Category: Food Stuff


Well now, it’s been a while since we posted but that’s not to say we haven’t been busy! December was fairly mental, Christmas was very relaxed and New Year came and went with a small but
perfectly formed house party.

Today marks the opening day of Monty’s Alehouse, a unique micro brewery specialising in traditional, hoppy English bitters and the odd cider. Santa bought me a brewing kit and I started on the first brew today. I’ll be making this:

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So here’s a quick guide (because no doubt the quality of my ale will spur you onto making your own…!)

You need a brewing kit, fermenting bucket and lid, spoon, siphon tube, thermometer, steriliser and ageing barrel (or 40 pint bottles and caps). Santa seems to do his brewing kit shopping in Wilkinsons… 😉

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So first step is to sterilise everything (EVERYTHING! Including thermometer, malt tins and tin opener!) I used 4 teaspoons of steriliser and 5 litres of warm water in the fermentation bucket. Make sure you wear gloves and ensure everything is dipped in the solutions. Put the lid on the bucket and swirl it round so the lid gets done too. Good to do this in a utility room, to stop the missus moaning (!)
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Put the sterilised tins of malt in a sink of warm water to make the malt more fluid. Do this for ten minutes while you rinse evening with cold water thoroughly. Lots of cold water!
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So, the fun bit. Open up the tins and poor them into the bucket. Boil a kettle and fill the malt tins with boiling water, leaving for a minute, then poor them into the bucket. This should get nearly all the malt into the bucket. Then put the bucket in the sink (you need a big sink!) and stir the malt so it’s well mixed with the water.
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Top up the bucket with cold water to the 17 litre mark or there abouts. Use the thermometer to check the temperature. It needs to be between 20 and 25 degrees. Use either boiling water or cold water then to top up to 23 litres making sure the temperature stays at this level.
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Give the wort a really good stir to get lots of air in it, then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Don’t stir this in. Snap the bucket lid on.
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Finally, find a warm place for the bucket. Everyone uses the airing cupboard! It needs to be a fairly constant temperature and free from cold spells. Put the bucket here and open up the lid a tad so gasses can escape.
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And that’s it! 6 days or so in the airing cupboard, then it will be time to siphon into the barrel or bottles. So we’ll catch up next week and tell you how this goes!

I’ve made it through my first 6 weeks at Lyons Seafoods. It’s been hectic, fun, amazing and scary all in equal measure! The world of prawns is an interesting one, compared to making pasties from beef available 5 miles up the road (another plug for Ginsters local sourcing there…) juggling the needs of punters with a fish farmed (responsibly, obviously) as far away as Thailand and Mexico is fairly bonkers. We seem to do it though and very good prawns they are too!

But enough of all this marketing malarkey. I have spent an honestly tiring couple of weeks in Europe checking out what the world has to offer in fish. From the massive hypermarkets of France to the amazing Fish Expo in Brussels. My eye has been opened, although some of the randomness of the Chinese Pavilion really wasn’t my cup of tea (or kettle of fish for that matter).

This all coincided with my starting to use Instagram regularly. This is the social media tool invented 18 months ago which Facebook recently bought for a billion dollars. Whoop, lucky them. The question critics ask is why after years of advancement in terms of digital photography does everyone suddenly want to get their photos to look like they were taken on a naff Kodak Disc camera from the 80s?

I quite like it. I can see why Facebook invested, it ties brilliantly into their Timeline feature and their goal to become the storage destination for everyone’s personal media. I took a load of photos with it whilst recently travelling about…

Up in the clouds…

The really rather busy road from our salmon factory in the Scottish Borders…

L’Arc de Triomphe…

The Eiffel Tower by day…

…and by night…

…and finally Le Grand Place in Brussels…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of fun. So download it and you too can make yourself look like your Dad in 1978. My travels, for now, are over. I really must spend some time in the office and do stuff!

Never to be accused of doing things by halves, I’ve upped sticks and moved to a town we don’t know for a job which could have been a step too far.

However… First things first. I left Ginsters on Thursday 15th March after over four years of inventing pasties and sandwiches, opening hot pasty outlets and generally annoying all the girls in finance. It was a wonderful day made all the more special by the kind words off the boss and all the little things Anna and Becs did to say goodbye. Anna even made a fish cake for me…

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Lots of lovely presents too, I FINALLY got my hands on a sausage & mash pasty, a variety I’d been banging on about for three years nearly and had been told on all occasions it definitely wasn’t the future (even though it is). Thanks for Graham and the boys for this…

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So thanks everyone at Ginsters who contributed to the leaving day and prezzies. I’ll miss the fun and laughter we had, although I suspect much more work will get done now I’ve gone! Here’s the Brand Team I leave behind…

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And onto pastures new. Samantha and I have moved to Trowbridge in sunny Wiltshire (think White Horses and posh ham). I got a great new job at Lyons Seafoods, who source and cook the very best prawns in the UK. Pasties to prawns, oh yes. The first week went very well, in at the deep end with a major client meeting on day four.

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We obviously also have a new house, in a big estate on the outskirts of Trowbridge. Our footballers wives pad, complete with cream carpets and pillars by the front door. We’re pleased to be back near civilisation with decent shops on the doorstep and the clubs and bars of Bath and Brizzle only a short train ride away. Looking forward to seeing all our friends and family a bit more often. Of course, this means I might have to clean the BBQ which I’ve been putting off for over a year!

So, my time at Ginsters comes to an end. 4 years of inventing new pasties and sandwiches, attempting not to get bigger than a 34 inch waist, and living in a Cornwall that people think is wall to wall with sun but is actually bleak, rainsodden and windswept. All ending in March.

Some might say that a move from Cornwall to Trowbridge is a novel one when most people go the other way, but my new job at Lyons Seafood is a bobby dazzler, looking at exciting new fish products for you and your families to devour. At least I’ll have a greater chance of getting back into my skinny jeans.

Now to find a house, lots of mortgage/rental fun to be had and moving to an area we don’t know. But life’s challenges and changes make it exciting. And it will move Samantha closer to Bristol Harvey Nicks, which is nice.