Thursday 20 February 2014

Smallholding Brown Ale Cake With A Tin Of Dog.

We had another go at baking cake yesterday.  This time we made the Porter cake with Newcastle Brown Ale.  They often ask for a bottle (or tin) of dog in Newcastle.  Apparently it's a Geordie euphenism for:

"I'm going to walk the dog."


"I'm going to see a man about a dog."

In other words. They are saying:

" I'm going to the pub."

Thanks to great Irish supermarkets like: Dunnes stores.  You can buy Vimto (Manchester made cordial) and tins of Newcastle Brown Ale.  I like Guinness and Murphy's but I really missed English Ale. Tesco sell Theakston's Old Peculiar and that's another great tipple.  What favourite food or drink do you ex pats miss from Blighty?

Any road.  We made the same cake but substituted the stout for Newcastle Brown Ale.  Guess what?  It was a great success.  So folks make your cake with what ever beer you have got.  Now I have got a use for all that horrible home brewed bitter we made last year.  You can't make good bitter with the cheap beer kits.  Not that they were that cheap.  At least our Mead and Jeddah Gin was a success.  Anybody know how to make any REALLY GOOD real ale?

Enjoy your cake!


  1. Sounds like my kind of cake. Never tried it though.

    Generally spend about £20-£24 on a 40-pint beer kit, it's top end of the price range but I've had some really good results and a lot cheaper than pub prices (if there's a pub left in your village). Our water here's very soft, so it makes good stouts, milds and ales, but not lagers. I just follow the instructions on the packaging.

    After 11 days of San Miguel, the pint of John Smiths went down a treat at the airport hotel.

    Weather quite pleasant in Liverpool but by the time we got back here it continues cold wet and windy, there doesn't seem to be and end of it in sight.

    Raggy cat pleased to welcome us home, a bit bedraggled and anorexic-looking, but a few dishes of milk and biccies seem to be helping, it's resumed its love affair with the hearth-side.

  2. Welcome back Cumbrian, Hope you had a nice break. We sampled your Mead (Cumbrian gave me the recipe) the other night. It's getting better by the day. Fantastic success. I think a lot of the kits we bought are very poor. Would love to have a go with a home made hop or barley recipe.

    The cake is dead easy to make and I think you will like it. Newcastle Brown or your home brewed bitter will do if you haven't got stout.

    I liked the Super Bock when we were in Portugal last April. They gave you 3 different sizes of beer to choose from. The spirits were only 12 Euros for a litre in the off licences. They also allowed people to smoke. I was in a so called "Irish" pub and this London sounding guy asked the landlord if it was OK to smoke. He replied:

    "Why shouldn't you?"

    I will never agree with the smoking ban. Course people don't wish to inhale smoke when they are eating or drinking. But I can't see why there can't be a seperate (inside) room for the cigarette or pipe smoker. Doctors tell you not to smoke. But they will drive a car that's polluting the environment with its smoke. Rant over.

    I remember drinking John Smiths and Websters once in Scarborough. The landlord said that the stuff brewed in Yorkshire is different water to the same John Smiths and Websters brewed in Warrington. I believe Burton On Trent is the best water in England and that's why breweries set up there.

    The weather forecast is terible here for the next week. Normally we allow the cattle out over winter when its nice. The field are far too wet and already there are rushes growing in the newly seeded field we grew barley in last year.

    Glad to hear Raggy cat is back on his hearth side duty. Thanks for your comment, Cumbrian.

  3. Yes, I think the water quality has a lot to do with the finished product, our (only remaining) local brewery uses water from its own well, and it's widely held that it's this well water that contributes to the excellence of the ales. Jennings, they make about 6 ales, some seasonal. Sneck Lifter if you ever see it is a nice dark bottled ale, a bit reminiscent of Murphys.

    Fields here too wet as well, they're all full of sheep at the moment, lambing is due to start soon, hope it's a better year than last.

    Morocco was the same 2 years ago, it seemed strange to see ashtrays on the bar in the hotel. Down-side is there's no pubs, it's a non-alcohol country except for the tourist hotels. The young men drink mint tea and smoke hubba-bubba pipes instead of drinking lager.

    Blue sky and sun this morning, cool and damp still and a bit of breeze.

    Raggy cat showing increased reluctance to go out, seems to have put a bit of weight on already, it's become a fixture at the hearth.

  4. I once visited Dalwhinnie whisky distillery in Scotland. They use the water from Ic Age glacier lakes. Then they store the whisky in oak barrels to mature. Also the darker the whisky is, the water used comes from peat water. I much prefer Scottish whisky to Irish whisky. Jamesons and Bush mills are probably the only ones I would drink. Somebody gave me a bottle of Paddy for Christmas. We are making it into whisky cake today. I hope it's better than when we drink it. Will post a picture of it tomorrow.

    Cattle prices are very bad at the moment. Hopefully they will improve soon?

    Does the hubba pipes get them high? Refreshing to know they let tourists have a drink.

    I believe you can even make vegatarian real ale. Apparently the finings in conventional beer contains Isinglass. That's the swim bladder from a Sturgeon fish.

    I believe the Germans are very keen on drinking chemical free beer. I suppose they are right really.

    Showery and windy here. Still no chance of getting on the veg plot.

    Cat and terrier have taken up residence in our kitchen diner. The cat even sleeps on my chair.


  5. Never seen a Scottish distillery, it's something that's been on by to-do list for a long time, just never got round to it. Know what you mean about the Irish whisky, the Scotch beats it hands down, some of the single malts are very good.

    Not sure what they smoke in the hubba pipes, I think it's tobacco with different flavours, but presumably could equally be something stronger.

    Never heard of vegetarian ale, first time I've heard of insinglass or the fact that it's in beers.

    As I understand it, the German purity laws insist only 4 ingredients can be used in beers; water, malt, yeast and sugar. Visited a Norwegian brewery, sampled 5 different ales, all very different, and all made with just the 4 ingredients, the man said they make over 200 different brews from these 4 ingredients.

    Back to normal this morning, overcast, wild and wet.

    Raggy cat in early, asleep on my computer chair, now in its favoured position in front of hearth, no fire on yet.

  6. You should visit the Scottish Highlands, Cumbrian. There are some excellent distilleries there. I also use to like the Mcewans bitter. The eighty shilling and the IPA was excellent. I think IPA was a British export to India during the British Empire era. We imported Mulligitawny, Curry and Snooker was invented during a monsoon season. My favourite malt is Dalwhinnie. It's so smooth and in way fiery.

    Apparently Isinglass was the swim bladder of a Sturgeon. Some breweries use moss instead.

    I think a lot of lagers are just made of chemical ingredients. What do they drink in Norway?

    A wet forecast for the next week. Jersey cross bull calves selling for 2 Euro last week.

    Lots of trees down here. Most of it will be firewood. At least it won't be going in landfill.

    Terrier and cat in kitchen waiting for range to be lit.


  7. In Norway I was told most people drink home-brew, and when you find out a pint (.41 lt. is their unique measure) costs about 17 euros, you realise why.
    But the beers we sampled at the brewery tour were excellent, all very different, from a dark stout to a light pale ale. The guide chap also gave us a run-down on how the different brews were made using only the 4 ingredients.

    Yes, I remember the 70/- and 80/- ales, and a nice one called exhibition, a pint ex was the standard request. Now I think they've disappeared, or been replaced maybe?

    2 Euros for a bull calf, is it worth butching them for veal?

    At least the trees will provide a bit of fuel for somebody, and they've got to come down sometime.

    Still raining here, very windy, fire's on now and Raggy cat asleep in front of it, hedonistic little sod.

  8. 17 Euros for a pint? I thought Irish pub prices were dear. Last time I went in an Irish pub I paid four Euros fifty for a pint of Murphy's. I paid 4.90 for a pint in Cork city last year. No wonder pubs are closing down. How much is bitter in Cumbria, these days?

    Youngers was another excellent northern bitter.

    Farming must be one of the few industries that you don't get paid a wage. It really annoys me how one minute cattle are worth something and then the next minute they aren't. I think it's about time the farmer was assured of a minimum price at the mart.

    I bet there's a lot of towns in England that aren't allowed to have fires and they will end up in land fill sites.

    Dry at the moment but everywhere is wet through. Some farmers are running out of silage. Looks like the cattle will be in for another month.

    Thanks for your comment, Cumbrian.


What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...