Spring is in the air

Can you also feel it? The sun is out more often, the birds are singing and the temperature feels like going for a walk. Indeed, spring is in the air! Especially last weekend in Denmark was so nice with blue skies and sun.

My husband and me went for a ride on Saturday and stopped at Arresø for a coffee with a beautiful view.

It was late afternoon already and the sun was on her way down. But how good it felt to just siping some coffee outside with the sun in your face :-). There is truly no better feeling.

Also in our garden, the flowers are suddenly there and everywhere. The white and yellow spring flowers are just popping out over the whole garden.

My heart makes a jump every time I see them.

We cannot deny it, winter is almost over. I can’t wait to sitting on our terrace again enjoying the sun and hearing birds singing all day. Spring is in the air!

Can you feel the spring coming as well?

Sunday Brewday

It’s cold outside, and my husband has put some wood in our fireplace. It cannot become more cosy than that. After a hygge morning on the sofa with nice breakfast and coffee, I am on my way to my brewery, as it is a perfect day to brew.

I ordered malt and hops at Brewparts and bought some yeast at Maltbazaren. My two favorite places to order home brewing ingredients. It is time now to brew another Belgian Blond. I am still struggling to get this recipe right, so the only thing left is learning by doing. I used some pilsner and Cara Blond malt and I also changed the mashing regime. I mashed in at 52 degrees Celsius, raised the temperature to 65 degrees Celsius and finished by 73 degrees Celsius. In this way, I hope to get a bit more body and mouthfeel.

My Braumeister is working fine today and I’m really happy for that. After mashing, I used my crane to lift the pot and I rinsed the spent grains with 8 liter of water to get all the sugar out.

Now it is time for boiling and adding the hops.

I used two types of hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh and Saaz.

After boiling, I use my spoon to whirlpool and then I cool down the wort until 70 degrees Celsius. Then I poor the wort into a fermentation bucket and let it cool down further in my fermentation closet.

Tomorrow I will add the yeast (WLP540) and then we need to wait until the yeast has done its job.

Have you done something creative today?

In for Korean food? Try Restaurant Ssam

Yesterday, we had family over and as we call ourselves the crazy dining team, we went out in Copenhagen trying some nice food. We went to my favorite Korean place, Ssam. Here you can eat traditional Korean food and drink Korean rice wine.

My husband took Bibimbap, which is a rice dish in a hot bowl with a lot of veggies, an egg and topped of with beef or any other meat or veggie choice. I took Chulpan Deopbab, which is fried rice with toppings of your choice, in my case also beef.

I took a Kissmeyer beer on the side: Stockholm syndrome, a very well balanced double IPA.

To go a little crazy, we also ordered Korean rice wine: Makgolli. It is an off-white alcoholic beverage that is sometimes slightly sparkly. They served this drink in a teapot, so I was surprised to taste it was cold.

The rice wine is served in funny cups, a very nice experience. The drink tasted a little sweet, milk, astringent and alcoholic. If you like sweet and milk, you should definitely go for it! It is not my favorite, but it was a good experience to try it.

We also tried soju, which is a clear distilled Korean beverage, made on rice. The taste is very alcoholic and made me think of sake. Again a nice experience to try it, but as I’m not in to spirits, I was still happy I took a beer on the side as well.

Have you tried Korean food?

Cauliflower ‘rice’ – a delicious alternative to rice

Do you know this feeling that you are always seem to eating potatoes, rice or pasta at dinner? I want to explore new adventurous alternatives to spice up our everyday dinner at home. So here comes the first experiment: cauliflower rice. I did hear of this rice alternative from some colleagues and started to read about it.

There are several ways of preparing the cauliflower rice, and I chose the fried version. And yes, it turned out to be very easy to prepare.

I started with half a cauliflower and cut the cauliflower in small pieces.

As I received a small mincer for Christmas, I used that one to mince the cauliflower into rice looking particles.

The last step is frying the cauliflower rice in a pan. You have to start at very low fire with a good amount of oil in the pan. And then you stir and stir and stir until the cauliflower starts to look caramelized. This can take a while and you will also smell the typical sulfur smell during the frying. However, when the cauliflower starts browning, most of the smell is gone.

And that’s it, now mix with a nice curry or wok and you’re done!

The cauliflower tasted very nice (not so much like cauliflower after the long frying) and fitted very well with the chicken curry we prepared on the side.

Have you ever tried a non-starch alternative that you can recommend?

Restaurant IBU – fantastic Asian food!

Last weekend, my husband and me tried a (for us) new Asian restaurant in Copenhagen: IBU. We found this one on Earlybird which is a website where you can book a restaurant visit but only for the day itself. I really like this website, as you can just order when you feel like going out later. The restaurants present are of good quality and it is excellent if you want to try something new.

The menu looked very interesting:

The interior was very modern, with a lot of black accents. The first platter (which was 2. Ret on the menu) was tuna with wasabi and beetroot with fish eggs on top. Very refreshing!

My husband chose a Møn brown ale to go with the food, while I felt more like a burgundy style Chardonnay. Both seemed to be a good choice :-).

The next platter was Indian flatbread with Jerusalem artichoke purée and fried fat pieces (which is a real treat here in DK). An excellent combination of these 3 ingredients, as it was both a little sweet and sour, more like a pancake feeling.

Now followed another vegetarian dish with mushrooms, sprinkled cocos flakes and young coriander shoots. We also got a pickled cucumber on the side. Another well-balanced platter with a lot of taste.

These were all the ‘first platters’ and it was time for some meat. The first meat dish was spare ribs which was the best dish of the evening. The spare ribs were prepared in a sweet/sour sauce that was quite spicy, simply delicious!

The spare ribs were finished with sesam seeds and some greens.

The last dish before dessert was beef, which was so tender it almost melted in your mouth.

And then it was time for dessert, a passion fruit mousse with vanilla ice cream. Again excellent, as it was a good balance between sweet and sour. The passion fruit mousse was also extremely light.

If you wanna go the Asian way, I strongly recommend to try IBU. One of the best Asian restaurants in Copenhagen!

Belgian sparkling wine is definitely on the rise!

This week was my birthday and that had to be celebrated :-). I just had spent the weekend in Belgium and when I was looking around in Brussels airport I found out that there was one Belgian Winehouse selling their wines there: Genoels-Elderen. That had to be tried!

There were 2 types of wine for sale: white wine (mostly Chardonnay) and sparkling wine. I bought the sparkling wine, called Zwarte Parel and flew back to Copenhagen with it.

Last Wednesday was the day to open this beautiful bottle. The Zwarte Parel is made with Chardonnay according to the ‘Méthode Tradionelle’. This means that the wine has been ripening with the sediment in the bottle for at least 9 months. On top of that, de Zwarte Parel has been ripening for 9 months more, so 18 months in total in the bottle. The wine has not been ripening on wooden barrels, so it went immediately from the stainless steel tanks (after fermentation) on the bottle.

The wine looks exactly like a champagne:

The bubbles are small and there are many. The taste was really excellent if you like it Brut. The taste was refreshing, a bit fruity and with a slightly higher acidity compared to a champagne. However, the wine was in good balance and I was impressed with the overall flavor and taste.

Definitely worth a try if you like Brut sparkling wine!

Running to get energized

Do you run? I simply love it. Going out in nature, getting fresh air and especially the boost of energy I get from it afterwards makes me run over and over again. I did not mention this New Years resolution, but it is definitely on the list.

Last year, my husband and me have been running on average once every week. See here the last 5 months.And that is exactly what I want to change. I would like to go twice a week for a run. I have been travelling extensively for work last year, which makes it a bit more difficult to run so often. However, this year I will be travelling less, so I can make time to go running more often.

In the first week of 2019, I already succeeded! I ran twice which felt great. One time in my home place, the usual route, but the second time, I have been running in the forest close to my parents place.

This forest, the Neigembos, is great to run in, but very hilly. I am not used to that, but it was a great challenge :-). And lovely surroundings…

Even though I ran a bit slower because of the hilly path, I do feel energized!

Really feels great!

How do you get energized?

Let’s get 2019 started!

Hi there! Yes, I am back. Long time no see, but with 2019 just having started, I have made up my mind with my blog. I gave it a whole make-over, so I can write a bit more broad about my crazy fermentation experiments and foodie or other thoughts.

I made – of course – some New Year resolutions and here is a shortlist of them:
1. brew a series of Belgian beers according to the style rules: Blond, Dubbel and Tripel
2. brew some really crazy beers with funny spice/fruit/herb additions
3. plant some vines in the garden to test if some classic varieties can survive the cold Danish climate
4. try to eat less food/drinks with added sugar and go more the natural sugar way (I will need some recipes here)
5. go running twice a week (gives me a lot of energy)

You will hear more about my resolutions – see how many I can manage to do this year. Not everybody likes New Year resolutions, but I love them. It is a good way of thinking about what you want to do this year that gives you pleasure and energy. And that is exactly what I want to do in 2019 – do things that I love and give me energy…..stay tuned.

Did you note down some New Year resolutions?

2019 01 Tap system

 

 

 

Blackcurrant juice – a taste of summer

It has been an amazing spring in Denmark this year with 6 weeks of sun, sun and sun. Now, after one week of cooling down, the sun is back to welcome the summer :-). That also means that all the fruit is mature earlier this year and just deliciously sweet tasting.

I went on a fruit hunt in the park in front of our house and found out that there is a lot of fruit to pick. We have cherry trees all around us and also some berry bushes. That gave a good first harvest of sweet and sour cherries as well as blackcurrant berries.

As I decided to go further with my juice productions, I decided to make blackcurrant juice. After asking some advice to my foodie friend and googling some recipes, I made up my own.

Ingredients:

⁃ 300 gram of blackcurrant

⁃ 200 gram of cane sugar

⁃ 1 liter of water

Heat up the water with the blackcurrant berries and the sugar until boiling temperature is reached. When boiling, decrease the heat and boil at low temperature until the blackcurrant berries are bursting open. You can also squeeze the blackcurrant berries if you are impatient (like me). All in all this took me 20 min to get an amazing tasting juice.

When cooled down to around 75 degrees Celsius, I sieved the juice to get rid of the berry leftovers.

Then I bottled the juice in clean and sterilized beer bottles.

The juice is around 20% sugar and should be diluted to 5% with sparkling or still water. So 1 part of juice with 3 parts of water. The color is my favorite: pink and the taste is slightly sweet blackcurrant with a little astringent aftertaste. Delicious for hot summer days!

If you like it more sweet, you can always add more sugar.

Summer Dream – my first American Pale Ale

For everything is a first 🙂 and yes, finally I am tackling the American style beers (with the exception of the American Barley Wine I brewed earlier this year – Barley Trouble). Many of you will laugh now, as these styles (Indian Pale Ale and American Pale Ale), are normally the styles you start with as a home brewer. Stubborn as I am though, I started with the Belgian styles, as I can’t deny my Belgian roots. That resulted in a lot of trying, as I still feel I have not been able to brew the perfect Belgian Blond as I like it.

That said, after 5 years of home brewing, I feel it is time to broaden my horizon. So that is why I decided to make an American Pale Ale (APA), also because I adore this beer style when done right. These beers are very aromatic – beautiful flavors coming from the hops – but are not as bitter as an Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

I invited a friend to brew with me and he was even more courageous than me, as he brewed a pilsner style that day for the first time. So it was pretty exciting to get started. My brewer’s friend brought his Grainfather, while I brewed on my Braumeister.

As I am not a fan of pale malt, I decided to use a mix of pilsner malt, Munich malt and a very low amount of biscuit malt to get the caramel character. For the hops, I used mosaic as bitter hops and late aroma hops. I was lucky to get 5 kg mosaic hop pellets from another brewery, so I could use a lot of it as aroma hops. I love the aroma of mosaic, very fruity and citrusy.

As I got an extra accessory to my Braumeister, namely a filter to block hop and other herbs from the wort when filling the fermentation bucket, I needed to try that out. You can almost not see it, but it is the stainless steel funny looking pipe in the front of the picture.

After a vigorous long boil, the wort was ready to be put in the fermentation bucket to cool down and ferment.

After 16h of cooling down, I added Safale US-05, the standard yeast almost for a lot of APA’s and IPA’s. After only 5 days of fermentation, I added loads of mosaic and citra hops as dry hops. Another 6 days later, the beer was ready to be put on bottles. I added extra sugar (dextrose) to referment on the bottle.

And today is the day to try the first bottle, after 10 days of refermentation on the bottle.

The foam is really amazing, small bubbles and it stays. The color is also perfect, amber like. The smell is very citrusy and fruity, but I also can still smell the malt. The taste is still a bit sweet, so it needs some longer time to referment all the sugar. However, the bitter-sweet balance is quite good and the bitterness is for sure not too high. A good first attempt I would say, but next time I will need to add less Munich malt, as that gives the more malty taste. I should also not be shy with the hops, as I have plenty and the smell can definitely be more hoppy.

The beer needs some more time and then I’ll taste again :-).

Do you have any recommendations on how to accentuate the hoppy aroma more?