Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Toque Tales

Just a few quick pics from our little monkey who loves any hat she can get her hands on, especially if it's Mommy's!

Also, I've uploaded a bunch of pictures of her onto Facebook recently if you haven't seen them. Just click here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bacon Bomb

Last night we had some friends of ours over for games, drinks, dinner, ... But this time, unlike others, we pulled out the stops and did everything in our power to clog our arteries from now until kingdom come! We decided to pair meat with... meat!

You can check out the original experiment here and where we got our inspiration - lots of great photos!

It's called Bacon Explosion and consists of melding 2lbs of bacon with 2lbs of sausage, mixing in some BBQ sauce and calling it dinner. I'm not joking.

It was quite the experiment and actually turned out really well, not nearly as fatty as I expected. I made a mean hickory, chipotle BBQ sauce for it, a good BBQ rub, slow cooked it in the oven first and then transferred it to the grill to crisp it up. Here's a picture of us men with our creation:

I only show a picture of the men because the women were grossed out by the idea of so much meat and fat.

As my friend said, I think there's a reason that women live longer than men on average....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beer, Please Meet Scotch

My loyal readers will know my affinity for a good beer. I also love a good scotch. What do do when you love both? Never fear!

Big beers are often aged in liquor barrels, especially bourbon. On occasion you can get a good beer aged in scotch barrels and Harviestoun Ola Dubh is one of those beers. It's a Scottish beer whose name means engine oil, and truth be told it kind of looks like engine oil!

Scotch is aged for various time periods in barrels to give them a distinctive flavour. The longer you age them, the smoother they get.... also the more expensive they get! Ola Dubh is aged in Highland Park scotch barrels which offers their product aged for 12 years, 16 years, 18 years, 30 years, and 40 years. I've had the pleasure of drinking the 12 year old Highland Park but the 40 year version is about 1,000 Euros a bottle so I don't imagine I'll be drinking that any time in the near future!

But I can afford to try the beers that are aged in Highland Park barrels. Ola Dubh is unique in that Harviestoun has aged the beer in each of the different Highland Park barrels, 12-40. I've had the pleasure of having the Ola Dubh 30 before on-tap and the other night I dug into the cellar to drink a bottle of the Ola Dubh 12 and the Ola Dubh 40 side by side. Drinking them beside each other allows me to see how the time in the different barrels has changed them in unique ways because the base beer is the same in both cases.

As you can see, they're pretty spiffy looking bottles. When a beer is aged in whiskey or bourbon barrels they pick up the characteristics of the liquor and the barrel; the longer they sit in there the more of the characteristics they pick up.

From what I remember of the Highland Park scotch, it has some very distinct peat and smoke flavors. When I crack the Ola Dubh 40 and 12 this is confirmed - smoke and peat. Here are my tasting notes from the Ola Dubh 40:

Pours a jet black almost opaque, just a glimmer of brown around the rim when held to the light. A finger of khaki head builds up on the pour and settles to a collar with a few swirling patches of bubbles.

Nose is much more subdued than the 12, earthier with a hint of peat and much smokier. Roasty malt, a hint of dark baker's chocolate, wood, a good dose of scotch.

Such a smooth sipper. Silky presence of the barrel - oaky wood with a hint of ash, vanilla, a touch of peat, smoke. All beside a nice roasty malt base, dark chocolate, a touch of bready malt, raisins, a hint of dark fruits, just a faint hint of alcohol and a light warming in the finish. Silky smooth, creamy mouthfeel; not overly full or robust but perfect for 8%, scary drinkable.

As you can tell from the picture, they look quite similar in the glass. The Ola Dubh 12 is a little fruitier in the nose, much less creamy in the mouthfeel, and a little less integrated. Using the Highland Park 40 year barrels has made the peat and the smoke more prevalent in the beer and had more of a mellowing effect: mellower scotch = mellower beer.

The Ola Dubh 40 is much pricier (aged in pricier whiskey barrels) but it's significantly superior in my mind. Can't decide between scotch or beer tonight? Ola Dubh should make that decision a little easier.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fly By

Just a quick update to the blog so that no one thinks I've forgotten it!

I am knee deep in what has turned out to be the busiest time of the year. Not only are my two final papers due this month (Using Indigenous Knowledges to Decolonize African Universities and Africa and the Black Diaspora: Crossing Borders through Senegalese Hip Hop) and not only do I still have the chapter in the book that I mentioned a while back, but I am now co-editor of said book which is a ton of work, I have another paper being turned into a chapter in another book, AND I have been asked to contribute a chapter to yet another book. Nolana's away in Victoria with Daija visiting it up and it's a good thing because I am putting long, long days in at school.

So, while I am off busy writing and editing here's a fun little link for ya.

The internets are abuzz over Mother Jones' map which covers celebrity involvement in Africa, otherwise seen as the "celebrity recolonization of Africa".

Clink on the link and see a history of celebrity involvement in Africa. The original map (not this screen grab) is interactive and you get to see who wrote a song about which country, who adopted a baby from where, and just how many celebrities go on "fact finding missions".