August 11th, 2009Cider
Fletch is going to be turning in the grave that is the house we used to share for two years but I have formally bastardised IPA Monday in order to have a cider night. Basically the reason for this is that I have a pack of chops in the fridge left over from Saturday’s BBQ and I’ve decided to make that the theme of the night.
First things first, this is the recipe that I am cooking, passed to me by my mate Jack but changed a little but by me (I have used Leeks in favour of Onions)…
3 x Leeks
6 x Pork Chops
1 1/2 x Jars of Apple Sauce
1 x Bottle Medium Sweet Cider
Knob of Butter
Salt and Pepper to Flavour
Method – Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed stew pot in order to sweat off the leeks (which should be roughly chopped). Once the leeks are soft, brown off the chops before adding the cider and apple sauce to thicken, simmer for 10-15 mins on the hob and then bang in the oven for 45mins at 180-200 degrees.
Moving on to more important things, I had headed to Beer Ritz to grab a few bottles of cider on the way home from work. My housemate Jim is a big fan of Aspall’s and, although Cider is my weakest area (in University Challenge terms) I am aware off Aspall’s to be a good brand and expected to see it on the shelves of Beer Ritz. It was not, but they were stocking Weston’s and Sheppy’s. I selected Sheppy’s as my brewery of choice for the evening as Fletch is something of a Weston’s fan and has reviewed before I believe. The advice of Beer Ritz’s always helpful management was at hand to ensure that I had the right options for cooking. We selcted three Sheppy’s ciders, Kingston Black to go in the food, a couple of bottles of the same to go with andbottles of Cider with Honey and Falstaff Cider for some experimental tasting with the housemates.
Cider with Honey, 5.4%
This cider was exactly what the label suggested. The honey came through as the first taste with the subtle taste of the cider coming through after. The honey carried this golden cider off an absolute treat, it was readily drinkable and, even at the bottom of the bottle, not at all sickly in it’s sweetness.
Not being a regular cider drinker I’m not sure how this would be received by the hard core scrumpy faithful but I am sure that other dabblers such as myself could do a hell of a lot worse.
Kingston Black, 7.2%
This cider was far stronger on the tongue than the honey one I’d just put down. It was livelier than the honey cider and drier but was still palatable.
Coming straight after the honey cider there was a danger that this would be too dry but it actually reined in the sweetness to just the right amount and provided the more robust body necessary to accompany the food, without allowing my flavoursome efforts to be overridden. The Kingston Black apple is dubbed as being prized for it’s full bodied aromas and this blend is certainly testament to that fact.
I would note that, at 7,2%, while the flavour and body of this cider suggest that you probably could drink this all night, the likelihood is that you wont!
Returning to the a more reserved abv of 5.6% this cider was also sweeteer than the Kingston black, but crisper and clearer than the honey cider. The Falstaff cider perfectly fills the gap between the Honey Cider and the Kingston Black and completes the set of sweeter ciders for tonight’s reviews.
I had not been forward thinking enough to arrange a dessert to follow the main course but this slotted into the gap really well. I would like to give a more comprehensive analysis but, as it’s the third cider of the night, I have run out of adjectives! I apologise and all I can really say is that if I had to select one of these to drink all night, it would be this one.
Aided by my housemates, Jim and Kat, we have rated the three ciders as follows…
1. Cider with Honey
3. Kingston Black
Although I have to say that this was on initial tasting only and that my favourite of the night was probably Falstaff. The important lesson here though is that, while I walked into Beer Ritz looking for Aspall’s, I was directed towards a cracking brewery producing a range of ciders suitable for every palate. It’s not an area I know well and the evening has taught me not to be blinkered and to experiment with what’s about. Who knows, next Monday could be cider night with Weston’s and could be just as much fun…Tags: 5-6%, 7% +, Apple, Beer Ritz, Cider, Falstaff, honey, Honey with Cider, Kingston Black, Pork, Recipe, Sweet, Themed Night
Last night was the Eurovision Song Contest so a few of us gathered in homage to Euro-pop ready to sing, dance and generally make merry. The plan for the night was simple – everyone had been assigned a country and was instructed to bring traditional food and drink from their adopted nation. Lucky enough to draw Sweden as my new domicile, I headed eagerly to Ikea to see what I could find…
Spendrups Old Gold Pale Pilsner – 5,0%abv – A crisp, sharp pilsner costing only £1,05 a bottle. Well worth a look to refresh you when you’re next trying to put together a flat packed wardrobe. |Be careful though, the 5% abv is subtle and not at all gassy meaning it slips down all too easily – too many bottles will probably have you putting the doors on that wardrobe upside down.
Reindeer Salami ‘Ren’ – This Salami was a very nice Swedish gimmick to stick on the table. Not really sure how to review it except to say that it made a nice little sandwich with the Swedish cheese that I picked up at the same time.
Kopparberg Premium Pear Cider – 4,5% abv – Couldn’t leave this one off the review although I’m pretty sure everyone has come into contact with it at one point or another. This cider is absolutely delicious. It’s so light and sweet you don’t actually even notice that it’s alcohol which isn’t really what I look for in a drink but I know some people will like that.
Something this sweet can’t all be good news though and I’m quite sure that too much of this would leave you with rotten teeth, feeling very sick and possibly suffering from diabetes.
Norrlands Guld Export – 4,5%abv – First and foremost this lager came out of a can and it had the tinny flavour that comes along with that. To quote our host for the evening, Sarah Frost, it seems like ‘a bit of a nothing lager’. You could equally be drinking any number of other canned lagers in terms of taste although I would say that, like the Old Gold above, it is flatter (in a good way) than the likes of Fosters or Carlsberg meaning that it is not bloating.
Billar – little car shaped sweets that are frankly odd. They seem to have the Marmite effect as I, and about half of the people at the party, loved them and everyone else thought they were rubbish.
Mini Elk & Venison Salamis – these were really good nibbles. A bit like mini Pepperamis but slightly chewier.
That my friends, is Sweden in a nutshell.