11 Oct 2010
The nights are drawing in, it's getting a bit brisk out, and almost without realising, you change what you're eating and drinking. It's the end of the working day and you face a walk into the darkness, a miserable fight with the blustery wind and rain. A chilled pale ale and light salad isn't going to be the comfort blanket you need. Autumn's kicked in; everything you eat and drink is getting darker, meatier, spicier, chunkier, warmer.
A big glug of olive oil and a piece of butter goes into the pan with a load of garlic, a small heap of chilli and a pinch or two of whatever warming spices you have in your cupboard (now's not the time for dainty measurements). When it all sizzles, the chicken thighs (which are great value) go in for a few minutes, then a tin of tomatoes and a can of lentils. Simmer 'til cooked. Roast some potatoes, and bob's your uncle. Well, almost.
He is now. The superb Morocco Ale from Daleside Brewery ambles nonchalantly out of the cupboard and takes off his hat and gloves, proving a pretty good impromptu pairing for the frankly made-up-as-you-go-along chicken and lentil thing. In the mouth the Morocco Ale is a well balanced mix of marmitey goodness and dried fruit, with a little hint of spice that mingles nicely with the meaty sauce.
The warm cocoon of your living room, dark beer in hand, the wind swaying against the windows; all is well.