Meadowsweet mead

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Check my other blog post here for the basics of homebrewing before attempting this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1.8Kg honey
  • 30g meadowsweet
  • 4.5 l water
  • 1 teaspoon of wine yeast

Method:

Put half the honey into a clean, sterile bucket with the meadowsweet.

Pour in 4.5 litres of boiled water and stir until the honey is dissolved.

When the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the yeast. Leave to ferment for 2 days.

Strain the liquid through a clean muslin into a demijohn, fit with an airlock and leave to ferment for a further 5 days.

Syphon the mead into a clean demijohn, leaving behind any sediment.

Add the rest of the honey and mix well.

When fermentation ends (bubbles passing through the airlock at less than one a minute) siphon the mead into bottles and cork.

Age for a minimum of 3 months before drinking.

Taken from my book ‘Eat like a Viking!’ Available now on Amazon 

Getting started with homebrew

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The first rule of making any kind of brew, is to make sure you sterilise everything. Buckets, bottles, siphons – everything that comes into contact with your brew. You can buy sterilising powder in home-brew shops, Wilko’s or online. Follow the directions on the packet and clean everything thoroughly.

Once clean, rinse the equipment well.

The next thing is to make sure you have a hydrometer. These are cheap to buy and will help you to know when your brew is finished fermenting. It will also enable you to estimate the alcohol content of your finished brew.

• Take a reading before you add your yeast. This is known as the Original gravity or OG

• Take another at the end. This is known as the Final gravity or FG

• Using a simple formula, (OG – FG) x 0.13 = %, you can then figure out the alcohol content of your finished brew

• For example if your original gravity is 1080 and your final gravity is 1000, then using the formula (1080 – 1000) x 0.13 = 10.4% alcohol content

The original gravity of most wines and meads should start at around 1050 – 1100

The original gravity for beer should start at around 1040

The higher the number, the higher the potential alcohol content of your brew, however this is also limited by the type of yeast used.

Your brew will either finish fermenting when the yeast runs out of food (sugar) or when the alcohol content is too high for the yeast to live in.

When your brew stops bubbling, or slows to less than 1 bubble a minute, use the hydrometer to see if your brew is finished fermenting. Move your brew somewhere warm and check the gravity over a period of 3 days and if the reading doesn’t change, fermentation has stopped.

At this stage there are a few optional things you can add to your brew. The first 2 things are fermentation stopper, and campden tablets. These are generally added at the same time to wine, mead and cider, and help to stabilise the alcohol by killing off any yeast that might still be hanging around. They also help to prevent any bacterial growth during the ageing process. Add these as per the packet instructions, usually you’ll need to stir your brew daily for 3 days after adding, which will also help to remove any trapped co2.

The next thing is bentonite. This is a naturally occurring clay that draws particles from the alcohol and settles it to the bottom of your container. This clears the alcohol, so you can siphon your liquid into a new container or bottle to prevent a hazy wine.

Taken from my book ‘Eat like a Viking!’ Available now on Amazon 

Cured salmon (Viking Gravadlax)

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Ingredients:

  • 100g sea salt
  • 80g honey
  • 30g dill (finely chopped)
  • 12 juniper berries (crushed)
  • A splash of mead
  • 2 salmon fillets

Method:

Mix the Salt, honey, dill & berries well.

Place some cling film into a dish and lay 1 salmon fillet, skin side down and cover with the salt mix.

Place the second fillet, skin side up, on top and wrap tightly in the cling film.

Place something heavy on top and leave in the fridge for 2 – 4 days, depending on how salty you want the fish to be. Turn every 12 hours.

Drain any surplus liquid before serving.

Taken from my book ‘Eat like a Viking!’ Available now on Amazon 

Split pea pottage

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Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • 6 rashers of Bacon (roughly chopped)
  • 1 leek (roughly chopped)
  • 2 sticks of celery (roughly chopped)
  • 1.5L chicken stock (any stock will work)
  • 300g Dried split peas
  • Handful of wild garlic (finely 3chopped)
  • 2 tsp fresh mint (roughly chopped)

Method:
Melt some butter in a large pan or cauldron.

Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes, until starting to brown. Add the leeks and celery and fry for a few minutes.

Pour in the stock and add the peas, garlic and mint.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, until reduced by a third and the peas are soft. If necessary top up with more water.

Taken from my book ‘Eat like a Viking!’ Available now on Amazon 

Honey & Oat cakes

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Ingredients:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g honey
  • 500g oats
  • 1/4 cup of liquid (braggot, ale, mead, milk etc)
  • 1 apple (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:
Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the honey, followed by the rest of the ingredients.

Mix together well and leave to cool. Once cool, split the mixture into even sized amounts. Roll into balls and squash each ball as flat as possible.

Cook for a few minutes on each side on a hot griddle or frying pan.

Watch them carefully, or they will burn.

Alternatively heat your oven to 170 degrees and cook in the centre of the oven for approx 10 – 15 minutes, until firm and golden in colour.

Leave to cool fully before eating, as they will firm up when cool.

Taken from my book ‘Eat like a Viking!’ Available now on Amazon 

Crisp breads

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Ingredients:

  • 300g flour (plus a little extra for dusting the worktop)
  • 10g Salt
  • 10g Cumin, caraway or fennel seeds (roughly ground in a pestle & mortar)
  • water

Method:

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add water and mix to form a dough.

Flour your worktop with a little flour and roll the dough out thinly. Cut the dough into rounds and make a hole in the middle.

Place onto a baking tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper.

Cook in the centre of a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 20 – 30 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Taken from my book ‘Eat like a Viking!’ Available now on Amazon