£95 burger takes the biscuit

25 07 2011

I was trawling the internet during a particularly dull moment in my work day and happened to come across an article highlighting the 4 most expensive burgers in the world (whatever did we do for fun before the internet?)

The holder of this auspicious title is the £95 “Charity Burger” from Burger King.

The meat used in the burger was Australian farmed Wagyu beef mixed with 20% Aberdeen Angus fat due to it’s own very low fat percentage – usually around a mere 2%.

This most exclusive of  patties was complimented with  oven-dried Pata Negra ham, organic mayonnaise, pink Himalayan rock salt,  truffles and 25-year-aged Modena balsamic vinegar. To make up for the fact that therewasn’t a chip in sight the whole thing was stuffed with banana shallots fried in a tempura batter made using Cristal champagne.

The buns used to contain this pinnacle of burger creation were made using white truffle flour and dusted with lashings of rare Iranian saffron.
 Served on proper china and accompanied by a glass of Claret this is a burger that is a far cry from the usual paper wrapped Whopper.

Mark Dowding, the director of product development and innovation for Burger King (“Just call me the Burger King chef”) is very proud of his creation, which he says took six months to “develop”.  All proceeds from the sale of the 100 finished burgers went to an undisclosed charity.

Well even if there had been more than 100 of these available I really don’t think I would ever be able to justify spending the best part of a ton in order to chow down on a burger; especially as I am really not sure it would have been that great.

Wagyu beef is a really specialist product that has a taste and texture all of it’s own, a big part of which is the very leanness that BK have worked so hard to combat….I’m just not convinced that it would work at all as a burger.

Moving on from the burger itself; truffle flour buns with saffron, deep fried, banana shallots, truffles, mayonnaise, parma negra, himalayan rock salt and aged balsamic vinegar. That is a sh*t-load of strong flavours and whilst they may work well together there is a real risk that it would just be completely overwhelming.

My final gripe is based on the “charitable” element of the burger; at £95 each sales of all 100 burgers would generate a mere £9,500. Now far be it from me to criticise ANY charitable donation but for a company the size of Burger King lauding the donation of less than £10k just seems like a bit of a PR stunt.

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Make your own Mulled Wine

15 12 2010

What is more festive than a warming glass of hot mulled wine?  With its heady mix of fruit and spices it is quite literally Christmas in a glass.

I know that a lot of people buy those prepared bags of spice mix that you can get in the supermarket and they are all very well and good but once you have made your own mulled wine from scratch you will never even think of going back to the pre-made sachets or bags.

Ingredients:

75 cl bottle cabernet sauvignon red wine

75 cl bottle of port

25 cl apple cider

1 orange

12 cloves

2 clementines

3 lemons

6 tbsp honey

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp ground ginger

3 fresh bay leaves

1 vanilla pod

2 star anise

1 whole nutmeg

2 measures of brandy/cognac – optional

Method:

This really couldn’t be any easier to make;

Take the orange and stud it with the cloves and chop the clementines and two of the lemons into slices, this can be done in advance

Add the port and the wine to a large saucepan and pour in the honey, cider and brandy, if you are using it, along with 2 pints of water. Give everything a good stir and pop the saucepan over a low heat to simmer.

Zest the remaining lemon and squeeze in half of the juice

Grate approx 1/3 of the nutmeg into the pan

Split the vanilla pod in two and  add to the pan along with the sliced fruit and the rest of the dry ingredients.

Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not let the mulled wine boil or you will cook off all of the alcohol.

Serve warm in 1/2 pint mugs





Greene King Hop (formerly The Beer To Dine For)

22 11 2010

 So we meet again Mr Bland….

 I was working at Greene King when The Beer to Dine For officially launched, unofficially it was the launch of butt plug beer but we wont go into that here…

Whatever it was called one thing is for certain it is still kicking around today, now under the interesting name “Greene King Hop”. The premise behind beer to dine for was that it would be the perfect accompaniment to food and would help win people over to real beer, particularly women.

The reality was a little different:

It looks fairly good, both in the bottle and when poured, having a nice clear honey gold colour with a fairly small head that quickly dissipates to nothing; I can well imagine it being poured into fancy glasses at some dinner party in suburbia and  fitting in well amongst the Blossom Hill and Jacob’s Creek.

The worry started to set in when I realised that there is no aroma, not just that it is faint but that there is quite literally nothing at all, not good.

The worrying lack of anything continues when you take a sip the best thing I can say about GK Hop/Beer to Dine for is that it is bland.  There isn’t really anything about it that jumps out and grabs your attention. There is some sweetness there and a slight amount of bitterness but being brutally honest there isn’t really much more flavour then you would find in Carlsberg or any other mass-produced lager.

Now correct me if I am wrong but isn’t the whole point of proper beer to steer people away from tasteless crap and onto something with a bit more going for it? Well you will never achieve that goal if the alternative is just as bland and unassuming.

The finish isn’t really anything you would be impressed by either it is thin and just helps contribute to the fact that this might as well be a bottle of fizzy syrup that has been allowed to go a bit skunky.

Oh yes did I mention the fact that due to the naff clear glass bottle 4 out of the 7 I tried had a nice skunky essence to them, just what I would want with my coq au vin!

I don’t go in for the idea of slagging off Greene King because they keep buying up smaller brewers but at the same time they really should know better than to put their name to this muck. It is marginally better with food but that is only because it is bland and inoffensive and doesn’t detract from what you are eating.

1/5








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