HB&B Blog — Claire Bullen

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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Wine & Food Killers: Pumpkin, Mushroom and Ricotta Pie with Gentle Folk Village Pinot Noir 2019

Australia Claire Bullen Gentle Folk Pinot Noir Red wine

Wine & Food Killers: Pumpkin, Mushroom and Ricotta Pie with Gentle Folk Village Pinot Noir 2019

In my early days of learning about wine, Pinot Noir intrigued me from the start. There was its fickleness, its delicacy: thin-skinned Pinot is sublime in good years, but can be easily destroyed by early frosts, hail or other inclement conditions. For many winemakers, it's a heart-breaker. And it happens to make the kind of wine I like most of all: relatively light-bodied, glittering, vibrant with red fruit characteristics, silkily tannic. Pinot Noir is often described as having cherry and floral notes, though it is perhaps most distinguished by its forest floor character. I love “forest floor because it sounds,...

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The Beer Lover’s Table: Mediterranean Orzo with Prawns and Marinated Feta and St Bernardus Wit

Beer Lover's Table Claire Bullen St Bernardus Wheat Beer Witbier

The Beer Lover’s Table: Mediterranean Orzo with Prawns and Marinated Feta and St Bernardus Wit

Remember beaches? The faraway ones, I mean. The ones that took a train and an airport bus and an ungodly early budget flight to reach? Remember the hassle of it all? The too-full carry-on bags and the boarding passes that wouldn’t scan properly and the obligatory Prêt breakfasts? Remember finally arriving, dropping off your suitcases, heading out of your Airbnb or hotel and feeling the sun of somewhere else on your shoulders? Sure, it was the same sun as the one you had back home, but it never felt like it. I recall reading a tweet early in lockdown that...

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Wine & Food Killers: Fusilli with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Gouda and Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 2019

Ariana Occhipinti Claire Bullen Italy Natural wine Natural Wine Killers Pasta

Wine & Food Killers: Fusilli with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Gouda and Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 2019

  Early September is always a period of in-between, a time of shift and recalibration. The body has stored up memories of all those years of back-to-school returns. An autumnal coolness can already be detected in the night breezes, though summer isn’t technically over until the equinox. What to make of this time? As temperatures begin to drop, it’s tempting to start cooking (and drinking) like it’s already October, like there are already wood fires burning and piles of leaves on the ground. But this year – a year when summer has slipped by without much fanfare or celebration –...

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The Beer Lover's Table: Stone Fruit Spoon Cake and Schneider Aventinus Tap 6 Wheat Doppelbock

Beer Lover's Table Cake Claire Bullen Germany Schneider Weisse Wheat beer

The Beer Lover's Table: Stone Fruit Spoon Cake and Schneider Aventinus Tap 6 Wheat Doppelbock

I discovered Jerrelle Guy's recipe for strawberry spoon cake, published in NYT Cooking, several months back – just in time to bring it along to a friend's backyard pizza party when lockdown restrictions lifted. It's not an exaggeration to say that it has single-handedly changed the course of my summer. Everything about this cake encapsulates the dog days of August: it's consummately lazy, comes together in 20 minutes and requires ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen. This is a cake you could plausibly whip up on a whim if it's late in the evening and you decide...

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