Beer food, they said, for when you’ve got people over to watch the World Cup and stuff … But what is beer food, beyond nuts, crisps and calling in a meat feast pizza with extra jalapeños? It’s what my friend Alejandro calls “nibblings” and my dad “snackettes”.
A good nibbling is a well-seasoned, often potato-based thing. It is pick-up-able, dunkable and, sometimes, slatherable with something nice and punchy, allowing for kick-back against (my) horrible habits such as smoking out of the window and other such abominations. These recipes deliver all those things and are mostly doable well in advance. There is only a little work involved in getting them ready, the shopping is one fell swoop of a large, high-street retailer-type thing and, vitally, there is very little effort required when it comes to eating them. Which frees up time and, indeed, a hand for holding a beer or waving about in the air when someone scores, or doesn’t, or whatever it is.
Curried egg mayonnaise
If crisps aren’t your bag, though I hope they are, use chopped raw veg such as cucumber sticks, chicory or baby gem leaves instead.
Prep 10 min
Cook 12 min
4 eggs, boiled for 7 minutes and peeled
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced (both white and green bits)
1 heaped tsp mild madras curry powder
2 heaped tbsp mayonnaise – Hellmann’s is my go-to
1 tbsp malt or white-wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
1 big bag of crisps of your choosing, for dunking – check the ingredients if you need them to be gluten-free (a surprising number aren’t)
Put the eggs in a bowl and mash the hell out of them with a fork. Add the onions, curry powder, mayo, vinegar, a big pinch of salt and some black pepper, and stir thoroughly. Serve with the crisps for dunking.
Baked new potatoes with soured cream and rose harissa
I don’t want to teach my granny to suck eggs here – I’m sure we’ve all baked a potato – but this is how I do it and these ones are little.
Prep 5 min
Cook 40 min
10 new potatoes, all of a similar size
150ml full-fat soured cream
1 x 170g jar rose harissa – I like Belazu, which all the supermarkets now sell
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Hold a fork in one hand and cradle a potato in the palm of your other hand. Tack, tack, tack the fork firmly all over the potato, turning it around as you go, so perforating it all over – this will allow for an even evaporation of the water inside it and therefore result in a better baked potato.
(This is the same thing I do with big baked potatoes.) If their width allows, arrange the little spuds on an oven rack; if not, put them on a dry, heated baking tray. They’ll take about 35 minutes until they look exactly like a normal baked potato, but in miniature! (Squeeze one in a tea towel to make sure it’s completely soft.) Remove from the oven and drop them one by one – do not throw them! – from a height of a foot or so on to a work surface, to break up their lovely insides.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half, arrange them on a platter, then spoon on some soured cream followed by some rose harissa; I also like these topped with that lumpfish caviar you get in little £2 jars from the supermarket, in which case ditch the harissa. You’ll probably have soured cream left over, and harissa, and some raw potatoes from the bag you bought, so do the same thing tomorrow, when that other match is on.