A couple of years ago, I bought a very basic bear making kit for my doh (darling other half) from Amazon and ever since then it has become his little passion. As with most passions he has slowly gotten a little more serious and adventurous about the affair. So for his birthday last year I wanted to get him a beer voucher and fortunately I found this very helpful chap at 'Brew2Bottle' in Cheshire, cos this girl just didn't have a clue! Phil at brew2bottle was incredibly helpful and the doh got to spend a couple of hours with Phil at his shop in Northwhich to chose how to spend his voucher which meant leaving with arms full of useful ingredients and equipment (thank goodness he did the shopping here) and also lots of really useful information and advice. He looked like a Cheshire cat when he walked through the door with arms full of weird and wonderful ingredients to make beer from scratch and so we now live amongst not only yarn, hooks, fabric stashes and pins, but also beer barrels and all sorts of rather strange looking equipment (still haven't got a clue!), from barrels to hydrometer, mashbins (don't ask, I just nod!) and lots more, need I say more!! We have recently reached the conclusion that in an ideal world (ergo if we win the lottery) we would love a house with outbuildings for us to 'play' in (dream on!).
So this time it was Guinness, yes wonderful Guinness, which back in the day I would have been very happy to enjoy a pint or two of, especially in Ireland as it is just far superior over there. For me the smell reminded me of making gingerbread, but without all of the spices. Normally the boiling process requires all windows and doors open as the smell can be a little overwhelming for me at times, but I actually strangely enjoyed this aroma. I believe it is made up with water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, but you can learn more about it in this book by Graham Wheeler.
This is the Guiness boiling, apparently this should happen for about an hour and a half.
Here is the doh pouring the Guinness once it was boiled into his beer barrel. Next it needs to cool before adding the yeast (I am learning!).
Onto more exiting things now (haha!)
the kids enjoyed playing 'bulldog' with Dad. Our kids so enjoy playing this game and it gives me so much pleasure to see them enjoying the simple things in life.
Whilst the kitchen was under a smog of sugar, I thought I would add just a little more and make the rhubarb and strawberry jam that I have been looking forward to making. It is such an easy recipe, which I got from this great little book, which you can purchase from Amazon for around £6. I have used this for so many jams and chutneys over the years and it has never failed me. It also gives you all the basics of jam and chutney making, which is very useful if you are new to this, or if you need a little refreshing here and there (as in the case with this sieve head!). There are quite a few recipes available online, here and here, and also on Pinterest here (this combines lavender in too!). I like the fact that the rhubarb and strawberries are equally balanced.
So basically the recipe asks for
450g rhubarb & 450 jam sugar (cover the rhubarb with the sugar and let it stand for a good couple of hours, it softens the fruit and releases some of the juices)
After a couple of hours put it all in your preserve making pot or pan and then add the same quantity of strawberries and sugar (thus 450g of each), and a bit of lemon juice and Bob is your uncle!
The day ended perfectly with enjoying the last of the rhubarb and pear crumble whilst watching the Voice, it can't get better than that!