A match made in heaven

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The beer scene in the UK is stronger than ever which is testament to the thousands of small breweries that have opened in recent times.

And while at one time you may only have associated wine with cooking, ale now plays an important part in the kitchen.

Little Valley Brewery, based in Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge is encouraging the movement from cask to kitchen. And in this brilliant new bi-montly feature its Master brewer and a former food scientist, Wim van der Spek, comes up with some fabulous culinary creations.

This week’s recipe marries together the elegant Withens Pale Ale with a British favourite, asparagus for a gorgeous and filling soup.

However, bear in mind the British growing and harvesting season for asparagus is May and June. You can buy asparagus all year round but the vegetable may lose a little at this time of year - especially if it has been flown from a long way off.

Asparagus soup with Withens Pale Ale

(Serves 4)

Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

400g asparagus

1.2l water

250ml cream

300ml of Little Valley Brewery’s Withens Pale Ale

4 egg yolks

Curry powder

Salt and pepper

Method

lAdd the asparagus and water to a pan and bring to the boil. Let it simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the asparagus in the hot water for another 10 minutes.

lRemove the asparagus from the hot water and boil the water until 80% is left over. Add the Withens Pale Ale to the water and remove the heat.

lWhip the cream until semi firm.

lAdd the egg yolks to a bowl and mix until creamy. Add the hot water and beer mixture bit by bit and keep stirring. Once mixed, add back to the pan and heat very slowly. Keep stirring until the soup starts to bind, then remove from the heat.

lAdd curry powder, asparagus and the cream and mix well.

lAdd some salt and pepper if required and serve the dish immediately.

lServe with a glass of the remaining Withens Pale Ale.

For more information about Little Valley Brewery visit www.littlevalleybrewery or follow Little Valley on Twitter at @littlevalleyale