Thank you for fucking up the country. The country that you claim to love and want to “take back”? (Take it back from whom by the way? Fucking leprechauns or Martians?)
Thank you for bringing a climate of fear & hate back into this country, by stigmatising innocent and valued foreigners and immigrants. Foreign friends of ours now are in genuine fear of racial abuse, threats of beatings or worse. You “it’s the immigrants what done it” people are part of the reasons why Jo Cox was murdered. Because you made this use of fear a “legitimate” language. It isn’t. It never has been. Are you proud?
Thank you for making us less kind, caring, compassionate. Because after all, that’s what we really need isn’t it? Much, much less of the good human stuff? Am I right? Am I right? No, of course I’m fucking not. And neither were you.
Thank you screwing up the future for my children and the children to come.
Thank you for teaching people that hate & fear and loathing is the best way to treat strangers.
So, actually, NO. Not “thank you”.
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you fucking cowardly shit weasels. Forget “reasoned political debate”. Whether you’re actually a facist or racist really doesn’t matter. By voting to leave this wider community, by putting up barriers, you’ve made it easier for the real bad guys to take over. “Reap the fucking whirlwind fuckers”. Of course, a lot of you won’t be the ones directly affected. Others will, the weak, the vulnerable, the obviously foreign or just “different”. They’re the ones who’ll suffer. Fuck you.
The wonderful Val Littlewood produced, printed and laminated these badges; we’ll wear them with a quiet pride. Saying NO to fear and prejudice and hate and parochial self-interest. Until we can change this, make things a little better again. Because the fight for human progress carries on. It has to.
And the meat in this article? That was it really.
But if you insist, here’s a great recipe for “Rack of Ribs” from a book from the time of The Renaissance entitled “Renaissance Secrets. Recipes & Formulas”.
You know? That time of dawning enlightenment and a blooming of a love of knowledge and new things & of people from strange, exotic lands. From Europe. And from further afield. The human race advances when we do this. It reverts to something less, something less humane and kind when we allow this fear & hatred to become common currency.
So fucking stop it. Now. Cook ribs. Love people. Embrace them and their differences. Don’t fear them. We are so much better than this.
The last part of the Suffolk run took us to Southwold and to the Adnams beer brewery & spirits distillery. They have these amazing copper stills, which seem to be perched, hovering in mid-air inside the brewery, used for their spirits which are distilled from the very same beers made on site.
Their gin is some of the best I’ve tasted. From anyone. Anywhere. It was rather a revelation and I apologise to Adnams for the vague “they’re a beer company, how good can their spirits be” silent slur that I had in my head until after this trip. The answer to that unspoken question? Exceedingly bloody good, that’s what.
Both of these are award winning and rightly so. The First Rate one is around 48% ABV whilst the Copper House is a more gentle 40%ABV.
[One thing I learned today is that quinine and juniper share molecular similarities which is why they work so well together in Gin & Tonic; and why tonic with other white spirits just doesn’t.]
And the process?
Well, the entire distilling production – from grain to bottle – is undertaken in-house; Adnams are still one of very few distillers who have the ability to actually do this.
Starting with East Anglian malted barley as the base, the process of crafting it begins by creating a beer ‘wash’ which is fermented to around 6% ABV but without the addition of hops. Once at this stage, the wash then takes a journey through their beautiful stills (we didn’t get to see these — we’re planning a return trip!).
But at this point it is still not yet gin…
Winding up and down columns, more spirit geekery happens until the pure, clean spirit is created using their Beer Stripping Column where it’s converted to what they call, “Low Wines”. This is around 80% ABV, but still contains all the higher alcohols and fusel oils which need to be separated out. The next stage uses the pot still, in conjunction with rectifying columns and a polishing column. The rectifying columns, use 40 separate plates (apparently) to get the spirit to above 96% and allow them to separate into the charmingly named “Heads, Hearts and Tails”. Then, the polishing column removes any methanol in the spirit — both a legal requirement and one that stops you, the drinker, being poisoned — remember, that shit makes you go blind. [That’s also why I recommend you steer clear of Sterno and other “spirits” distilled from things like shoe and floor polish…
The spirit has to retrace its journey to the copper pot still one last time to actually become gin. Here it’s reduced to 50% ABV, where juniper, along with five other botanicals, are added directly to the spirit in the copper pot still from where, after a final overnight maceration, it is distilled.
And the result? Oh boy, the result.
Copper House uses juniper berries, orris root, coriander seed, cardamom pod, sweet orange peel and hibiscus flower. The cardamom & hibiscus flower really punch through. It’s a touch oily and has a particular ‘mouth feel’ (yeah, sorry about that one but it’s true, it does.) And the hibiscus, while now not unique to Adnams, sets its flavour apart and makes the gin really rather distinctive. The bitter, floral flavours of the petals give this a really definitive taste and it’s definitely one to seek out, either on the shelves of your local off-licence or if you see it on the shelf of a bar.
The First Rate really lives up to its name; it’s a much bigger animal in comparison to its sister product. Made with a blend of 13 — rather than six — botanicals, it’s a much bolder and of course more potent gin. With the usual suspects in the botanical mix (juniper berries, coriander seed, cardamom pod, orange peel & liquorice root) it shows off aromatic spices mingled with a softened juniper and those hints of citrus. Then, the more unusual vanilla pods, caraway seeds, fennel seeds and thyme add to what is a really complex mix. It’s a great balance as well with the juniper coming back again in the finish on the tongue.
The first one is more of a slurping gin; the second one, one to take your time over and to savour. But we’d recommend them both. That they’re not the toast of the town in Amsterdam is something we’ll try and remedy next month.
One thing we loved and that was the icing on the cake of this tour was that Adnams claim that this is one of the most energy efficient breweries in the UK, with the hot water by-products being reused to wash casks and all their distilling waste being processed in their anaerobic digestion plant where it’s converted into renewable gas to power their production line.It’s a hugely impressive place and you really do need to take the tour.
Their beer is also stunning; more on that at a future date.
OK, enough on non-meat items, “one last thing” for today is the team at Flatiron in London. One that’s already been added to the (ever growing, like the pile of unread books both paper & Kindle/iBooks) list of “seriously mouth watering places to visit and eat at”.
Here they show off metalwork, meat & ink. The cleaver looks just like my own new knives. I want one.
Here, breaking down some great beef.
And yet more tools of the trade. And a great butcher’s block.
In action — the tools, the meat. And rapt onlookers.
And finally another piece of beef wonderfulness from the always amazing Turner & George. This one an aged Galician milk cow. And if that doesn’t have you drooling uncontrollably over your scree, you should check your pulse just to make sure you haven’t pegged out…
Well done; you’ve made it through the marathon of the previous posts — so you may be pleased to hear that this is the last one of the “Chris & Val Go Wild On Holiday” set…
One of the other people at the farm dinner mentioned she’d often find herself driving towards Walberswick* and would slow down to see the pigs lining the fields on either side of the road, in large, mainly outdoor living herds, growing and fattening, almost visibly day by day, moving up to larger “arks” as they outgrew their original homes.
The pigs that produce Blythburgh Free Range Pork are born outside and spend their entire lives outdoors in the fresh air, with freedom to roam in large paddocks, rooting around in our sandy Suffolk soil and playing with their peers.
They have shelter when they need it, in the form of large airy tented barns in each paddock with plenty of bedding straw. This extra space and activity not only ensures a vastly improved standard of living and welfare, but also results in the pigs growing at a slower rate, for the simple reason that they are burning off more calories than a pig enclosed in a concrete pen for all of it’s life.
By growing at a much slower, more natural rate, Blythburgh Free Range Pork acquires a traditional flavour and succulence that has been largely forgotten in today’s mass produced pork.
This is how all pigs should be treated. The pigs are treated humanely. The meat is hugely better quality. It’s the right thing to do. (Unfortunate echoes of Tory politicians there who, when they use that phrase, you just know that whatever they’re proposing is the exact opposite of the moral thing to do but still, in this case, it is the right thing to do. And the moral thing to do. The humane thing to do. I’m not a Tory politician; you can trust me)
* Speaking of Walberswick, this is from an 1880 edition of Punch magazine
“O Walberswick’s a village of very little tillage/ In the northern part of Suffolk, and it’s very picturesque/ And you fly from all the gritty, dirty by-ways of the City/ To forget, in pleasant rambles, dreary duties at the desk.”
where the gentrification that is making it impossible for anyone to buy or rent in London (see rants passim) is causing the same problems here in a village known as Notting Hill By The Sea. Here’s a piece from The Guardian covering this particular béte noir. So, bear in mind that estate agents are right up there in my personal pantheon of hate, ranking just below politicians and banksters. That caveat aside, this poster in an estate agent’s window, advertising “Pigs Gone Wild” in Ipswich caught my eye.
“And finally Cyril? And finally Esther” we’ll finish with the “one more thing” for today, where I give you some pork madness courtesy of the serial killer “Hannibal”.
Wherein Hannibal feeds Jack
Hannibal feeds Jack a meal of thighs for two. Others wait in rooms beyond. Boned. Wrapped tight. Frozen. Meals for another day.