Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Cooking With Beer, episode 1:‘Mussels in Hoegaarden with Chips’

Posted on 11 January 2008 31 comments

Article illustration for Goals for 2008

Web design, web design, web design. Let’s take a break for a second and have a laugh. Let’s talk about… hmmm… how about cookery?

I’ve been toying with the (rather odd) idea of doing a cookery blog for a while now, and for no reason in particular. I’m not a great cook and I’m not even particularly sure what I’m doing, but the other night I decided to go for it and marry the idea with my obsession for Belgian beer. So today, my lovely assistant Sam and I are proud to present the first of many (depending on how well this goes down) ‘Cooking With Beer’ videos and accompanying blog posts! Huzzah! (More info after the video.)

[kml_flashembed movie=“http://www.viddler.com/player/dfc4f115/” height=“339” width=“400” /]

The dish

‘Moules et Frites’, to give the dish its Belgian name, is one of the most popular main courses in Belgian restaurants around the word, and – like many other Belgian dishes – is usually combined with a top quality beer, both as an accomaniment and as an ingredient. What a great idea! Our meal does just this: essentially it’s mussels cooked in Hoegaarden with a side-dish of homemade chips (or fries). Hoegaarden is a lovely white beer with a citrusy flavour, so it works perfectly with seafood (and offers an interesting take on the more regular mussels-with-white-wine).

The ingredients

There’s nothing too fancy in this meal – just your regular supermarket stuff. But get your mussels fresh from the fish counter if you can. The measurements below are a fairly rough suggestion for two people; I never get too bogged down with being exact when it comes to cooking. We ended up with quite a lot of sauce, so cut down on the cream and / or Hoegaarden if you want.

  • 1kg mussels
  • 200ml Hoegaarden (for cooking; allow more for drinking!)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 100ml (approx.) double cream
  • 1 red onion (half for the mussels, half for the side salad)
  • Spinach and rocket for the side salad
  • 2 regular-sized potatoes
  • Sunflower oil (the amount depends on how big your baking tray is; you just need enough to lightly cover your chips)
  • (I’ve seen some recipes drizzle the finished meal with a little lemon juice. It’s something we didn’t do but might be worth a try.)

Serve the dish with a glass of chilled Hoegaarden, or – if you’re like me – enjoy a glass or two while you cook! Cheers! :D


  1. Francis Booth

    Francis Booth

    11 January 2008 @ 09:06PM #

    Wow! It’s Elliot Fernley Whittingstall! :)

  2. Francis Booth

    Francis Booth

    11 January 2008 @ 09:13PM #

    …or on closer inspection of your video, you’re probably a lot more in the style of the legendary Keith Floyd, at least with regards to the ├╝ber-healthy Hoegaarden quaffage. Great post by the way. :)

  3. Sulcalibur


    11 January 2008 @ 09:20PM #

    That is brilliant dude. I’ve been thinking over the idea of a cookery site for a while now.

    Food looks real nice too. I don’t drink though so is there anything I can use rather than Hoegathingy?

  4. Steve Killen

    Steve Killen

    11 January 2008 @ 09:23PM #

    Yeah go for it dude, get a cookery blog up on the web, think of all the different drinks you can add to recipes! I would try to improve the production values your videos though if you can afford it!

  5. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    11 January 2008 @ 09:38PM #

    Heh heh… thanks guys. :)

    @ Francis: I think in terms of day-to-day principles I’m pretty close to HFW, but KF certainly has to be respected for his quaffage!

    @ Steve: Yeah, I might do. It depends if this goes down well, I suppose! But I kind of like the low-fi production in a way, because I don’t want people to think that we’re taking it seriously!

  6. Kyle Meyer

    Kyle Meyer

    11 January 2008 @ 09:41PM #

    …and this is my herb cutting instrument, an instrument with which you cut herbs

    Too funny, the randomness of it showing up in a web design blog is worth a laugh as well.

    Looks good by the way, now I want lunch.


  7. Ryan Downie

    Ryan Downie

    11 January 2008 @ 09:57PM #

    Great post Elliot, I have just recently discovered Hoegaarden and Blond beer. I have to say its quite refreshing once you get the taste.

    I will have to try cooking with beer as I have never heard of it before, Thanks for the idea.

  8. Vonnie


    11 January 2008 @ 11:43PM #

    Really enjoyed your relaxed production Elliot and with your beautiful Sam assisting, from a distance, could almost smell the yummy grub frothing and steaming away in the pan.

    I absolutely adore mussles and never having tried them with beer will now have to have a shot at it. Looking forward to your next " easy way " culinary delivery .

    Vonnie Suffolk UK

  9. Dolo.


    12 January 2008 @ 12:11AM #

    Great to see be able to put a face to the lovely Sam’s Elliot :)

    Well done with the ….foaming mussles! LOL. Looks Delish.


  10. Matt Munsey

    Matt Munsey

    12 January 2008 @ 12:19AM #

    Hilarious! Very entertaining. I wish I lived in a place where I could get muscles readily. So much for that though.

    I enjoy cooking immensely (was a sous chef at one time). I recently invested in a pasta machine. You haven’t lived until you have enjoyed your own homemade pasta from scratch.

  11. Tim Kadlec

    Tim Kadlec

    12 January 2008 @ 01:57AM #

    Ok…so I saw this post in my RSS reader and just glossed over the title. I thought it said “Coding with Beer”, and I was quite interested in hearing about the techniques you would have to offer on such a subject! : )

    Cooking with beer is also nice though. I will have to see if I can find this Hoegaarden beer you speak of and give it a try!

  12. Derek


    12 January 2008 @ 03:33AM #

    Watch out Jamie Oliver! Hey Jay love the receipt, my wife isn’t big on sea food but I think I have got to try this none. I have actually seen Hoegaarden here in the states and an import store I go to frequently.


  13. Chris O'B

    Chris O'B

    12 January 2008 @ 03:56AM #

    Great post. It’s funny, over here in New England, we have a great little magazine called Beer Advocate and in the last issue, they had a bunch of beer recipes like “Beeramisu” and “Imperial Fudge.” Hoegaarden is some great beer, I’ll have to try this out.

  14. Chris O'B

    Chris O'B

    12 January 2008 @ 03:59AM #

    I forgot to mention, if you like Belgian beer, you should try (maybe you have already) Mikkellar, they make some excellent brews. Tough to get here in the states, but worth it.

  15. Chris A.

    Chris A.

    12 January 2008 @ 10:31AM #

    Wow, you really are a jack of all trades. You should submit this to Food Network’s “The Next FoodNetwork Star”:


    Your one little video is better than what I’ve seen on there.

    Definitely interested in seeing more. Thanks for the entertainment.

  16. Dave Stewart

    Dave Stewart

    12 January 2008 @ 03:25PM #

    How romantic!!

    How about a spoof version where you and your lady end up having a massive row over cooking styles (just watch Anthony Worrell Thompson and Marco Pierre White on Saturday Cooks to get an idea of the kind of “tension” I’m talking about), nothing gets cooked, and you just end up getting veeeeery drunk on Belgian beer (Leffe always knocks me for six) and putting the world (and women) to rights in a long, rambling, drunken solo-piece to camera…

    Or… um… maybe not… ;^)

  17. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    13 January 2008 @ 06:47PM #

    Thanks for all of your comments and support, guys – we’re glad you enjoyed it!

    @ Tim Kadlec: Until a few months ago I (naïvely) thought that Hoegaarden (and Belgian beer in general) was pretty much unavailable in the States, but – during my visit to NYC in November – I was pleasantly surprised to find it not only available, but on tap in several pubs! I hope the story is the same elsewhere in the country.

    @ Dave Stewart: You’ve quite possibly predicted episode 2, mate. Blimey… you should’ve seen what ended up on the cutting room floor! ;)

  18. Sean Delaney

    Sean Delaney

    13 January 2008 @ 09:08PM #

    Your dish seems to be easy to make! Where did you get the Hoegaarden beer?

    So is this “blog movie” of home cooking just out of the blue or is it something you plan on doing alot more for 2008?

    I’m going to give your dish ago… ;-)

  19. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

    14 January 2008 @ 09:09PM #

    Great work my friend, got all the ingredients for tonight. Perhaps this is what your top secret, super-sexy, uber-cool new project will entail… I wonder! =)

  20. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    15 January 2008 @ 03:36AM #

    I also share a true passion for Belgian beer. There’s something about it that tickles my fancy and made me forget about domestic beer altogether. Leffe Blond has become my favorite thus far, unfortunately so at $11 a six-pack!


  21. Roel Uleners

    Roel Uleners

    15 January 2008 @ 10:39AM #

    Seriously! This makes me wanna fly home!
    (I’m a Belgian graphic designer in California)
    Nice job – love your work.

  22. Lisa Price

    Lisa Price

    15 January 2008 @ 09:18PM #

    Heh heh – only just seen this! Bad colleague!
    Great video – mussels and wine are in my top ten meals of all time. Although mussels and beer sounds good too so I may give it a go.
    More! More!

  23. GavMack


    16 January 2008 @ 03:23AM #

    My! you mean not only can I drink beer, but I can eat it aswell. What a remarkable revelation. Please do develop the cooking weblog, I for one would be a regular viewer.

  24. rhys


    17 January 2008 @ 12:49AM #

    Elliot’s always been partial to a bit of the old mussel. ;)

    whatever next? one of those ‘room make-over’ shows? now that i’d like to see…


  25. blog.viddler.com [PING]

    blog.viddler.com [PING]

    18 January 2008 @ 02:05AM #

    […] Senior Designer at Carsonified, also likes to play around the in the kitchen. In “Cooking with beer: Episode One” Elliot steps aside from the designer’s table and shows off his obsession for Belgian […]

  26. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    18 January 2008 @ 05:25AM #

    Just got done drinking my first Hoegaarden ever. It was pretty good! Kind of a weird after taste, but overall it was smooth and yummy. It was no Leffe Blond, though :)

  27. Dan


    18 January 2008 @ 01:27PM #

    I must say having been a keen observer of your blog for sometime now, I find it funny that this is the first time I’ve been compelled to comment. Excellent receipe, love the mussels. More importantly love the Hoegaarden. May be a range of different dishes, with different beers and you could publish your own book : )

  28. Sean


    21 January 2008 @ 04:48AM #

    Elliot my man, you wouldn’t be at all offended if I said that this is probably the funniest video I’ve ever seen would you?

  29. Andrew


    23 January 2008 @ 08:13PM #

    Oh man I was so sick after making this. All it takes is one dodgy Mussel. Great recipe but I’m never gonna be able to stomach it ever again. I didn’t realise the human body could expell so much in so little time.

  30. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    24 January 2008 @ 12:15AM #

    Cheers for your thoughts, everyone.

    @ Sean Delaney & Dan: Yes, there’ll be more in this series and a whole variety of beers, although I’m afraid I can’t say when.

    @ Sam Brown: Nope, the top secret, super-sexy, uber-cool new project is still yet to come! :)

    @ Josh Stodola: I agree. Leffe is one of my all-time favourite beers and I think a dish using Leffe might be the next installment.

    @ Sean: Not in the slightest, my friend! ;)

    @ Andrew: I’m sorry to hear you got sick making our dish! :( Are you sure you did the ‘tapping’ beforehand?

  31. David Austin

    David Austin

    05 February 2008 @ 11:01AM #

    Cooking with beer:
    I brew…and sometimes it just doesn’t work like it should.
    I brewed an extract beer and decided to do it outdoors over a hardwood fire…I mean…it’s the way beer was brewed for centuries…hardwood fire…big pot..barley…water…hops. Yup…that’s the way beer was brewed…probably since the Sumerians. I brewed.
    But…it was so smoky flavored it was impossible to drink, and I’m thinking, all this beer and I can’t drink it. So…I made chili and used the beer instead of water, it was to die for. I made Brats…mmmmmmmmmmmm…chicken, beef stew, braised ribs, porkloin… I even soaked dried beans in this AWFUL smoky beer and they were great.. Now I’m running out and it’s getting time to brew…so I can cook!!!

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