Wild Beer Tasting

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A while ago I did a tasting at Independent Spirit of the  the Wild Beer Co range of beers. (sorry im a bit late with posts at the moment) They are a relatively new company based in Shepton Mallet. As with coffee, what i really enjoy is discovering new flavours in a drink and the Wild Beer Co have some really exciting ones. According to their website “Our beers are brewed with a combination of ancient and new techniques, with the aim of producing a beer for people who want to discover and understand new tastes and flavours.”

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The tasting consisted of 6 beers and one rather exciting combination in a champagne bottle. Below are the tasting notes which I took at the time:

Epic Saison. (Belgian style) = Hoppy. Apricots. Tropical fruit. Very nice summer drink

Scarlet fever  with toffee caramel and citrus hops = fruity orangey black coffee

Bliss secret spices roasted apricots and wild yeast = light fragrance of curry. Moroccan curry flavour. Spices subdue and fruitiness comes more out when warmed

Fresh. Fresh hops = very very hoppy

Wildebeest (500 vanilla pods in every batch) and chocolate and crushed espresso and  = smells of coffee. Fizz on your tongue then aroma of coffee. Perfect for after dinner you’d drink it like port. Aged in a 12 yo highland park barrel

Madness ipa = Very fruity hops sweet fruity floral toffee. Small bit of bitter on the tongue but hardly noticeable (not my thing)

Ninkasi. Bubbles apples wild yeast. New Zealand hops Somerset apples and wild yeast. Champagne bottle = apple aroma lots of fizz. Not so apply taste

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The Bliss and Wildebeest were my favourites

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Bath Artisan Market

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On Sunday some friends and I went to the Bath Artisan Market in Green Park Station. There was a variety of crafty made things and some rather nice cheese. One thing I loved but didn’t take a photo of was the carved wood jammy dodger brooches. Other highlights were these teacup bird feeders and this rather quirky teacup set sporting classic cars. There were knitted children’s clothes, hand made lampshades and i really liked the ceramic herb labels.

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The best part of the market was the tote bag screen printing run by Happy Inkers which 2 of my friends did. They cut out templates which were placed over the bag then the frame was placed over this and the paint is pushed down and dragged across and hey presto you have a print!

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Currently Reading: Peculiar Children and Zombies in Love

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Ive been quite fortunate with the library recently and come across quite a few books that i’ve been wanting to read. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is something i’ve been wanting to read for a while, but by random chance I saw Warm Bodies on one of the displayed and snapped it up immediately having seen the movie trailer a couple of days before and not knowing it was a book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2011) first captured my attention not just because of the name but the story is inspired by (and includes) collections of strange vintage photography. These photographs belong to collectors and have inspired some of the events of the story. Jacob’s Grandfather used to tell him stories of an orphanage on a Welsh Island full of magical children, but also stories of monsters. When Jacob goes to find this orphanage, things on the island are not what they seem. Its hard do describe this book without giving too much away but its and excellent story and one that I can barely put down. Im only about 20 pages from the end!

Warm Bodies (2010) is a narrative by R. R is a zombie and thats all he can remember of his name. He cant articulate much but he thinks a lot. He lives in an abandoned airport with his fellow zombies who shamble about and sometimes go on hunting trips for the brains of scattered surviving living people. One day he meets Julie and instead of eating her he is compelled to protect her. This book is just a brilliant concept, that there is more to the zombie that what we see on the surface and also hilariously funny. I’m about a third of the way through currently and excited to see how things progress. I know a little of the plot from seeing the movie trailer, something i cant wait to see when it comes out of DVD.

Rum Truffles

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My friend Chris asked me if I could make some rum truffles and i’m always up for a baking challenge, especially if it means sharing the results with my friends.

I used this recipe

  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 175ml/6fl oz double cream
  • 5 tbsp rum
  • cocoa powder

Ive only made truffles once before, in that instance I melted the chocolate then added the cream however this method seemed to work better. You bring to cream to a boil then pour it over the chocolate. It does take a while for it all to mix but when it does you get a lovely rich silky ganache. The recipe said to leave it to set at room temp but after a while i put it in the fridge for a little bit to set more. To make the truffles you spoon out small portions and roll in your hands (covering hands in cocoa powder helps but its a very messy job), you then roll the sticky balls in cocoa powder (or other coating of your choice) and leave to set in the fridge.

Im really pleased with the results and they seem to have been well received with everyone who tried one. The only problem with adding alcohol to truffles is that you cant eat too many, especially not early in the morning.

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Shortbread Hearts

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I watched a telly program the other week the home of fabulous cakes, it felt like proper old school cooking telly with the voice over, the detailed demonstration and the listed recipe. In it there was some heart shaped shortbread

I wrote down the ingredients and cooking temperature/time and thought I would have a go, and they were lovely (although the Gentleman of the House says they could do with some caster sugar on top)

  • 300g Plain Flour (sifted)
  • Half tsp Salt
  • 100g Icing Sugar (sifted)
  • 200g Unsalted Butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

I didn’t write the instructions down so I just put everything in the kitchenaid and mixed together (although I had the guard lid on I still had icing sugar wafting out) until it all came together. I then rolled the dough onto a floured surface and rolled to the thickness of about 1 and a hald found coins then cut out the heart shaped. Baked on a buttered greaseproof papered baking tray for 14 mins at 160 deg C then took out and left to cool on the tray for a few mins still they were firm enough to transfer to a wire cooling rack. This is the first traditional shortbread i’ve made (ie no almonds etc) and very yum