Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: September 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013

Birthday Roast Lamb (Pt.2)

If you read the first part of this post you will know the immensity of the piece of meat I roasted and I would also guess that you could work out the amount of food we had left over (hint: a lot). And so what better way of eating sections of carcass? Yes, correct. Soup.

Most of the meat was still attached deliciously to the bones of beast, perfect for a good boil and subsequent soup.

First of all I boiled the bones with carrots, onions and garlic chopped into large chunks of veg with some woody herbs, specifically rosemary and thyme. After a few hours simmering, I strained the stock into another pan leaving the meat bones and veg. I had a wonderful 20 minutes picking the meat from the bones, because no matter what I tell my metaphorical children you should sometimes play with your food. After a good pick I kept aside the meat to add right at the end of the soup.

To start the soup we used what the Italians call suffritto and the French mirepoix, but what it lightly fries down to is softened onions, celery and carrots. Alongside this was the addition of a mixed bean soup mix, containing lentils, split peas, and rusks along with other beans. At this point you will not need much - something along the lines of a handful per person, ideally soaked over night then rinsed to get rid of the excess starch. But I spectacularly over-catered on this front, so part way through the cooking some of the pulses were separated off to freeze ready for the next set of leftovers. The strained bowl of stock was then added back to the pan, skimming off any fat that may have collected on the top, before bringing to the boil and being left to simmer.

After 45 minutes or so of filling the house with amazing smells, the lentils were tender and almost ready to eat. I only needed to add the lamb and the saved carrots from making the stock, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes to warm everything through, before it was served and finished with Hendersons Relish... lovely. 

As Ever

Jim R

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

Lost Distilleries

As the first whisky post for our blog, we thought it best to start with throwing lots at you at once.

Laura: To begin... a little bit of back story. We both LOVE whisky, to the extent that we went to Islay, the home of many a quality malt, on our honeymoon. So when a "Lost Distilleries" night was organised at one of our locals, three days after Jim's birthday, it seemed the perfect gift.

We began by a delicious Mexican meal out - food pairings had been advertised to go with the whiskies, but were described as "nibbles", so we thought it best to line our stomachs with something a little more substantial. The taco sharing tray we chose certainly sufficed!

Food: Amigos, London Road, Sheffield

The whisky night itself was based at the Broadfield in Sheffield. This is one of the great pubs owned by Forum Cafe Bars, an independent company that runs some excellent eat- and drinkeries around the city. The evening was hosted by Ed, the delightful in-house whisky connoisseur (follow @WhiskyCurator on twitter), and focused on Scottish distilleries that are now closed, most likely forever, so this night presented itself as the perfect opportunity to try a variety of whiskies more rare and special than anything we could afford a full bottle of.

Jim: I firmly believe that one of the best ways to try whiskies, especially great new ones, is on organised tastings. On the menu were 5 whiskies from around Scotland, each with a suggested food tasting for the separate drams.

We opened with a Caperdonich 1998, a 13 year old whisky bottled by Connoisseurs Choice. It was a florally smooth whisky with a delightful heather nose. This whisky was the weakest of the evening at a mere 46%. It was served with a chunk of shortbread, to complement similar tastes in the dram but also to highlight the warm spiced fruits through the taste.

To follow we moved on to the Imperial 16 year ,which on the nose was a lighter, more fruity whisky than the previous drink, this time bottled by Hunter Laing and Co. This whisky didn't have the burn that those used to cask-strength (50% in this case) whisky may expect, instead a warming smoothness of a vanilla, nutmeg custard, ending in a slight pepper finish. This lightness allowed this whisky to become one of Laura's favourites. We sampled this alongside oatcakes and Mull of Kintyre cheddar, which provided a great contrast.

Next to follow was one of the most notable whiskies for me - a 24 year old dram from Littlemill distillery, again bottled independently: this time by Berrys' Bros & Rudd. Littlemill is one of the most interesting distilleries, with one of the earliest stills in Scotland, and employing the first female master distiller in the UK. With regards to the equipment they were progressive, always searching for the taste of a better whisky, by trying out different shapes of copper still. This kind of experimentation is not often seen in the stills of Scotland, being more usually incorporated into the methods of the Japanese distilleries. But with all this it doesn't help or change the fact that the distillery was mothballed, leaving the occasional batch to be run just to check the machinery. However, from one of these runs came forth the evening's bottle. It was an exciting mix of gingery peach and creamy chocolate (white chocolate being the pairing) on the nose, with a taste of Caribbean fruits, and a punch of spice, almost the hint of an awesome rum but with the finish and flair of a long-lasting single malt.

Our penultimate whisky hailed from a tumultuous distillery; one that produced whisky for fewer consecutive years than the 20 year old dram we had our nose in. With one of the more interesting labels of any bottle on the market and it's turbulent past, this whisky could have gone one of two ways. The tickling heat  at the back of the throat and through to the nose politely informed you what the bottle had continued to say: that this was 57.5%. Pittyvaich certainly packed a punch.

Then came the final whisky.  I feel I should preface this next paragraph with some advice: A massive budget doesn't necessarily guarantee a great whisky. Spending money on whisky (for me) should be considered and thought out. But...

But... then I tasted Glen Mhor 28year. I have never sampled anything that has come close as far as distinction goes (save Bruichladdich Octomore, but that is for another time), with a smell almost of parkin, but with a vague rose water quality. In the mouth, all the flavours of treacle, toffee and liquorice swirled with the sense of tobacco and plums, ending in one of the longest, most pleasant and peppery finishes I have ever experienced. This whisky is divine; subtle and powerful in equal measure, livening the taste buds and awakening the mind with memories of bonfires. The only issue reigning me in from bathing in this divine spirit is none-the-less a big one... £180 a bottle...

...although, I don't need the TV...

Laura: Overall, the night was a great experience. The whiskies were delicious, the food pairings worked well, the knowledge of our host was exceptional and the atmosphere of the private tasting was cosy and made the event feel special. At £30 a head, it wasn't cheap, but this price represented excellent value. We had a fantastic time and will definitely look out for similar events in the future!


L and J xx

For more information about The Broadfield's upcoming events, go to

Monday, 16 September 2013

Birthday Roast Spiced Lamb (Pt.1)

This weekend I reached the grand old age of 24. And what better way to celebrate my anniversary of birth than with a piece of lamb that weighs the same amount as I did when I was born. As a man who loves cooking and more importantly eating, it was important for me to spend money on a sodding massive piece of meat.

After struggling to fit the joint in the largest roasting tray we own on a bed of red onions. I made a spice rub with dry spices like cumin, chilli, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and smoked paprika. Fresh chillis and garlic were then mixed together with olive oil, to make a wet rub for the outside of the meat. Following that, I cut a hole into the meat which was stuffed with rosemary, thyme and more garlic.

I roasted the meat over two days, starting the roast to cook it through for about 3 hours on a medium heat. It was then roasted on a low heat for another 6 hours, with stock in the tray keeping it basted and moist.

When the lamb was about an hour from being cooked I added fresh tomatoes and peppers to the meaty mix in the tray ready for the sauce.

After the meat had done its time in roasting purgatory it was left to stand in limbo for half an hour or so, giving plenty of time to finish the sauce.

After blending the contents of the baking tray, including all the meat juices and stock onions toms and peppers, the whole lot was allowed to boil down, later adding balsamic vinegar and ketchup to lighten the proceedings.

The next step was to add the pulled meat to the sauce which we ate with flat breads and a potato raita salad, but would work or equally well with couscous or rice.

The amount of meat involved fed 3 of us initially, then another 6 to snack on mid-drinking session and 2 lunches at work with tomatoes, yoghurt and mint. The bones and residual meat were remaining, which are being used to make soup, which will (looking at the pot of soup in front of me) feed us to eternity.

To be continued...



Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Blackberry Vodka

With the frankly embarrassing surplus of blackberries in our house at the moment, we have been trying to find ways of using them up. So what better than the use of them to make cheap alcohol great?!

This is one of the most simple 'recipes'... it is more of an assembly job, combining everything together in a 700ml (or larger) Kilner jar then leaving it for 6 weeks or so.

The only thing I would suggest at this stage is that you make sure that the Kilner jar is sterilised with boiling water, or even better, the same kind of steriliser powder used for home brewing.

After combining all the ingredients, seal the jar then shake vigorously. Don't worry if all the sugar doesn't dissolve straight away as it will over time. Store in a cool dark place, shaking twice a week to start off with, then once a week will suffice.
After six weeks or so remove the fruit, as black-berries have a core that you won't want to be drinking, which can start to turn your delicious future beverage more bitter and unpleasant. Strain the contents of the jar through a sieve and then a muslin cloth if needed, before re-bottling into a tight bottle. It will keep for up to a year. Oh, and keep the strained vodka fruits for puddings.

You can follow this recipe for any soft fruit by following the the same weights: depending on the fruit you might want to change the amount of sugar added, to make things sharper or sweeter, but the end result will be pretty forgiving.



Monday, 2 September 2013

Sunday Lunch: Duck Legs and Roast Potatoes

Sunday for me is the best day for food - having all weekend to think about what you're going to cook and the time to actually prepare it is a luxury that I try to commit to. This week, we had roast duck legs with roast potatoes and a mixed leaf and orange salad.

Often our meat comes from reduced sections of supermarkets, mainly Waitrose (which is on the walk home from work). As long as you use the meat relatively quickly or go straight to the freezer with it, it is always tip top. On this occasion we happened upon some roast Gressingham duck legs that were about half the price.

Starting the chopped potatoes first from raw, with finely chopped fresh oregano, rosemary, thyme, chilli, garlic, olive oil and salt and roast for between forty minutes and an hour. 

Whilst the duck was already cooked, we re-roasted it so that it was properly warm with a glaze of orange juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil for 20 minutes.

We served with runner beans and a mixed leaf salad, with segmented orange and a similar dressing to the glaze initially added to the duck.

The end result looked like the photo to the right.

Below is a Vine post of the method, I apologise for the jumpiness and for my voice, I will work on it for the future.

And here is Laura's dessert offering - home-made apple and blackberry crumble, with the fruit all coming from our own allotment. Turned out pretty well considering the oven was on the grill setting!

With food we drank a glass of Blandford Flyer, a sweet fragrant brew from Badger Brewery and one of my favourite bottled beers ever, but a nice glass of Pinot Noir would also complete the deal.