Over the Christmas and New Year long weekends I made two batches of he Laphroaig Islay single malt whisky truffles, more about that over the coming days. This morning I decided I felt like making some whisky bread again. There was enough Laphroaig left and a quick rummage through my kitchen showed I had most of the ingredients I wanted (the missing one wasn’t essential), so I set to work based on a bread I had made with Bruichladdich previously.
Here are the ingredients in the order used:
- Strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour ~250g
- Strong white bread flour ~150g
- Wholegrain seeded bread flour ~50g
- Roasted chopped hazelnuts ~50g
- Sunflower seeds ~50g
- (Fast action / Easy bake) Dried yeast ~15g (I used two 7g sachets and a pinch of loose yeast)
- Extra virgin olive oil ~2 tablespoons
- Islay single malt whisky (in this case Laphroaig 10yo) ~¼pint
- Hot water ~¼pint
This is the process I used:
- Preheat oven to 220°C and make sure the kitchen is warm (helps the bread to rise)
- Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl
- In a jug mix the whisky and the hot water (in the original recipe I adopted for this recipe you would use ½pint of warm water. Mixing the room temperature whisky with the hot water should result in a warm mixture)
- add the olive oil as well as the whisky and water mixture to the dry ingredients
- thoroughly mix/knead the mixture, I let my kitchen machine do the work for about 15 minutes, may be slightly longer
- Move dough into large bowl and let rise covered by a tea towel for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer. It won’t rise much, but will rise a bit
- Beat down, knead again and put into silicon baking form or onto baking tray. Let rest again (covered with a towel) for at least 20 minutes, ideally longer
- Bake at 220°C (fan assisted) for approx 30 minutes
That’s it. Cut open and enjoy. I think it tastes very nice, just with some butter. There’s a mellow Islay whisky taste, but I don’t think it’s overpowering. Very enjoyable.
PS: the non-essential missing ingredient was an egg. I would have liked to glaze the bread with egg and sprinkled it with more sunflower seeds. But that’s not crucially important.
I must admit I’ve got mixed feelings watching this video. Over the years I’ve visited the now closed Jura House Gardens many times. I’ve walked along the shore at Ardfin at least twice. With the new private golf course (at least that’s my understanding, it’s a private course with no or only very limited public access) this is all history. At the same time the views in this video look spectacular:
So those privileged few who play golf and get a chance to play this course will certainly have a fantastic time. The ‘common’ people as well as people who prefer a rugged more natural landscape will almost certainly lose out.
Islay is a stronghold for the rare and endangered Hen Harrier, an amazing bird. Today I came across this fascinating RSPB video about their mating and more:
There are several pairs on Islay, so if you visit the island you stand a good chance of seeing a Hen Harrier at some point. May be not during a food transfer, but at least while hunting over the moors.
The BBC reports of an initiative by Lagavulin distillery to support two local projects as part of their 200 year anniversary celebrations. The two projects are a long standing one and a fairly new but very important one: Finlaggan and Islay Heritage. There will also be further local initiatives receiving support:
The Lagavulin 200 Legacy is set to make further contributions to the local swimming pool, cyber cafe and arts and festival organisations, as well as a new partnership with the RSPB to restore and conserve peatlands on the island.
Funds will be raised through sales of special single cask charity bottling.
A bit stuttering, a bit improvised, but I hope it gets the message across. My first attempt at New Year’s Greetings in video format. I think they call it a vlog (from video blog). I hope it’s not too embarrassing:
Happy New Year 2017!
There are many businesses on Islay, old and new. Some of them have an internet presence and some of those I’m going to present/save for later reference here (please note these are only ones I’ve recently come across and am aware of. If yours is missing by all means get in touch for a future entry with further links):
Earlier today I noticed a new follower on Twitter, named @IslayPlot. The description reads ‘Private owner of several residential development sites on Islay’ and it links to a website Islay Plots (which as of writing this has one plot near Port Ellen listed). That’s all I know at this point.
Islay is of course mainly known for its whisky (and to a lesser extent real ale as well as gin) when it comes to beverages, but there is also Islay Wine. They are fruit wines using fruit like rhubarb and bramble and are made by Kenneth Carter and Helen Gilbert near Port Ellen.
This one isn’t technically on Islay, but Kate has been visiting Islay for many many years (and I’ve been reading her blog entries in particular when related to Islay for many many years). She designs knitting patterns (I hope I’m getting that right and use the right term) and one of her collections is called Inspired by Islay. See also her blog entry An Islay trio for more pictures (several taken on Islay).
Another one not on Islay, but on Islay’s neighbour Jura: Bruichladdich has been making gin for a while, now they are getting competition from Jura. Alicia MacInnes, Claire Fletcher and Georgina Kitching have started Lussa Gin in July. I don’t drink gin so can’t say anything further about it.
That’s all for now, more to come as I come across them (or as you let me know of them)
The first excursion to one of Islay’s neighbours since relaunching the blog and I think I’ve got a real treat for you. Jonas Igel takes us on a beautiful sightseeing tour around Colonsay with his drone, sharing some really amazing views from a two week stay:
After a few videos after relaunching the blog something for the ears only tonight with two slightly older radio programmes previously broadcasted on BBC Radio 4. At least as of today they can still be listened to on BBC iPlayer Radio:
The first one is with Malcolm Ogilvie, well known to many Islay visitors, who has been studying and watching birds and in particular Geese on Islay for decades. The programme is 22 minutes long and called The Living World – Islay Birds.
The second one is by writer Paul Evans and sound recordist Chris Watson who recorded the 30 minutes long programme Nature, The Sounds of Britain, Islay. Among other things Paul talks about the Adders in the airport car park, I remember those signs. Of course Adders don’t make much sound (apart from possibly hissing), so wait for the Corncrakes, Curlews and other birds, just to start with.
Something a bit scary today. I’m not sure how I came across these in the David Ramsey Historical map collection a while ago, but essentially it looks like there was at least some material covering Islay for plans by the German Wehrmacht to invade Britain during WWII (known as Operation Sea Lion, which would have mainly focused on England, but they also seem to have prepared information about Scotland). The material seems to be from 1940 and 1941, i.e. still during the early years of the war. A search for Islay initially turns up three results:
The first one is a drawn coast profile of entrances into Loch Tarbert (on Jura) and the Sound of Islay. The second is called south coast of the Isle of Islay (showing mainly Port Ellen and around). The third one is called north coast of the Isle of Islay and shows the north coast near Rhuvaal.
After a bit of digging around I found a bit more (which for some reason doesn’t show up in a search for Islay):
Luckily the plans were abandoned quite quickly but now provide us with some interesting historical pictures.
They were filmed 10 years apart, but both are a bit older, showing Islay 33 and 43 years ago respectively. The first one seems to be some old TV footage filmed in 1983, showing Port Charlotte and a few other places on Islay in a short clip:
Going back a further decade to 1973 we can watch some fascinating old footage with some long gone history, starting with the MV Arran ferry (not to be confused with the MV Isle of Arran, which was much later) leaving from the old West Loch Tarbert pier:
The rest of the film shows a variety of familiar places, some in a way now gone: The Oa with the American Monument I believe before it became an RSPB reserve (not sure which year that happened?). Port Askaig long before it was redeveloped to what it is today. Ardbeg distillery with smoking pagodas. A brief glimpse of what I think is Western Ferries’ MV Sound of Jura. An excursion to Jura with of course plenty of deer.
The filmer seems to have also had some interest in birdwatching. I think there were a number of Whooper Swans (the quality of the footage isn’t great, making it difficult to see) and there’s some footage of the Barnacle Geese as well.