Saturday, January 29, 2011

Golden Carolus

Just a quick review of Golden Carolus, nice crisp taste, lighter than I'd expect for a 10.5% quite like leffe blonde. Scent and taste of honey

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quiet Day Jan 28th

Not really a lot going on for todays election blog. Mostly reaction to Berties delusional sentiments yesterday.
The big news is that Cowen will dissolve the Dail on Tuesday and set the date for a general election. I reckon 18th of February is the earliest date. In fact at this point an early election might stem some of the bleeding and limit the time for anti-Fianna Fail revelations.
Kenny and Noonan are jumping the gun a bit by meeting with José Manuel Barroso over the EU/IMF bailout. I wonder this will be jumped on as a reason why Kenny hasn't been around. When detractors ask where is he the party will respond, he's been negotiating with the EU, what more can he do?
There hasn't been much coverage on the outcome of the meeting as yet but I'd be guessing that the fiscal element in the constitution or the corporation tax rate will be bargaining items for the EU. It shows a certain arrogance on behalf of FG (though Labour are showing the same) as if its already over bar the shouting. I wonder how it would upset the apple cart if Labour were the majority party.

Election commentary - 27th Jan

Today has been relatively quiet with a light skirmish between Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin. Martin challenged Enda to a 3 way debate between FF, Labour and FG. Enda rejected but said he would engage in a 5 way between the three above plus Sinn Fein and the Green party.
Personally I think this is a smart move on FG's side. They probably suspect that Martin might out talk Kenny on the issues as would Eamon Gilmore most likely. Instead they probably want to bring 2 extra targets into the fray to split the debate. Let the others battle it out between them. FF and the other 2 smaller parties might actually eat into some of Labour's votes. If its a 3 way and public speaking is the objective then Kenny will lose ground to Martin and Gilmore. By making it a 5 way he may lose less ground....

The only other item of note was Bertie Aherns last few moments outside the Dail being heckled by People before Profit. I have to say his regrets over the Bertie Bowl and comments that  someone should have told him what was happening in the banks makes me wonder where that legendary charm and incisiveness has gone. While I want to see him made accountable for his part in the bust, I am beginning to wonder if the delusion is not just ego, maybe its a medical issue.....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Micheal Martin

Hah I was right, Micheal Martin is now returning with much more credibility!
I didn't think it would be this soon but that's politics. Expect another blog post very soon!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ola Dubh 16 Year old and a lamb Pie!

I've been promising to taste Ola Dubh with some sort of pie since I first tasted the series last year so this morning I went to the pie stall in Dun Laoighaire this morning and got myself a tasty looking lamb pie.

It took about 30 mins to cook the pie in the oven but it was definitely worth it. Very flavorsome and and it really added to the main attraction - Ola Dubh 16 year old

I am not going to attempt a long winded description for one good reasons; my buddy Scotty produced a near poetic description which I want to get permission to put here.
My very simple description is thus; Beautiful flat appearance, full bodied dark color with a coffee aroma. The flavor is rich and diverse, most definitely smoky hints of highland park, but mingled with a vanilla / coffee tone.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Should I stay or should I go? - The ballad of Brian

So FF have opted to hold on to the devil they know!?

Its interesting in a way because it sets up Micheal Martin nicely for a come back. Its almost like creating a save point in a game. If they drop him now then he can come back after FF lose the election and lead the party, untainted by whatever is left to come out in the remaining 37 days.

I started to write this two days ago and yesterday 4 more ministers resigned, including Mary Harney. The remaining ministers will cover the vacant posts until the election. As we speak tweeters are claiming a lot of huddles in Leinster house and  the possibility of a further heave against the Taoiseach tonight (20th Jan).

The reality is that a heave like this is academic in terms of getting the country back on track. FF will lose the election. The question for them is what changes they can make today to minimize the damage.
If they think that changes will be effective then we will probably see some change in the near future (i.e. removing Cowen). If they think its a lost cause regardless of what they do, then Cowen will be the main candidate for this general election. When they fail Cowen and more of the frontbenchers will step down, FF will do a house cleaning exercise and give some of the younger members a go, then 4 years from now they will have some chance of winning or becoming a minority partner in a coalition government.

The next 36 hours will definitely be interesting....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slovak Specialties - Bratislavský Meštiansky Pivovar s.r.o.

I was in Bratislava from Sunday to Tuesday with work and I couldn't have picked a worse time to go. I had a horrible cold so I was a delight to be around.

On the Monday I was feeling a bit better so after work I went to a restaurant, The Burgess Brewery, that brews its own beer and serves traditional Slovak fare. I can't say that I dabbled too deeply in the food. I ate some Wurst and California style Pork ribs but I had two glasses of their brew which definitely went down a treat.

The first beer, Bratislavský ležiak 12° Lager beer was a golden crowd pleaser. At 6% you can't exactly knock it back but its very pleasureable to drink just like other Czech / Slovak offerings such as Topvar, Budvar and Zlaty Bazant. I can't describe the smell as I couldn't breathe through my nose, but the flavour was bitter and mildly hoppy. There was a curious sweetness in the aftertaste.
The second offering was a huge surprise. As a "dark beer" I had assumed that this would be a heavy dry beer and I decided only to get a half pint which I will regret for quite a long time! Sessler 11,5° Black beer arrives with a beautiful white head in contrast to the black body. It looks like Guinness but tastes like a slightly fruity and sweet mix of Murphys and Leffe Brune. I would happily drink several of these and It would probably go very well with food, my recommendation being mussles with fries!

Overall a fantastic experience that cheered me up no end!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blog Readers - Respond

I notice I have 149 views but no comments. I know the LAK has probably looked at the blog 50 times and I've looked 98 times so can the other reader please post a comment and tell me if they like it it, what work it needs and what they'd like to see in the future!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Peres Jacques

Had a long day at work, despite taking 2 hours off for a run and food so I treated myself to a beer.
(Also I didn't sleep at all after going to bed early last night like a good play)

I only have 2 beers left now and one was Sam Adams Boston Lager (which I'm saving for a nice day) so I went with Pere Jacques.  I opened the bottled and it bubbled to the top slowly but continuously which I guess is a feature of Bottle conditions beers.
Its a beautiful red colour in the glass with a slight honey and caramel taste. The scent is sweet, almost like a very mild bourbon. There is no kick but like many of the Goose Island beers its strong, at 8%..
Falvourwise there is a mild fruitness about it and the texture was at once creamy and light, which is probably what the brewer calls "malty".

I'd definetly recommend this to anyone looking for a single beer at home, though I am kinda tipsy now while I write this!

First Run of the new year!

Did my first run of the year (and hopefully of a new hobby!)
I ran a course up Mobhi road to Griffith Avenue, down as far as the Drumcondra road and then up Botanic Avenue.

I have to be hones,t I walked more than I ran but I was recovering faster than I expected which was good

Time 27 Mins 23 Secs
280 Kcal burned

Top Speed was 14.6 Km

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New years day dinner

First dinner of the year down! Had the pleasure of cooking the roast beef for LAK and the gang. She did the roasted spuds and the veg and they were perfect! Roasties were creamy and the veg were tender.
I got the meat from tesco, a 1.5kg piece of rib eye beef withe the ribs still attached. Not a lot of fat on the piece either.I stayed very simple and traditional with the preparation.
The night before I made a rub with olive oil, rock salt, freshly ground black pepper, mixed herbs, some crushed beef stock and a hint of vinegar. I mixed them in a cup, left them to sit for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. While this was sitting I pierced the meat with a long knife to open up channels in it and then rubbed in the mixture. I put the beef back into the bag and tied it close. Every couple of hours I turned the bag upside down so the mixture didnt collect at the bottom and covered the beef entirely.

The next day I sat the beef out for about an hour before I put it into a pre-heated oven. In the base of the tray I put in a small amount of finely chopped onion, with a cut up stock cube, some olive oil and a few pieces of garlic butter. I also added about 100ml of water to keep the beef moist and make a mix.
The recipe I had advised putting the beef in for 15 mins @ 200F then 15 mins per 0.5kg @ 180F and an extra 30 mins for medium to well done. Over that time we turned the meat to make sure it was done evenly.
Once we had cooked the meat through we let it sit out (covered in tin foil) for 30 mins. As the beef sat out I collected the juices to make the gravy.

The LAK parboiled the potatoes first and cut them up so that the edges would crisp nicely. Then she put them in the roasting dish and covered them garlic butter, cream, salt and pepper and let them do for about 45 mins. The vegetables were done simply. She parboiled (my new word for the day) the brocolli and carrots first, then put them into the roasting dish with mixed herbs, peppers onion and olive oil and left them for about 30 mins.

The meal turned out fantastic and was low stress in the preparation. Some red wine might have accompanied well but overall, very happy!