London Mules with Haycocks No 9

* This is a collaborative post

I am rather partial to a spot of gin. Which given its popularity right now is handy. So when I was invited to a Gin tasting and masterclass with Haycocks No 9, I think you can probably work out what my answer was.

Had I heard of Haycocks No 9 before? No, but there’s so many gins out there that that didn’t surprise me. What I learnt though was that it’s a spiced gin liqueur, it goes with everything (quite literally - and you know me, I like to be thorough in my testing) and I found a new gin to add to my gin list.

We were greeted on arrival with a London Mule - Haycocks No 9, fresh ginger, lime juice and ginger beer, and very welcome it was too. In fact it’s a drink we might have had at least another of as the masterclass ended.

I’ve already mentioned that there’s hundreds of gins out there, so I was curious when they said the last thing they wanted to was make another gin, because the world doesn’t need another one. They didn’t want to add just another flavour. They realised that despite mixing so well, gin was never made for mixing, predating cocktails and tonic by decades.

Their inspiration is the humble coriander seed. Bear with me.

London Mules with Haycocks No 9

That’s why gin mixes so well, so they thought they’d create something different, but something that mixes as well as gin, but tastes like nothing else. And from the tastings we had, both with mixers and neat, it definitely tastes good.

Its botanicals are chosen not just for how well they go together, but also for how well they mix individually. Each one had to bring a citrus, zingy or uplifting spice note to the party. Think turbo-lemon-sherbert for grownups. But here’s the thing, there’s no lemon in sight. Unless you add a slice, of course.

As is my way I managed to choose a mixer that on its own sounded good but didn’t really deliver (Fentiman’s sparkling lime and jasmine drink - the one in the instagram photo above.), but when mixed with the gin, was very, very drinkable. In fact Haycocks paired with Fentimans at Taste London as the pairing worked so well. MOH tried his with Cherry Coke - also good (though I’m not a Cherry Coke fan), and with San Pellegrino bitters, again also good.

Haycock's Flavour pairing wheel

What’s more they explain the science on their website. And if you’re not feeling quite so brave, or need a bit of help or structure then there’s a fab Flavour Pairing Wheel which you can download too.

And as they said on the night it did take a fair bit of tasting to create, though no brand owners were permanently broken in the making of it (only temporarily!)

Tough work, I guess. But worth it.

Thanks Haycocks No 9 for a great evening, and for providing the opportunity to try your spiced gin liqueur with so many mixers.

* I was invited to this event to try the product and share an honest review on my blog. All views shared here, are as ever, my own.

PoCoLo

Making three ingredient scones

I am rather partial to a scone. Whether it’s plain, fruit or cheese. With afternoon tea, or with soup (the cheese ones obviously). If you’re a cream then jam, or a jam then cream kind of person, I don’t mind.

I read a recipe recently, in the Sunday papers, about a three ingredient cookbook. It clearly stuck with me - one of the recipes was for scones - and I developed a scone craving. So while MOH cut the grass I gave it a go.

Can three ingredient scones, really work? The answer is kind of. Probably not for scone aficionados, but I think they’d be good for a scone craving, a bit of a science lesson or if you ever had the need for impromptu scones.

3 INGREDIENTS: LEMONADE, DOUBLE CREAM AND SELF-RAISING FLOUR

3 INGREDIENTS: LEMONADE, DOUBLE CREAM AND SELF-RAISING FLOUR

Yes, that’s right lemonade and cream and flour. And it works, weirdly. It fizzes too, hence the science lesson comment before. The recipe called for the flour to be sifted. Usually I wouldn’t bother, but given it was already a cheat recipe, I did. And quickly remembered why I usually don’t.

the downsides of sifting flour

I do bake, but with more of a rustic style. Usually I can manage scones though. This time the mixture was quite claggy and my cutter was struggling, so they weren’t all quite as scone-like as perhaps they should be.

scones ready for the oven

They taste ok though, with not unexpectedly, a hint of lemon.

The most scone looking scone

Some looked like scones (see above), but others just looked as if they had a comb-over.

the scone with a comb over

They taste like scones though. And one added to our lunch, means there’s less chance I’ll be hunting down some chocolate.

What do you think? Would you try them?

PoCoLo

Heston, the Everdure range and some very good food

* This is a collaborative post with Kettler GB

On a sunny, but chilly April day I attended the launch of the 4K Outdoor Oven from Everdure by Heston Blumenthal, which has been 4000 years in the making. It only seemed right for it to be put to the test, and for me to sample the food cooked on the latest addition to his hi-tech range - well, it would have been rude not to!

fat duck chefs at work
paying attention to detail

Although all future barbecues will have a lot to live up to from now on, the food, as you’d expect was a little out of the ordinary. By looking at it you’d think it was produced in a usual kitchen, but it wasn’t.

PASTRAMI ON MARMITE EGGY BREAD WITH CHIP STICKS

PASTRAMI ON MARMITE EGGY BREAD WITH CHIP STICKS

RIBS AND COLESLAW

RIBS AND COLESLAW

I was glad that MOH wasn’t with me, while he would have found it as fascinating and informative as me, I’ve a feeling that it would have got quite expensive pretty quickly as there was an impressive range of barbecues on show, and something for everyone I’m sure.

What was refreshing to see was that there wasn’t any “charcoal snobbery” from the Kettler GB team. They recognised that charcoal doesn’t work for everyone, and while they think it tastes better they acknowledge that the convenience of gas for many has its advantages.

I think they’re right, there’s nothing quite like the charcoal taste, but waiting for a charcoal barbecue to heat up after a day at work is likely to mean that we wouldn’t cook outside quite so much during the week when the weather is warm. I’m impatient enough anyway, but don’t make me wait for food!

But that’s about to be challenged, as you can see from the image below the charcoal is ready to cook in 10 minutes, which kind of changes things

some of the mighty barbecues

And if you’re wondering about why it’s 4000 years in the making, it’s been inspired by the 4000 year tradition of Kamado-style and man-made ceramic clay cooking, which merges the taste of charcoal with 21st century technology.

Accessories and portable/table top barbecues too

The 4K doesn’t look like you’d expect it to look either, I suspect that’s why it’s called an outdoor oven. As well as the fast flame charcoal ignition there’s probes which control meat and air temperatures, it’s exterior is cool-to touch and it even has Bluetooth connectivity.

I know. I told you it had 21st century technology. It also cooks food!

the unusual shape of the 4k everdure

It looks versatile too, whether you want to grill a steak, roast a turkey (don’t laugh - that almost happened to us on our first Christmas in this house, when the oven played up on Christmas Day!), smoke meat or bake a pizza the 4K will tell you how to cook it and prepare it, advising on temperature control, charcoal management and even the recipes. I’m pretty sure it’ll do a mean banger too.

a look inside the 4k everdure barbecue

And in case you were in any doubt, the food was excellent and didn’t hang around for long. There was also scallops, which I avoided, and there was also a baked Alaska on a stick, which I did everything but avoid. Only Heston would even contemplate ice cream on a barbecue, and it isn’t something that we’ll be trying at home, however tasty it was.

in case you were in any doubt the food was excellent

And I couldn’t end this post without sharing a photo with Heston himself, could I?

Me and Heston Blumenthal

He was a really nice man and while it was only a short chat, we did have a chat about his journey to Canary Wharf and of course, about the Everdure range. I left the event knowing much more about barbecues, enjoying some great food and pleased that Heston didn’t shatter my illusions of his TV self.

* Thanks to Kettler GB for the invitation to the event and their hospitality.