bookmark_borderBuchwider Bräu κ₁

??, a photo by viralbus on Flickr.
I brewed Buchwider Bräu ?? on 7th February. It’s a Berliner Weiße clone, and it’s only just becoming drinkable now, which is completely normal for that type of beer — it’s recommended to leave six months between brewing and drinking. (For the first three months after bottling, it had a horrible sulphuric smell.)

I brewed it used Wyeast’s Activator 3191-PC Berliner-Weisse Blend, and although many people recommend using separate yeast and lactobacillus, this blend seemed to do the trick. Contact me if you’re interested in the recipe!

Berliner Weiße is a sour beer, very similar to a Belgian lambic. Some people like it on its own, but most will want to drink it mit Schuss, i.e., with fruit syrup. On the photo, I’ve added rhubarb syrup, but I can also recommend woodruff syrup, which produces a brilliant green colour and a unique taste!

The beer is extremely weak (only 2.7%), so it’s great for drinking in the sun when you don’t really want to get drunk.

bookmark_borderUmami paste

Umami paste
Umami paste, a photo by viralbus on Flickr.
Asda have started selling umami paste, which really seems to be useful — I’ve tried to add it to several Mediterranean-style savoury dishes, and it does make them more delicious.

It seems to contain tomatoes, olives, parmesan, anchovies, balsamic vinegar and porcini mushrooms. All good, umami-rich foods.

I’m just a bit surprised they didn’t chuck in some bacon, too, but I guess they wanted to sell it to vegetarians, too.

It’s not particularly cheap, though, so I wonder whether I should try to invent an umami paste recipe of my own.

bookmark_borderA new definition of marriage

Anna and Daddy
Anna and Daddy, a photo by PhylB on Flickr.
A few years ago, I wrote:

[T]he state could treat you as married if you had either had a child together or lived together for three years, and it could treat you as divorced if you had either “married” somebody else through the above-mentioned actions or lived apart for two years.

Now an Indian high court judge seems to have had the the same idea:

The court said that if a bachelor has completed 21 years of age and an unmarried woman 18 years, they have acquired the freedom of choice guaranteed by the Constitution. “Consequently, if any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then that act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow, except on certain exceptional considerations.

The court said marriage formalities as per various religious customs such as the tying of a mangalsutra, the exchange of garlands and rings or the registering of a marriage were only to comply with religious customs for the satisfaction of society.

This is brilliant! In a Scottish context, this would men that if two people are sixteen years old and have sex, they’re married.

It’s a beautiful simplification of marriage, but I do wonder when you divorce according to the Madras court — unless that’s automatic as well, lots of people will end up multiple bigamists!

bookmark_borderNorthern English, or Southern Scots?

One of the most striking features that distinguish Scots from English is the treatment of Old English /o?/ (guid /g?d, gød, gwid/ “good”, muin /m?n, møn, min/ “moon”, guiss /g?s, gøs, gis/ “goose”) and /u?/ (hous /hus/ [hys] “house”, mou /mu/ [my?] “mouth”, nou /nu/ [ny?] “now”).

However, this is a feature Scots shares with Northern English dialects (J.C. Well, Accents of English 1, pp.185f):

North of a line running from southern Cumbria to the Humber estuary, the present-day dialectal reflex of Middle English /o?/ is a front vowel, e.g., [g??s] goose, while Middle English /u?/ remains monophthongal, e.g. [hu?s] house. […] It Scots dialects, too, the back vowels were exempt from the Great Vowel Shift. It seems that what happened north of this Lune-Humber line was that Middle English /o?/ had become fronted to /ø?/ some two centuries before the Great Vowel Shift took place. This meant that in these dialects there was no half-close back /o?/ to raise and thus push the close /u?/ aside into diphtongality in the way it did elsewhere (and /e?/ did to /i?/ everywhere) when the Great Vowel Shift came into operation.

In other words, with regard to these two groups of words, the Northern English dialects could also be regarded as Southern Scots dialects. If Scotland had always remained independent and had managed to incorporate this part of England, they would probably now be writing “guiss” and pronouncing it [g??s], and there would be some pressure to drop the schwa and say [g?s], instead of replacing it with [gu?s], as I’m sure is happening at the moment.

Of course these dialects aren’t like Scots in all regards. For instance, I believe their reflex of Old English /a?/ isn’t /e/ or similar like in Scots (where we get hame /hem/ “home”, gait /get/ “goat”, hale /hel/ “whole”), but something more similar to standard English /??/.

I don’t know much about these dialects, so I’m not sure whether they share many more features with English than with Scots, or whether they really are equidistant from both.

bookmark_borderSmålandsk ostekage

Ostkaka, a photo by Dvortygirl on Flickr.
Enhver, der har læst Emil fra Lønneberg, véd, at de spiser ostekage i store mængder på landet i Småland.

Mig bekendt findes der ingen traditionel dansk ostekage, så de eneste ostekagetyper, jeg har kendt i årevis, er tysk Käsekuchen og den angelsaksiske cheese cake.

Men Google er jo et genialt værktøj, når man skal finde obskure opskrifter, så det tog ikke lang tid at finde en opskrift på rigtig
ostekage fra Småland.

Til forskel fra de mere velkendte typer er der ingen bund i en smålandsk ostekage, og man bruger ikke ost, men mælk og osteløbe.

Jeg prøvede at bage den, sidste gang mine forældre besøgte os, men forsøget var ikke nogen ubetinget succes. Ostekagen smagte lidt som en sammenfaldet soufflé, men det skyldes måske nok, at vi begik den fejl at spise den varm — den blev bedre efter et ophold i køleskabet.

Den var dog ikke direkte dårlig, og jeg prøver nok igen, men måske følger jeg næste gang en anden opskrift.