Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

2017: Year in Review   Leave a comment

Everyone does an End-Of-The-Year retrospective and I almost always do, too (here’s 2016’s review, for example).  Remember, this blog is about pubs and running more than anything else and most of what remains is primarily adolescent humour.  With that caveat, I bring you the Year 2017 In Review:

The Running Year 2017 (painfully detailed post to follow) was only salvaged in the last 1/3 of the year despite an initially strong start.  I started training for the Siracusa Marathon which had been cancelled at the last moment in 2016 and which was again cancelled this year nearly 3 months before it was scheduled to run.  Shit.  However, this left me in pretty good shape for tackling the London Outer Orbital Path mostly in May (while Jackie was Stateside), averaging more than 6½ miles per day and one week over 90 miles.

But, a prolonged respiratory infection hit me the first week of June (lingering for another week and with a relapse mid-July) and a spot of cancer related depression thereafter pushed my weekly mileage down significantly.  I had only managed to hit 1000 miles for the year by mid-August.

Fortuitously, I came into possession of a block of hash and a few very oily buds of home grown pot and, with their help and guidance, rediscovered the joys of hard training with no specific goal.  Well, one specific goal: I decided to try to salvage the annual mileage with a modest 1600 by year’s end, upping that to 1800 as it became clear 1600 was going to fall easily, eventually ending on 2022.  Now, if I hadn’t already blown through the weed I might target some real mileage for 2018.

So, running was all personal this year and that made it a good thing.  No races.  No hashing.  No GHAD.  Just finishing the London A to Z Runs, the London Outer Orbital Path, the Holiday Run Streak, and starting the TfL Run Project with 267 pub stops for the year in the midst of runs (and, 322 total, bringing the grand total to 2038).

Pub details (especially write-ups)

Pubs by month
16   Jan
17   Feb
20   Mar
11   Apr
74   May
12   Jun
19   Jul
23   Aug
30  Sep
28  Oct
40 Nov
32 Dec

Other good write-ups (reverse chronological order under the subheadings):

Favourite Pub visits:

The Woodman, Birmingham (pub #2000)
The Charlie Chaplin, Elephant & Castle (atmosphere)
The Queens, Crouch End (stunning)
The Victoria Tavern, Plaistow (atmosphere)
The Harp, Covent Garden (beer curation)
The Britannia, Plaistow (drunken conversation)
The Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Chorleywood (damn near perfect pub)
The Marquis of Granby, New Cross (weird encounter)
The Old Oak Tree, Southall (whorehouse as revealed at the Lamb, shortly thereafter)
The Pineapple, Lambeth (not a half-bad local this close to Waterloo)
The George, Isle of Dogs (trying to convince a middle-aged guy he’s still fuckable)
The Wattenden Arms, Kenley (surreal art criticism)
The Sir Julian Huxley, Selsdon (foul-mouthed grannies)
The Tiger, Homerton (rare to find a hipster joint so hip)
The Duke’s Head, Crayford (almost too hospitable)
Dive Bar, Hull (they gave me too much change!)
Wm Hawkes, Hull (dark and awesome, despite fucking up my order)
The Rising Sun, Mill Hill (Grade 1 Listed)
Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow & Wealdston (stunning former home of WS Gilbert)
The Queen’s Head, Limehouse (maybe gone by now, but as local as they come anymore)
Ye Olde Greene Manne, Rickmansworth (more encounters with nutters)
The Castle, Holland Park (architecture and hopelessly incompetent staff)
Lavin’s Bar, Hanwell (another psycopath encounter)
The Bull, Iver (for the local day drinkers)
Tap Social, Oxford (awesome microbrewery and tap room)

Other Events:

TfL Run Project (ongoing)
Beaujolais Nouveaux Day
Socialism 2017
Notting Hill Carnival (August Bank Holiday)
Mets vs Capitals Baseball
Nunhead Cemetery
Anti-Tory March and Rally (Not One Day More, July)
My First UK Vote
My Trip To Hull (many good posts)
Shakespeare’s Globe for “Nell Gwynn”
Taping of Have I Got News For You
Anti-Trump Rally at the US Embassy

Food and Feasting, mostly Recipes:

Vodca Sméar Dubh (Blackberry Vodka)
Tom Collins Obit
Feast of St Arnold
Hot Dogs
Treasures From Trumpministan
Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine
Angostura Tinted Martinis
Iron Duke Punch
Limping Lotta’s Banana Muffins
Tafel Spitz (Viennese boiled beef and stuff)
Chateaux La Limace et Le Gaz Hilarant (Drunken Bunny Cabernet)
Tamarinds (also, growing them)
A Week Of Haggis
Lyme Bay Mead (gift from workmates)
Winter Solstice Mead (another Drunken Bunny brewing attempt)
Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch Bourbon (gift from a lab visitor)
Best Kebab: Streatham Kebab, Fish and Chips House
Best Fish: The Carp & Trout, Hampton Hill

Previously Unwritten Recipe:

Basil & Grape Cocktail (from a food section article in The Guardian): makes 2 (these were really refreshing at the end of Summer)

Put these in a blender and blitz:
3 shots of good gin (I know, I know … all gin is good gin)
16 chilled green, seedless grapes
12 basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
juice of a lime

Pour into a shaker with ice, shake vigourously, and strain over 6 FROZEN grapes in each of two glasses. Garnish with one more basil leaf in each.  Yummy.


Obits (note, Tom Collins Obit in Food, above):

Robert Blakely, designer of the Fallout Shelter sign
Unnamed Person’s Wake at the Red Lion, Southall
Bill Simonsick (one of the few truly great Americans I have known and loved)
Bruce Langhorne (one of Dylan’s inspirations and dead ringer for my cousin, Chuck)
Lord Snowdon (trivia topic at the Sportsman, Croxley Green)
Tommy McDermot (late of the Old Crown in Hayes)


Best Ludicrous Posts:

Be Careful Of Your Dreams Coming True
Unfortunate Business Name
The Man Cave, Oxford
Party On, Wayne
The D.H. Lawrence Car Hire, Sudbury
A to Z Run W for Women
Jello Biafra/Dead Kennedys Tribute
A to Z Run U for Udders
New Cds From Notting Hill Market
Julie’s In The Drugs Squad
A Cancer On The Presidency
D90B (Drunken Bunny version of P90X)
NOT a Fetish Bar
Post to President Bannon
Trumpageddon…Inauguration Day

What an absolute bastard year.




Fill a 6-foot-deep hole with 2 parts gin, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup…   1 comment

At cocktail bars, I’m ridiculed by bartenders when I order something old-style like a Manhattan or a Side-Car.  But, going by the evidence in the Ruislip Cemetery, the Tom Collins is quite literally dead.  R.I.P.

Posted August 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Obits, Recipes

Tagged with , , , , ,

Feast of St Arnold 2017   2 comments


Today is the Feast of St Arnold, patron saint of Belgian brewers and hop pickers. The long weekend of celebrations started Wednesday with the run honouring Women. While one such Woman out in LA was completing an honour worthy project, we shamefully (or is that “shameLESSly”?) slacked off in the spirit of the season.




It wasn’t all fun and games, though.  Thursday I had to endure a bit of photography based biopsy of some more skin cancers before we were free to go to the Church Street Market in St John’s Wood and then wander around Ealing. The marvelous art deco building at the top of this posting can be found at the intersection of Luton and Penfold in St John’s Wood. After a run down to Hanger Lane, we settled into martinis and some BBQ chicken.




Friday was devoted to household chores such as strimming our weed-and-food-wrapper filled lawn then hanging out in Ruislip thrift stores. Out the back gate, I fought nettles and thorns to gather enough blackberries for some infused vodka (a Thanksgiving treat, if all goes well).






Saturday, I used some of the charity shop finds to start fermenting a jar of garlic then roasted the remaining heads to make a batch of pesto. To ferment garlic, peel the cloves (the last layer should be left on at least a few of them as this is where the bacteria and yeasts that do the work will be found). Leave some head space and pour a brine of 1 TBS non-iodized (think Kosher) salt per liter of chlorine-free water. Weigh the cloves down, cover, and check back every now and again for 4-6 weeks. Use this like roasted garlic although it should still be firm enough to grate. If you add it at the end of a recipe (that is, don’t cook it), you can diversify your gut microbiome with these.




Pesto recipe:
shitload of garlic
some toasted pine nuts
lots and lots of basil
olive oil
salt & black pepper
Parmesan Reggiano

Blitz all of this together, taste, and adjust to taste whilst trying hard not to eat it all during preparation.





The second fermentation project (remember, this is all about St Arnold), is a turmeric bug, sort of a starter culture for carbonated lemonades and limeades. Wash the turmeric but chop it up skins and all to make about 3 teaspoons. Add this and 3 teaspoons of brown sugar to 750 mL of water. Cover and put it in an airing cabinet or other stable, warm place. Feed it, daily, 3 more tsp each of turmeric and sugar until it starts to bubble up pretty good (as much as a week) then transfer to the fridge to slow it down. Feed the bug with a TBS of sugar each week. A half cup of the bug juice plus a half cup of sugar in a gallon of lemon water makes your fizzy lemonade (use Grolsch bottles to store it).



Things went a bit awry Sunday as I broke a cocktail glass then Frank Sinatra screwed us: One For My Baby, the last cut on Only the Lonely, was far enough toward the warning track on the album that our turntable shut off and I had to turn the disk by hand (the very hands, I remind you, that had just clumsily dropped a cocktail glass).



Eating well is the best cure for a streak of bad luck like this and I opted for a big pot of prawn Phô. I couldn’t find unpeeled shrimps at the store but I had some frozen bits of sea bream in the freezer from last week and combined them with some existing broth and vegetables to cook into a makeshift fish broth (normally I’d use the prawn heads and shells). Cassoulet may be my Desert Island Dish, but if I were able to find some way to make noodles and gather seafood this would diversify my menu.



So, now it is off to work … and, on a proper Holy Day, no less.  The plan is to down a Dubbel in Arnold’s name ahead of barbecuing some burgers tonight (although that should probably be some “Brugers”).




Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine   1 comment


There were four recipes for Dandelion Wine in my copy of the Farmer’s Weekly Home Made Country Wines, Beer, Mead, & Metheglin (c 1955) and I took what I thought to be the best bits of numbers 3 & 4 with some small variations based on the supplies available on the day. The basic recipe was:

4 quarts of dandelion heads (no stalks)
3.5 pounds Demerara sugar
1/2 pound raisins
peel of 1 lemon and one orange
1 1/2 ounces of heavily bruised ginger root
1 gallon of water




The early Spring, this year, brought a horde (or should that be ‘hoard’) of dandelions around the neighbourhood and it only took about twenty minutes (including a brief chat with an elderly neighbour about her friend who collects these for her tortoise: “do YOU have a tortoise?”) to gather a large bowl of flowers.




For the sugar, I bought a kg of demerara and topped it up with 380 g brewer’s sugars and 120 g of dark brown muscovado (1.5 kg or 3.3 pounds).

All those ingredients went into a stainless steel pot (there was still a bit of the green parts of the heads on the flower but I think the final product might taste good a little bitter) and brought to a boil, left to bubble for an hour, then cool for the next 4 hours. This wort was strained onto the juice of the lemon and orange, a teaspoon of yeast nutrients, and 2 crushed Campden tablets then left till the following afternoon.




The two recipes I was using were especially compelling because they used baker’s yeast for the fermentation. When I got home from a post-work run the next day, I poured a cup of the wort over 3/4 ounce (21 g) of bread yeast and let it get a start before shaking the bottle well and pitching the culture.


I took the patient route and, once the ferment slowed to almost nothing (about 3 weeks), I racked into a clean carboy and allowed it to settle on its own for 3 more weeks then racked again (off the lees) adding the inhibitor and a Campden tablet and shaking occasionally for a few days to mix the chemicals and release the CO2 (the test dram was a bit acidic).  Bottled 25 May, ready next Spring.

Starting SG = 1.110
Finished = 0.995
estimated ABV = 15.1%



Iron Duke   2 comments


Almost exactly a year ago I rode to Reading with one of the professors I work for/with/despite (strike through as appropriate). On the trip back to Oxford, he was telling me about this wild professor — John Albery — that preceded him and who, amongst quirks too numerous to review here, would demonstrate the enthalpy of solution with gin-tonics. Alcohol figured, as it should, prominently under his tutelage:

His first year chemistry tutorials usually (depending on the time of day) involved a glass of sherry which, by the end of the third year, had become a “White Lady” (gin, Cointreau and lemon juice). Research students graduated to “dry martinis of ludicrous proportions” and, as a “coup de grace”, at chemists’ dinners were often served with a lethal concoction known as “Iron Duke punch”.
–From John Albery’s obit in The Telegraph




The Iron Duke punch is named after the ship (HMS Iron Duke) that is named after Wellington and this may go some way towards explaining Albery’s preferred salutation, “Hello, Sailor.”

So now nearly a year later, my erstwhile leader has tracked down the original recipe for The Iron Duke. I suggested it might blunt the edge of some upcoming student talks and he gathered supplies forthwith and, the next day, appeared at my office with a sample of this brutish concoction. Not at all vile, it still rates somewhere between ghastly and dreadful. And, oddly moreish … I could drink this until the Iron Puke.



Posted April 27, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Recipes

Tagged with , , ,

I’m Happy To Hear You’re Doing Fine   1 comment


We watched a shitload of movies, a couple of baseball games (Go Cubs Go), an episode of Black Jesus over the Easter holidays largely because Jackie was especially ill most of the weekend.  The highlight of the film fest for me had to be A Dove Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence [En Duva Satt på en Gren och Funderade på Tillvaron (2014)].  This was transformative for me the way Eraserhead (1977) and The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) were in their times.  Breathtaking.  Or, while I’m quoting the movie (as in the title of this post), “of course.”


I also cooked a batch of banana muffins from an old recipe that uses sesame seeds to form an edible muffin cup (I have a similar one for carrot cake muffins that uses poppy seeds the same way).  I forgot the sugar whilst mixing everything up and, since they were muffins and shouldn’t get mixed to completely, I just stuffed a measure of dark sugar into the tops of the dough.  Not too bad.

Limping Lotta’s Banana Muffins’ recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
50 grams softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 squished banana
1/4 cup strong coffee

Additionally, get out a bag of dark brown muscavado sugar from which you intend to extract a half cup, firmly packed.  Mix the the wet stuff, then dry stuff, then dry with wet till it holds together…just. Lump this stuff into muffin pans that have been wiped with butter and dusted with sesame seeds. Remember, then that you forgot the dark brown sugar and sprinkle about a tablespoon on top of each muffin, pushing a little down into the dough with your finger. Gloat that this will actually work despite being a little less than 1/2 the sugar prescribed in the original recipe. Bake at 170 C for as long as it takes.


Posted April 17, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Recipes

Tagged with , ,

Tafel Spitz   1 comment


The chef, Rick Stein, has this fantastic travel and cookery show called Rick Stein’s Long Weekends. A bit like Tony Bourdain’s shows without the likelihood of a fight breaking out, the conceit is that Rick travels to less touristy destinations than usual but all within an hour or two flight from Britain so you could go on a Friday and return on a Monday and see loads and eat your fill of local stuff. I record these and scribble the recipes down as near as I can manage and have been looking forward to trying the Tafel Spitz (the specialty of the house at Plachutta in Vienna) ever since this one aired.

I’m sure this recipe will horrify the Viennese, but it turned out well.

Put 1 kg of a tougher cut of roast (mine was a silverside) under just enough water to boil and throw in a dozen or so black peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves, some salt, and a pinch of carraway seeds and simmer just above boiling for 3 hours. Take some marrow bones and roast these for 30 minutes at 200 C while the beef makes its broth.

Plunge the meat into an ice bath and while it chills add about 500 g of root vegetables to the broth — I used carrots, turnips, leeks, and an onion which was cut in half and scorched in a frying pan on the cut sides (this is in every recipe so the carmelization must be important). Throw the bones in with this. When the meat is very cold, cut it in slices about 2 cm thick against the grain; the chilling is necessary as otherwise the meat will fall apart due to the long boiling. After about 30 minutes, slide the beef slices into the soup to reheat and soak up some of the veggie flavours.



Traditionally, this is served in 3 courses. First, the broth and vegetables are served as a soup followed by rye bread with the marrow used to butter it (we had some Austrian style black rye from our baker for this). Finally, the slab of beef is served with a bit of the broth on top, an apple and horseradish sauce, and rosti and creamed spinach on the side.

For the rosti, I brought a bunch of small potatoes to the boil then plunged them in the ice bath and grated them. This pile was mixed with chives and freshly ground black pepper then fryed in butter until crisp and golden brown on both sides.

The sauce takes some baking apples (peeled, grated, and tossed in lemon juice) and freshly grated horseradish at about a 3 weights of apple to 1 weight of horseradish. For each 100 g of apple add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cider vinegar plus salt to taste then whiz it to a paste. This should clear your sinuses, gently; add more horseradish at your peril. I think it will go really good with roast pork, too.

I took the spinach and wilted it over some soy beans then thickened it with buerre manié because Jackie isn’t a big fan of creamed spinach. You do what you got’s to do, eh? A not too dry white wine would go well with the first course but as we kind of scooped everything into a plate and ran with it we just had a chianti.



A revelation. Thanks, Rick. See if you can get the theme music out of your head:



Posted February 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Food, Recipes

Tagged with , , ,