Archive | October, 2015

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Portabello Mushroom with Leerdammer and Prosciutto Crisp

Posted on 29 October 2015 by Chris Ford

Years ago I was addicted to a toasted mushroom and cheese toastie thing that the AllBarOne chain had on their menu then one day they callously took it off never to be seen again, I did eventually get over my sandwich grief but Ive just seen this awesome recipe of cheese mushroom toastie similar but taken to a new level with a fried egg and parma ham.

Trust me it just works!

 

Portabello Mushroom with Leerdammer and Prosciutto Crisp

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Ingredients

  • 2 Leerdammer Original slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices of Parma ham
  • 4 eggs, fried
  • Crusty bread and a little rocket to serve

Portions:

4

Enjoy at:

Lunch, Dinner

Instructions:

1.Lightly oil a baking tray and add the mushrooms. Season with black pepper and grill under a hot grill for about 3 minutes until the mushrooms are just tender. 2.Tear the Leerdammer slices in half and place a piece on top of each mushroom. Tear the Parma ham in halfand place a piece on top of the cheese. Grill again for 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted and the ham is crisp. Serve with fried eggs, crusty bread, and a little rocket.

For more cheese based recipes head over to Leerdammer’s site but this is the one you really want to try.

 

 

 

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Stella Artois – a revisit

Posted on 27 October 2015 by Chris Ford

Yesterday my girlfriend and I booked a weekend break to Bruges for December; I’ve been before but Kate never has so asked me what to expect. One of the first things I could think of was the beer of course! But Kate mentioned the only Belgian beer she was aware of was Stella Artois and kind of made a face, why did she make a face? Well that’s the point of this short blog post really why does Stella Artois have a in my opinion bad name with some people?
I think in the past Stella Artois has this reputation as a strong beer that people get drunk on, and while yes Stella did start out life as a relatively strong lager at 5.2% over the years its gradually been lowered to a fairly standard 4.8% currently which in the mist of the craft beer surge in popularity that really isn’t that strong is it? When entering a pub on my initial pump scan (we all do it!) Stella Artois is always noted on my radar of potential choices when available.
I guess my point is for me there is a time and a place for all types of beer and on a hot sunny day nothing beats an ice cold glass of Stella, it really does hit the spot with its crisp smooth taste which is totally what you want on a hot sunny day.

Cheers!

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for more info on Stella Artois head over to www.stellaartois.com

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SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracker.

Posted on 25 October 2015 by Eddie

SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracker.

SPOT in the arctic

SPOT in the arctic

For my recent trip to arctic Greenland I was lent a SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracking device. This is a one way communication system that allows people to see where you are and also to report that you are OK or in trouble.

I went to a fairly remote region in Greenland and was planning to do some travel on my own, therefore a system to summon rescue in case of trouble was essential. Mobile phones won’t work in a remote country like this once out of the towns and marine VHF radio wouldn’t be especially reliable either.

The SPOT is palm size, it has a GPS receiver to determine your location and a low power transmitter so report your location and any messages. It has options to track continuously, send a message saying you are ok, a message that is customisable, a message saying you need help and a SOS button. The messages apart from the SOS, go to pre-defined lists of people either to their mobiles by SMS or email. These messages have links to Google maps showing exactly where you are on the planet. You can choose who each message goes to from the SPOT website, and the lists can be different for each message.

The SOS button sends a message to a call centre in an underground bunker from where they report your location and distress to the local rescue authorities, for obvious reasons I didn’t test this feature, but this was a great safety net for me to have.

On opening the box there is the device, a webbing strap, a karabiner, and a pack of lithium aa batteries. Once the batteries are in there is a simple set up system online and then it is good to go. There are some settings such as tracking interval that requires the device be plugged into the computer to change, this is straight forward too.

SPOT in the arctic

SPOT in the arctic

I found the device easy to use and the website fairly intuitive to set up the messages etc.

I set up the custom message to say good morning / good night to go to my girlfriend and the OK message to go to my family so they could see that I’m OK and where I was at that point.

I also set up a tracking map on my travel blog, so friends and family could see me in real-time as I moved around the area. This was either by sailing boat, foot or kayak. There was no problem with tracking any of these methods of transport.

SPOT in the arctic

SPOT in the arctic

The only 2 negatives I can think of are: They suggest putting it on the back of your rucksack to get the best reception, but there isn’t a low battery buzzer, so this is a slight concern (not that battery life was a problem), but when the unit reaches 30% battery the LED light turns red. That still gives at least a couple more days battery before it runs out, so as long as you glance at it every couple of days you’ll be fine.. And that the tracking only shows the last 7 days, but you can get round that with 3rd party websites.

Having this with me allowed me to be more independent, knowing that there was a safety net in case of incident, because unless I had a device like this there was no way of someone coming across me if I was injured otherwise. And some of the ground I was hiking over had a high risk of injury (think boulders like in 127 hours)

I expect to be going back to Greenland in the future and I will be certainly taking a satellite communicator with me for emergencies. I couldn’t justify the price of a sat phone, but these are much cheaper and still provide great coverage outside of mobile phone range and allow family and friends to know I’ve not been eaten by a polar bear etc.

In conclusion:

These are great devices that should be considered by people in places with sketchy mobile coverage either in remote countries or even regular visitors to the Lake district etc. The cost is reasonable with extras available depending on the needs of the user.

The Girlfriend comment

I got left at home on my own while he was away having fun. He assures me he was working hard, but I am not so sure! We had very limited communication whilst he was away due to the lack of internet and phone signal/price of the calls etc. On occasions that he left the village to have ‘an adventure’ (and he wonders why I am suspicious of the working hard comments!) there was no way of me contacting him, therefore it was nice to have the comfort. The occasional ping of an email/text letting me know that he was safe & well… and alive made me feel more content (don’t tell him, but when he was off having the adventures I was a little worried). This little gadget may be a little on the pricey side for some people, and I have to admit when he told me the price I thought this, but as the person left at home after the first message those thoughts disappeared, it was well worth every penny for my peace of mind.

They are available from the manufacturer here

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Whiskey & Beef Master Class with Gaucho and Jack Daniels

Whiskey & Beef Master Class with Gaucho and Jack Daniels

Posted on 23 October 2015 by Chris Ford

This week Gaucho and Jack Daniels invited Gentlemen’s Goods to a one-off preview event of their ‘Jack Daniel’s Whiskey & Beef Master Class’ in their beautiful Piccadilly restaurant.

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Gaucho Master Griller, Fernando Larroude guided us through the different cuts of beef ranging from Rump, Fillet, Sirloin and Rib Eye, explaining the differences and where they come from on the steer before inviting us to sample a piece of raw meat from the two leaner cuts, which I have to say was delicious and a total highlight for me.

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Next, as our meat was cooking away, Jack Daniel’s Brand Ambassador, Tom Vernon invited us to taste Jack Daniel’s No7 while he explained the unique Lincoln County Process that all Tennessee whiskey must undergo. It involves being filtered by charcoal that imparts some of Jack Daniels special flavours which is what helps it complement a good steak so well. And Gaucho certainly have good steaks, the best I have ever had, I think.

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Each steak was matched with a specially prepared Jack Daniels whiskey. They ranged from the familiar to the eccentric in the form of pairing Jack, a IPA Beer and some bitters! All in all though it was an amazing experience, which for £30 I think is an absolute bargain. Places are limited though, so get in quick!
Ranging from Jack Daniel’s whiskey and beef masterclasses, to exclusive tastings of new whiskies and an indulgent three course dining experience, Gaucho’s seven day celebration of American whiskey will run from the 2nd to the 8th November 2015.

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Events

Gaucho Piccadilly – Mon 2nd November, 7pm – 8pm
Woodford Reserve Master Class
£20 per person

Gaucho Smithfield – Tues 3rd November, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Jack Daniel’s Whiskey & Beef Master Class
£30 per person

Gaucho Chancery Lane – Weds 4th November, 6.30pm – 8pm
Bourbon Vs Rye
£15 per person

Gaucho Broadgate – Thurs 5th November, 6.30pm – 9.30pm
An Old Fashioned Dinner with Woodford Reserve
£75 per person

Gaucho City – Fri 6th November, 6.30pm – 8pm
Jack Friday
£20 per person

Gaucho Charlotte Street – Sat 7th November, 4.30pm – 6.30pm
Small Batch Bourbon Master Class
£20 per person

Gaucho Piccadilly – Sun 8th November, 2.30pm – 4pm
Old Forester Cocktail Master Class
£20 per person

For more information visit: www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk

Twitter @JackDanielsUK
Instagram @jackdaniels_uk

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Mad Men the Burger!

Mad Men the Burger!

Posted on 20 October 2015 by Chris Ford

With 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and two BAFTAs to the series’ name, and having been cited as one of the top ten television shows of all time by the Writers Guild of America, there’s no doubt as to the legacy Mad Men leaves behind. Fans and completists will at last be able to get their hands on the Mad Men Complete Collection on Blu-ray and DVD as well as a very special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray box set limited to 2,000 copies and featuring a host of extra materials designed to fully immerse even the biggest fan into a world they’re already missing.

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To celebrate the launch of the Mad Men set Honest Burger have created the limited edition Mad Men burger which I tried last night and is absolutely delicious!

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The Burger consists of Dry Aged beef, Smoked twice Bacon, Monterey Jack Cheese, pickles bourbon BBQ sauce and dipped fired onions.. Like Don Draper this burger is a real winner!

TO find your nearest Honest Burger head over to www.honestburgers.co.uk

 

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Mad Men – The Final Season: Part 2 and Mad Men: The Complete Collection, both available on Blu-ray and DVD from October 19th courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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Dyson – No Cords Attached!

Dyson – No Cords Attached!

Posted on 16 October 2015 by Chris Ford

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Ok, men, I don’t expect you to get super excited at the prospect of a vacuum cleaner. In fact, I don’t even know which model I have at home… I just know it picks stuff up and is red! So, the thought of attending a Dyson open day last Saturday didn’t exactly fill me with joy. But figured I’d give it a chance and have to admit I’ve become a bit of a Dyson convert already. Here’s why.
We were there to learn about the new V6 Cordless range from Dyson. They’ve completely redesigned the motor, going from something the size of a grapefruit to more like a golf ball, which obviously results in a much lighter machine. Kind of important for a cordless device when you stop to think about it. If you are trying to clean that dusty cobweb out of your kitchen cabinets then what a vacuum weighs will totally affect your comfort and ease of use.
Dyson engineer Matt Kelly schooled us all on the enhanced cleaning performance and power efficiency of the V6 range, largely down to that new smaller less power-hungry motor.

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Charging
But yes you do have to charge the V6 Total Clean and a full charge takes approximately 3.5 hours. While Dyson say this will give you around 20 mins of cleaning time, most of reviews I have read say this is closer to 30 mins so maybe Dyson are being a bit conservative? Either way for such a compact lightweight product, that’s pretty impressive.

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Initial Thoughts

I loved the fact that you can just grab it and go anywhere around the house, without the hassle of cords or dragging around a bulky machine just for a quick job. The Total Clean is lightweight and easy to use but still very powerful. Great for reaching high places such as beams or ceilings. Perfect for the car too.

Below is a video I filmed at the event of the Total Clean in action sucking up some baking powder

I hope to bring you a more in depth review of the Dyson V6 Total Clean in the coming months when I get my hands on one but for now if you want to read Currys blog on the event I went to head here
Or to skip right ahead and buy the Dyson V6 Total Clean for the very reasonable price of £349.99  (which is exclusive to Currys) click here.

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The ultimate beer and curry recommendations

The ultimate beer and curry recommendations

Posted on 13 October 2015 by Chris Ford

 

National Curry Week (12th-18th October) is upon us and to celebrate There’s A Beer That are recommending some of the best beers to enjoy with your Saturday night vindaloo! There’s A Beer For That’s expert beer sommelier, Steve Livens, has looked beyond the usual curry and lager pairing and has composed a few alternative beer styles to go with the nation’s favourite curry dishes. From ales to wheat beers, these diverse beers will conquer the heat, refresh the palette and enhance the flavours of your curry.

 

The There’s A Beer For That Beer Club, which runs every Wednesday at 8pm on Twitter will be championing curry for National Curry Week, with an expert on hand to answer any burning beer and curry questions.

 

Additionally, There’s A Beer For That’s Beer Match Tool has also been spiced up to suggest a beer to match any curry dish you desire. Tweet your chosen curry using #BeerMatch and you will get a beer suggestion in reply. So why not join There’s A Beer For That in celebrating National Curry Week and tuck into a delicious curry perfectly paired with beer.

 

Chicken Tikka Masala with Hoegaarden

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Available from:http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/

 

RRP: £2.49

ABV: 5.00%

 

This beer takes precedent in Hoegaarden history as the oldest and most sought after of the range. It’s soft creamy texture paired with its fusion of orange peel, coriander and spice creates a flavoursome and memorable experience. This unique brew creates a sweet and sour sensation coupled with a citrus finish, complimenting a tikka masala beautifully.

 

 

Korma with St Austell Clouded Yellow

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 Available from:  http://www.ocado.com

 RRP: £2.15

 ABV: 4.8%

 

Yellow in colour and made with hops of coriander and cloves, this wheat beer is deliciously sweet with a slightly bitter edge coming through. Boasting flavours of banana, vanilla and spice, the sweet notes of both the curry and the beer will play together nicely, making this a perfect pairing.

 

 

Chicken Madras with Thornbridge Chiron

 Thornbridge Chiron

Available from:http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/

RRP: £2.49

ABV: 5.00%

 

This Native American pale ale is known for its infusion of juicy malts and tangy fruits helping to create a golden colour. This collaboration of taste leaves hints of apricots and tangerine, then finishes off with biscuit malt to cool the fiery taste of a madras.

 

Lamb Rogan Josh with Doom Bar

 Doom Bar

Available from:http://www.tesco.com/

RRP: £1.79

ABV: 4.3%

 

Amber in colour, this British born beer infuses the flavors of orange, tobacco and caramel to create a lasting taste sensation. The sweetness of the caramel and oranges contrasts well with the strength of its tobacco hint, helping to create a light tasting beer. Paired with the lamb rogan josh, this beer will ignite the sweetness of the curry.

 

Chicken Jalfrezi with Dark Star, Hophead

 Hophead

Available from:http://darkstarbrewing.co.uk/

RRP: £2.00

ABV: 3.8%

 

Hophead is the perfect example of an extremely clean drinking pale ale, expect strong floral aromas and notes of elderflower from its hoppiness. Light and bouncy, this beer pairs perfectly with white meats such as chicken or fish, whilst contrasting the warm spices of this classic curry dish.

 

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Alhambra Reserva 1925 Beer Pickled Eggs

Alhambra Reserva 1925 Beer Pickled Eggs

Posted on 09 October 2015 by Chris Ford

Recently the good people at Alhambra got in contact with me asking if I would be interested in creating a tapa recipe inspired by traditional Spanish Cuisine, to enjoy with their Alhambra Reserva 1925 beer. I of course jumped at the chance thinking I would like to do something that incorporated the beer in the dish this is what I came up with.

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Beer Pickled Eggs
You may have had a pickled egg before from the chip shop, if not you are missing out! Essentially they are boiled eggs preserved in vinegar, doing so the eggs take on some of the vinegar flavour making a rather lovely treat to go with your chips. I thought why not incorporate the Alhambra Reserva 1925 with the vinegar and see if I could impart some of the beers lovely hoppy flavour into the eggs and the results did just that! The result is something that really wouldn’t look out of placed served up with your beer as a tapa in Madrid.

Alhambra Reserva 1925 Pickled Eggs (Beer Pickled Eggs)

Ingredients

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6 Hard-Boiled Eggs
1 Bottle of Alhambra Reserva 1925 Beer
1 small bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Pickling Spice
4 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Large sealable jar (I used a kilner jar)

Directions

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Hard boil the eggs, if you don’t know how to do that click here. Personally my household loves eggs so we have a dedicated egg boiler, fancy I know you can buy one here.
Once the eggs have cooled peel them then pierce each with a fork to enable the pickling liquid to penetrate and flavour the eggs more effectively.
In the jar place the pickling spice, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

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Place the eggs in the jar.

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In a separate jug combine the Alhambra Reserva 1925 Beer and the vinegar then pour over your eggs making sure they are covered with some space to swim.

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Seal the jar then gentley give the jar a bit of tip back and forth to mix up all those spices and seasonings.
Place the jar in the fridge for two weeks to let those eggs pickle and really absorb the flavours of the beer etc.

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Sit back and enjoy your eggs with a ice cold Alhambra Reserva 1925 beer!

 

Competition Time!

So now you know my tapa and beer pairing what would be your perfect tapa for pairing with Alhambra Reserva 1925? Comment below and you could win a heritage set of Alhambra Reserva 1925 beer to enjoy with your own tapa creations!’
The deadline for entering this competition will be the 30th Oct when one of the beer experts at Alhambra will pick their favorite tapa comment.

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Jack Gold 5

JACK DANIEL’S INTRODUCES GOLD

Posted on 08 October 2015 by Chris Ford

October 2015 marks the launch of a brand new expression by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, known as No. 27 Gold.

This new, ultra premium edition of the trusted Jack family has been created with luxury in mind. Crafted to the same uncompromising standards as Jack Daniel’s Old No.7, the new luxury expression, Jack Daniel’s No.27 Gold Tennessee Whiskey, has been conceived to offer Jack Daniel’s aficionados and luxury consumers an ultra-smooth expression of the original experience.

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This rich, exquisitely refined and distinctively finished expression earns its name from the double barreling and double mellowing of the Old No.7 whiskey, which sets this rare spirit apart. The result of the second mellowing and second finish in a maple barrel is a warm luxurious celebration of one of the world’s most beloved whiskeys.

 

To help celebrate the launch  the first 27 online purchases from Harvey Nichols will receive a personally engraved luxury decanter, tempted? me too! you can buy  here: http://www.harveynichols.com/2048331-no-27-gold-double-barrelled-tennessee-whiskey/

 

Jack Daniel’s No.27 Gold Tennessee Whiskey will be available exclusively in-store and online at Harvey Nichols from October, priced at £95.00.

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WOODFORD RESERVE PRESENTS THE ART OF THE OLD FASHIONED

WOODFORD RESERVE PRESENTS THE ART OF THE OLD FASHIONED

Posted on 05 October 2015 by Chris Ford

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One of our favorite  bourbon’s Woodford Reserve this week is  hosting The Art of the Old Fashioned, a one-of-a-kind bar celebrating the classic American cocktail.  Set in Shoreditch and running throughout London Cocktail Week, the bar will offer an exclusive opportunity to sample a menu collaborated upon internationally. As bartenders from across the world showcase their finest Old Fashioned’s.

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The curated menu sees the collaboration of some of the world’s most skilled bartenders. From Eric Lorinz at The SAVOY to Marian Beke at Nightjar, each friend of Woodford Reserve has crafted a unique Old Fashioned recipe that showcases the depth and character of the bourbon. With each Old Fashioned priced at £5 for London Cocktail Week wristband holders, the bar offers an exclusive opportunity to discover the versatility of this classic cocktail and taste the best from some the world’s most loved bars.

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Set in a railway arch in Shoreditch, The Art of the Old Fashioned will also offer guests the chance to experience the world of Woodford Reserve through deconstructing the Old Fashioned. A unique and interactive masterclass will invite guests to turn their hands to the craft of mixology, creating their own unique recipe under the guidance of the brand ambassador. Leaving with a hand bottled Old Fashioned, guests will be provided with the recipe card, allowing them to recreate the drink at home.

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The Art of the Old Fashioned runs from 6th to 9th October 2015 from 6pm to 11pm each evening and is located at 347 Old Street in East London. Each Old Fashioned will be priced at £5, with the masterclasses priced at £15. For more information, or to book a masterclass, visit www.londoncocktailweek.com.

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