Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Smallholders Steak Puddings.

Get yourself a pound of steak mince.  Cook in half a pint of water until brown.  Add a tablespoon of gravy or until it's thick.  Leave aside.

Make yourself some Suet paste using 8 ounces of plain flour, half an ounce of baking powder, 4 ounces of beef suet, quarter of a pint of water and a pinch of salt.  add all the dry ingredients together and add the water and mix lightly into a firm paste.
 You will need pudding dishes, ours are made of metal.  Grease and flour the dishes.  Roll out the paste, which should be sufficient to make 4 puddings.  
Fill your dishes with the meat mixture and  cover them with a suet paste topping.
 Wrap in silver foil and steam for about an hour and a half.
 Below is the finished product.  Be careful when you are plating them up.  They are very hot.  Just to prove I lived in England, they are served with chips!
The moral of the story is: If there isn't a chip shop in the countryside, make your own!  Wash it down with some home brewed bitter.  


  1. Looks good, maybe a few mushy peas might not go amiss? But then I'm using a lot of mushy peas, Tesco have them at 4p (Yes you read it right) a tin, don't know how they do that, it must cost as much for the tin and label without transport and handling?

    I think I already posted my steak & kidney pudding recipe. It gets Mrs approval, and she comes from Manchester, at the heart of steak & kidney pudding culture.
    I'll try this one but probably tweak it with an onion and maybe even a carrot, sure it'll work as one big one instead of 4 small ones.
    I use a bowl that just fits in my little slow cooker, takes a bit longer but doesn't boil dry if you forget about it.

    Can't beat making your own chips, Mrs would rather have my own made than any from the chippy, and that's done in sunflower oil.

    Keeping dry today, blue sky cool and breezy.
    Raggy cat sleeping happily, been out for a bit but back in for another kip.

  2. FOUR PENCE a tin!! That is incredible. Think I would be filling a cupboard with them. They have only recently started selling mat vinegar in the West Cork supermarkets. The chip shops only sell vinegar.

    We didn't put onion in or kidney because we have two fussy so and so's. It would work well in one big bowl. It's incredibly heavy and filling and just the job for a winter's day or when you have been doing some physical work and you have got a good appetite.

    It's been glorious here. Lots done in the garden and washing actually been pegged out and dry. Cattle seem content grazing. The cattle prices are starting to drop though, 100 Euros per head for some poor farmers. That's farming for you - swings and roundabouts.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  3. Even MALT vinegar!! And the chip shops only USE white vinegar. Sorry.

  4. Yes, 4p a tin, sounds impossible doesn't it? I've been stocking up, get a couple of tins every time I'm in, there was none left tonight, maybe all gone.
    Didn't use one today, salmon with new pots, butter melted in them, and fresh stringless runner beans.

    Sounds like a good time to be buying cattle, as you said, a bad years grass harvest will mean less beef towards the end of winter and hopefully better prices for anybody who has enough winter feed. Sad for the sellers, but that's the way of the world, not only farming, somebodys swings always means somebody elses rounabouts.

    Called in the big library in town today, just happened to be a parking space as I was passing, got John Seymour "The Lore of The Land", re-published this year from 1982 original, it came into the library 31 August, so I'm the first borrower, I've got a brand new book to read. I went to ask gor "Fat of the Land" but they don't have it, only 1 copy in Cumbria, that's in Carlisle so I'll order it when I finish this one.
    And "Forgotten Arts" by the National Trust, a volume of traditional and fallen out of use country crafts and skills I think, I'll post a report in due course.
    Both located by a very helpful librarian in a matter of seconds, 10/10 for service, and I can even return them to my local village library, saves struggling to find a parking place.

    Nights cutting in fast, it's dark about 7:30, pitch black by 8.

  5. Think Cumbrian got it right, Dave, where's the mushy peas? Still, good to see you're taking cooking lessons off the wife. Them puddings really do look delicious.

  6. Hi Cumbrian,

    I think stocking up is the right way to go, especially if we have a harsh winter like 2010.

    Farming livestock prices are a complete mystery, they are even blaming the poor grain harvest in North America.

    Never read 'Lore of the Land'by the great JS. I have read 'Fat of the Land'. Think it was a better time in the 1960's before decimalization to buy or rent a smallholding, when the bok is set.
    Don't let me put you off, it's a good book!

    I am currently reading 'England Revisited' and I have just read 'Blueprint for a Green planet'. Britain and Ireland seem to play at protecting the environment. Somebody sooner or later needs to say we need to stop the pollution. Anyway you know my thoughts about cars and the need for infrastructure like public transport, especially in rural areas.

    Discovered a new self supporting heroine last week thanks to Steve Byrne: Off grid and Low Impact living. She was called Dorothy Hartley. Think she lived in Skipton for a time? There are lots of her and JS books on Ebay. John Seymour penned over forty books. Look forward to reading your report 'Forgotten Arts'.

    Have you got any mulled ale recipes Cumbrian? I have got a heavy head cold and I don't want to go on the top shelf. Although a whisky 'hot punch' sounds quite good.

    Yeah it's pitch black here at 8. It makes it worse having no lane lights (street lights) and we will soon be seeing the road-kill on the roads.


  7. Hi Pat, This is Ireland and things like 'mushy peas' are specialist foods and we have difficulty getting them some times. I have only been able to get 'Theakstons' in the last few months.

    I am learning to cook and prepare food and to celebrate it. The puddings do look good don't they? Will pass on your compliments to the head cook

    Thanks Pat.

  8. Poor grain harvest in North America is now responsible for depressed cattle prices in Southern Ireland? Seems a bit far-fetched to me, but then again, what do I know?
    Just wondering when the depressed cattle prices will filter through to depressed beef prices in the butchers (or supersheds), your roast beef dinners shouild be so much more affordable?

    Had a look at Steve Bryne, and his reciprocal design round-house, looks like a good idea he's got, I really like the thought of off-grid living, using just enough modern technology to provide their minimum needs. All he needs now is a stream for a small water-wheel?
    And Dorothy Hartley, her books are still in print even years after she's dead and gone. A little-known author, but one whose books I intend to try and aquire, back to the big town library.

    Finished "Lore of the Land", it's not a big book, mostly about soil improvement and fencing. Had a glance at "The Forgotten Arts", it's actually written by JS, must be promoted of sold by the National Trust, looks interesting, it's a bit bigger, A4 size maybe 1/2" thick, lots of illustrations.

    Britain and Ireland seem to be way behind some European countries in protecting the environment, when really we should be at the front, particularly in recycling, being islands with limited resources and heavily reliant on imports.

    Sorry no mulled ale recipes, I think it's the top shelf, nice hot toddy shuld sort thr cold out, or at least make it bearable.

    Fine and dry here, blue sky with a few fluffy white clouds, coll and breezy.
    Raggy cat in early, breakfast milk and biccies then sleeping on the sofa, don't think it's realised I've put the fire on.

  9. Just read that back, my spelling's getting worse.

  10. Hi Cumbrian. I never understood or will understand cattle prices. There was one theory going round these parts that cattle made good money this year because they wanted lots of beef for the London Olympics. Another theory was that farmers decided to draw their money out of the bank and invest in cattle.

    There is probably some truth in all the theories. I have even heard that chickens are so cheap in the supermarkets because they are fed on cheap Korean imported grain. I have made money and lost money on cattle but I just carry on- any one for sentiment farming? I farm because my grandparents did.

    Yes Steve Byrne's blog is really inspirational. Can't understand why the countryside is only for the chosen few? If you own a piece of land you should be able to build a dwelling. There's enough old pieces of rock and Furze (Gorse) scrub that could easily become great building sites. Ireland is chocabloc with derelict houses. I believe in North America there are lots of trailer parks where poor people have to live because they can't afford houses. A water wheel would be great Cumbrian. I have also heard that you don't need planning permission to build downwards. So perhaps there could be lots of sunken houses built into hillsides with grass roofs?

    Thought you would be interested in Dorothy Hartley. I am going to start collecting her books along with the John Seymour one's. She seems to write a lot about peasant society. I would love to go back to peasant farming with horses and carts.

    Please write us a report of the JS books. Then I will get them for myself.

    Just filled a big polythene bag of plastic bottles and plastic packaging. Wonder how much all that costs us every week? I heard that shoppers in German got together and took their packaging back to the supermarket and told them to dispose of it.

    I think they used to put an hot poker in ale years ago. Going take your advice and get some Scottish whisky, not so struck with Irish whiskey.

    Beautiful day here. Very heavy dew this morning and also a lot cooler. Terries is lay on the sheepskin rug watching me type this comment.

    Don't worry about mistakes Cumbrian, I make plenty when I get carried away when I am writing..

    Thanks Cumbrian!!

  11. No, and I don't think anybody really understands the fluctuations in prices, not only agricultural, but all sorts of commodities. If we could predict what's going to increase in price and what's going to come down, we'd all be millionaires?

    Underground houses? Not so much undrground as built into the side of a hill, makes every sort of sense, wether using traditional (natural) materials or even modern ones.
    Not 100% sure about the Planning rules, having dealt with Planning Officers (argued with them usually) for over 40 years, I've come to the conclusion that they don't really fully understand the rules (guidelines) themselves (they're getting younger as well), apart from the fact that they (goverment) change the rules far too often to keep up with.
    And yet more special rules in some areas, Lake District for example, but there's a lot of others, usually requiring specialist local knowledge to comprehend.

    The number of derelict houses is a disgrace when you consider all the homelessness and unemployment. sure the jobless could be given work to renovate and thehomeless given a roof.

    "Lore of the Land" doesn't seem to have much stuff in it I haven't seen before, without reference to his other tomes I can't say exactly, but I doubt you'll learn much from it.
    Haven't started "Forgotten Arts" yet, busy dinner-making (cottage pie, chips and mushy peas)

    I've seen the old dears sticking a hot poker in their Mackeson, but it's many years ago when every pub had an open fire, the Macky jumped up to the top of the glass when the poker went in. Dunno what the idea was, it seemed to be the preserve of old ladies, maybe just to warm them up?

    Terrier seems to have the right idea, same as raggy cat, where's Domino? It's just thrown a very heavy shower here, sky's clouding in a bit, maybe we've had the sun for this month.

  12. Thanks for that Cumbrian,

    I think a gold mine would be a good idea with the price of gold at the moment.

    Totally agree with you that the homelessness and unemployment situation is a disgrace. I wonder how many people live in vans in the countryside or dwellings with no planning permission or even on a friends couch? There are millions of 'spade and shovel' jobs that could be created by government but they do nothing or expect the private sector to invest.

    "Forgotten Arts' looks a good read. I looked it up. Wouldn't mind learning a forgotten craft. Saying that yourself and me seem to have a few talents that we have learned along the way; cooking, veg gardening, debating, home brewing, self supporting, computer literate...

    The weather is supposed to change tonight and the rain return.


  13. Yes, gold would seem to be the best safety net for your money, I don't think it's lost ground for decades, if ever. Any metal I think, the price of scrap everything seems to be at an all-time high.

    Quite a few living rough I imagine, almost impossible to come up with an accurate figure. And not all homeless are necessarily shiftless arseholes, alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals and deadbeats; some have just fallen through the cracks in our social safety net. There's probably an army of them would be quite willing to put in a days work with the prospect of a meal, a bath and a roof at the end of it. The private sector can only do so much, they need to be profit-driven, I think it's down to government to look at the social consequences and bigger picture.

    Net-making, hanging and setting, crab/lobster pot making and setting, long line making and setting, small boat handling, all skills learned being brought up near the sea and fishing harbour.
    I think most contry-bred lads from my generation know how to poach a salmon, snare / ferret / net rabbits, shoot a 12-bore, use a fishing rod, make a catapult, blow a birds egg (I know illegal, but it wasn't then)
    Despatch and gut / skin a rabbit, pluck and draw a pheasant / duck / woodpigeon, gut and fillet / skin a fish, dress a crab.
    All good self supporting skills I suppose, apart from the gentler domestic crafts.

    Clouded over now, looks for rain soon. Raggy cat woke up to ask for left-over cottage pie, the gone back to sleep.

  14. You certainly have the skills Cumbrian. It's a pity that people today don't know how to do such tasks. We seem to rely on others than being self reliant ourselves.

    Here in Ireland they want schoolchildren to stay on until they are 18 and don't encourage apprenticeships at 16. Does anybody actually physically make anything any more or are we all just going to be service industry workers and importers of manufactured goods from China and a far?

    It's clouding over here and trying to start raining.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  15. Having worked in the construction industry for 40-odd years, I've seen a deterioration of many of the old skills and methods, and the introduction of a new range of different ways of doing things.
    A lot of the traditional skills have been replaced by factory-made units that only need fitting on site, for example staircases, door with casings, windows and roof trusses.
    The traditional apprenticeship seems to have disappeared, being replaced by training schemes that leave a lot of young people with skills but no experience who find it difficult to get employment until they've got some site work in (chicken and egg situation).
    This is leading to a lack of time-served tradesmen, there's a generation missing from the building trade and I think it will get worse as the older generation retire.

    And it's probably the same in most other trades and professions, sure you've seen the vast change in agriculture.

    So your obsevation is probably quite right, we don't seem to make anything any more.

  16. Thanks Cumbrian,

    Mass unemployment seems to have been with us for at least the last twenty five years that I know of. I wish we could go back to the ancient Guilds system that encouraged apprenticeships and made crafts people. For example if you wanted to be a stone mason it could take you twenty years. You would be taken under the wing of a middle aged skilled tradesmen and they would be your mentor and show you the 'right way' not 'your way'.

    A lot of prospective employers expect youngsters to understand C.A.D yet they import factory made products and units from China and Germany.

    There are so many rural and town crafts that have disappeared. The Blacksmith and the Cobbler are just 2 examples. I would gladly pay a good price for a hand made pair of shoes or walking boots. What happened to half sizes and 'made to fit'?

    I think that governments could introduce 3 day weeks and let those who have no job work the other 3 days if they want. Yes a 6 day working week split in two, with lots of leisure to tend your allotment/smallholding or just spend time with your family.

    There seems to be nations of 'have's and have nots'. Why can't every body have a decent living instead of just those who are lucky enough to have full time employment. Perhaps we live above our needs and we have millstone mortgages around our necks, 2 cars and a mountain of credit card bills?

    Agriculture/rural jobs are like searching for hens teeth. Mechanization and the emphasis on town and city jobs mean the countryside is dead in the day time. It's beautiful and peaceful but you can't make a living.

    Thanks for your observations Cumbrian.

  17. Hi Dave,
    Are mushy peas more than mushy peas if you know what I mean? There's a certain mythology around mushy peas. For example, when I was working in Kent, a local told me that when he was 'up north', he paid for a pint, and instead of receiving any change, he got a plate of mushy peas. Thus, are they an endearing symbol of northern English (working-class) identity?

    When I lived in Canterbury, I only recall eating garden peas, or maybe I wasn't looking for the mushy ones hard enough. I'm only asking about mushy peas, Dave, because I know you're interested in such things.

  18. Mushy peas are traditionally served with fish & chips.
    The standard sit-down fish & chip cafe meal is fish & chips with mushy peas, pot of tea, bread & butter.

    Never heard of getting muhy peas as change in a pub, but a common pub meal (often the only one) was pie & peas.

    Some parts of Lancashire and probably Yorkshire they serve black peas, carlins we call them, but not in Cumberland.

  19. Hi Pat, Yes I remember you telling me the 'up north' peas tale when you worked in Kent. It does sound very amusing.

    I don't know if they are an endearing symbol of northern English working class identity Pat, but they are a feature of cuisine from the Midlands upwards. The garden peas you ate in Kent would be young ones, while the northern 'mushy peas' are really the Marrow-fat pea which is allowed to mature in the field then cooked in its own juice.

    Another popular dish from the Lancashire are was the 'Parched Peas' or even 'Black Peas'. The pea originates in the Mediterranean.

    The monk Gregor Mendel founded genetic research because of his interest in growing peas. I have a book all about the humble potato and it mentions the evolution of the chip shop in northern England. Due to shift work people needed meals at ten o'clock at night. The chips and peas and pies and fish wrapped in newspaper allowed them to eat food without having to touch them. The Cornish pasty is very similar, in that Cornish miners could eat one half of the pasty with out having to wash their hands, down the mine.

    You're right Pat I am interested in the evolution and celebration of our food and cultural traditions.


  20. You're right Cumbrian. The standard sit down fish and chip meal came with mushy peas, pot of tea and bread and butter. It's a brilliant meal at that.

    Regional dishes fascinate me and the different ways we cook our vegetables. It's amazing that most of our vegetables originate thousands of miles away. For example sweetcorn and potatoes came from South America, rhubarb from China and onions from Greece.

    Never heard of the term Carlins. I really miss 'Black peas' in vinegar.

    Been to many a 'do' and the catering was 'pie and peas'. Who introduced the 'help yourself' buffet? Believe that 'pie and eel' shops are still popular in the east end of London.

    Lets rediscover regional food.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  21. Thanks for the explanations Dave and Cumbrian.

    I don't eat fish 'religiously', but I love bangers, mash and mushy peas, topped with onion gravy. If this was served to all the foreigners in Britain, they wouldn't complain about our food so much.

  22. Carlins, Parched peas, Black peas, all the same thing.

    They're considered an essential ingredient in any mix fed to racing pigeons in our area.

    Jellied eel, only ever tried to make it once, many years ago when I caught a few eels, just skinned them and chopped them into 1" chunks then boiled them, they formed their own jelly. Not a dish many Cumbrians would be familiar with. It's that long ago I can't remember the taste or anything much about them.

    Cornish pasty, another regional delicacy, I was told that traditionally one end was mince & potato etc, and the other end was apple, dinner and pudding in one pastry parcel.

    Always liked to try regional specialities, and look for them on my travels.
    Problem is they tend to be imitated and the imitations never seem to match the traditional original.

  23. Thanks Pat and Cumbrian for your engaging comments. I don't eat a lot of fish myself but I used to really enjoy chip shop cooked fish, especially from Yorkshire places like Haworth, Whitby and Scarborough.

    Bangers, mash and mushy peas is excellent if you use natural ingredients. Myself and my wife have really got into cooking food because we are sick of ready made meals full of chemicals and preservatives. You can not beat traditional regional food that is made with the best ingredients. You can even make your own sausages, we have and they are excellent.

    The Slow Food movement is very successful world wide and it celebrates regional and traditional food.

    Are there any great regional dishes that you like in Poland Pat? I know you said German sausages are incredible.

    I agree with you if foreigners sampled 'real' English traditional, regional dishes they wouldn't complain about our food.


  24. You're right imitations never match the traditional one's, Cumbrian.

    One thing I love about England is the different regional dishes. We often make pasties and add chilli beans to spice them up.

    Think we should re-discover our regional dishes and drink. Keep the recipes coming Cumbrian.

    Lets celebrate our great food.


  25. Slow food, real ale and organic produce, a dream a lot of people have but few acheive. Although it's only recently that everybody lived this dream as normal life.

    Agree entirely about the regional specialities in food and drink.

    Ham shank half gone, served as planned with new pota and cauliflower cheese; big slow cooker simmering with red lentils, carrots, onions, few broad beans and a swede, all chopped up, thrown in with a few black lentils.
    Probably be sampled later today and form the basis of dinner tomorrow, when the fresh loaf's ready.
    Some ham left to make sandwiches for supper probably, with pickled cucumber for me and pickled beetroot for Mrs, both home made.
    Dunno if it classes as regional, but it's very nice.

    Was tempted by a haggis, traditional in sheeps paunch tied off with string, but Mrs wouldn't allow it, so I had to pass that Scottish speciality.

    Sun's shining, looks very watery though, sky mixed blue with grey clouds. Fire's on, it's cool.
    Raggy cat luxuriating in front of it again.

  26. Hi Cumbrian, Totally agree its only the last few years that people have been able to either source or even grow their own produce.

    When I took on the tenancy of my first allotment there was always some overgrown one's. Today there is a waiting list of more than 100,000. Yes there have been some sold off but the figure is quite genuine in showing the need for people to grow their own vegetables.

    Just been recently reading John Seymour's: England Revisited (printed in the 1980's). He said at the time of writing there was very little 'Real Ale' in northern England. Now thanks to pressure groups like CAMRA. There is a pub in virtually every town that sells it.

    We can all eat drink well if we choose to make the effort.

    It sound like you make and enjoy some excellent meals Cumbrian - good on you for doing so.

    Never ate Haggis. Seen it in Edinburgh.

    Dry day today just a shower. Got a lot done around the farm. Bottled another forty bottles of Yorkshire bitter tonight. It's got an excellent head. Can't taste it with my head cold but it looks really good.


  27. Real ale, I think I've seen full circle now, from the days of local breweries with their own tied houses and only real ale, (although we didn't call it that in those days) with fixed opening hours and reasonable prices, through the introduction of lager and keg beers and completely flexible opening hours and increasing prices, to the present situation with free houses, pub chains with only several huge brewers but with increasing numbers of mini or micro breweries producing some very good ales for local sale, as you say mainly due to CAMRAs efforts, all at expensive prices.
    They say everything goes in circles.

    I've actually only recently discovered my unexpected talent for cooking on a budget and associated kitchen activities like preserving and lemon curd making, brewing and wine-making; to be honest I think I've surprised myself.

    Haggis I think you'd like, I'm not 100% sure of the exact ingredients, suppose it's a bit like sausage or white pudding, every butcher has his own ideas; but I find it very tasty and filling, it's solid stuff.

    Kegged the Norfolk Wherry today, plus a 1 lt. plastic bottle and a 4-pint plastic milk bottle, it's all I could find, 21 lts in the bucket and only room for 18 in the keg. Pulled a small sample of last weeks keg, it's got a fantastic head, tastes OK, but needs a bit longer in the keg.
    Nice to hear your brewing's going well, you really shoud have a go at a batch of wine.

    Rice Whisky (Saki)
    Sterilise one bucket
    1 gallon tepid water
    3lbs round rice
    3lbs raisins chopped
    3lbs sugar
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    Add 1 sachet yeast
    Cover with clean tea towel
    Stir 3 times daily for first week
    Leave till fermentation finishes and raisins float to the top
    Strain off raisins and bottle
    Leave for 15 weeks in a dark cupboard

    This is an easy one to start with, no boiling or special equipment or fancy ingredients, you've probably got them in your cupboard. Start now for Xmas, it's pretty much foolproof and usually turns out well, keeps OK too. I generally put it in a demijohn to settle and clear for a while before bottling, but that's not essential.

  28. Thanks a lot for the Saki recipe Cumbrian.

    I really wish I knew somebody who made wine and they would sell or swap me a bottle to sample. Once I knew how good it tastes, I know I will be hooked. It's probably like growing your own vegetable. There is nothing like fresh home-grown vegetables. Talk about Ambrosia from ye gods. Will give the Saki a go. Is it strong? My problem is patience. Don't seem to have any.

    CAMRA is said to be the most successful pressure group in Britain. Wish Ireland caught on to 'real ales'. Perhaps it's just an English phenomena?


  29. Don't know how strong the saki is, since it's fermented I guess top side of wine strength, maybe 12-14%, but it seems to have a nice smooth warmth, very pleasant; trouble is it takes time to acheive its best potential and I've come to appreciate you don't have the patience. Best thing to do is hide it somewhere and forget about it for 6 months.

    Pity we didn't live nearer, I think it would be pleasant to sit on the patio with a few samples of different home-produced alcohol and a King Edward. Can't even send you a sample, I doubt it would stand up to the rigours of the postal system and it doesn't travel well, it would need a period to settle and that would be as bad (impossible) for you as waiting for it to be ready.
    Might be able to send just a little sample in a small plastic bottle which would possibly survive the Royal and Irish Mail and still be drinkable, need your address though, email it if you want ronald867@btinternet.com.

    Perhaps Ireland considers the Guinness to be the ultimate in drinking pleasure and don't need the English ales? I think you're right, it's a bit of an English thing, and Northern England especially, a lot of the South seem to be cider drinkers. Only country that equals us in beer production is Belgium, they have some lovely stuff, but tend to make ot too strong, they serve it in small glasses, sfter 5 or 6 you realise why.

    Lovely morning here, bright sunshine and a that dry cold, very pleasant.
    Raggy cat come in, fast asleep again.

  30. I am going to make the Saki next week Cumbrian, thanks! I don't have a lot of patience, you're right. However I will give it a go and let you know what it is like. Talking of patience. My ale only gets bottled for a week before it's drank. But I do keep 2 back every week like you said to and we label them. We have 8 bottles up to now. Going to order another Scotch bitter today online.

    It is a pity we don't live nearer. You don't seem to make many friends living in the countryside. I don't think you're allowed to send drink through the post. I will email you though and then I can send you any books I have read.

    I have read that Ireland never grew hops that's why it never brewed bitter. Think Smithwicks is nearest to a bitter. Can't say I'm keen though. Horses for courses and all that. Guinness and Murphy's are excellent.

    Have you ever been to Herefordshire? It's fantastic for cider and wattle and daub houses and great food and ale. I would to live there on the Welsh Marches. Hay-On-WYE is amazing. A village just full of second hand book shops.

    Think the Germans make good beer also. My friend Pat swears by the beer in Warsaw and it's cheap, about fifty pence for a can of strong ale.

    Cattle dosed and put in field with silage bale. They seem to be ignoring it and eating the grass. Typical.


  31. Pleased you're keeping a couple back, try qne after a month, see if it's any better, then the other after 2 months, you'll need to keep a note, it's easy to forget. Hope you're pleasantly surprised at the improvement.

    Good point about the hops, never knew that, but it sounds about right.

    Never been to Herefordshire, I've stayed in Wiltshire and Somerset, both good cider counties, there's aplace there called Kingsbury Episcopi (Somerset I think) with a traditional cider farm, Julian Templeton I think his name was, cider on draught from huge wooden barrels, you could see it being made at the right time of year, all the ancient wooden equipment and huge wooden vats 120,000 gallons each. Same bloke also re-introduced cider brandy making to England, dunno if he's still doing it though. Makes all sorts of other apple-based alcoholic stuff as well.
    They also keep a lot of pigs in the orchards, which gives the pork a different flavour.

    Yes, the Germans also make good beer, but not the huge variety made by the Belgians. Indeed alot of the Eastern European contries make excellent lager-type beers as well, but not well known here.

    I uncovered a tray of dumpies left over from our last French booze cruise tonight, Burgbrau, Biere D'Alsace, which sounds a bit Germanic, 4.2% and a nice clean taste if a bit metallic, probably because it's been there a long time.

    Typical beasts, but I suppose we'd all prefer fresh stuff, it'll all do to make good beef.

    Do e-mail, it's always good to exchange books.

  32. It should be Julian Temperley, google it.

  33. Hi Cumbrian, We've beat our record of twenty nine comments - thanks!

    Do go to Herefordshire it's beautiful. I could easily move there today. It's great land, great food and excellent drink. Not forgetting;Shropshire and Gloucestershire and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and Hampshire and Wiltshire... Give me the West country any day of the week. I love the diversity of the different counties and all their regional meals and drink.

    Yes my friend Pat tells me the Eastern European countries make some excellent ale - and it's very cheap. Think the 'Real Ale' in England movement is a breath of fresh air. We have been drinking far too much overpriced 'chemical' rubbish for far too long.

    I often purchase the French dumpies when we have a summer. Tesco Ireland stocks quite a few of them. So when we go to Killarney we sometimes get a couple of packs.

    A hungry animal is an healthy and happy animal.

    Thanks Cumbrian.


Some Pictures Around Shaftesbury and Other Hardy Country.

Gold Hill in Shaftesbury.  Remember the Hovis advert?  I remembered watching the Grumble-weeds in Scarborough many moons ago doing Joe Gl...