Not a paid production, but I was asked..
Way back in July I was approached by a lovely lady from WatkinsPublishing.com via my website comment form to review a book. Now lovers of my blog know that it isn't always grammatically correct, it's honest, it's how I talk, it is purely and simply me. So with all this in mind I actually thought it was an elaborate hoax from a friend 'having a laugh'. A draft of the book was in a drop box, but still “is this a wind up” was going through my head. In case this wasn't a hoax I had a better idea in mind for the book. I apologise to the lovely lady as I never emailed her back I went straight to the source and asked them. They loved my bigger better idea which is still top secret, but involves 8 hours of hard work and 10 days of waiting for the end result. They sent me their book as I said I would review it at some point in the year when I had time to do it justice. The time is now.
Those who visit my blog regularly I still have presented you with the same format, that is not changing! I hope you all enjoy my first 'can you review my goodies' blog.
The age old 'never judge a book by it's cover' I feel in this day and age is by the way side. I used to spend hours in HMV, Virgin and Circles records looking at the front of record covers. I loved the photographic/art work, but really in this respect music did the talking, in fact radio helped you choose. Books are different, thousands sit on a shelf some facing you, but, around 80% of the books have their spines on show. I DO initially judge a book by it's cover, it needs to be attractive, it needs to entice you to turn the page or flip to the back cover to find out about the book. I don't think book cover designers get the shouting that they deserve, they attract a new reader to the book, its then down to the authors writing skills to keep the new reader hooked.
So Jade Wheaton who designed the front cover of Brew It Yourself is this weeks artist of the week. The cover is vibrant, clean, simple fun and straight to the point. But, this front cover is different to most hard backs without a jacket. The entire design wraps around from the front to the back and this I love, already there is a continuity about this book. This book would have caught my eye had it been facing me and from the side it would have stood out just that little more. I love a book without a jacket it's not hiding behind a glossy exterior pretending to be what it isn't.
Jade is a Freelance Graphic Designer, working in London as a Book Designer. Her enthusiasm for typography and print can be seen through her designs and illustrations. Jade has produced a varied range of projects, but the one I love on her profile is the storytelling role she paints on the children’s book by Alex Kanefsky which was done in collaboration with the National Trust at Sutton House.
To find out more about Jade and if you would like to follow or hire her for your book cover, here she is on Twitter, LinkedIn and cargocollective.com
BEER and something different
Brew It Yourself is essentially a recipe book like no other. Yes it has a foreword, an Index and it is in sections. But what drinks recipe book do you know that tells you to make notes, and, to do away with the exact measurements? Although may I suggest.. if you over egg it with the ingredients, make the notes to self to NOT put a giants handful of Lavender in next time, a more genteel ladies handful maybe required, and, vice versa.
Nick and Richard have along the way created 'gastronomic disasters too horrid to account' much like your Dad or Granddads really dodgy Elderflower wine he concocted for that Summer barbecue you had back in the 80's where everyone was VERY happy and jolly. Or the winter stout he brewed for Christmas which ended up in the once vibrant rubber plant in the back room. These guys have subjected themselves and at times friends and family to over 70 tried and tested drinks recipes in this book.
They have profusely apologised for the revolting Banana beer they brewed.
Beer, Lager, Cider, Wine, Mead, Sparkly Drinks, Liqueurs and Cocktails are in this book, in fact you name it, that type of drink you want to make could be in! Yes there is a recipe for Absinthe in the book, page 160 to be exact.
At the start of each specific section is a few pages on what kit you will need, basic process, fermentation, bottling. Pretty much all the questions you will probably need to ask dad about, but, you won't because that memory of when he 'helped' you make a Lemonade drink in the hot summer of 1979 for it to taste more like sea water than lemonade brings back terrible memories.
I love the sound of Raspberry and Thyme Whisky, Ginger Ale and the simple sounding Easy Mead, which is followed by a page about honey and bees.
It makes me believe that maybe next year I can out do my brothers Plum Gin (which is very morish I might add), with a drink far superior to Meths, like.., I don't know, a Rumtopt (page 154). Maybe that's a bit too adventurous for a complete beginner, maybe I'll start with 'Rich's Sangri - ahhhh'
Brew It Yourself is a book for the avid gardener no matter how big or small your garden or allotment is. This book is great for using up that surplus Rhubarb that seems to give and give (Rhubarb Crumble can become a bit much after eating it every week for two months). Even if you live in a flat regardless of whether you have a minuet balcony or just a windowsill herbs can still form a tasty drink. And don't forget Blackberries grow everywhere and if you look hard enough you'll spy the Elderflower bush. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Pear tree, Apple tree or green fingers, but everyone has a local market or greengrocers.
For the people who can't wait to start and have a tin of fruit in the cupboard there is a recipe for that! The man from Delmonte he says YES! Other tins of fruit are available.
But do you know- the annoying Dandelion that pops up in the middle of your immaculately mown lawn, or, a glut of them appearing in the veg patch as if by magic even gets a recipe in this book.
Most of all when my Rhubarb grows next year I AM going to try the Rhubarb and Vanilla Liqueur! Even if I have to drink it all myself.
Two Thirsty Gardeners as Nick and Rich are known, are lucky enough to have their own allotment. But gardening and creating drinks isn't their full time job. Nick has his own business called Inkcap Design. And Rich is a Freelance Designer. Brew It Yourself is born out of a love for apples. As children they spent their weekends hedgehopping into Orchards, climbing up the trees to get the tastiest juiciest apple. Actually that's probably a lie. However didn't everyone in love with nature and adventure as a child hedgehop and pinch the odd Crab Apple to find you've half eaten a maggot, a bad bit and the fact it didn't taste nice at all.
Pardon?! Oh sorry must only be me that's done that. Sorry.
They spent it stirring cooking pots of Elderflower with Grandma and watching Dad brew things in the garage in the 70's/80's. But now they pilfer fruit from friends and family. So if they visit give em a bag of fruit and veg, or, just snigger as they try to smuggle carrots out in a Madonna style fashion.
Two Thirsty Gardeners have a website that has a Veg Plot section and a Brewing Shed section which are very informative. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook.
And if I've wet your appetite for the book here's a link to Amazon and Waterstones.
Do you brew your own? Maybe you have an awesome recipe you'd like to share with the lads? Then here is their contact details.
This is a book I am not giving away!
I will be heading down the high street to buy one for my Brother!
It's a hit for anyone thinking about brewing their own!
It's a God send to all the friends and families who suffer the dodgy Elderberry wine every year.
Tunes for the blog
The Wurzels - 'I Am A Cider Drinker'
Oh come on you knew that was going to make an appearance.
Wretch 32 ft L Marshall - Traktor
The Flowerpot Men - Let's go to San Francisco
Here's a secret my first pop star crush was Davy Jones. This week this tune has been my earworm
The Monkees - Pleasant Valley Sunday
Have a great weekend and week ahead people. Thanks for stopping by. Catch you next week.
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My nickname has nothing to do with any alcoholic measure. Thank you to a friend deciding one day whilst my hair was in plaits that I looked like Laura Ingalls in 'The Little House on the Prairie'.
Places to visit
Robin Hoods Bay
Sweetheart Abbey (Scotland)
Isle of Wight P1
Isle of Wight P2
HoleHird Gardens (Cumbria)
Brougham Hall (Cumbria)
Request for Reviews
If you would like me to review your item please use the contact form. Here's what I could do for you.