Roast London Dry Gin Launch

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Roast, the famed restaurant that over-looks Borough Market, has created its own London Dry Gin. 

Distilled at the Thames Distillers in Greenwich, the gin is infused with juniper berries, coriander seeds and angelica root to give a savoury and clean finish. 

Whilst at the launch we tried a cocktail of lavander infused gin with lemon bitters which was extremely pleasent alongside salmon.

We also participated in the #roastselfie competition that sees one winner a month win a £25 restaurant voucher. If you're visiting soon, get snapping! 

Available at £25 for a 70cl bottle to purchase in the restaurant.  

*An introductory price of £20 will be offered during October. 

Buzzed Off

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bees are the major contributors to the pollination of crops and flowers. However, most species are in decline, raising fears that the world might be facing a pollination crisis. 

The UN estimates that around 70% of crops that together supply 90% of food supplies depend on bee pollination. 

In Central Valley, California, they produce a phenomenal a mouth of fruit, seeds and flowers. Although the area is typically classed as a semi-desert due to the little rain it receives, it produces roses, oranges, grapes, asparagus, lemons and apricots. 

To produce such a harvest in a desolet area, chemicals are heavily relied upon. These leach into surrounding water streams, polluting rivers that run from the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

Farmers spray the earth with fertilisers, insectcides, herbicides and fumigants whilst diverting natural water ways. This deathly cocktail of chemicals leaves a fine mist of toxins in the air that form yellow chemical clouds over crops. It not only deteres birds and insects, but effects children in the area, which are three times as likely to suffer with asthma.

The state is also home to 60 million almond trees that stretch over 600km. Surprisingly, California produces 80% of the world's almond crop. 

Nowhere is there a pollination problem more pressing than California, where the almond industry is so in need of bees that they import them as far as Australia. 

Every year in early spring 3,000 trucks carrying 40 billion bees make their way across the United States to California's Central Valley to pollinate crops inbetween pesticide sprays. 

It is estimated that California growers spend $250 million a year on bees, with the average rent of a hive costing €160. 

In California, natures support system has broken down. A temporary fix has been found, but no one is sure how long can this be sustained.

There is ongoing debate over the cause of the decline in the bee population world wide. It may partly be attributed to non-native diseases and loss of forest cover. However, it is most commonly attributed to agricultural intensification, particularly the use of pesticides. Neonicotinoids in particular are damaging. When sprayed in the ground they are absorbed by plants, turning them 'toxic' to both insects and bees. 

Bees contribute over €22 billion annually to European agriculture. In 2013 the EU banned the use of these pesticides on crops attractive to bees (it is worth noting the UK voted against this due to lack of scientific research). 

India now produces 7.5 tonnes of vegatables a year (around 14% of the worlds total) following an agricultural revolution in the 1960s, a time where India was heavily reliant on food imports. 

Recently farmers there have been forced to hand pollinating crops using feathers and cigerette filters die to a rapid decline in the country's bee population. The Indian government is currently championing farming that uses large quantities of pesticides and chemical fertiliser, rather than rotating different crops and livestock throughout the year. This has had a devastating effect on the bee population, and therefore on crop yields that are extemly dependent on pollination. 

The UK, home to 26 species of bumble bee, has seen two species become extinct within the last seventy years. Six are listed as seriously endangered, and half the rest are considered at risk. The British beekeeper association states they fear the UK could loose every species within the next decade. 

I hope Governments, NGOs and farmers are starting to realise that we are still very much dependent on natures services, and that artificial substitutes simply aren't sustainable. 

Finest Wine Words

Friday, August 29, 2014

What's the first thing you look at when selecting wine: The label? The vintage? The discription?

The words on the back of a bottle don't mean much to me. After much deliberation I could pick 'a rich and smooth red with hints of summer berries' only to get it home to discover it's sharp and floral.

So, on Wednesday I attended a tasting event hosted by Tesco, who I believe have a great approach to wine. 

As part of the Tesco wine team’s continued efforts to help customers better understand wine, Tesco invited bloggers, journalists and wine lovers to create customer friendly descriptions for each of its 100 *finest wines. 

These descriptions were then translated into ‘word clouds’ and will be used in a variety of ways in store and online to help customers when selecting wine.

With over 100 wines on offer, I perched myself firmly at the dessert wine. Here I found the star of the show: a deliciously sweet tipple with hints of orange - perfect for pairing with cheese and rich chocolate desserts.

Hopefully my novice wine descriptions will be of some use to the Tesco wine team ('smells like Christmas' was accurate, afterall...). 

The Boat Yard

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Over the bank holiday weekend the family and I visited The Boat Yard in Leigh-on-sea. 

Set along the seafront next to the cockle sheds, the restaurant enjoys views across the eastry. 

Whilst we had lunch, we watched the tide go out to reveal the surprisingly pretty mud flats. This, teamed with upbeat (but not overbearing) live music set the perfect scene for lunch beside the sea side. 

As we visited on a Sunday, we chose a meal from the set menu. The whole family enjoyed freshly prepared food, including roast beef and the 'fish of the day' salmon, served with a lobster sauce. 

The 3 fish tartlet in particular was delicious, with a crumbly pastry case and flavoursome filling, and the cheese platter was served with a sweet rosemary chutney that we're still thinking of... 

The Boat Yard is somewhere special, yet very responsibly priced - ideal for both lazy Sunday afternoons or livley Friday nights. 

Water Revelution

Sunday, June 15, 2014

So, I've joined the water revelation and bought myself a Bobble. 

The mission? To reduce plastic waste by starting a revolution around stigmatising single-serve water bottles and the outrageous waste they create. 

To entice myself to drink more water, I've been flavouring my Bobble with sliced cucumber, mint, lemon, camomile and orange slices - flavoured filter water, without costing the earth. 

Join the revolution. Hashtag your bobble photos with taste the #waterrevolution