East London Liquor Company

East London Liquor

Going to post about something a bit different today. The other week I was supposed to be going to see Slipknot in Sheffield (my inner mosher just has to come out from time to time) but, due to not really being able to afford another trip up north as I’d been up the weekend before for a friend’s wedding, and due to suffering from a bit of burn out, I sold my ticket. This did mean that I had half a day booked off work already though, and rather than put it to waste I took up the opportunity of popping along to a Gin Experience at the East London Liquor Company. It was a great chance for me to learn a bit more about a very good independent distillery and also to do a bit of networking.

East London Liquor (1 of 26)

East London Liquor (16 of 26)

ELL Light (1 of 1)

We were taken around by distiller Tom Hill, who was a self-professed science enthusiast, who talked us through the history of Gin (why it’s popular in the UK, the reasons behind “mother’s ruin” etc) as well as the process which they undertake when distilling their gins (as well as the vodka and a whiskey which they hope to have on the shelves in approximately 3 years).  They are one of the only small distilleries in London to bottle their own spirits, with a bottle machine set up specially for their bespoke bottles and labels.

East London Liquor (6 of 26)

Before we got to tasting we popped into their bottle store, which was very well stocked. From gins through to whisky, beer and bitters. They have a number of their own special limited run gins (like their two collaborations with Transport For London, for the DesignJunction pop up restaurant) as well as imports from around the globe.

East London Liquor (17 of 26)

East London Liquor (10 of 26)

Afterwards we got to try the core spirits which the East London Liquor company makes, their Vodka, and 3 Gins.  The house Small Batch Vodka and London Dry Gin both come in bottles specifically designed for speed of service (long necks so they can be grabbed from speed rails with ease), and both are designed to mix well, although both are very drinkable straight (more than can be said for many “house” spirits).  They had originally planned on making two gins, a premium and a house, but after taste testing they ended up deciding on three distinctly different gins. The two premium gins, known as Batch 1 and Batch 2, with Batch 1 being more floral containing Pink Grapefruit, Cubeb Berries and Darjeeling tea (less keen on this one, too sweet for my gin tastes) and Batch 2 being a more savoury affair with fennel seeds, sage and lemon peel at its core (I love this one).

East London Liquor (22 of 26)

East London Liquor (20 of 26)

They also allowed us to try a couple of the other gins and rums they have in stock. Including a barrel aged gin, that was slightly peaty. Not sure how I felt on that one. All in all I’d highly recommend popping down. They are a great group of guys running an excellent distillery and producing some very good spirits. Want to see more pictures from the trip, head across to my Flickr.What’s your favourite Gin, let me know in the comments below.

No Bake Almond Butter Bars

Following on from my last recipe post (Coconut Quinoa & Kale Salad), I’ll be keeping things relatively healthy. This, in part, is due to our oven being broken since I got home from Christmas (it has since been replaced, and upgraded!). I still had the baking urge, so I looked into some no bake recipes. The great thing about a lot of raw recipes is that they are pretty healthy. This has no sugar (just some honey), no butter (just coconut oil) and is packed full of seeds.

Almond Butter Bars

I’ve been looking for a snack to get me through the mornings lately (I’ve been so hungry of late) and these no bake almond butter bars are great. They have enough to them to tide you over but without too much fat and sugar they are (relatively) guilt free. The main thing I’d say though, is make sure you do keep them in the fridge. They get a tiny bit too gooey and sticky. They still taste great but it’s a bit messy to eat at your desk. Also nut butter, make your own. It’s so cheap and so much healthier than the store bought stuff. Ages ago I said to my friend Steph that I was going to try and do some more diabetic and gluten free friendly recipes, so here’s another for my Free From bakes.

Almond Butter Bars

Now my oven is fixed I’m going to start churning out the bakes again. I know it’s been quiet recipe wise for a few weeks now. The great news is that it actually has two shelves now. Which is going to cut down my baking time for a bunch of stuff. It’s actually a little worrying how excited I was when I saw that we had a new shelf. Things like this and new baking toys tend to get me far too overexcited.

Almond Butter Bars

Almond Butter Bars

Oh and hey, my friend Lucinda doodled me up bit of a logo which she then got printed on to stickers for me. Who wants one? They’ll be going on all of my Cake Care Packages from now on too!


Bearded Bakery Stickers


No Bake Almond Butter Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16 bars
  • 120ml cup honey
  • 60ml coconut oil
  • 60ml cup almond butter (I made my own, you can use store bought if you prefer)
  • ½ tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 70g chopped almonds
  • 50g cup chopped walnuts
  • 100g cup dark chocolate chips
  • 35g sunflower seeds
  • 40g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g Berries (Optional, pick the type)
  • 90g rolled oats
  1. In a small saucepan over a low heat mix together the Honey, Oil, Almond Butter and Cocoa Powder. Keep stirring so it doesn't catch. Allow to heat for a few minutes until well mixed together.
  2. Meanwhile mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and combine well.
  4. In a lined dish (I used my brownie tray) press the mixture out into a square. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, cut up and serve. This will last for several days in the fridge.

Coconut Quinoa & Kale Salad with Cashew & Coriander Pesto

It’s January (in case you hadn’t noticed) so everyone* is eating healthy and “detoxing”. Detoxing is a whole load of horse shit. Eating healthy, however, isn’t. I see plenty of people slamming detoxing and lumping the people that are just generally eating better into their ridicule. I’m also not trying to claim that I’m eating better just because it’s January. I generally eat ok (those that follow me on Instagram may not believe me based on the number of burgers I post, but it’s what you don’t see that makes up 80% of my diet) having soup or salad for my weekday lunches and something packed full of veg for my dinner.

Quinoa & Kale Salad

Over winter I usually stick with soup and salad takes up most of spring/summer/early autumn. I have however been getting a bit bored of soup lately so thought I’d go back to the salads for a little bit. Last summer I experimented with a  few Kale based salad recipes. They were great, but not overly sustainable money/timewise. For instance I made a miso & baked tofu one, which was wonderful but time consuming (and miso isn’t cheap/easy to find, not in Leeds anyway), and then a warm salad with mushrooms, peppers, balsamic etc, the snag with that one being that it needed serving fresh and warm.

Quinoa & Kale Salad

This Coconut Quinoa & Kale salad with Cashew & Coriander Pesto is great because you can prep it in advance and (while it does obviously taste better fresh and warm) it’ll still be good over the next couple of days (I freshen it up with a bit of Soy Sauce). I adapted a recipe I found here. The pesto is great and something I’m going to make again and use with a few different things.

Coconut Quinoa & Kale Salad with Cashew & Coriander Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5 portions
  • **For the salad**
  • 1 bag Kale (I use a bag of pre-chopped Kale as it’s all the local supermarkets have)
  • 1 Cup Quinoa (Black works well for this, the 1 cup will turn into about 3 cups once cooked, rinsed for a couple of minutes)
  • 235ml light coconut milk
  • ½ small to medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 Grilled Chicken Breast (per person, I grilled several up at once)
  • **For the Pesto**
  • Bunch of fresh Coriander (leaves and stalks)
  • Small handful of cashews
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 115ml olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ a chilli (Optional, and heat to your own preference)
  • Stick of Lemongrass (Optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan bring the coconut milk and 230ml of water to the boil. Add the quinoa, cover and cook for 15-17 minutes. The water should be completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the Pesto. Place all of the items into a blender or food processor, apart from the oil. Start processing it and pour the oil in slowly as it starts to blend.
  3. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, kale, pesto and onion. Mix well until everything is coated in the pesto.
  4. To serve, make a bed of the kale & quinoa mix and slice the chicken breast up into pieces. Garnish with Coriander and have soy sauce on the side if you wish.


2015 Goals

2014 bought about a fair bit of change and adventure for me. With a move from “North” (Yorkshire) to “South” (London) finally taking place, trips to Chicago, Belgium & Mull and various mini adventures and escapades along the way it was all together a fairly successful year. So I’m going to set myself some targets for 2015. Some of these may come across as modest, but that is, in part, down to having such an extravagant 2014 and my wallet needing some downtime.

  1. Learn to bake

Cinnamon Buns
Yup, you read that right. Twice every year I get people badgering me to enter The Breat British Bake Off (GBBO), when it airs and when they accept entries, and every time I say the same thing; “I’m just not good enough. I don’t have the basic technical knowledge required.” Etc. I’m also very good at following a recipe, or adapting a recipe, but I wouldn’t say I could just make one up or wing it too successfully (I can to a point, but not as much as I personally would like).

So, this means I am going to spend some time this year teaching myself the basics. What makes a good cake, and why? How to make pastry, of all different kinds, pies and the like. And so on and so forth. This also means I’ll be documenting my adventures.

  1. Learn how to use my camera

You guessed it, there’s a theme here, I want to better myself. I have a Nikon D70s which I inherited from my dad when he upgraded a few years ago. I have a couple of good lenses, and I can take a passable snap. I want to take GOOD photos though. This year I fully intend to step my game up and teach myself just how to use the camera I’ve been heavy-handedly using for the last few years. I’ve been recommended Plate to Pixel and I’m going to give that a go.

  1. Sort out my financial situation.

It stinks; I want it not to stink. This means an actual budget. I have plans in place to get this sorted, which I’ll share if they are successful.

  1. Sell my bakes

I’ve been wanting to do this for ages. As I knew I’d likely be leaving Leeds it wasn’t really going to happen there. I’ve been thinking about ways of doing it, from doing bespoke orders all the way through to having my own stall. I’m currently wanting to look in to setting up a market stall somewhere in London at one of the weekend markets.

This is one I’d love some help with. If anyone has any suggestions on how to go about it, from set up, to places or even just business help/advice that’d be amazing.

  1. Get to a better fitness level.


Cor, check out that belly (this was when I was in better shape, using better loosely)

Ah, the standard one you’ll see everywhere. This isn’t an “oh my god I wanna lose 50lbs” it’s more of an “I don’t wanna get out of breath climbing the stairs”. I was doing pretty well last year before I got derailed by life things happening, and I want to get back to it.

These will all go along with other lifestyle changes that I’ll be looking to make throughout the year. What are your goals for 2015? Do you have anything to say or a way you could help me with mine?

Review: Murdocks Beard Conditioner

As many of you may possibly know, I have a beard. I know, there were shocked gasps from a lot of you as this is totally brand new and interesting information. I’ve been hairy for a number of years and previously done a review on some of the Dapper Duke’s beard oil on the blog. I also wrote up a post on the beard wash from Lush, which I never got around to posting as my views of the product changed, I’ll be posting an up-to-date review of that stuff sometime soon. Today however I’ll be talking about the Beard Conditioner from Murdock’s.

Murdock Beard Conditioner

I’ve been told good things about this stuff by a couple of friends, but as it’s on the (slightly) pricier end of the beard care spectrum, it’s £25 for 250ml, I’ve not allowed myself to buy it. Enter Christmas. My sister bought me a bottle and a brush as a gift. She won a heap of brownie points for this. It now means I get to give it a go. I’ll start straight off the bat by saying I love this stuff. I think I’ll happily not buy much else for my beard and just keep using this. It works in a number of ways.

It’s designed to help condition the beard (making it feel soft), prevent itchiness/clean it/prevent ingrown hairs. As well as this I feel like my beard is much… fuller? One of my main issues with my beard is that it gets a bit thin towards the ends (straggly if you must), which is annoying as I do actually have a very thick beard. The conditioner actually acts, in part, like a styling agent (use the brush to shape your beard after applying). This means that once you’ve applied it and worked it through you can optimise the general shape of your beard.

The Bearded Baker
Yes, it needs a tidy and a trim. I wasn’t finished getting ready and my parents pointed out that the wolves appeared to enjoy the smell.

It smells exactly how you expect a beard conditioner to smell, like you’ve been out chopping wood all day. (No I will NOT bring the term lumbersexuals into this, can that stay in the tail end of 2014 and be forgotten, please). The difference between this and other beard washes is that it’s worked into a completely dry beard. You need about a 5p sized piece once a day (if you’re heading out touch it up with a smaller amount). Unlike your standard beard oils it’s more of a cream with oils in it. I find this means it works into your beard much easier.