6 September 2018

Cooking with Bruce: Smoked chilli Chicken with Tamarillo

Hmmm it's been a few months. But you never know, this might become regular like.

Today, a recipe for smoked chilli chicken with tamarillo, originally it was described as 'Chipotle-roasted chicken with plum and tarragon salad', but really, that's a bit boring.

300gm of chicken boobies
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
dried, smoked, chilli (I used adobo and poblano ,to give heat and a fruity flavour)
30ml olive oil
lemon zest
2T worcester sauce
3 tamarillos
2t tarragon leaves
1 stick celery, chopped
2 spring onions
red-wine vinegar or balsamic
salt and pepper for taste

The day before:
Chop chicken up into smallish bits.
Mix garlic, chopped chilli, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and paper together, mix chicken through.
Leave overnight.

Fry chicken, and while it's cooking mix:
tamarillos, tarragon, celery, spring onions, vinegar, salt and paper.

Combine all. Eat.

It improves for lunch the next day.

29 April 2018

WhiskyLive : the last in a recurring cabal expedition

And so we come to the final cabal write-up, which happened before final cabal tastings (Bruichladdich), but due to vagaries of the notes (slightly lost) they've only just become available.
We've learnt that note taking is not our strong suit when drinking, so it's name and rating only - sorry kids!

WhiskyLive has grown, significantly, since we first went - there's now a lot of non-scotch drinks, including for the first time an optimistically titled 'craft beer' area.

First up we went for something we'd never heard of before, the Islay Boys Flatnose whisky.
Blended Scotch 7.5/10
Blended Scotch 6/10 [top tip, the other one is cheaper]
Islay 8/10 [we enjoyed this one]
An excellent start to the day, and worth having a punt on them as they're very reasonably priced.

Glenglassaugh Peated, nose was brilliant, palate a bit weak. 5/10

Glendronach, ahhh hello our old friend....
Peated Port finish - oh yess :D 9/10

Benriach, another distillery we like.  A lot.
Curiositas 10 yo peated. 5/10
Authenticus 10yo 8.5-9/10
22yo rum peated 8/10
Pedro Ximenez peated 21yo? 9-9.5/10
Glendronach 21yo 8.5/10 [yeah we like this one, we've had quite a bit of it]

Cotswolds Whisky, fruity, young 6/10

Glen Moray
Sherry cask, very dry 8/10

92  8/10
94 oak 6/10

Berry Brothers Rudd
GlenMoray 8.5/10 [I think it's this one]
Teaninich 33yo 7/10
Islay Blend 8/10

21 April 2018

Cabal: Bruichladdich MP7

Half of the cabal, Alec and I, completed our virtual tasting of the Bruichladdich MP7.

1694 d. 9/12/2004; b. 2017; 12 years first fill bourbon
N: sweet, bourbon, manuka honey?, vanilla
P: very spiky, sweet, oats? Cloying,
F: long, burnt wood,
Very vigorous, maybe too young? Smoothes out with water, but still very prickly.
Rating: 6/10

4019 d.17/12/2008; b 2017 8 yo; 1st fill bourbon
N: Hint of smoke, very sweet, hint of sweet fruit, ?maybe?
P: smokey, gentle tingle, fruit disappears on the palate
F: med, smoke-tingle, sweet almost smoky bacon crisps sweetness
7.5/10 good interesting, but not very complex
Water improves it, brings out smoke and warmth, maybe even 8/10

2431 d.11/07/2011 b 2017 6 years 1st fill bourbon; 61.5%
N: bourbon sweetness, oak chips, wet neoprene, wet cat (hopefully not in neoprene)
P: hint of smoke, prickly, pineapple, turkish delight?
F: oddly short, candied pineapple

7/10 more delicate than 4019, water doesn’t do much for it

Overall, we thought this was the lesser of the three tastings. The whisky seemed very aggressive, rather than interesting, and in at least one case, really needed more time in the barrel.

27 December 2017

Movies: Deadly Species & Carnivore

In a shocking turn of events a Uni professor can’t get a grant to fund research into indigenous tribes. A mysterious, and implied dodgy, benefactor steps up. Everyone is very clean, and white. Dodgy man is apparently an amateur cryptozoologist. He’s obviously bad as he’s got a goatee. They’re going into the everglades, which was obviously cheaper to film than anywhere else. 
Acting is abysmal, camera work worse, and script non-existent.  But we’ve had a couple of ‘gator shots, so all is not lost. Also as of 25mins in, only one boob shot. 

A key plot (?) point just happened, they find the rucksack of a ‘renegade anthropologist’ and her camp.  They’re all searching for a lost tribe of native americans in the everglades, and the monster who terrorised them. Brilliant!
Oh dear, the attractive student has just been killed by a monster. shame.

And that ended the plot, as far as we could tell. There were more murders, a fountain of youth, a slow-motion spinning coin, and a displaced spaniard. Oh and heroism by the indians. It all made for a very confusing, and amusing, movie.

This is truly bad. I cannot overstate how bad it is. Acting, script, ‘plot’, camerawork, everything is bad. I think the plot is an experimental animal (carnivore) escapes from the lab and holes up in an abandoned house, where the perennial cute college kids visiting. 
This movie is ace. I would recommend booze (I had caffeine and cake), and the ability recall some of the stunningly good dialogue. It’s all win. The scene where the female investigator realises the creature is dying, makes the pathos of Frankenstein seem hackneyed and cliched(*).
research on this film (well ok, IMDB and wiki) suggests it was filmed over a large number of years on a micro budget, before being picked up for distribution in 2000. 

(*) not really. 

Scotch: MP4 Bruichladdich tasting

The first virtual tasting worked well, so we upped the ante and even had a shared google document for tasting notes for version2.
This time we were tasting the MP4 release (microprovenance) from Bruichladdich, yes I know we did MP5 last time, there was a small organisational hiccup there. No matter, on to the booze.

Cask #361 - distilled in 2008 and matured full term in a French ex-Syrah (red wine) cask. 58% alc. vol. Aged 8 years
Nose: caramel, raspberries/currants, new leather, butterscotch
Palate :Drumstick chew bars, salty bacon,
Finish: long, spiky

Ultimately not hugely complex or interesting. Big powerful explosive.
Add water, kinda kills it.


Cask #16-062 distilled in 2006 and matured in ex-bourbon before being finished in an ex-sherry cask. 58% alc. vol. Aged 10 years
N: sherry, chocolate, salted caramel, cut grass, parmesan, praline (Milka bar? That makes sense, given our buzzbar ref)
P: vigorous, salty bacon, hint of coffee, hazelnuts [choc bar=buzzbar - it’s a caramel marshmallow thing in NZ]
F: med ? salty


Cask #1062 distilled in 2005 and matured full term in bourbon. 59% alc. vol. Aged 11 years
N: smooth, toffee, caramel, chocolate, kiwi fruit, slight hint of potpourri (feckin’ hippy!)
P: tangy, parma violets, citrusy, mango
F: med-short, tingly on the tongue [A]

8/10 [b] 7/10[A]
With water: 8/10 [A] 8.5/10 [B] brings out the warmth and smooths it nicely, really nice.  Tingly tongue gone, smooth warmth remains.

At some point in the near future, we'll be doing the MP7 since neither of us managed to get the MP6.

28 November 2017

Movie: Bloody Murder (2000)

Must be time for another bgrade review. This time we're hitting the current century, mostly, Bloody Murder (2000).

Young couples car breaks down! oh no! oh yayay a nearby local is there to help, oh noes! he's got a hockey mask and a chainsaw.

Cut to daytime, and someone telling a horror story. And now the credits. The kids are going to camp counsellors, and there's conflict! Ex-college track competitors! The tension!

Lots of homages to Friday 13th, intentional ones too. Already we've got sexual tension dynamics hooked up, well done that director and, I hesitate to say, writer.
Eeeekkkk creepy old guy telling cute college girl that Nelson is coming back for revenge. We now learn, old guy is called Henry.

Cut to night scene drinking at the lake and playing a game called bloody murder. Even for mindless crap, this is, err, mindless.
20mins in, no nudity or murder, but underwear during make out in the woods.
28mins, well we've had a murder. huzzah ! This means the cops are involved now!
Witney has gone. Jason (nice touch!) is being accused It's all very dramatic. Oh a death at the archery field, that's a bit different. And we've old school email checking. All very retro.

Overall? cliched, predictable, and pointless in terms of adding anything to a horror genre. And therefore fun, mindless entertainment.

11 November 2017

Scotch: MP5 Port Charlotte, Bruichladdich

The cabal was broken up a couple of years ago (my fault for leaving), since then we've had a few 50% attendance events, and now...a new dram...

It occurred to us that we have the Micro-provenance Bruichladdich/Port Charlotte MP4, MP5 and MP7 releases, and that although physically drinking together was difficult, a virtual cabal could work - and it would appear to others that we weren't actually drinking alone. Results everywhere!

Due to small technical/organisational issues, we've kicked off the cabal inaugural virtual scotch drinking session with MP5 rather than MP4.
These are small bottles (200ml) releases of individual casks from PC demonstrating specific finishes.

Port Charlotte Cask #1999 
d. 17/11/2005  b. 2016 (10 years old), Cask: Fresh bourbon, 56.9%
N: medicinal, rock melon (sweet on nose finish), floral
P: creamy, parmesan, rock melons, fruit salad, sweet honey [A: floral, fresh] 
F: long, big warming

very very drinkable at 56.9% : 8.5/10 [we both agreed, scary!]
adding water: honey, smoother, less interesting, but probably the same rating

Port Charlotte Cask #0013
d. 28/11/2005  b. 2016 (10 years old), Cask: Bourbon / Bordeaux, 59.9%
N: old shoes, wine, caramel, chocolate caramel, hint smoke, cream
P: phenol, wine, warm, smooth, surprisingly gentle, chocolate
F: long, builds very slowly, throat clearing

Notes from Bruichladdich: 10years in bourbon, and 9 months in Bordeaux 

8/10 the bourbon is subdued, with red wine coming through nicely.
Adding water brings out the wine/berry flavour and warms the finish even more. Very dry finish too (presumably the wine).

Port Charlotte Cask #0005
d. 39/11/2005  b. 2016 (10 years old), Cask: Virgin French Oak, 63.5%
N: dry older wood, smoother, marshmallows, sherbet, rain on freshly cut grass (O3), prickly
P: very sweet marshmallow, muscovado sugar, hint of smoke/bacon
F: warm, sweet, med-long

8.5/10 very different to the other two.
Water: far smoother, more dark sugar comes through. 

This virtual tasting worked well, and so you can look forward to more tasting notes in the next few weeks. There's an intention to meet up before xmas for dramas...

26 October 2017

Kimmerigian ambles

I keep meaning to blog. Honest.

Earlier this year we were pottering down in Dorset, (not so much Comic Strip) in the rather small village of Sydling St Nicholas. This seemed close enough to a new fossil museum that I went off on the Saturday to see The Etches Collection.

It turned out this was a longer drive, involving single lane roads, a lot of fog, and dodgy radio reception for the All Blacks game. But it was worth it. The museum has been made from one mans collection - all from Kimmeridge - which is where the Kimmeridgian a period within the Jurassic gets its name. There are extensive clay beds around here, hence the fossils...
And as you'll have guessed, it's all part of the Jurassic Coast. Which, given time constraints, I didn't get a chance to go around.
The exhibition is great, not huge, but well laid out and an excellent museum. Had a good chat to the staff - yeah, I even interacted with people, it was that good.

I did take photos, but can't seem to find them. Oh well. Anyway, definitely recommended. I even got a coffee mug.

1 August 2017

Movie: Deadly Impact

It seems I've been remiss about posting. I should fix that.

First up, a movie. Even better, a Fred Williamson movie. Deadly Impact. Always a sign of quality that Fred.
We open with a comp geek (oohhh sexy 80s computers) and his girlfriend who are winning on the pokie machines, he gets killed. Svenson grabs his buddy Williamson (a helicopter pilot, for some reason), and they go investigating. It's kinda like an Eddie Murphy buddy cop show. But Williamson, and his moustache, beat Murph's everyday.
There's car chases, lots of shooting (yaya for bullet proof vests), smart arse comments (Williamson), laconic dryness (Svenson), and it all rocks along nicely.

Here's the trailer. Go on, 90mins of quality.

2 April 2017

WhiskyLive !

Half of the cabal reformed to grace WhiskyLive with our presence. Armed with a notepad, a thirst, and a realisation that we would be back home at a reasonable time, with a good chance of being OK in the morning, we hit London.
Stopping first for a coffee, discuss the relative merits of our employers (comedy value only, it appears) we moved onto the great English tradition of queuing to get anywhere. But eh, it was sunny, the crowd was civilised, and we all wanted booze.

I made tasting notes. Some of them will be legible, some won't. Some may just have the whisky name. I'll upload a pic of my last page of scrawling later and let you lot translate it...

So, freebies: the usual nice glass (pic below with our first dram), and a 35cl of 12yo HP. Yeah, I'm ok with that. It works really well in Ginger & Whisky cake (recipe here). That cake has been thoroughly tested by me, and my office mates (I told them how much booze was in it, after they'd had it for breakfast).

Highland Park - Valkyrie
This is their new expression which is due out shortly. Bottled around 46% from memory.
N: peat, bourbon, sweet, chocolate
P: chocolate, very dry, sweet
F: med-long

I'm not the biggest HP fan, some are great, but there's a number which are a bit too marketing driven for me. But this was very nice and quaffable. The nice chap pouring us booze said it would retail for around £55 - at this point, I'd recommend buying some.

Glengoyne - 15yo
N: sweet, sherry
P: sherry, very very dry, sweet
F: long. so very long.

Look I'm biased. Of course it was the first stand in the main hall we'd go to.

Glengoyne - 21yo
N: xmas cake, more xmas, light
P: fruit cake, light, delicate sherry
F: medium

I love this whisky. It's light, complex, interesting, the sort you can just lie back and savour while the world goes off and does whatever it wants.

Compass Box - Oak Cross
N: light, fruity, vanilla
P: apples, clynelish
F: long

Had a lovely chat to their rep, this one is made up of 60% Clynelish [which is very prominent], 20% Dailuaine, and 20% Teanninich. Given I like Clynelish, this was very likely to do well. And the apples / fruit come through beautifully, with that slight hint of waxy salty coastal stuff.

Compass Box - Extravaganza
N: spicy, sherry
P: where's the taste? possibly red peppers? [Alec]
F: short

5/10, oddly flavourless. Maybe a victim of other booze? who knows.

(we are onto page 3 now)
Kavalan - Manzanilla
N: sherry
P: very dry
F: long
8/10 it's not doing anything very interesting, but it's doing sherry very well

Kavalan - Amontillado
no notes, just 9/10.
It appears I liked that one.

Kavalan - Pedro Ximenez

Kavalan are the Taiwanese whisky makers, there's probably more in Taiwan, but we only hear of these guys. They like their sherry. And they make superb whisky. As a picky bugger, I think they're too perfect, there's not a massive amount of character (not sure that's the word I want, but meh). It's also very pricy. yeah, there's none in my cupboard, how did you guess?

William Grant- Ghosted Reserve 26yo
N: fruit, apples, peaches, sweet
P: floral, sweet,
F: short-med
9/10, lovely and light

Ghosted refers to the old (40yo we were told) cask of Ladyburn which is in this blend. It really was a lovely whisky, but at £370, I'm not rushing out to get a bottle. Although it's worth it.

Girvan #4 
very drinkable 6/10
It's a grain whisky from W.Grant's Girvan distillery.  I've got nothing against grain whisky, in fact I like drinking them.

Girvan - cask strength version of #4
very drinkable, 7/10

Girvan 25yo 
also, very nice. 8/10.
But at £250, maybe a bit beyond my reach, if I'm spending that on a bottle, I'd like to go for something more traditional.

Girvan 30yo
boring. 6/10
Apparently I was getting very wordy.

We broke for a bit of food at this point, because we're nothing if not responsible.

- Standard 4/10
- 19yo Oloroso 8/10
- 21yo bourbon 7.5/10

That Boutiquey Whisky Company
- Blend #2  7/10
- Mortlach 18 yo 7/10 [possibly the least interesting Mortlach I've had, I even added notes: bit rough, fruity]
- Springbank 21yo 8.5/10
I like their bottling, tends to be interesting stuff. Possibly should have hit them earlier? but the Springbank was very good...

-25yo Port 8/10
-sherry, new £125 9/10

Deanston 18yo
burnt sugar, very nice, 8/10

Smokey 18yo Sherry  9/10
This was very similar to the Benriach Solstice, and at around £80 is a steal.

Elements Lg6
manly! 8.5/10

-Prometheus 7/10
-new make (7month) spirit 8/10
A new distillery in Glasgow, they're making a lot of very good gin, while they wait for their whisky to mature.

Good range there, and for our money the two whiskies of the day are the (oddly!) HP Valkyrie and the Ledaig 18yo. With the GlenMoray sherry also a contender.

We retired to sober up over a pint, and headed our separate ways. Another great day with the cabal...
Also, as promised, here's the last two pages of notes: