challenge

New Year, New Beer: January

January the time of the year when everyone pledges to start over, start fresh and start doing things they have never done before. The same goes for me. 2013 will be a year of trying new things, 313 beers and 52 ciders to be exact! A beer for every day of the week except for Sundays which will be the official day of cider. Why am doing this? Well, ever since craft beer became more trendy than hvaing beard and looking like you haven’t showered, I have become intrigued. The fizzy, amber drink has been a constant throughout history, brought people together, helped people make friends, made people more attractive and been the cause of lots of fun, so why not embrace it? It is a New Year, New Beer.

So over the next 52 weeks I will be sharing my taste testing with all of you, and of course, would love any suggestions on where to get the goods. I dare say my local bar and bottleo will run out of new products for me, so share your hidden brewers and crafty creations with your piggy pal.

So below is the run down of month one:

  1. Moo Brew Pale Ale, TAS: The creative folk at MONA have opened a brewery – giving visitors even more of a reason to never leave! The Moo Brew Pale Ale is, crisp, light and has a citrusy flavour. I enjoyed it so much I ordered two.
  2. Moo Brew Dark Ale, TAS: Not as refreshing as its pale friend, I felt like I was back in high school drinking rocket fuel. If heavy beer is your gear, you are in luck.
  3. Ginger Beer, TAS: I love ginger and I love beer – drinking this is like hosting a party on my taste buds
  4. Four sheds pale ale, TAS: Smooth, fruity, subtle flavour, nice after take and brewed in the bottle
  5. Four sheds, TAS: heavy, bitter, almost tastes like coffee
  6. Anchor steam beer, USA: Bitter, super fizzy, awesome label on a  stubby little bottle
  7. Pear Paragon Cider, TAS: As sweet as sugar, 5% alcoholic
  8. Whale Ale, WA: Chewy pale ale that tastes great with blue cheese, what doesn’t?
  9. Melbourne Bitter, VIC: If you like 2-for-1 this tally will make you smile, not sure if they bitter beer will though.
  10. Vale Ale, SA: My favourite beer to date, subtle hints  of passionfruit and glides down the gullet
  11. Moo Brew Pilsner, TAS: Crisp, hoppy beer that proves pilsner doesn’t need to be made in Pilsner
  12. Moo Brew Hefeweizen, TAS: strong, wheaty and foamy. Can’t say I am in love
  13. Sol, QLD: A wannabe Corona that doesn’t tastes as good, but your wallet loves it
  14. Blumers, IR: Often found on tap, isn’t too sweet and often my poison of choice
  15. Stiegl Goldbräu, GER: crisp, hoppy delicious and considered one of the best in the world. Not disagreeing
  16. Asahi, JAP: Clean, crisp, refreshing and typically Japanes, brewed perfectly
  17. Palmer Cristal, CUBA: the perfect beer for a tropical holiday to Cuba, crisp light and frizzy!
  18. Orion, JAP: refreshing, mild taste and made from fresh spring water behind the brewery
  19. India Pale Ale, WA: hoppy goodness and perfect for washing down a curry
  20. 7 Sheds Pale Ale, TAS: An easy to drink thirst quencher
  21. Rekorderlig (Strawberry/Lime), SWE: Great for a hot day, but far too sweet for my liking
  22. 4 Pines Pale Ale, NSW: Fruity with a bitter after taste and brewed naturally
  23. Coopers Pale Ale, AUS: A wholesome natural beer with a chunky, full bodied taste
  24. Reshers, AUS: not a huge fan, taste a bit like metallic
  25. Liberty Ale: Like a Pale Ale but more hops than a kangaroo
  26. Itaipava, BRA: A Brazilian beer that tastes like purity in a bottle
  27. Little Creatures Pale Ale, WA: Fruity, light and flavoursome, and a favourite
  28. Rekorderlig, Pear, SWE: The answer to a bad mood and a hot day, refreshing and delicious!
  29. Peroni, ITA: Crisp and dry, bellisimo!
  30. Little Creatures Bright Ale, WA: refreshing, plenty of flavour and a hint of apple.
  31. Corona, MEX: A flavoursome Mexican party flavourite that always taste better on a hot day with lime.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

The Porkless Pig Challenge – Stage 2……..

FINALLY! The first installment of what is proving to be a far bigger challenge than expected, has come to an end. 3 weeks without meat and chips was torturing and full of punishment. After some obligatory and accidental meals including meat – a chicken gyoza, chicken pie at a friends lunch and a bit of mince on some chilli fries (I swear I thought they were just beans!) – I had to subject myself to an additional 3 days on top of the 3 weeks. Days now feel like weeks while I deprive myself of the things I love.

The end of no meat phase was appropriately celebrated with a steak in a pub, bacon at breakfast and a lamb shoulder for lunch - I could feel the blood pumping through my veins again and promised my iron deprived limbs that I would never do this again!

You’d think I would be rejoicing in my last few days but after realising how hard cold turkey can be when it comes to things I love to eat, I started to get nervous over the thought of no carbs or alcohol…. eating fish and tofu wasn’t looking too bad in comparison.

I eat carbs at almost every meal, it is cheap, easy and often the most convenient food group, not to mention the most effective way to feel full. Although this challenge is only restricting me from pasta, rice and bread, I can’t remember a day where I didn’t have at least one of those, if not all of them. But I am ready to become friends with salad and finding some suitable substitutes, whatever they may be.

As for the booze…. I woke up on day one of Stage 2 feeling completely happy with this decision while nursing a sizable cider induced headache. I only indulge in a mid-week glass of wine here and there, and I am feeling confident about the first weekend of sobriety being a breeze but I have a sneaking suspicious weeks 2 and 3 might have me climbing up the walls. There is only so many Saturday night Sex and the City marathons you can enjoy in succession but I know my liver (well, whats left of it) and my wallet will be appreciative at the end of it…… if I get there.

The plus side of this is that without a hangover perhaps I won’t have those crazy carb craving frenzies that seem unstoppable after a night out. Perhaps I will be more popular among my friends now they don’t need to hear my theories on evolution after a few wines and they can reap the benefits of having me as a designated drive. Or, perhaps I will lose all my friends after hibernating to steer clear from temptation. I guess time will tell………….

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig

Porkless Pig Week 2…….

Porkless Pig Week 2…….

2 Weeks down and 8 days to go…… It has been challenging to say the least and surprisingly I have struggled more with the lack of meat than the lack of Samboys.

On the weekend I travelled to the NSW country side for a wedding, passing the paddocks of cows all I could think of was steak, meat balls and shredded beef nachos. I was secretly hoping the reception dinner would provide me with an obligatory excuse to eat meat at the expense of adding an extra day to the challenge. When I saw the fish arrive at the table my disappointment was as audible as my boyfriend’s amusement. I think he had great satisfaction biting into his roast beef knowing I couldn’t ask him to share it with me.

I am still undecided if this challenge is worth the inconvenience and heart ache but here is the progress of the Porkless Pig Challenge so far:

Mind: Foggy, my energy levels have plummeted and body is telling me go to the butcher.

Body: I have lost 1.5kg from the pork belly, I think that can be attributed to my meals being boring so I don’t go in for seconds and I’m forced to eat more salads because sandwiches generally have meat on them.

Bank: I have a few extra piggy pennies in the bank, but I don’t think you can put a price on good ham.

Despite my complaints I have had some delicious and nutritious delights, the highlights include:

  • Falafel, chickpea and sweet potato salad with lemon tahini dressing
  • Crispy skin salmon with a spinach, bean, asparagus and feta salad
  • Feta, roast capsicum, chilli and herb stuffed roasted field mushrooms
  • Sweet potato roasted in Moroccan seasoning to substitute Samboys

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

The Porkless Pig Challenge…….

After a whirl wind trip around the Caribbean and the US (I know, life is tough), I was sitting in the jumbo jet headed for home feeling like a jumbo pig. I had only been gone for one week, how could I possibly feel so porky after such a short amount of time? With winter just around the corner, the last thing I want is to look like a strung ham in my skinny jeans.

Then it dawned on me, Americans (who have also infected Aruba with their “upsized” attitude) have made me fat by feeding me full of meat, booze, doritos, cheese (especially the orange stuff out of a pump), free refill coffee and carbs upon carbs (home fries with an eggs benedict always seems god sent at the time). So, in hindsight it was no surprise that I was feeling like a pregnant pig, I had been eating bacon cheese burgers while sipping on pina coladas for a week and snacking on Doritos to fuel me for the walk from the pool to the casino, an exhausting 100m trek. But I kept thinking, when in Rome do as the lard laden Americans do…..

So it is time to get rid of the bacon rind and start the first ever diet(ish) of my life! The emptiness of my bank account, pressure of my top button and the feeling of being an over fed heffa in cattle class was enough motivation for me to put this change into action immediately!

They say it takes 3 weeks to break up any habit so, in stages, I will break each of those Americana habits I too willingly embraced over the past week and that I (over)moderately implement in my day-to-day diet. The thought of not indulging in six of my favourite things makes me feel anxious but I just need to take a few deep snorts and bite the bacon!

The Porkless Pig Challenge:

Who? Me, Truffle Pig

What? A 9 week challenge eliminating six of my favourite things from my diet

Why? No idea, I am starting to regret it already. But, I will do it to test my will power, relieve the seams of my jeans from tension and learn to cook and eat differently

How?

  • Stage 1: Three weeks with no meat* or chips
  • Stage 2: Three weeks with no booze* or carbs**
  • Stage 3: Three weeks with no coffee or dairy*

Those that know me are probably laughing and thinking this is Mission Impossible and rightfully so. My “No Chip” weeks usually end in me going 24 hours without then waking up from a what I call a “Samboy Blackout” with chicken flavouring on the tip of every trotter, a bloated belly, a sty of crumbs surrounding me and a very amused/terrified household.

So, by taking this challenge publicly I hope to stick to my guns with the support from my readers and friends – you will all have to deal with my mood swings, withdrawals and hold me back from attacking any pack of Doritos within reach. On the plus side, I will be forced to expand my culinary skills by delving into vegetarianism which is a foreign concept for me as I like my steak rare and my life motto is “if there’s no meat, it’s an entrée”.

Will I have a mental break down? Will I start gnawing at my own arm? Will I die? Will I save money? Will I lose weight? Will I replace barramundi for bacon forever? Will I succeed? Or will I be found oinking in a self-made sty in 711 snorting Samboys, Gaytimes and meat pies at 3am on day 3? …………………… Your guess it as good as mine.

Oink oink,
Truffle Pig.

*Exceptions made for meals I can’t avoid i.e work events, weddings or birthday celebrations. Any infringements of the challenge will add an addition day to the stage.

**I will draw the line at calling a banana a carb so my diet will only restrict pasta, bread and rice.

Jamie’s (almost) 30 Minute Meal….

Jamie’s (almost) 30 Minute Meal….

The Truffle Challenge:

Manufacture a 30 Minute Meal of Moroccan Lamb in time, without giving the pigs I am feeding food poisoning and make it taste as delicious it looks in the book. My pig plan of attack:

  • Marinate and roast a rack from a little lamb
  • Infuse natural yoghurt with hot harissa
  • Coat and bake some fluffy flat bread
  • Stuff peppers with cheddar and create a melting moment
  • Heap some hummus and pepper it with paprika
  • Infuse bubbles with flavoursome fruit and its flowers
  • Cook couscous and cover it chilli, mint and parsley
  • Complete cooking in 30 minutes
  • Keep guests entertained, well fed and tipsy.

The Victories:

  • The flatbread drizzled in oil, coated in thyme and warmed in the oven were delicious
  • The seasoned yoghurt and hummus were simple but sumptuous sauces suitable for the smorgasbord
  • Big share platters make for a fun food frenzy with friends.

The Defeats:

  • The drink needed more pomegranate and lemons to infuse more flavour
  • The flavour of the lamb was lovely… if only I hadn’t overcooked it!
  • It defeated me… there was leftovers, a very rare occurrence for a big boar like me.

The Verdict:

All-in-all it was a brilliant buffet so I am told, although my hungry herd might be trying to humour me. 30 minutes is a little ambitious but achievable, it took me 40 minutes inclusive of taking photos and sipping on my vino. This won’t be my last truffle challenge inspired by my soul mate’s 30 Minute Meals book…. he is a genius!

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig

P.S – If you want the recipe, let me know or visit www.jamieoliver.com