Friday, 31 December 2010

Farewell 2010. Hello 2011!

Most years, at about this time, I start ruminating on how quickly the year has gone by. This year, that feeling seems stronger than ever, and I can't get my head around how it can possibly be the end of another year already.

And yet, it's been a full year indeed with much happening, so it's not as though I'm looking back wondering where it's gone – I have lots of marvellous memories of just what I've been doing with my time.

So, what have been my food highlights of the year?


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We minced pork and made quail scotch eggs.

I first met the charming, vodka-savvy Leonid during my first visit to Bob Bob Ricard.

We made our very first pie. Mmmmm, Pie!


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I ate lots of pig with lots of ladies.

My friend Carla shared my ever-growing obsession with making jam.


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I won a Food Debate by championing cheese.

We spent four wonderful weeks in the Falkland Islands photographing penguins and albatross. Food was hearty.

I discovered fine quality French cooking at Racine.

I made a hot chilli and ginger pickle so hot it even blows my dad's head off!


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We cooked ox cheeks for the first time, following a lovely recipe from Pascal Aussignac's Cuisinier Gascon.

We learned how to scale, gut, fillet, skin and cook fish at The Billingsgate Seafood Training School.

I got to see the inside of the Thorntons factory and watch chocolates being made.

I shared my mum's recipe for Tamarind Ketchup.


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I cooked my first crab. It took me hours to pick the meat out!

I had a lovely meander around Borough Market.

My thoughts turned to memories of Venice in London's first Venetian-style bacaro, Polpo.

I attended Rachel's inaugural Catalan Cooking class.

We pottered in our kitchen garden.


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I interviewed Celia Brooks Brown about allotment gardening at her own London allotment.

We voluntarily ate in a Little Chef. Twice!

We made our first choux buns, filled with coffee custard.

We went foraging with the very lovely Mat Follas of The Wild Garlic.

Pete Drinks launched!

We went strawberry picking for the first time in years.


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It was Scandinavian month with a Jane Lawson meatballs recipe and Trina Hahnemann's delicious Swedish Cheese Tart.

Pierre Koffmann proved he still has what it takes, opening a permanent restaurant after the success of his pop-up, last year.

I remembered being drunk. A lot. On vodka.

We grew our first ever gherkins. And then I pickled them!

Kavey Eats was recognised in the Times newspaper's Best Of The Blogs feature.


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Four vintages of Chateau d'Yquem, tasted side by side, made me weak at the knees.

I learned and shared some fabulous food styling and photography lessons from Alastair Hendy.

I got my Dishoom on at London's first Bombay Café.

I fell in love with views of London from above, at Paramount.

We visited and interviewed traditional cheddar makers and bacon farmers, Denhay Farm.


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We made empanadas!

Fritto misto at L'Anima made me wonder if I'd died and gone to heaven.

We made a rather Divine dense chocolate loaf cake.

I asked about your feel-good food smells – and you responded!

We discovered how very nice parsnips are with Lancashire cheese.

We visited Pacific Plaza. We still miss Oriental City.

I finally shared my experience cooking under pressure at Masterchef Live.

Pete and I discovered the fascinating taste experience of matching whisky and chocolate.


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I shared my love of lahmacun and kookoo sabzi.

On the 10/10/10 we got some good news – we have an allotment!

I had a blast at The London Cooking Club's Hashi Cooking Night.

We fell head over stomach for the home-style cooking at Delhi Grill. It's as good as my mum's!

My dear friend, Meems, ran an astounding Burmese Pop Up at The Wild Garlic.

We visited handsome and lovely British beef and lamb farmer Chris, of Paganum. (Discount code in blog post)

We made green romanesco cauliflower cheese.

I carved my very first Halloween pumpkin. And a Halloween courgette too!


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I met the charming Josceline Dimbleby.

We enjoyed a spectacularly fabulous blow-out meal at Launceston Place.

I remembered the RAF for Remembrance Day.

Pete posted his first brewery tour at home, with Marble Brewery.

I cooked for Green & Black's Head of Taste, making up a fab pear and ginger chutney recipe.

We rediscovered how good Angela Nilsen's Quiche Lorraine is.

You shared the foods and drinks you most love and hate at Christmas.


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I had more great chocolate at the Southbank Chocolate Festival.

I made my very first gingerbread house at the most excellent LexEats supperclub.

I stayed at one of the very best hotels I've ever experienced, a veritable Love Shack, in Cornwall.

Friends helped me put some Christmas Puddings to the test, including the much-hyped Waitrose Heston Hidden Orange one.

I shared 36 great gift ideas and 30 great books on food.

Believe it or not, that's just a selection of posts from Kavey Eats this year, not to mention the many food experiences I haven't managed to blog yet… If 2011 is half as much fun, it'll be a great year indeed!

Wishing all of you a very happy new year, from myself and Pete

x x x


Thursday, 30 December 2010

Pete Drinks: Daas Beer


Mainland Europe makes some wonderful beer, entirely unlike our own domestic ales – that is to say, the styles are entirely different, not that our domestic ales aren't equally wonderful!

Belgium, in particular, produces fantastic, big flavoured (and frequently strong!) beers which are always worth seeking out. (I'm partial to the occasional Kwak myself). But in the UK your options are fairly limited; I can only think of a handful of Belgian brews readily available.

Daas have been brewing beer for more than 900 years (which is fairly old even for a Belgian brewery) but have only recently started pushing into the UK market*. Having encountered them at a food show, I quickly bought some of everything and looked forward to a Belgian brewery tour. I hesitate to call this a proper "Tour-At-Home", because three small bottles hardly feels like a tour; nonetheless it's a sampling of the full range.

The range itself is organic, and bottle conditioned. It's missing a 'Brune', which you would have thought after 900 years they could have worked into their output, but that might be my prejudice showing!


First up is Daas Witte, a wheat beer at 5.0%. It’s a slightly murky, pale straw colour with a thick, lingering head. It smells of yeast, and fresh green fruit with a distinct sharpness. In the mouth it has a nice firm body, the refreshing yet strong taste you expect from a wheat beer, not very sweet with more hints of green fruit and just a slight bitter, dry finish. The bubbles fill your mouth in just the right way. Given that it doesn’t taste that sweet, there’s a strange lingering stickiness that you’d expect to come from something much sweeter. It’s curious; not bad, but I’m not blown away.


Next, Daas Blond, a traditional Belgian blond beer at 6.5%. Similarly murky, with a nice golden colour to it and a thinner but still quite lingering head. On the nose, there’s a sweet richness of malt, and more yeast. A similar mouthfeel to the Witte; that rich maltiness, almost honey is still there but there’s a curious acidity to the flavour too. There’s a definite darkness to the flavour which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the colour alone - although to be fair it’s not unusual for a Belgian blonde. The bubbles are still a little intense, but I’m liking this one much more - although I’m not sure it compares favourably to, say, a Leffe.


Finally, Daas Ambre, also at 6.5%. Unlike the others, this pours clear, in a rich amber tone with a thinner but still foamy head. It has a similar rich malty, almost toffee-like nose and taste. The mouthfeel, if anything, is lighter than the others, although you can still taste the strength. There’s a slightly unpleasant bitter tail to it; not with any real hoppiness, it’s just … bitter. It has an almost dry taste; it's a perfectly drinkable but it's an unremarkable Ambre.

To sum up then; there's nothing exactly wrong with any of these beers, but neither do they get me particularly excited.

Daas is available from myBreweryTap and various organic retailers for around £2.49 a bottle.

*We've been contacted by Daas Beer to make a correction to our post. They have been brewing beer for just 4 years, not 900, as we said above! We were thrown by the text on their website that reads "Das premium organic beers uphold our Belgian tradition of brewing excellence lasting more than 900 years" and even more by the "1096" in their logo. Both refer to the Belgian brewing tradition in general and not to Das Beer specifically!


Usually, We'd simply edit the original text. But we're curious – does anyone else think using the year 1096 in their logo more than implies that Daas themselves have been brewing since that time? Or that they are using a recipe from that date or even that their brewery is on a site that has been a brewery since that date...?