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Craft beer advent calendar 3: Andwell Ruddy Darter

We happen to be travelling at the moment, so I had to plan ahead to ensure that we adhered to the advent calendar publishing schedule. So I bring this review to you from the comfort of the Felix hotel in Cambridge.

Today’s beer is the Andwell brewing company’s ‘ruddy darter ruby ale’, apparently a “rich ruby ale brewed in Hampshire”. It comes in at 4.6% and has a design which is evocative of country walks and jolly farmers with red faces.

The first flavour that comes immediately to mind was coffee there was something incredibly malty about this beer. It’s warming and flavoursome but it is really dominated by that one flavour which isn’t particularly subtle. That said, I could see myself having one or two at the bar – just not much more.

So I’d give this one a 6.5 which puts it below the Meantime but above the Golden.

Kat’s thoughts

 It smells stronger and less fruity than the last one. It’s less fizzy too. It tastes more bitter but I prefer it to the Meantime even though I’d have thought I’d like a lighter fruitier one.

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Craft Beer advent calendar 2: Heart of Gold

Well, it got a bit late on day 2 of the advent calendar but the wait was worth it. Time for my next craft beer. This one got into the fridge for a couple of hours before drinking.

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The beer was called a golden ale and though the picture doesn’t do it justice, it was golden. The aroma was rather sweet – honey or lychee, and rather inviting.

The first taste was rather watery, though. This was confirmed on second and further tastings – it never felt like it had much body. There was no hop to it but it wasn’t unpleasant, either. I just couldn’t get away from the feeling that I was being served watered down beer.

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Reading the label, it was a 3.8% CAMRA-approved ale by Oakleaf Brewing. This wasn’t a brewery or a beer I’d heard of before, and unfortunately it’s not one that I’m going to seek outagain. It could have used some hoppy bitterness or some deeper barley flavour, but overall this wasn’t as good as the Meantime from yesterday. Still glad I tried it! I think I’ll wait until tomorrow’s beer before starting scoring.

Kat was absent from today’s tasting.

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Craft beer advent calendar 1: Meantime London Pale Ale

So I was given a lovely (and slightly daunting) present for my birthday – a craft beer advent calendar. My aim isn’t to make a big deal with long posts, or I won’t do it, but it was a fun idea and so I’m going to record my thoughts for the blog.

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As a bit of background, I do like craft beer, and I have tried a good few, but I don’t consider myself to be particularly knowledgeable. I like the taste of a decently strong ale, but I don’t consider myself to have been exposed to a lot of variety.

So today’s advent calendar ale is Meantime London Pale Ale. I’ve had this one before (I think in rather trendy bars and restaurants). It describes itself as ‘brewed with Cascade, Centennial and Kentish Golding’, which are apparently hops. I like that the bottle doesn’t do anything else in a self-aggrandising way.img_20161201_200118-copy (more…)

E is for…Egg Free cake

I had slightly stalled on the ‘Alphabites’ series for a number of reasons, but not least because I was a bit stumped by ‘E’. I even did an internet search on food beginning with E and there was nothing that really jumped out at me. I thought about doing something to do with eggs, and then I remembered an excellent recipe I had recently come across and made for an Egg Free Cake, and I decided to share that.

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Huel vs Subway

Last week I started using Huel for the first time. (It feels a bit odd to say “using” like that but I can’t really think of a better word. Technically I’m drinking it but telling people that I am drinking my meals makes me sound like an alcoholic.) I’m very conscious that I’m only at the start of my Huel journey and there is plenty of opportunity to become bored, frustrated by hunger, or even to have adverse reactions to having Huel instead of some of my meals. When I say adverse reactions, I’m not talking about anything serious, but there is always the possibility that the form of Huel disagrees with me over medium-long term.

I think I need to wait a little longer before making an assessment of its impact on me, but I have a couple of immediate thoughts. (more…)

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Huel: the sample

A while ago I posted an article named It’s not people, but is it palatable? The article was about Soylent, the powder that you could mix with water and take instead of eating. I expressed interest, scepticism, and ultimately disappointment that I couldn’t try it myself. For a while I checked every so often to see if they had expanded operations to the UK, which they still haven’t.

A year and a half later, I’d forgotten about it, but then happened to come across something else: Huel. It’s a very similar concept (down to the minimalist website with an athletic-looking guy pouring beige liquid into a glass), and it was not just available, but originated in the UK. In fact, the two main players as far as I can see are currently Huel and Joylent, the latter of which not only comes from the Netherlands, but rather daringly posts their last three reviews on the front page of their website, which at the time of writing are not all positive. (more…)

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I can bake a vibrant rainbow!

Last year I made my first rainbow cake: in many ways it was a great success, but I felt let down by the colours. So I purchased some SugarfIMG_20160526_100138lair paste colours and it’s taken me until now to have a chance to try them out.

And WHAT a difference. The tiniest amount of paste (often less than 0.25 of a tsp) stirred into the batters produced a wonderfully vibrant colour. (Slightly terrifyingly vibrant in some cases – I was worried that people wouldn’t actually want to eat the ca

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Check out the colours left on the baking parchment!

ke as it looked so artificial – but they did!)

 

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Look at the contrast between the cake made with regular supermarket colourings (L) and the Sugarflair pastes (R)

I’m excited by the prospect of many bright cakes, icings etc.! Here are some photos of the process, and also one of the contrast between last year’s cake, using regular

supermarket purchased food colourings (where I had a use a large quantity to even achieve the slightly muted colours) and this year’s vibrant success! The colours I used were: Christmas Red, Tangerine, Melon, Mint Green, Baby Blue and Lilac.

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D is for… Dates

Dates are another thing that I came to quite late in my life. For some reason I had them in the same category as prunes in my mind and had, therefore, never tried them. My dad used to eat them but I just wrote them off as something gross that I didn’t need to investigate. But then one day I ate one and could not believe what I had been missing out on for all these years. It tasted just like toffee. Sweet and delicious. They are now up there as one of my favourite treats (admittedly the list is quite long).

IMG_20160210_172732Recently my friend, who was expecting a baby, told me that there had been studies linking dates to timely and quick labours. A quick internet search confirmed this. She sent me a recipe of a date loaf that she made and ate the day before she ended up going in to labour. I made it last week and it was excellent. Tasted like sticky toffee pudding and went down a treat with everyone there. (Thankfully it didn’t cause anyone to give birth though!). A number of people asked for the recipe, so here it is:

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