Thursday, 30 April 2009

A quick beer tasting - BrewDog Punk IPA

Just a quick one today. I bought a load of BrewDog Punk IPA at the beginning of last week as my local supermarket had it on special offer, 99p a bottle was a bargain! I thought I would do a little tasting for you, in case you haven't tried it yet.

Once lightly chilled, the beer pours a crystal clear straw colour, with a thin head that sticks and laces down the sides of the glass. The initial smell is floral and citrus.

Down the hatch!

This is where it gets interesting. Grapefruit, lemongrass, very little sweetness and a real bitter back of tongue aftertaste. There is also a piney, resiny taste, it doesn't taste as strong as the 6% abv that it is. It is really dry and fresh, an excellent summer drink, but at 6% it is not really sessionable!

I picked up a few more BrewDog beers on my jaunt up to Borough market last weekend, i'll hopefully get round to tasting them (and writing about them) soon.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Food Focus: Borough Market

I spent a very good day up in London on Saturday at the Camden Crawl Festival with Adam and Joe (from BBC 6 Music Radio). I took a couple of hours away from the music to visit my favorite food place in London, Borough Market.

Any foodie who is serious about their food and drink really should make an effort to go here, there is so much on offer with products sold direct from the producers or importers. The stall holders all have a real wealth of knowledge, they are always willing to share and will happily let you taste most of their products before you buy them.

There is documented evidence for a market in Borough since at least the year 1014, but it is likely there was a market located in Borough before then. The Market has moved locations several times in the past but moved to the current location under the railway arches in 1801 and has undergone many changes in what it has sold. In 1896 the market became a wholesale and retail venture, allowing the public in for the first time, it grew and grew until the 1980 's when stalls became empty and the market went into decline. The market dipped to a low point in 1995 and the board of trustees started a revival project promoting specialist and high quality foods at the site. From then on it has gone from strength to strength.

There is always a massive mixture of people at Borough market. Locals who have come to do some shopping, tourists armed with bum bags and cameras, chefs in whites who have run out of something mid service dashing about, foodies like myself milling about and trying everything on offer (it is quite feasible to mooch round and trying tasters and not need lunch afterwards!) finally city boys on their lunch break out to get a sandwich. It is a bit of a microcosm within London, things seem friendly and relaxed, people say sorry of they bump into you, start conversations in queues and actually smile. It is as if food is a great leveler that puts everyone on the same plane.

I'm going to focus on my five favorite places to visit at Borough but I must stress everything is worth looking at!


Utobeer is an awesome stall right at the centre of Borough Market that stocks over 600 different beers from around the world, from both major breweries and microbreweries alike. They have a good stock of U.K. beers as well as European and U.S. craft beers as well. They always have a good stock of the rarer BrewDog beers, Thornbridge beers, Stone Brewing Co beers as well as many of the rare trappist Belgian beers and fruit lambic style beers. They also supply wholesale, something I have been on to my boss at Macknade about for a while (expect a beer tasting event this summer sometime). As I mentioned earlier the stall owners are helpful and always willing to offer a reccomendation or a food match.

The Ginger Pig

Quite simply the best pork butchers ever. You haven't lived until you have had some of their herby pork sausages, you will never want to buy sausages anywhere else, trust me, I bought a kilo of them for the freezer at the weekend! The Ginger Pig have a farm based up on the Yorkshire moors where all their meat is produced and several butchers shops and delis around London. All their meat is free range and is of amazing quality. Again, if there is something you are unsure of, just ask. The guys will be more than happy to butcher individual cuts however you like and will talk you through the process so in the future you can do it for yourself. In conjunction with this they also offer butchery courses.


I met Rachael Sills on Saturday and had along chat about cheese (one of my favorite subjects). KaseSwiss are a company who specialise in the import of high quality limited production Swiss mountain cheeses. The usual suspects such as Emmental and Gruyere are all present but there are some interesting cheeses such as Alp Raclette which is produced at over 2000 metres and has a beautiful rich, creamy, sweet paste. They also supply by post and wholesale.

The Rake

Owned by the same people as Utobeer, a really cool place to relax and put your feet up for an hour after muscling you way through the market! They have around 120 bottled beers available for sale and always have at least 5 beers on draught. When I went in on Saturday they had Stone Brewing Co Arrogant Bastard and Dark Star Hophead among others on. There is a a small decked area at the side of the pub for sitting out as it can get pretty cramped inside!

Neal's Yard

The Mother Of All Cheese Shops. Focusing on British cheeses, sourced either from their own dairy or straight from the producer. Highlights include Montgomery's Cheddar (killer with a nice hoppy beer), Waterloo, an English Brie style cheese and Berkswell, a sheep's milk cheese which is often called the 'English Manchego'.

I honestly think Borough is the food capitol of the U.K. and really should be visited. Details of how to get there are here:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Seeing as we have had some glorious weather this week and the forecast is good for the next couple of days too I thought I would post this simple recipe up. Technically this recipe is not a sorbet, it is a sherbert, I will explain why in a second.

As you all probably know, ice cream is a desert based on a frozen custard flavoured with just about anything. Sorbet is a sugar syrup and water based frozen desert, usually flavoured with fruit. A sherbert is a halfway house between the two, it has predominantly a water and sugar syrup base but with a little cream added. The result of this is an awesome fizzy effect on the tounge, especially when the sherbert is flavoured with a really zingy fruit such as lemon, lime, pinapple or grapefruit.

For the uninitiated Zubrowka is a Polish vodka, flavoured with a grass found in Poland.It is a firm favorite of mine for making long drinks and can be found pretty easily these days. Larger ASDA shops stock it as do many off licences and specialist drinks shops. If you can get hold of it Polmos BiaƂystok is my personal favorite. It is pronounced 'Juh-broov-ka' (so now you don't look like a tit when trying to grapple with the odd Polish pronunciation when asking for it!)

This recipe is very easy and is wonderfully refeshing on a hot day.

Lemon and Zubrowka Sherbert - Serves 6

You will need:

200g of sugar
200ml water
200ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
The zest of one unwaxed lemon
1 heaped tablespoon of mascarpone
50ml Zubrowka

Pre-freeze a bowl or dish that you want to serve your sherbert from, this really speeds up the freezing process.

Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes untill all the sugar has disolved. Allow the sugar syrup to cool to room temprature, add lemon juice and mascarpone and stir.

It is really important that you taste the sherbert at this point. Some lemons are sharper than others and may need more sugar added. If the mixture is too sweet add the juice of another lemon. Finally add the Zubrowka and stir again.

Place the sherbert in your pre-frozen container and put it in the freezer. After about an hour take a fork and give it a really good stir, this will break up the large ice crystals meaning you get a nice smooth consistency. Repeat the stirring every hour until the sherbert has set.

To serve, leave the sherbert out of the fridge for about 5 minutes beforehand, this means you will be able to scoop it out easily. If you are feeling extra naughty you can slosh a teaspoon of Zubrowka over the top of each sorbet just before serving for a special boozy treat!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

I know I have been neglecting my blog.....

But, I have nearly finished uni for the year, and I have several recipes and other bits and pieces planned for here.

Watch this space!