Beer of the month, October 2015

A busy month for beers. 46 different beers and ciders sampled this month, including plenty from Yorkshire (last month’s trip to Skipton), and quite a few from Hampshire, as well as a few from further afield.

First up in the list is Lagunitas Day Time Fractional IPA, full of super hoppy goodness, an excellent grapefruit hit, and perfect paleness. One of the best IPAs I’ve had all year, picked up during our trip to Southwold.

Next we come to a pint of Cydonia from Vibrant Forest brewery at the Filly Inn – a hoppy and fruity super hit, excellent cycling refreshment.

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Another home drink next, a bottle of 1643 Puritan from Two Cocks brewery. This had coffee, caramel, chocolate and liquorice combined for a big hit of complexity. Very drinkable and not too heavy, the season of the stout has begun.

In second place, we have a bottle of Mariana Trench from Weird Beard brewery. This was sampled at the Fox & Hounds in Lyndhurst (great pub) and is another example of hoppy loveliness from the beardy boys.

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There was only ever going to be one winner this month. As soon as I saw this in the fridge at the Fox & Hounds in Lyndhurst, I had a feeling that Cwtch by Tiny Rebel would be this month’s victor.

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Not hard to see why this was champion beer of Britain this year. Hoppy redness, just fantastic. It’s going to be in the top five at the end of the year, I’m fairly certain of that.

Orange and sultana cake

This cake is a bit of a favourite. It’s quick and easy and always popular. If you’re having a cake sale, this is usually a good seller, perfect if you are raising funds for charity. Oh, and it tastes great too.

You will need:-

230g soft margarine
230g caster sugar
280g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
4 eggs
280g sultanas
grated rinds of 2 oranges
15g demerara sugar

This is a very simple recipe, and there’s not much too it. Away we go.

First, heat your oven to 180C. Whilst it is warming up, grease and line the base of a rectangular cake tin. I use these loaf tin liners from Lakeland (when flattened out they fit my tin perfectly) but greaseproof paper will do just fine. A tin around 30cm long and 24cm wide is about right.

Top baking tip coming up. To prevent your sultanas sinking to the bottom of your cake, toss them in a tablespoon of flour first, before mixing with the other ingredients. This works best if you are baking the mixture straight away – if you leave it around for a short while, they will start to sink again.

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl (leave out the demerara sugar as that’s for the topping) and mix together well. I do this by hand with a spoon, but you can use any form of electric mixing aid if you prefer.

Pour the mixture into your tin and wobble the tin a few times to level it. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar before returning it to the oven for around 15 minutes (all ovens vary). The cake should shrink away from the sides of the tin and spring back in the centre if you press it lightly with your fingers. Leave to cool in the tin until you are ready to turn it out. This will cut into 12 generous squares of cake.