Food @BrewDogMancs

It’s been a few weeks now, but the last time I was in Manchester I took a trip to BrewDog. It would be rude not to. I had heard that they had changed the menu from burgers and pizzas to BBQ. I wouldn’t class the new menu as BBQ but that’s just me.

Before hand I was a bit gutted. I was looking forward to a Los Feliz or Lincoln (did the name get changed because Mancs can’t pronounce Los Feliz, Lincoln with the 2nd L isn’t that much better). I’ve had plenty of them in the past, even though the overlap between me living in Manchester and Brewdog opening was about six months. I took my brother on a bit of a pub crawl one time and we stopped for a Loz Feliz, he liked it that much (and it didn’t come with anything so didn’t fill you up) we ended up having two each. I think it was Dean who cleared our boards and said “did you enjoy the 2nd one” to which my brother said “even better than the first”.

I loved the Loz Feliz…

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But we needed food and I will give most things a try before I judge them. The price is a bit steeper, but at least you get a side. Why couldn’t you have had sides with the burgers, Brewdog Manchester? I went for the brisket with macaroni cheese (I’m not American so you can f*ck off with your Mac ‘n’ Cheese (shouldn’t that really be Mac’ ‘n’ Cheese?)). Mrs TramP went for pulled pork with burnt beans.

I have to say it was all really good. I think I made a good choice in side dish. The brisket was slightly spicy, but it was one of those that every bite added to the spice making it hotter and hotter. The macaroni cheese cut through it perfectly. The whole thing was quite filling, I wouldn’t really eat two in a row like I did with the Los Feliz, even though I probably could. The bit of pulled pork with BBQ sauce I tried was also really good. To be honest, you have to try pretty hard to mess pulled pork up. Then there was the burnt beans. Now I’m not a fan of baked beans, I will eat other beans but I don’t often chose to. Soft beans, lovely sauce with bits of meat in. I could be a convert. Mrs TramP said she could eat them all day and could have just had a big bowl of those without the pulled pork.

That was the good, now for the bad. The two slaws (if you can all them that) were crap. One was just shredded red cabbage the other white cabbage and onion. There was no dressing on them at all. Come on, a bit of vinaigrette or mayo based dressing could have made those slaws  and made the meal great. Leave them off or make them better.

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Over all the new menu is great and I would definitely work my way through it if I moved back to Manchester. But there will always be a place in my heart for the Los Feliz. Is it BBQ, I’m not sure.

 

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The French Manchester

A few weeks ago Mrs TramP and I had a flying visit through Manchester and as part of that we went to The French by Simon Rogan. When I lived in Manchester I always thought the city centre was a bit lacking in the way of top quality dining. For a city like Manchester it should have at least one Michelin Star but right now it doesn’t. Hopefully Simon Rogan can change that.

Like many, I first heard of Simon Rogan through Great British Menu. Everything he made looked amazing, they could have scrapped the competition and just let him cook the full thing. All of his dishes made it into the top three. Since then I’ve really wanted to go to his restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel but it’s a bit out of the way. To go there I would really need to make a holiday out of it, I’m sure one day I will.

So imagine how happy I was to read Bacon on the Beech blog about Simon Rogan at The French in Manchester. As soon as I read that blog I knew I had to go. If I were you I would take a read of that blog post, there isn’t much more I can say that hasn’t already been said in that one.

The food was great, staff super attentive, nice atmosphere, smart casual dress code.  As for the dress code, I either wear a suit or dress like a TramP, I find smart casual very difficult. But I shouldn’t have worried about it. There must have been at least 5 blokes wearing jeans and a shirt. One guy even had white pants, a green t-shirt, red sued moccasins with no socks on. I was worried I was going to find him stabbed after he left and stepped out into the middle of Manchester being dressed like that.

But enough about that, it’s all about the food. You have a choice between 6 or 10 courses. Come on, I was always going to pick the 10. I don’t know if they did it because me and Mrs TramP both have dreads or if it was an accident but they initially brought us just the vegetarian menu to look at.  Looked nice but I’ll take the meat menu thanks. Before the 10 courses even started they brought some little extras out and another little treat at the end. I set out to take a picture of every course but failed miserably. My favourite dish of Ox in coal oil, pumpkin seed, kohirabi and sunflower shoots looked so good I had eaten it before even thinking about taking a picture. That dish was amazing, raw meat that tasted like it had been on a BBQ. If you want to see it head over to Bacon on the Beech.

I think I have said enough, if you are in Manchester and want to experience fine dining get yourself down to The French before everyone finds out and you can’t get a table.

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Sugar, Oh Honey, Honey

Unusually I didn’t want to make a chocolate cake, so I gave this a whirl…

Honey Cake!!!

  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 250g Clear Honey + 2tbsp to Glaze
  • 100g Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 300g Self-Raising Flour

 

Preheat the oven to 160°C and line an 8inch round cake tin.

Melt the butter, honey and sugar gently and once liquid bring to the boil for a couple of minutes. Oh, sugar, sugar.

Leave this liquid gold to cool down before beating in the eggs.

Sift the flour into a bowl then like a silver sunshine, pour that sweetness over it, drip drap, drip.

Oh, please mix both them together. Whoa yeah, sugar, you got honey.

Beat till it’s smooth and pour that mixture in the tin.

Bake for 50mins and turn out onto a rack.

Warm the other honey and brush over the cake.

Cool, cut, eat, enjoy…

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

There are so many recipes out there for cakes with Oreos in them and I’m going to throw another one into the mix.

Get over it…

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes!!!

  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 225g Self-raising Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • Pack of Oreos

for icing

  • 375g Icing Sugar
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pack of Oreos

Get your oven preheated to 175°C. Whack some cases into muffin tins, you might get 18 cakes but the way I fill I only ever get around 15.

Sod it, beat all the cake ingredients together except the Oreos, once pale, crush a packet of Oreos in and give a good mix. Fill the cake cases, stick in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out and cool on a wire rack.

When you want to ice them, beat the hell out of the icing sugar, butter and salt. Crush another packet of Oreos into the icing and mix up. Dollop big spoons of icing onto each cake and then ram them in your face hole.

That’s it, there’s nothing to them really. I usually use half and half original Oreos and Chocolate ones but the shop didn’t have any. But there’s nothing stopping you adding any cream filled biscuit like Bourbons or Custard creams. Experiment a bit, sub in 50g cocoa or even custard powder for 50g of the flour. You could even go mental and forget the cream part and stick something like Jammie Dodgers or Viscounts in there.

Oreo cupcakes


Caramelicious Brownies

WARNING!!! These brownies do not contain drugs. Having just Googled to find out how to spell caramelicious I have discovered that this word mainly brings back results for marijuana. Learn something new everyday thanks to Google. If you are looking to make brownies with drugs in then just follow this recipe and bang some in, I’m not going to stop you.

Mrs TramP finished her current job last week and very kindly told people I’m good at making brownies, meaning I had to make her some to take in. Cheers. I would never say I’m good at baking. I’m alright, I can follow a recipe, mix stuff up, and know when to take stuff out of the oven.

Lets get down to business…

Caramelicious Brownies!!!

  • 4 eggs
  • 100g Pecans
  • 350g Granulated Sugar
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • 2tsp Vanilla
  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 50g Dark Chocolate for the top
  • 250g of toffees
  • 5tbsp Double Cream
  • Drugs (optional)

When you are ready to bake you need the oven preheated to 180°C. Don’t put it on yet, this will take a little while.

First up, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of water and be gentle about it. If you have read any of my other blogs with chocolate being melted you will know you need to be gentle. It just saves time having to wait for it to cool down. Once melted, add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and beat that bad boy up. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix. Crush the pecans a bit and stir in (add drugs at this point if that’s what you are into).

Pour about half the mix in a pre-lined tin. I used a 9 inch square tin, but anything similar overall size will do. Whack the tin in the fridge for about 20 mins while you melt the toffees. I’ve made these in the past without putting the mix in the fridge and ended up with some toffee seepage.

Melt the toffees in a saucepan along with the double cream. Let it cool down a bit before pouring about 3/4 over the brownie mix that should have firmed up in the fridge. Leave a gap round the edge or the toffee will ooze out the sides. Bang the rest of the brownie mix on top and stick in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.

Now I like a gooey brownie, maybe too gooey for some people. If you want them firmer then leave them in for another five minutes but no more than ten or the only thing moist about them will be the toffee.

Leave them to cool down in the tin for a bit before taking out and cooling fully on a wire rack. Melt the other 50g of chocolate and reheat the left over toffee mix so that it is pourable again. Alternating between chocolate and toffee try and create a Jackson Pollock. Mrs TramP randomly picked up a bag of honey comb so I added some of this with the pecans and sprinkled some on top. What do you mean this wasn’t in the recipe, I’ll do what I like.

There you have it, Caramelicious Brownies, with or without drugs…

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Project Pig Skin

This might seem a bit weird, someone trying to lose weight making pork scratchings. Seriously they are full of fat and salt. They can’t be good for, what are you doing, go look at yourself.

Well, I did, and they didn’t stop me from loosing weight. I’m not eating carbs at the moment, (well I am eating a few, some veg, nuts, bit of fruit, small bit of chocolate) I’m not following any particular diet, I’ve read them all and it’s pretty obvious that cutting out bread, rice, pasta, potatoes will cut out a massive amount of calorie intake. But the only thing I notice missing is that savoury, salty crunch you get in anything from crisps to chips to even toast. The only thing I can find that come close and doesn’t have any carbs in it is pork scratchings.

I was in the supermarket last week and ended up buying three types of pork scratchings and some pork rind to make my own.

After trawling the internet I had a few ideas of how I was going to make them. Having two bits of rind I decided on baked and fried. I didn’t just want to make crackling,  I wanted some proper pork scratchings. The internet doesn’t have that many home made recipes for pork scratchings, which surprised me a bit.

First up…

Baked Pork Scratchings!!!

  • Pork rind
  • salt
  • paprika, or other flavourings (optional)
  • time

Everything I read pointed to needing to dry out that pork rind before you start cooking. Everyone has different timings. I just rubbed some sea salt on both sides of the pork rind, placed in the tin I would eventually cook them in and then banged it in the fridge. About every 12 hours I drained off the water, patted the rind down with paper towel, salted and whacked it back in the fridge. For no reason other than I couldn’t be arsed cooking them the first day I left the rind drying out for two days.

When it came to cooking the scratchings I took the dried out rind and cut it into rectangles. I probably left them a bit too big and I was too regimented. Scratchings in a packet are usually mental curly shapes, mine turned out a bit too consistent. I’m not sure if scoring on the underside would have curled them up a bit more. But maybe next time.

For the cooking, I salted the cut up rind and coated in paprika, smashed them in the pre-heated oven at about 180°C for about ten minutes and then turned the heat down to 140°C. Every half hour I checked on the little fuckers and drained the fat off. I must have cooked them for about three hours until I ended up with these bad boys…

Baked Scratchings

They tasted pretty fucking good. A little salty and a little hard but they had that nice crunch combined with the soft little bit of fat. Yeah, they tasted like pork scratchings.

Next up…

Fried Pork Scratchings!!!

  • Pork rind
  • salt
  • water
  • oil

Having two bits of pork rind I thought, fuck it, I’ll try two ways. These ones are like the more puffy pork scratchings you can buy that don’t usually have that risk factor of a big chunk of soft fat attached like the other type do.

For these ones people seem to boil the rind first, so that is what I did. Bang the rind in a salted pan of boiling water and simmer for an hour or two. Take it out of the water (for squeamish people, this will be pretty rank) and after it has cooled down a bit scrape all the fat off the underside. Now you have to dry it again. I cut the rind up, salted it and banged it back in the fridge for a day.

Heat up some oil (I used a wok) and throw the dried rind in. Now I did a couple of test bits and they didn’t puff up enough so I decided to try and dry them out more in the oven at the lowest temp for an hour. I got bored and just threw them all in the oil, when I put more than one bit in at a time they all puffed up. After draining I was left with these…

Fried scratchings

These weren’t as good (but to be fair I’m not as big of a fan of this type when you buy them in a shop anyway).

That was my adventure with pig skin. If I do it again, I’ll stick to the baked ones, but come on, they were a bit of a faff, yes, most of it was just waiting around, but that is still space in the fridge being used. The cost of the rind wasn’t too dissimilar to the price of a packet of pork scratchings and I don’t want to think about how much electricity I used cooking them.

I think I will leave this one to the pros.


Blogs like Buses

I know you have been waiting around for me to write a blog for months and then boom three come along at once (four if you include this one, I don’t, it’s not about anything).

But I’ve not really had anything to write about. Most of my blogs have been about beer or baking. I did go on holiday the other week and get snowed in for a day where I went for a walk and ended up flapping about in snow up to my chest but besides that not much else would be that interesting. I’m no travel writer.

As for baking, I’ve not been eating carbs since the beginning of the year so baking has been out. I’m not sure anyone would want to read about me eating gradually smaller and smaller salads.

Beer has gone pretty much the same way as baking, no carbs means no beer. Although I have drank about three bottles a day, every day for the last few weeks while I have been eating carbs again (remember I mentioned a holiday, salads are not for holidays).

I could have wrote about Brewdog since being in their new brewery. They show pictures of quality control taking place in blogs they publish yet they still let inferior quality beers be sold in supermarkets and then when enough people moan about it they seem to have known that there was a problem with the batch yet they let it be sold anyway.

I could have also wrote about a blogger I started following on twitter who repeatedly links to their blog posts with different tag lines. They must have about 100 page views from me but I’ve only read about five blog posts.

And last of all I could have wrote about how the words craft, crafted and craftsmanship have been so over used in marketing of a wide variety of shit products they have lost all of the little meaning they had. Which I actually find hilarious and makes me think of hand made cards even more when I see the word craft.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s blogging spree and I will leave you with a picture of a naughty Tapir who’s nose I rubbed.

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