HB&B Blog — Claire Bullen

Wine & Food Killers: Brothy Braised Lamb Shanks and Noodles with Mas Foulaquier Les Indiennes 2018

Claire Bullen France Grenache Red wine

Wine & Food Killers: Brothy Braised Lamb Shanks and Noodles with Mas Foulaquier Les Indiennes 2018

When I started writing this column, the January blues were crashing into spiralling COVID-19 case numbers and deeper lockdowns, but I took hope from the fact that there is surely light at the end of the tunnel. I set out to write about how, in the absence of other options (and with the awareness of the privilege of having dependable shelter and enough food and income right now), it is best for us all to slow down and find relief in warming, home-cooked food and a good bottle of wine and a blanket nest on the sofa. That was the...

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The Beer Lover's Table: Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies and St Bernardus Christmas Ale

Beer Lover's Table Belgium Christmas Claire Bullen St Bernardus

The Beer Lover's Table: Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies and  St Bernardus Christmas Ale

There is no better December beer than St Bernardus Christmas Ale. Redolent of winter spices and dried fruit, this 10% quadrupel is well-suited to festive indulgence. It’s become such a cult favourite that, as I recently learned from fellow beer writer Eoghan Walsh, it’s even got its own themed Christmas jumper. (Santa, if you’re listening: Send me a medium?) Last year, I decided to take a page from Black Axe Mangal chef Lee Tiernan and pair St Bernardus Christmas Ale with deep-fried mince pies. But this year, I looked overseas for inspiration. In a normal December, I’d be hopping on...

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Wine & Food Killers: Confit Salmon with Citrus Herb Salad and Camillo Donati Malvasia Secco Pet Nat 2018

Claire Bullen Italy Natural wine Natural Wine Killers Sparkling wine

Wine & Food Killers: Confit Salmon with Citrus Herb Salad and Camillo Donati Malvasia Secco Pet Nat 2018

This Thanksgiving, I roasted a chicken instead of a turkey. I reduced the myriad sides down to two dishes – crunchy, golden roast potatoes and green beans with shallots and pistachios. In lieu of the classic dessert spread, I made one single pumpkin pie for the two of us, which we shared over the course of days. And I was much happier for it.  2020 is forcing us to celebrate our holidays differently, to downsize and to cut back. There is much to mourn in that, much painful loss to try to digest. But there's a small culinary upside in...

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Wine & Food Killers: Persian Fried Rice and Weingut Brand Wilder Satz 2019

Claire Bullen Germany Natural wine Natural Wine KiIllers

Wine & Food Killers: Persian Fried Rice and Weingut Brand  Wilder Satz 2019

I've been making a lot of fried rice during lockdown(s). I'm sure I'm not alone. It’s not just that fried rice is cheap, fast, flexible and made using basic pantry ingredients, it's also entirely comforting, can be eaten for any meal and does an admirable job of sopping up the prior night's beer. No fried rice I make is the same, but generally I'll add soy sauce and sesame oil, hot sauce and ginger, garlic and fish sauce; I might eat it with salmon or tofu or vegetables, or just on its own, satisfyingly spiced and glistening with oil. Despite...

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The Beer Lover's Table: Braised Duck and Barley Stew with Braybrooke Beer Co Harvest Festbier

Beer Lover's Table Braybrooke Claire Bullen Lager

The Beer Lover's Table: Braised Duck and Barley Stew with Braybrooke Beer Co Harvest Festbier

I had a relatively mild case of COVID-19 in March and, after losing my sense of smell, I found it has returned mostly intact… barring one or two peculiarities. The first is that certain hop varieties – as well as passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc and figs – taste less sweetly musky now and more like savoury spices and sweaty onions. The second is that alcohol and solvents smell to me like fresh bread, which makes the regular hand sanitiser ritual surprisingly appealing. It also makes malt-driven beer styles taste like manna from heaven. As a result, I've stopped drinking quite so...

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