The Coppermill – Walthamstow E17

1 10 2010

Address: 205, Coppermill Lane, London, E17 7HF

Tel: 08721 077 077

Stuck away at the bottom of Coppermill Lane by Walthamstow Marshes The Coppermill is a local pub in a way that very few pubs in London seem to be anymore.

Most of the people you will find drinking in here are locals  and the pub caters to their wants and needs; you won’t find Thai food rushing out of a kitchen or theme nights or a 2nd rate celebrity chef  on site but you will find a quiet pleasant pub which serves good beer that is well kept. A far cry by the standard of pubs in Walthamstow.

Whilst it is a little off the beaten track it is still close enough to the tube and overhead train stations to make it easy enough for a visitor to find (less than half a mile from Blackhorse road and St James street stations and about .8 of a mile from Walthamstow Central)

The pub is a  little on the small side and if you don’t manage to get a seat it can feel a little cramped; there is one single bar with seating around the outside of the room and there is now seating outside which is really nice on a summer’s evening.

The decor of the pub is a little overdone and if you didn’t realise from the get go that it’s a local pub you certainly will when you see that there are caricatures of regulars all over the place and that some people seem to have assigned seating…. All that aside I have never felt unwelcome in the Coppermill and the atmosphere is very pleasant; I also have it on good authority that they are more welcoming to gays and lesbians then most of the other pubs in the local area.

There is no really food offering here but that isn’t what this place is about,  if you are hungry mid-session there are the usual crisps and peanuts on offer along with some bar snacks more to my liking; pickled eggs, jellied eels and sometimes even some rollmops (pickled herrings rolled up with onion and gerkin) delicious!

When it comes to drinks all the usual culprits are available along with 4 handpumps, normally they have Greene King IPA, Fullers ESB and London Pride on the ramp and all are very well kept.  The 4th pump is for guest beers which rotate fairly frequently.

Most recently when I was in the Coppermill they had Thwaites Wainwright on as the guest beer which was no hardship, I have also had very good pints of Bombadier and Ringwoods Old Thumper out of there as well.

If you are looking for a nice day out I can think of a lot worse things to do then take a walk or cycle through to the marshes or the River Lea and popping into the Coppermill on the way.

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Home made pickled onions

19 05 2010

Ok well I have mentioned pickled onions before and now I have decided to impart upon you all my own method for making these delcious treats.

You will find some books/sites/people etc that will tell you that you have to brine the onions first and that the reason behind this is to help keep the onions crisp.

I am willing to go out on a limb on this and declare shenanigans.

Any time I have made pickled onions and brined them first they actually ended up being soggier than when I don’t brine them.  I asked an old friend of mine who also pickles things, too many things if I’m honest, and he agrees with me that the brining is really surplus to requirements and that in over 40 years of pickling he has never seen the need.

So here we go then, first things first you need the right onions, personally for me it has to be silverskins, they are the right size have a nice natural sweetness to them that goes well with the acidity of the vinegar. If you  want larger pickled onions or just can’t get silverskins then I would use small to medium sized shallots and just top and tail them to make them slightly rounder in profile.

Although I have before had some pickled onions that weren’t peeled I would never ever make these myself, it is fiddly and pointless for the person eating them, don’t be lazy peel the onions yourself!

For the viengar I find that it has to be proper dark malt vinegar, it is the only vinegar that gives that proper pub/chip shop counter taste that I look for in my pickled onions, or eggs for that matter. That said I have recently tried mixing things up a bit and have settled on a 80/20 mix of malt vinegar to good balsamic vinegar that is really very pleasant.

A quick note about the spices used, the measures given aren’t exact and really and truly it is a personal thing as to how much you want to add of something, if you like a hotter flavour add more chillis, if you want it sweeter add some sugar, you will know when it tastes right to you.

*all spice amounts are based on 1 litre of vinegar being used*

Onions

1 litre of vinegar for every kilo of onions – final weight of onions will be less after peeling etc

2 bay leaves

1 handful of mustard seeds

1 hadful of black peppercorns

4 pieces of star anise

peel of one orange

2 cinammon sticks

half handful of cloves

2 cloves of garlic

4 dried red chillies

1/2 nutmeg grated

1/2 handful of pimento berries/all spice berries

Add all the spices to the vinegar and simmer on a medium heat for about 5/10 minutes, this is really just to help the flavours infuse into the vinegar.

Whilst the vinegar is simmering pack the onions into jar that have been well sterilised. This means that the jar AND the lid have eiather been boiled or if you are lazy you can run them through the dish washer by themselves.

Once the vinegar has cooled pour it into the jars over the onions, fill to the brim and seal the jars. It doesn’t matter if you end up with chillies or bay leaves or cloves etc in the jars, in my view the more the merrier!

Wipe your jars down and make sure they are sufficiently clean.

Place in a cool dark place and forget about your pickled onions for at least 1 month,  I personally leave mine for 2 months minimum.

When they are ready open and enjoy 🙂








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