Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sonnet 43 – Bourbon Milk Stout

This is a local-ish brew is from down the road in Coxhoe. It pours very flat but it is a well balanced ale with good flavour notes of chocolate and coffee with a side note of vanilla. For a stout of only 4.3 abv is packs a decent punch and feels more like a 5% + stout on the palate.


Produced by:
Sonnet 43 Brew House,
Durham Road,
Co. Durham,
TEL: 0191 377 3039

Blog post by Richard Randall

Organic Spelt Flour Bread

The other week we paid a visit to Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop in County Durham.
To my pleasant surprise they sold Spelt flour. I’ve not seen it for sale in this area before (County Durham) and I haven’t baked with it for several years.
In fact the last time I baked bread with Spelt flour was when we lived in the South of France.
This flour is produced by Sharpham Park (Street, Somerset, United Kingdom BA16 9SA) and is a mix of 60% wholegrain and 40% white Spelt flour.
I used my standard bread recipe, which is 500g of flour, 300ml of warm water, 7g of yeast, generous splash of Olive Oil, and a large pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt.
The bread turned out extremely well, and was full of flavour.
I’ll have to buy Spelt flour online in the future though, because the shopping experience at Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop was not one that I would want to repeat.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Eurostar for Sale – All Aboard the Gravy Train

George Osborne plans to sell off the United Kingdoms 40% stake in Eurostar. The price tag is a mere £300m. £300m is a tiny amount to contribute to reducing the public sector debt, which is George Osborne stated plan.
In fact the selling off of Eurostar is just insane but it is just what you would expect from George Osborne. The fact that Eurostar makes a very tidy profit and passenger numbers are increasing year on year, makes it a very good asset to keep hold of.
No doubt the sale will generate a few back door donations for the Conservative party. The real losers will again be the British public. Whoever buys it, will at some stage in the future want to expand and/or do major upgrades and you can bet they will lean on the incumbent government for a major subsidy and I’m sure that the subsidy will be more then the £300m George Osborne hopes to get for selling the 40% stake in Eurostar.

Islamic State (Isis) Beheading Hostages – WHY?

The Islamic State (Isis) have been operational for a long time now, but for some reason there seems to have been an ‘almost’ media blackout about them – until they started beheading Westerners.
I wonder if the media blackout was due in part to Western governments viewing the Islamic State (Isis) as more of a civil conflict, and not wanting to get involved because it was funded by Gulf States (and others) and given support and intelligence?
In the West, the media still portray the Islamic State (Isis) as a bunch of terrorists riding round the dessert in pick-up trucks, and killing anything that moves.
The fact is, Isis are well organised, and they control vast tracks of land. They have control of many towns. They raise taxes, sell oil, and maintain infrastructure.

So, back to my first question.
Why start beheading Western prisoners now?
To me it seems counter intuitive.
The Islamic State still need to make major gains and consolidate the ones they already have. By beheading prisoners and posting the videos online, they have the attention of Western media outlets, and by extension, Western Governments and the United Nations, who can no longer turn a blind eye to what has been going on in Iraq and Syria.
This attention means pressure has been put on the major sponsors of the Islamic State (Isis), and these sponsors are now distancing themselves. Some even going so far as to get involved in limited military action against the Islamic State (Isis).
Why would the Islamic State (Isis) want to draw in more enemies to fight? While their actions, and the videos may encourage a small flow of Islamic fighters to join them, it does not bring in armaments or money. In fact in impedes their goals.

The whole issue of the Islamic State (Isis) raises many questions.
When and by whom was it founded?
Who provided the money and weapons to get it started?
What is their end goal?
What is their political structure, and who heads it?
None of these questions have been asked, or answered in the Western media. WHY?

Online Wine Reviews

In the dark and distant past, I used to write wine reviews. Both for my blog and for other sites. These days I’m in a ‘Plonk’ wine rut and these cheap (£5 or under) wines, just taste and smell like ‘wine’. Most can not distinguished from one and other.
I think there must be a secret laboratory buried deep in some mountain and the scientists have come up with a recipe for wine that does not offend any palate. It is just bland. Of the countless supermarket ‘plonk’ wines I’ve supped of late, the only ones I could distinguish, where ones from Rioja, Spain.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Rioja, a Winter Warmer Wine

Now that Winter is here, I’m cooking more hearty foods and find budget Rioja the perfect wine. They are packed full of flavour and are robust, so can be served with winter warming hearty food.
To get a French or Italian wine with the same bang, would mean spending a great deal more money. Money saved per bottle, means more bottles 🙂
RiojaWine CorksWine CorksRioja

Blog post by Richard Randall

Lurcher – 1st Anniversary

We have now had Barley, our rescue Lurcher, for one year.
It seems like only yesterday that we drove up to StrayAid (Cornforth Lane, Coxhoe, Durham, DH6 4EJ) looking for a rescue hound to adopt.

We came away with a Lurcher, a breed that had never been on our radar.
In fact, we had thought a Lurcher was a very hairy hound, like a smaller version of a deerhound, or an Irish Wolfhound. That changed when we met Barley.

If like us before we met Barley, you aren’t in the know about what a Lurcher is, it’s a Greyhound crossed with a myriad of other breeds.
The breeds may include Border Collie, Saluki, Deerhound, and any of the Bull breeds such as Pitt Bull, Bull Terrier etc. etc. No two Lurchers look the same.
Lurcher onlineIt has been a good year for the three of us.
Barley settled in almost immediately, and now it feels as though he has always been our dog.
Given that he was a stray, who from his initial behaviour when we first brought him home, we don’t think he’d lived in a house, he took to home living, and even staying in hotels surprising well.
LurcherWe may be biased, but Barley is a truly great dog. He has a really lovely nature, crazy character, and he makes us laugh every day.
Having never previously thought about having a Lurcher, we would definitely choose to have another one, and if we had the space we’d love to have lots of Lurchers.
If you are considering adopting a rescue dog we highly recommend getting a Lurcher, it’ll change your life for the better.
LurcherLurcherLurcherLurcherLurcher = Scam

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