Archive for the ‘booze’ Tag

Empire of Booze with Henry Jeffreys   1 comment

 

This was a fun evening.  Sponsored by the Hillingdon Borough Council and Majestic Wines, Henry Jeffreys gave a brief lecture on his book, Empire of Booze, and illustrated the concepts with appropriate (and fairly generous) tipples.

 

 

We were met at the door to the Uxbridge Library with complimentary large vessels of wine — red for me and white for Jackie (for that is our way).  At this point, we were breaking even on the evening’s ticket price but the lecture was still twenty minutes from commencing.

 

 

Our fearless leader took us to France with a lovely Bordeaux to introduce us to Claret, then moved on to Sicily for Marsala (the wine of Nelson’s officers).  This was a dry Marsala and very nutty and strongly aromatic — not at all like the sweet stuff we used to cook with in our days, decades ago, in Italian kitchens in Atlanta.  It has the unfortunate name of Terre Arse.  We’ve already got this one, and the Port-styled Tawny (below, from Australia) earmarked for our Christmas arsenal.

 

 

Looking back over my brief notes, I reckon the best suggestion for a food accompaniment would be the dish known as a Fixed Bayonet … chicken stuffed with chillies then boiled in rum.  As scrumptious sounding, easily, as the Iron Duke, if it is even half as <ahem> interesting then we are in for a treat.  I just have to find a suitably inexpensive bottle to use for the pot liquor.

 

 

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Posted October 22, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze

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

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Feast of St Arnold 2017   1 comment

 

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”).

 

 

Treasures from Trumpministan   2 comments

 

Jackie returned safely from the Undignified Stupidity of America safe, sound, and because it is so hard to find decent food there a few pounds lighter.  She also — as usual — brought tequila (despite the new wall stretching the entire length of the border with Mexico) and Goody’s!  She is the best.

 

Posted May 25, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Drugs

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May Early Bank Holiday Charity Shop Finds (Martini recipe)   Leave a comment

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no

We were dumping off some stuff at a charity shop the first day of the Bank Holiday weekend and found something, as usual, to take home with us: Martini glasses! Four for £2! This prompted us to buy some vermouth for the bar, some stuffed olives for the finished product, and to seek out suitable music.

In vinyl, we struck gold for the cocktail hour: in pristine condition, Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me and …Sings For Only The Lonely. However, we didn’t find these until the penultimate stop of our foraging trip and, in the meantime, racked up these CDs:

Amy Winehouse Back In Black
Iggy Pop Live at the Hippodrome Paris 1977
Slim Gaillard and Babs Gonzales Shuckin’ and Jivin’
Elmore James Canton Crusade (1951-56)
Strut That Thing: Essential Recordings of Piano Blues and Boogie
And, a four CD set of Classic Doo-Wop Vocal Groups
R.E.M. Automatic For The People

How bad can the rest of the weekend be when it starts this well?

Make it one for my baby, and one more
For the road

The martini is this one (makes 2):

3 shots of Greenall’s gin
3 shots of Cinzano dry vermouth
3 dashes of Angostura bitters (hence the colour)
6 olives with pimentos

Stir with ice, strain and decorate with the olives.

I know.  If you use bitters it should be orange bitters and a lighter hand.  And, the vermouth is a lot more than most would expect from me, but this really is a sublime mix.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, y’all.

Posted April 29, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, music

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Iron Duke   1 comment

 

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

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An Offal Week   1 comment

 

Toast to the Haggis:

Ach! Ye fat bastard, ye.
Ye mid-winter harbinger of constipation.
We thank ye fer showin’ us
That gout isn’t just for rich men.
To the Haggis!

Wetherspoon’s Burns’ Week came around again this year.  I’m a fan of offal but Jackie only tolerates pâté so, except for my Burns’ Night indulgence (she likes the whisky part of it, mind) I tend to fill up during this week (and on occasional trips to Florence).

Friday 20 January: Highland Burger with a pint of Welsh Pride (no Scots beer available on the day), Four Candles, Oxford

2016-01-20-highland-burger

Saturday 21 Jan:  Haggis Tacos, Slug and Whippet, Ruislip

Method: heat some haggis with chilli sauce, cumin, and paprika; put in flour taco shells, add lettuce, cilantro, tomato, and cheese.  Yum.

haggis-taco

Sunday 22 Jan: Haggis Stuffed Roast Chicken, Slug and Whippet, Ruislip

Recipe: like it says on the tin…Stuff a 2-3 kg bird loosely with haggis (it takes about ½ a tube of industrial haggis from MacSween’s), yesterday, and bake for 20 min per 500g plus 20 min at 200°C.  Let rest for 20 minutes before hacking it to wee bits to serve with turnips and taters.

roast-chicken-aberdeen-prep

The result was a very moist bird with the savoury scent of the haggis infused therein — but not overwhelmingly so.  The haggis itself was enhanced with some of the chicken drippings and even Jackie had a small amount of the filling.

Monday 23 Jan: Scots Omelet, Slug and Whippet, Ruislip

Method:  Fry up some haggis and keep warm; pour a shitload of beaten eggs into the pan and lift to allow layers to develop.  Usually topped with a bit of grated cheddar and the warmed haggis, this time it is haggis neat, folded and devoured with some black coffee and a shot of whisky.

haggis-omelet-minus-cheese

 

Tuesday 24 Jan: Another Highland Burger, this time at the Swan & Castle, Oxford

Wednesday 25 Jan:  Burns’ Lunch, The Chequers, Oxford plus a flight of three whiskies and smoked salmon to start…obscenely good, but I can sense the gout taking hold if I keep this up.

Thursday 26 Jan:  Another Burns’ Lunch, this time at the Four Candles, Oxford with some of the folks from work (to remind myself that they’re not all bad … or sober).  They ran out of swede (the turnips bit of the neeps and tatties) with the second order but told me they had run out of the lot so I ordered a double Jura with the intent of sitting with the fellows then walking over to the other Wetherspoons for my own lunch; a prof from biochemistry talked them around to substituting peas (“ach! woman, there’s summinck GREEN on me plate!”) so I got that.  But, they charged the “with beer” price and didn’t give me beer (and I already paid for the whisky).  Fer fucks sake.  EVENTUALLY they made this right.

burns-day-plus-1

Friday 27 Jan: Haggis Stuffed Mushrooms, Slug and Whippet, Ruislip

Method: Fill the caps of baby bella mushrooms with haggis (and some others with sausage, others with a little pesto…y’know: hors d’oeuvres) and bake at 200°C until everything is sizzly or until the cheese, if you top with it, melts.

Oddly, I now crave a big plate of liver fried with onions.

 

 

Posted January 27, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, Food, Pubs, Recipes

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