Friday, March 21, 2014

Lilleshall Abbey

Lilleshall Abbey was an Augustinian abbey in Shropshire. It was founded between 1145 and 1148.  Later a Civil War stronghold.

The words are taken from the English Heritage website, which is linked below.  The photos were taken by myself. 

West Range
The buildings on the west side of the cloister seem to have been largely rebuilt in the 14th century, probably to improve the abbot's accommodation. His hall and private chamber may have been located at first-floor level
Chapter House
The canons met in the Chapter House every morning, usually after Mass. They listened as a chapter from the Rule of St Augustine was read, confessed their faults, and discussed abbey business.
The surviving grave slabs are a reminder that the chapter house was often the place where abbots were buried. More than 20 burials were discovered here in the late 19th century.

Slype or Parlour
The slype was a narrow passage with doors at either end, probably giving access to the canons' infirmary to the east of the cloister. It may also have served as the parlour, where the canons could discuss important matters without breaking the cloister rule of silence.

The canon's refectory was their dining room. Bread and beer were the staple elements in the community's diet, but fish, eggs and vegetables were also eaten. Meals were taken in silence, apart from one of the brothers reading from the scriptures.
The monks were very self sufficient
 and often made beer for theirselves.I thought it would good to include a recipe here:
  Abbey Beer
  • 9 pounds U.S. 2-row
  • 1.5 pounds Munich malt
  • 0.5 pounds 60L (or darker) crystal malt
  • 1-2 ounces of chocolate malt
  • 1 pound of honey or dark brown sugar
  • 6 - 7 AAUs bittering hops, a mix of hallertauer and kent goldings (60 minute boil)
  • Chimay yeast, of course
Add hops at 60 minutes before end of boil. You are not looking for high hop bitterness, nor should there be noticeable hop aroma.

If you're not an all-grain brewer, then don't use the 2-row or munich malt but use, say, 7 pounds light, unhopped dry malt extract instead. Use crystal and chocolate malt for color. The honey or brown sugar will boost the starting gravity as well as contribute to the flavor and body of the finished beer. You might try doing the fermentation at a relatively "warm" temperature, say, 70 to 75 degrees F. This should lead to more of that Chimay flavor in the finished beer. And, don't drink the beer all at once, as its flavor will evolve in the bottle over time.

On the south side of the church was a large open court or cloister, probably used as a garden. It was surrounded by four covered walks linking the monastic buildings. The elaborately carved doorway dates from the late 12th century. It was used by the canons to enter the church in formal processions.

Dedicated to Helen, rest in peace.
 I am enjoying my holiday. 
There isn't anyplace I would rather be. 



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Reblochon Means Tartiflette

 We got to lay our hands on some Reblochon, not available in the states.  The milk used to make this cheese is not pasteurised, thus making it ineligible for import into the United States of Silly Rules.

What a lovely treat to come across here in Britain, however.

 Reblochon is a soft, washed rind, French cheese.  Common to the Alps region, it is a A.O.C. controlled product.

It was lovely to finally make a proper batch of Tartifilette. A very simple recipe, that can be served as a meal with a side salad and a glass of preferably, white wine.

6 med. potatoes and 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and small diced shallots, then steamed until slightly tender.  Place in a casserole making sure the garlic is distributed.  Between each layer of potatoes, sprinkle rendered lardons and a splash of white wine. Season with salt and pepper.  Moisten with a splash, or two of cream.  Top the whole lot with the Reblochon and cook through in the oven, until the cheese is all melty and browned on top.