Picture the scene.
You crack open the fridge, fumble past the leftovers and (hurrah!) locate that jar of mustard that you could have sworn was half-full. Only those deceptive splodges clinging to the sides of the jar are little more than a masquerade of thin smears and (boo!) the jar is, in fact, devoid of any appreciable content.
Where once there was mustard, now there is only disappointment.
It’s made worse by the fact that, in my case, I have only myself to blame. I really shouldn’t leave as-good-as-empty jars in the fridge, for they do not a good recipe nor a happy camper make. The only consolation is that I am in possession of several not-so-empty jars of mustard seeds. Homemade mustard it is, then.
Homemade Beer Mustard
It’s episodes like this that serve as a reminder that it is, in fact, very easy to make your own mustard – once you have mustard seeds and/or dry mustard powder to hand, that is. There’s a useful general guide to doing so over here.
In my case, I decided that I really rather fancied some spicy beer mustard. I found several recipes having similar beer/vinegar/onion/garlic formulae – so I took this one, tweaked it, and this is the result. It’s a reasonably hot mustard, which, while it sat aging on the counter, smelled rather like a good barbecue sauce. I’ve been mixing it with a little mayonnaise and smearing it across cheddar cheese and crackers. I highly recommend you do the same.
- Makes around 250g of hot mustardy stuff & takes approx. 30 min to prepare + a further 48 hours to stand, before blending and bottling
- 4 tblsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tblsp brown or black mustard seeds
- 125ml red or dark ale (I used Smithwick’s)
- 75ml cider vinegar
- 1 small onion (about 100g), finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tblsp honey
- 1 tblsp dark muscovado sugar (or other dark brown sugar)
- 0.25 tsp turmeric
- 0.5 tsp allspice
- 0.5 tsp fine salt
You’ll also need:
- A spice or coffee grinder to grind the mustard seeds and a blender or food processor to blend the mustard fixin’s, plus a jar or jars with non-corrosive lids, sufficient to store about 250g mustard.
- Grind half of the yellow mustard seeds to a fine powder. Mix the powder together with the remaining whole yellow mustard seeds and the brown or black mustard seeds in a non-metallic bowl and set aside.
- In a small, non-reactive saucepan, mix together the beer, cider vinegar, onion, garlic, honey, sugar, turmeric, allspice and salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, until it reduces by about half.
- beer/vinegar mixture over the ground and whole mustard seeds. Leave to stand, covered but unrefrigerated, for about 48 hours. Do have a sniff occasionally during this period – ’tis lovely.
- When ready for the last step, prepare your jars. Turn your oven on to 140C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and sterilise, either by boiling in water for 10 minutes and then drying in the oven or just by keeping the jars in the oven for at least 30 minutes before using. Allow the jars to cool before filling.
- Grind the mustard mixture in a food processor for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is creamy but the seeds remain coarse and grainy. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more beer or vinegar.
- Bottle the mustard, seal tightly with lids that have been dipped in boiling water, and, ideally, allow it to age for another 2-3 days in the fridge before using. It should keep for several months but it will lose flavour over time, especially once opened, so it’s best to keep it refrigerated.
- You can vary the proportion of yellow and brown or black mustard seeds in the recipe according to your tastes – yellow seeds are mild, brown seeds are hot and aromatic, black seeds are strong and pungent.
The market will be taking to the streets of Temple Bar in order to facilitate the construction of a new retractable canopy over Meeting House Square. From now until works finish in June, ‘Up-Town’ is where you’ll need to go for your fresh fruit and vegetables, for fresh hot food, visit the ‘Mid-Town’ location and ‘Down-Town’ is where you’ll find fresh Irish meats and freshly baked breads. So don’t say I didn’t tell ya.