. Wash and pat dry the hake, then season with salt and black ground pepper. Then coat in the flour shaking any excess.
2. In a deep frying pan  heat the olive oil in a medium heat, and fry the fish fillet from both sides by 2 minutes each side. Set aside.
3.Then stir in the potatoes and fry them until golden brown, at the end add the garlic, onion and apple and cook 3 extra minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Return the fish to the pan and pour over the cider. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the fish is done.
5. Serve the fish with the potatoes and rest of the ingredients in individual plates, pour over some of the cider juices and scatter over some parsley.

Pork loin with cider

You need for 4 serves: 750g – 1 kg of pork boneless loin roast – 400ml apple cider – 3 green apples – 8 prunes – 4 tbsp of olive oil. Oven at 200ºC

1. In a roasting try coated with olive oil, rub the loin roast with salt, pepper and the olive oil. Before putting in the oven pour over the cider. Cook for about 50 minutes (check the cooking recommendation of your loin), pouring over the juices every 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile wash the apples, slice them in the middle and remove the seeds (without peeling the apples).
3. After 30 minutes of the loin is in the oven spread into the baking tray the apple and prunes. If the cider has been evaporated, just add some more.
4. When the cooking time is finished remove from the oven, set aside the loin pork to rest. Remove also the apple, without burning yourself remove the apple peel and blend the apples..
5. Fillet your loin pork, serve in individual dishes, with the apple puree in one side and the prunes in another side of the dish. Pour over some juices from the baking tray.

Mussels with vegetables and cider

Use apple cider instead of the classic white wine
You need: 1kg of  mussels (cleaned and de-bearded) – half leek (in Juliana) half carrot (in Juliana) – 50g chopped onion – 50g chopped celery – 2 tbsp thyme leaves only -  150ml apple cider – 100ml cream. Chopped parsley to serve.

1. In a deep pan at medium high heat add first the mussels and top them with the vegetables and thyme. Cover with a lid. And shake a couple of times during the cooking process
2. After 3 minutes, pour in the cream, shake again, and cook for an extra minute without the lid.
3. Discard any mussels that have not opened and serve with some chopped parsley


1 comment:

  1. Hi, cider lover!
    I love cider, too.
    Donde esté la "cider", que se quite la "beer", see you!