Movember 2012 – Prostate & Testicular Cancer Appeal

Hello WordPress friends old & new

I would normally be bringing you an informative review of a great bottle of whisky or sharing a family recipe for a delicious dish however today I am seeking your help to try to put and end to Prostate & Testicular Cancer that affects so many men and their families throughout the world.

Did you know that in the UK alone one man dies from Prostate cancer EVERY HOUR !!

Please take just a few moments to follow the link below and make a small donation to help with this very worthy cause. By following the link directly to the official Movember site you can be sure that the money is paid directly to the charity.

http://uk.movember.com/mospace/2964741

Anyone donating more than £10.00 GBP will automatically be entered into a prize draw and earn the chance to win a fabulous prize !!

On behalf of all the men and their families that will need support from the Movember Charity I thank you

Movember – a global movement

Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.9 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic. In addition, Movember is aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health causes across the globe, from Russia to Dubai, Hong Kong to Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and everywhere in between.

No matter the country or city, Movember will continue to work to change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, and to act on that knowledge, thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.

In 2011, over 854,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world got on board, raising GBP 79.3 million.

Big steps have been taken towards changing attitudes and habits relating to men’s health around the world but there is still much to be done to catch up with the women’s health movement. Via the moustache, Movember aims to fulfil its vision of having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health, by continuing to spark conversation and spread awareness of men’s health each year.

And the award goes to. . . .

As those of you who have followed us recently or have taken time to read our “About A Hint Of Garlic” page will know,  we are new to blogging and thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to share with family, friends and the rest of the world our attempts at recreating some of the recipes that we have come across, while trying to add our own twist or variation at the same time. Oh, Mr A Hint of Garlic also enjoys the occasional ;-) glass of whisky and offers his own humble opinion of how each bottle in his ever-growing collection tastes.

So far we have received some wonderful comments from new-found friends across the world which is great and only serves to inspire us to share with you our adventures even more. ( Yes, Mr will drink more whisky just for you! ) Some of our favourite posts so far have included;

Fresh Baked Bread

Ultimate Victoria Sponge Cake

Hot Nuts

Moroccan Tagine

 

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. Imagine our delight and surprise when we received a message this morning to let us know that own blog had been nominated for the Liebster Award by Betsy at the Bits and Breadcrumbs blog. ( Thank you so much Betsy ! This really made our day )

 

The Liebster Blog Award is given to recognize your favorite up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 subscribers, and that you feel deserve more. It’s a cool way to meet more folks and learn some new things…and generally expand your horizons, in my opinion.

Rules are:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  2. Reveal your top 5 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

And we would be delighted to nominate the following blogs; 


Laila Make My Cake : A very new UK-based blog that specialises in cakes and cake decoration for special occasions and celebrations. You really have to take a look at the sugar craft flowers that this wonderful baker produces, they are simply incredible !

The Whisky Woman : An American based whisky enthusiast who offers a wonderful insight into many aspects of whisky enjoyment. With posts ranging from information regarding specific distilleries or products to common sense advice on enjoying your whisky.

Around the World in Eighty Bakes : Join this baker as they attempt to bake sweet and savoury  dishes from countries around the world from the comfort of their very own kitchen.

Rhoda Kirwan : A wonderful collection of recipes from Rhoda who we believe is based in Ireland. The Mini Bakewell Tarts would be a great place to start in our view.

Frugal Feeding : An amazing collection of very tempting recipes from a blog that has inspired us a great deal.

Whisky Review Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak

Ok let me begin by saying it’s been a really rubbish week at work ( Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday! ) so it was an absolute pleasure to sit down, relax and enjoy a nice glass of whisky this evening, probably not what the doctor would have ordered but damn it was what I needed. . .

Why did I select the Glenfiddich 14-year-old Rich Oak for this moment of bliss in what has been an otherwise appalling week, was it because of the smoothness or complex nose? Nope ! It just happened to be the first bottle I could lay my hands on in my collection :-)

Aside from this this ultra scientific selection process it’s now time for the review and it’s only appropriate that I take this opportunity to thank my dear Father-In-Law who presented this fine whisky to me last year ( Thanks, Pop)

Released in Spring 2010, this Glenfiddich Rich Oak has spent 14 years in ex-bourbon casks in the traditional way, before two separate finishes of 12 weeks in new European oak and six weeks in new American oak before bottling. They say the American oak adds spice, vanilla and fruit, and the Spanish oak brings elegant fruit, spicy and complexity.

Tasting Notes – Nose: Lots of oak influence. Very fruity, nutmeg, cinnamon, bourbon, fruits, dates. Palate: Bourbon sweetness, with lots of general fruitiness, sublimely smooth.  Finish: Nutty and of good length, toasty, hints of char, fruity.

My own view is that this is an incredibly smooth whisky given its age and has a warm toffee & caramel like taste with a finish that lingers pleasantly on the taste buds. At the lower end of the Glenfiddich age range this whisky provides very good value for money being a lovely everyday dram that is full of flavour. If you get the chance give this one a try. . .

A Hint of Garlic Rating 16 / 20

Coming Soon – Yamazaki 10 Year Old – Jura 10 Year Old & Talisker 10 Year Old

If you could smell our kitchen right now . . .

What is it about flour, yeast and water when cooked in an oven that smells so amazing and homely? Our kitchen, and for that matter, rest of our home is filled with the most seductive baking smell known to man, fresh-baked bread !

In our attempt to learn new skills and techniques in baking we choose to bake our own white rustic loaf of bread to use for sandwiches during the week. Having recently purchased the “Great British Bake Off” book we noticed that one of the challenges that the contestants faced was baking a Focaccia recipe by master baked Paul Hollywood. Also contained, was a recipe for a basic white loaf though not quite in the right quantity that we wanted. Not a problem, a quick google search and there was Mr Hollywood’s bread with the volume we needed.

Even if you don’t eat bread we urge you to give this a go even if it’s to experience the aroma our household has at this very moment.

Ingredients:

500g Strong White Bread Flour – 2 x 7g packets Dried Yeast – 40g Soft Butter – 2 tsp Salt – 300ml Tepid Water – 1 tbsp oil

Method:

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Add the yeast at one side of the bowl and add the salt at the other, otherwise the salt will kill the yeast. Stir all the ingredients with a spoon to combine. Add half of the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add water a little at a time, combining well, until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want a dough that is well combined and soft, but not sticky or soggy. Mix with your fingers to make sure all of the ingredients are combined and use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl. Keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough. Use about a teaspoon of oil to lightly grease a clean work surface (using oil instead of flour will keep the texture of the dough consistent).

Fold the far edge of the dough into the middle of the dough, then turn the dough by 45 degrees and repeat. Do this several times until the dough is very lightly coated all over in olive oil. Now use your hands to knead the dough: push the dough out in one direction with the heel of your hand, then fold it back on itself. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading in this way stretches the gluten and makes the dough elastic. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Work quickly so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands – if it does get too sticky you can add a little flour to your hands.

Lightly oil your mixing bowl and put the dough back into it. Cover with a damp tea towel and set it aside to prove. This gives the yeast time to work: the dough should double in size. This should take around one hour, but will vary depending on the temperature of your room (don’t put the bowl in a hot place or the yeast will work too quickly). Line a baking tray with baking or silicone paper (not greaseproof).

Once the dough has doubled in size scrape it out of the bowl to shape it. The texture should be bouncy and shiny. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back by kneading it firmly to ‘knock’ out the air. Use your hand to roll the dough up, then turn by 45 degrees and roll it up again. Repeat several times. Gently turn and smooth the dough into a round loaf shape. Place the loaf onto the lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove until it’s doubled in size. This will take about an hour, but may be quicker or slower depending on how warm your kitchen is.

Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan assisted)/425F/Gas 7. Put an old, empty roasting tin into the bottom of the oven. After an hour the loaf should have proved (risen again). Sprinkle some flour on top and very gently rub it in. Use a large, sharp knife to make shallow cuts (about 1cm/½in deep) across the top of the loaf to create a diamond pattern. Put the loaf (on its baking tray) into the middle of the oven. Pour cold water into the empty roasting tray at the bottom of the oven just before you shut the door – this creates steam which helps the loaf develop a crisp and shiny crust. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes.

The loaf is cooked when it’s risen and golden. To check, take it out of the oven and tap it gently underneath – it should sound hollow. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. If your anything like us though, you won’t be able to wait that long and will enjoy a slice with a topping of quickly melting butter.

Happy baking !

We Rocked the Casbah

Been a cold old day here in the UK and the early signs of a cold winter are starting to appear. That means only one thing, Comfort food !

It just so happens that we have recently purchased a lovely royal blue tagine so what a perfect opportunity to give it a test. What kind of tagine to make was the next dilemma. So, at this point it is only fair that I thank Mr Jamie “Pukka” Oliver for a fantastic recipe for “Beef Chickpea & Butternut Squash Tagine”, though we did amend it slightly to make it our own.

Please note that you can use any kind of pot for this though I’m sure you’ll agree it looks pretty cool served in an authentic tagine. . .

Ingredients:

800g Beef Braising Steak – 400g Cooked Chickpeas – 1 Large Butternut Squash – 400g Tinned Plum Tomatoes – 1 Large Onion – 600ml Beef Stock – 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout – 1 tbsp Cinnamon – 1 tbsp Ground Ginger – 1 tbsp Cumin – 1 tbsp Paprika – 4 Cloves Sliced Garlic – Fresh Coriander – Salt & Pepper

Method:

Mix the ras el hanout, cinnamon, paprika, cumin & ginger in a bowl and add the beef and massage the spice mix into the meat. Set aside to allow the flavour of the spices to penetrate into the beef. ( Ideally overnight ) Heat some olive oil in the tagine and fry the beef for around 5 minutes until browned on the outside. Meanwhile slice the onion and add to the browned beef along with the tin of tomatoes, chickpeas, sliced garlic and half of the beef stock. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Place the tagine into the oven at 170c / 325f / Gas 3 and allow to cook for approximately 1.5 – 2  hours. At this point give the tagine a stir and add the butternut squash and remaining stock. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 1 – 1.5 hours. The beef should now be incredibly tender and break apart with a spoon. Sprinkle with fresh coriander, serve the beef tagine with cous cous and warm flatbread. . .

Note: Ras el hanout (Arabic for “top of the shop”) is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. It usually includes nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, aniseed, turmeric, cayenne, peppercorns, dried galangal, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilli, allspice and orris root.

Bursting with Berry Goodness

Question –  What goes so well with your midday cup of coffee ? Well you could opt for a nice bagel or sandwich however what do you do if the perfect partner to your coffee is something tantalisingly sweet?

Answer – A  perfectly baked moist Blueberry Muffin bursting with berry goodness

Ingredients:

400g Plain Flour – 170g Caster Sugar – 170 ml Full Fat Milk – 115 ml Vegetable Oil – 2.5 tsp Baking Powder – 2 Eggs – 1 tsp Vanilla Extract – 220g Blueberries – Orange / Lemon zest ( optional ) – Demerara Sugar

Method:

Pre-Heat your oven to 190c / 375f / Gas 5. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl add the caster sugar and baking powder combining well. Whisk together the eggs, oil, milk, vanilla extract and zest if using. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour and gently fold together. Only fold until there is no flour showing ( a few lumps are fine just no streaks and mixing too much will result in dry tough muffins )

Add the blueberries ( fresh or frozen ) and divide mixture into a pre greased muffin tray if not using paper cases ( This recipe will be enough for approximately 12 muffins depending on how deep your muffin trays are ) Bake the muffins in the oven for between 20 – 25 minutes or until just firm to the touch and well risen. Trust us you will know when they are ready as the aroma will be calling you to the oven. Sprinkle the muffins with Demerara sugar and allow them to cool in the tray for a few minutes before placing onto a wire cooling rack. They can be eaten warm if you can’t wait long enough for them to cool completely !

So what do you think, will you have the patience to wait for them to cool ?

Whisky Review Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 002

Let me start with a confession, I adore Laphroaig whisky! I have at least six different Laphroaig expressions in my collection, been a “Friend of Laphroaig” for many years which means, for those of you that don’t know, I’ve staked my claim to a one foot square plot of land at the Laphroaig distillery on the Isle of Islay. Why is this significant? Well there is just a chance that I may be ever so slightly biased in my review today. . . ( I will try very hard not to be )

The first thing your going to notice with this whisky is the strength, 58.3% Vol just as it should be straight from the cask without being watered down. 

Those of you not familiar with cask strength whiskies I strongly recommend that you read the following article by my fellow blogger The Whisky Woman. In this article she clearly explains why cask strength whiskies are released by distilleries and how you should enjoy them  Read Cask Strength 101

So what does it taste like? I hear you ask . . .   This is how Laphroaig themselves describe the cask strength;

The Purists Choice

Awarded Best Single Malt in the World in 2005 by Whisky Magazine, Original Cask Strength Laphroaig is bottled at natural distillery strength with all the depth of genuine taste and texture normally associated with sampling whisky at source.

We mature Laphroaig in seasoned oak barrels, charred before filling to impart a slight sweet vanilla nuttiness. Original Cask Strength Laphroaig is barrier-filtered only just, to remove the small char particles present. This means you will enjoy Laphroaig exactly as we made it. In extremes of temperature and when you add water it may appear a little cloudy – this is the natural condition of a malt of such a peaty pungence and uncompromising purity.

Adding a little water releases a rich aroma of peat smoke with some sweetness and strong hints of the sea.

Emphatic, full bodied and utterly unforgettable. Simply ‘The Best’.

Tasting Notes:   COLOUR: Rich deep gold   NOSE: Very powerful, “medicine”, smoke, seaweed and ozone characters overlaying a sweetness   BODY: Full and strong   PALATE: A massive peated burst of flavour with hints of sweetness at the end   FINISH: Long and savoury

The big question now is should we enjoy this monster of a whisky as it comes straight from the cask or start adding water to tame the beast? Now, I’ve enjoyed many a glass in the “as it comes” style yet this is strong powerful stuff and it’s not long before you actually start to feel a little heady. If anything I find it a little too strong and enjoy the flavour more with a splash of ice-cold mineral water. As mentioned above the water also brings out the real hit of peat smoke that Laphroaig is oh so famous for. As with all Laphroaig it is a grown up whisky with HUGE flavour though probably not one for an uninitiated whisky drinker, this one’s got cojones! Just perfect for the long winter ahead. . .

A Hint of Garlic Rating 18 / 20

Ultimate Yorkshire Puddings

Nothing goes better with Sunday roast beef dinner that a light well risen traditional Yorkshire Pudding. At their best they are fluffy and airy on the inside while having a satisfying crisp outside. Now while they are the perfect accompaniment to a roast beef dinner the batter mix is identical for Toad in the hole ( Sausages baked in the batter – No toads ! ) Some even eat them with jam as a dessert. . .

The important factor with this recipe is that it is made by volume not by weight, meaning that what ever measuring cup you use it must be the same for both the wet and the dry ingredients. ( Adapted from an original recipe by Yorkshire chef Brian Turner )

Ingredients:

1 cup Plain Flour – 1 cup Eggs – 1 cup water/milk  ( 50-50 split ) – Pinch of Salt – 1 tbsp Malt Vinegar

Method:

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add a pinch salt. Add the eggs to the flour and half of the water / milk mixture. Beat well until all lumps of flour have gone. Add the remaining water / milk and the vinegar. Give the mixture a final beat with a whisk and set aside to rest for a while.

Pre-Heat your oven to 400 f / 200 c / Gas 6 and add a muffin tray with each section containing either beef dripping ( traditional fat used ) or a vegetable oil to about one fifth of section. Allow oil to get really hot in the oven. Once the oil is heated work quickly and fill each section of the muffin tray with the batter. ( It should sizzle as soon as it comes into contact with the hot oil ) Place the tray quickly back in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes. DO NOT open the oven door during this time or your Yorkshire puddings will collapse !

After 25 minutes the tray can be turned in the oven to allow for even cooking and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or until a they puddings are a deep golden brown.

Remove from the muffin tray and serve immediately. If you make too many don’t worry as they make a fantastic alternative to bread for a rare roast beef & horseradish sandwich. Sounds odd I know but watch the video below from chef Andy Bates to see what we mean. . .

Whisky Review Glenmorangie 10 Year Old Original

As promised in earlier whisky reviews here are my thoughts on the award-winning Glenmorangie 10-year-old original. Before I let you in on my thoughts however Glenmorangie themselves describe this whisky as;

 ” The original expression of our elegant, floral spirit and the real backbone of the Glenmorangie range. A ten-year-old single malt, Glenmorangie Original is produced by marrying the delicate spirit that emerges from Scotland’s tallest stills, with first and second fill American white oak casks. “

Being the backbone of the range it also means that it incredibly easy to find in most stores and has a reasonable price point which allows it to be an everyday whisky without breaking the bank.

Glenmorangie Original Tasting Note

Aroma: Imagine yourself in an Italian garden surrounded with mandarin, lemon, apple, pear and peach trees, their fruit ripening in the sun. Add to this the scent of vanilla ice cream, then enjoy the herbal aromas of geranium and wild mint growing nearby

Add water to The Original and you wander into a flower garden with lemony bergamot, apricot and mandarin. Floral notes of geranium, sweet honeysuckle and piquant narcissus mix with mint and the herbal essence of eucalyptus, nutmeg and ginger

Taste: Savour the fruits of the Italian garden as creamy vanilla slips like liquid silk over the tongue as peaches and cream, mandarins and lemons effervesce in the mouth

Aromatic essences of fennel and nutmeg tantalise with crumbly almond and coconut that gives way to a nectar that envelops all the fruit, spice and nut flavours in a honeyed caress
Finish: The charming sweetness of delicious juices is left on the tongue

My own thoughts are that this is a very light and refreshing whisky ideally suited to being served over ice and enjoyed during a warm summer’s evening. I would suggest this whisky without hesitation to anyone trying whisky for the first time as it is smooth and gentle on the palate and will not scare them away unlike more grown up whiskies such as Talisker or Laphroaig.

A Hint of Garlic Rating 16 / 20