The Great British Bake Off is something I will religiously watch when on and it has proved to be a huge hit ratings wise. During the past week they had The Great Comic Relief Bake Off. Some of the celebrities had never baked before and one of the challenges was a lemon meringue pie. I thought to myself, if they can do it, why not me? So here we go, my first attempt.
The pastry was easy but the curd was a different matter. No matter how vigorously I stirred it, following the recipe here it would just not ‘plop from the spoon’ for me. I had followed the instructions carefully and all measurements where exact (the OCD helps in this :)). The proof will be in the cutting which as I type this will be in approx 30 minutes. Can’t wait.
You may be wondering why I have a photo of biscuits and coffee above. Well let me answer that for you. Those biscuits are shortbread which I also made for the first time during the week. I left them in the oven for a bit too long but they are still incredibly buttery and lovely with tea or coffee. They are so easy to make so you have no excuse for not giving it a go.
Here we have the final part of my ten favourite glasses and more glasses with wooden bases, Leute Bokbier & Celtika 8.8. I’ve never tried the Leute Bokbier but it does rate fairly high on ratebeer so I will have to track it down and christen the glass. The Celtika 8.8 glass was part of a gift pack I got from my brother-in-law. I’ve never got around to opening a bottle of it yet but will correct that soon.
Next we have La Cuvee des Trolls, frosted glass with a picture of a troll. What’s not to love about it. After that is a very special glass. Duvel signature collection. This one designed by Eley Kishimoto and was another gift, this time a present for my 40th birthday.
Lastly we have Lindemans and Hopus. This Lindemans glass is for their Kriek, Framboise and Pecheresse. I’ve only tried the Kriek and that was many years ago. I didn’t like it then but I must try it again as my taste palate has changed over the years. Finally we have Hopus which comes as two glasses. The bottle is poured into the larger glass and the yeast is then poured into the shot glass.
That’s it for now. I’m always on the lookout for new glasses and will have to buy another cabinet soon. Guess that will call for another trip to IKEA.
One of my hobbies is collecting branded beer glasses. Mainly because of what you put in them. After posting a photo of my two IKEA cabinets full of glasses, my cousin suggested I should post my ten favourite. So here we go with part one.
Probably one of my favourites is the coachman glass from Kwak. I remember seeing photos of this online when I started out on the craft beer adventure and it wasn’t until I was away with friends in Biarritz a couple of years ago that I got to order a beer in one. It nearly never happened though as when my friend ordered the Kwak for me the barman came out a few minutes later to say the keg was empty. I was a little disappointed and ordered a Duvel instead but then he appeared with a Kwak saying he was able to pour a half glass for me and it was on the house :). I finally got one when my good friend Sarah gave it as a Christmas present.
Next we have Maredsous which is a ceramic glass. Quite a few Belgian beers have ceramic glasses but I couldn’t buy them all when I bought this one in Leuven. Believe me I wanted to but there is only so much checked luggage I could carry back from Belgium. Below Maredsous we have Kasteel. I love the castle at the bottom of the glass. The beer is disappointing and much like Kwak & Maredsous, they would not be my favourite Belgian beers.
Finally, we have Rogue. I love the american pint glasses. They can be quite hard to find over here and this was a present from a friend. At last we have a decent beer too. Their Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout would be a favourite of mine.
If you have any unusual glasses that need a good home I will gladly take care of them
Now it’s the turn of the USA and we have a bit of a big hitter here. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot which is a barleywine style ale. Coming in at 9.6% ABV and 90 IBU’s this is not a session beer. In fact some people recommend you age this for a year before drinking as it can be very harsh to the taste. When I started drinking craft beers, I like a lot of people got a taste for hoppy beers. In face I became a bit of a hop head. So I drank this fresh (when I say fresh, I mean as fresh as it was after it’s 5-6 week journey from California). I was going to age some but I had the last one over Christmas. I must purchase some more.
If your only dipping your toes into craft beer then Sierra Nevada is a great brewery to start with. A lot of their beer is readily available in Ireland and they rarely make a bad one.
When you are ready to purchase your first craft beer, try and buy it from an off-licence that specialises in them rather than your local supermarket. If your local off-licence sells a good range of craft beer then you can safely bet that somebody behind the counter is enthusiastic about what they sell and will only be willing to help you discuss and choose what they have.
The Belgians eh? They may be a divided country when it comes to politics but they sure can make some damn fine beers.
On the left we have Westvleteren XII which has been rated one of the greatest beers in the world. It’s a very hard beer to acquire as normally you can only purchase it from the abbey after giving them your car registration and turning up on the schedule date.
Last year they released the beer to a worldwide audience as part of a ‘brick’. The brick was six bottles of Westvleteren XII and two of the glasses you can see on the left and where released to help restore parts of the abbey. As you can see the glasses are tiny but that’s probably because the beer is 10.2% ABV. My expectations of this beer where high and was slightly disappointed when I tasted it. I think it was still green as I had another bottle over Christmas after ageing for nearly a year and it was a totally different beer.
The beer on the right is Trappistes Rochefort 10. Another big hitter at 11.3% ABV and once again, it being a Belgian beer, it must have the appropriate glass (I collect beer glasses btw). For me this is the nicer beer of the two.
If you can, get yourself to Belgium, in particular Leuven or Brussels. Head to the many, many bars, get the beer menu and take it all in. Flights are cheap and bring an empty suitcase for the return journey. The beer and glasses are great value there.
In summary, drink good beer, drink craft beer, drink Belgian beer
I’m currently putting together a menu for a come dine with me party I’m hosting soon and my turn will be round two. I found this recipe on the excellent BBC food website and you can try it too by clicking here. I would suggest shredding the onion for the dip which I will do when cooking it for my friends. One other tip, don’t leave them in the oven for too long or they’ll dry out.