Chef or Santoku knife

Let’s face it, knives are cool. The way that light gleams off the razor sharp steel of a knife blade is exhilarating; sparking something primal in our psyche that no amount of sensible grown up thoughts can dispel. No other kitchen item can rival it in terms of pure excitement and visual appeal; although a lovely gleaming set of French copper pans comes fairly close. A chef’s choice of knife is often an extension of their personality and cooking style. For the home cook owning one quality knife is often enough for most jobs, but which do you choose? Continue reading “Chef or Santoku knife”

Elderbrook Cordial Delice

Following on from my review of Elderbrook Cordials here is a recipe that I came up with using the flavoured cordials in one of my favourite desserts. A delice is a delightful little dessert that looks gorgeous and is actually fairly straightforward to make. By using the cordial, the method is actually even easier than when made with fresh fruits or berries so this recipe really is a simplified version.

Instead of making one large dessert I went for four smaller ones using individual 3in rings. If you wanted to you could make a single large dessert using a larger ring and a flan base for the bottom layer. If you did this only use one flavour of cordial for the mousse filling. You may also need a little more of the jelly depending on the size of your ring – I would suggest no larger than 8in. Continue reading “Elderbrook Cordial Delice”

Review: Elderbrook Cordial

Water is pretty boring, essential, but boring. We all know it and have to live with it. If it were not for the fact that without water we would die nobody would drink it. Over the years there have been many attempts at making it more interesting. Most of these involved lots of sugar, loads of it. Thanks to a certain Mr Oliver we all now know that too much sugar is bad, who knew, and so it is back to plain old water. Continue reading “Review: Elderbrook Cordial”

Review: Brewdog Brighton

With the Schools out for Summer and A level results received last week, this time of year is for celebrations and planning for the future. My school days are a distant memory but not wanting to be left behind, and being a keen supporter of life time learning, I leapt at the opportunity to attend “Beer School” at Brewdog Brighton.

If you are not aware of Brewdog where have you been? Since their creation back in 2007 this Scottish craft beer company has been at the forefront of the UK craft beer industry. Started in a small town called Fraserburgh by lifelong friends Martin Dickie and James Watt, Brewdog wanted to shake up the beer world – not literally.

Brewdog’s mission is to make other people as passionate about craft beer as they are. What started as two blokes and a dog has grown into a global brand with 44 bars across the UK and beyond, their mission appears to be working.

Beer school at Brewdog in Brighton offers groups the chance to experience first hand that passion for craft beer that runs through the Brewdog brand. Not only do you learn about the brewing process and ethos behind the craft beer movement but also how to taste craft beer and get the best out of it.

When it comes to beer I would not claim to be an expert, although you could say I am a graduate of the University of life on the subject, and so I was intrigued to learn more. I was also interested in hearing about Brewdog as I had heard lots of mixed opinions and press about the company.

I was greeted by Alex, my host and teacher for the evening, and quickly tucked into a pint of Punk IPA which was freshly kegged. Alex tells me that one of the reasons for opening their own bars was to ensure that Brewdog beer would be served at its absolute best. I have to say it was one of the most refreshing pints of Punk I’d had and was actually slightly mellower than I’d previously experienced. I could really taste the freshness and complexity in the beer compared to when I’ve purchased it bottled or canned.

I’m told this is because they can control how it is stored and kept whereas supermarkets and other pubs might not always have the same quality controls in place. This is something that we discuss further and Alex tells me that Brewdog place quality and consistency at the centre of their production. Throughout the brewing process their beer is subjected to rigorous laboratory testing and if it does not meet their standards it doesn’t leave the brewery, well not for public consumption anyway.

After watching some videos about the company and the brewing process we get started with the tasting. I appreciate that a beer tasting might sound a little ridiculous to some, however, craft beers can really rival wines in terms of depth and complexity. Understanding how to fully experience the beer is vital in appreciating the work that has gone into it, and a lot of effort does go into every one.

We start with “Jet Black Heart”, a milk stout that is as dark as its name suggests. Checking the aroma first I pick up woody notes with a bitter smoked coffee edge. When tasted these flavours continue with a creamy yet dry and bitter finish.

Next up is a Belgian fruit beer which takes me by surprise. I was expecting a red beer along the lines of Kriek or Fruli but this is totally different. It has a powerful aroma of passionfruit and reminds me of Rubicon juice. I’m therefore expecting a very sickly sweet mouth feel but instead it is very dry hopped and reminiscent of a pilsner style beer. It is a really accomplished and delicious beer.

Next up is another dark beer this time one that is aged in whisky barrels. “Bourbon Baby” as you can imagine is a beer with a strong whisky undertone, think vanilla and dried fruits. It has a very interesting taste and weirdly reminds me of Malibu and coke, not that I’ve drank that in a long time I might add.

Food, Booze and Reviews

I am back from holiday and as much as I wish I could say that it is good to be back that would be a bloody massive lie, so I won’t. Whilst I was away I am sure that the food world kept turning and lots of exciting new stuff occurred. Now that I am back it is time to write another little news update for you about the stuff going on in my little corner of the food world.

Laine Brew Co Launch

Last night saw the launch party for the new range of beers from London/Brighton brewery Laine Brew Co. Their new brewery, situated just outside Brighton in the South Downs, heralds the next step for this relatively new brewery upping their production to 65HL which is about 40,000 pints a week to you and me. The new range of beers features both cask and keg offerings which is great to see, plus bottled and canned beers as well. Continue reading “Food, Booze and Reviews”