1. Beer batter cheese bread One of my first Hunger Management columns featured a quick bread leavened by beer. This recipe is adapted from I Wash You Dry, a cooking blog by American mother of five, Shawn Syphus. Her recipe is simpler than mine, and I have streamlined it even more.
• The sliced chilli topping is not cast in stone. Leave it out, or ring the top with slices of bell pepper or shallots, or stir chopped scallions through the batter.
• Hustle the bread into the oven as soon as possible, so you get the full lifting effect of the beer.
• Don’t like cheese? Other savoury add-ins include small cubes of ham or other cured meat, or fresh herbs such as dill and thyme. Sweet options include citrus zest and dried fruit such as cranberries or chopped-up apricots. If going sweet, leave out the cheese, chilli powder and pepper.
• You do not need expensive beer for this. I buy whatever is on sale.
• Store leftovers in an airtight container or zipper bag for up to three days, and toast before eating.
120g block cheddar
350g self-raising flour
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp chilli powder (optional)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
330ml can of beer
2 large chillies, sliced on the diagonal (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 20cm x 10cm loaf pan with cooking oil. Line it with baking paper so that the paper extends about 5cm along the longer sides of the pan. Grease the paper. This makes it easier to remove the bread from the pan after baking.
2. Grate the cheddar coarsely, set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the self-raising flour, sugar, salt, chilli powder, if using, and black pepper. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
4. Add the cheese and beer. Mix with a sturdy metal spoon just until there are no streaks of flour in the batter. Scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.
5. Scatter the sliced chillies, if using, on top.
6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a rack. Cool the bread in the pan for five minutes, then pull it out of the tin using the paper overhang. Peel off the paper and cool the bread completely on a rack before slicing and eating.
Serves four to six