Day 245 - 1 September 2016 - Visited Ljubljana
Ljubljana is Slovenia's capital and largest city. It's known for its university population and green spaces, including expansive Tivoli Park. The curving Ljubljanica River, lined in outdoor cafes, divides the city's old town from its commercial hub. Click here for more info.
Day 246 - 2 September 2016 - Visited Skocjan Caves
Škocjan Caves is a cave system in Slovenia. Due to its exceptional significance, Škocjan Caves was entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. International scientific circles have thus acknowledged the importance of the caves as one of the natural treasures of planet Earth. The exceptional volume of the underground canyon is what distinguishes Škocjan Caves from other caves and places it among the most famous underground features in the world. The river flowing through the underground canyon turns northwest before the Cerkvenik Bridge and continues its course along Hanke's Channel. This underground channel is approximately 3.5 km long, 10 to 60 m wide and over 140 m high. At some points, it expands into huge underground chambers. The largest of these is Martel's Chamber with a volume of 2.2 million cubic m and it is considered the largest discovered underground chamber in Europe and one of the largest in the world.
It was an amazing experience and, on occassion, frightening if you are not so good with heights. Unfortunately no photos were allowed in the underground part of the tour, so the first 6 photos are from Google. Click here for more info.
Day - 247 - 3 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'All About My Mother'
Winner of the 1999 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, it is a very moving Spanish drama about a mother who loses her teenage son in a road accident. It deals with the complex issues of AIDS, homosexuality, faith and existentialism. Definitely worth watching. Click here for more info.
Day 248 - 4 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Haacht Brewery Tongerlo Blond'
Winner of the 2014 World's Best Beer Award, this is a very easily drinkable beer. I wouldn't personally put it at the top of my list, but it's definitely nice to drink. 6% alcohol content. Click here for more info.
Day 249 - 5 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'In A Better World'
As you all know I'm a big fan of Scandinavian cinema. And as you may have also guessed, I'm currently going through the list of films that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This one won that Oscar in 2011. It's a very good Danish drama, which is moving between a small Danish town and a refugee camp in Africa. Well worth watching. Click here for more info.
Day 250 - 6 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'St Paul Speciale'
Not mush to say about this beer really. Found it quite boring to the palate, nothing of interest to report. 5.5% alcohol content. Click here for more info.
Day 251 - 7 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple'
This is a very nice beer!! I repeat. This is a very nice beer indeed!! You wouldn't have thought that it punches a massive 10.5% alcohol content!! Loads of action in the glass, great taste, no hint that it is so strong. Click here for more info.
Day 252 - 8 September 2016 - Made 'Grainy Mustard and Sour Beer' loaf
This is my second attempt in making a bread by playing around with the recipe. And I have to say that it's one of the tastiest breads I've had! Basically, I used the recipe for a 'Grainy Mustard and Beer Loaf' I made in January (see recipe here). But I used the sour beer I couldn't drink last month - I kept it in the fridge and when the time came I put it to good use!
The result is a loaf full of flavour. It starts with the sour note of a rye-style bread, and quickly moves into a strong mustardy flavour, but without any spicy sensations. Great to use with pickles!
Day 253 - 9 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Kapittel Watou Tripel'
My tasting journey into Belgian beer continues, with another strong (10%) one. This time you can smell its strength and you can also see it (loads of action going on once you pour it into a glass). Although not one of the best Tripels I've had, it still is an enjoyable one. Click here for more info.
Day 254 - 10 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'The Great Beauty'
Similar to my Belgian beer journey, my journey into the world of Foreign Language Film Oscar winners also continues. And words cannot describe what a great movie this one is!!! From the performance of the main character, to the photography, the direction, the music, the scenario, everything in it is faultless! I never wanted it to end and I will certainly watch it a few times as it's the kind of film that you can't pick up every meaning in it first time. To me, it sort of had the feeling of 'Eyes Wide Shut', but with a much deeper and thought provoking meaning. Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014. Click here for more info.
Day 255 - 11 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Bon Secours Blonde'
Not sure what to make of this one. It starts off with a great punch (mainly due to its 8% alcohol content), but a second later it falls on its face. The expectance of something great coming up is followed by a 'meh' moment, when the taste takes you nowhere. Still drinkable but nothing to shout about. Click here for more info.
Day 256 - 12 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Huyghe Artevelde'
Another beer that is very drinkable, weaker this time (5.7%) but it's nothing special to attract a lot of attention. Click here for more info.
Day 257 - 13 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Proefbrouwerij Reinaert Grand Cru'
This is a VERY nice beer indeed!! Full bodied, loads of action in the glass and extremely tasty and easy to drink. but be careful as its alcohol content is 9.5%! And after the first glass, you will start feeling it!
Day 258 - 14 September 2016 - Listened to the album 'Tremors' by Sohn
A very good friend of mine recently brought Sohn to my attention. A very talented English musician, who lives in Austria and a very good album which was released back in 2014.
Day 259 - 15 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'Departures'
Neither the poster nor the trailer reflect how good this movie is! Winner of the 2008 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this Japanese drama is a very powerful and moving journey full of laughter and tears. Great performances and an even greater soundtrack. Definitely worth the 8.1 points in the IMDB website. Click here for more info.
Day 260 - 16 September 2016 - Tried 'Cerney Ash Cheese' by Cerney Cheese
Since I was having a go on a few new beers this month, I thought it would be a good idea to have something to go with them. And what a better way than try some of the World Cheese Awards 2015 winners! Yes, I know that cheese and beer does not sound as good as cheese and wine - but it will certainly make a big difference to my liver if I have a bottle of beer than a bottle of wine.
This particular one, made from unpasterised goat's milk, won the Best Goat Cheese Gold award. It's a soft goat cheese, hand coated with an oakash/seasalt mix.
I have to admit that I was not that impressed with it. It has a lovely soft texture but there is no flavour that reaches out of it - I was hard pressed to keep it for longer in my mouth to try and bring out the flavours, but they were not strong enough for my liking. Click here for more info on the company that makes it, Cerney Cheese.
Day 261 - 17 September 2016 - Had breakfast at 'Wake & Cate', in Liverpool
Finally! A place in Liverpool where I can enjoy Greek coffee and Greek frape!!! 'Wake & Cate', from what I found out, is part of a Greek franchise that owns about 36 shops in Greece. Apart from coffees, it serves a wide range of Greek pastries, sandwiches, cakes and desserts.
It opened while I was away in Croatia, so I had to try it when I got back! Unfortunately, I found it a bit hit and miss. The coffees were great. But the pastries were not - it seems to me that, even though they have a preparation area, they use ready-made, frozen dough which is nothing like the real-deal Greek dough in the pastries. Their desserts were also a 50-50 success rate. Some of them were really good, while others not so (I didn;t have all of them there and then, by the way, I took some home). Click here for more info on 'Wake & Cate'.
Day 262 - 18 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'Memphisto'
Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1981, this German/Hungarian/Austrian production is an adaptation of Klaus Mann's novel of the same name. It adapts the story of Memphistopheles and Doctor Faustus by having the main character abandon his consience and integrate himself with the Nazi Party to improve his social position. Well worth a look. For more info click here.
Day 263 - 19 September 2016 - Tried the cheese 'Morn Dew' by White Lake Cheese Ltd
This is a very tasty cheese indeed. Gold winner of the 2015 World Cheese Awards in the category "Any other semi soft cow's milk cheese not in any other class". It's a mild and creamy cheese, with a soft, spongy texture, made from Guernsey milk. Click here for more info on White Lake Cheese Ltd.
Day 264 - 20 September 2016 - Tried the beer 'Prearis Quadrupel'
Another strong (10%) Belgian beer, but this time an average one for me. You can really taste its strength, too heavy and dark on the palate. Click here for more info.
Day 265 - 21 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'You Can't Take It With You'
What a great film this is! I've never heard it before, even though it won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director in 1939. If I had watched it years ago, I would have most probably started my 'do something new' list a long time ago!!! This is certainly a film to watch, especially if you want to get a lesson on how to really live and enjoy life. Top marks from me!! Click here for more info.
Day 266 - 22 September 2016 - Tried the cheese 'Wigmore' by Village Maid Cheese Ltd
The best cheese from the ones I've tried so far this month. It looks a bit like a Camembert - however, it packs a really big, delicious taste! Gold winner of the 2015 World Cheese Awards, in the category "Soft ewe's milk cheese - plain". According to its makers, it's a traditional handmade washed curd cheese, made with unpasteurised ewe's milk. Click here for more info on Village Maid Cheese Ltd.
Day 267 - 23 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'Indochine'
I'm glad with my decision to start watching Foreign Language Oscar winners as I've discovered many gems I've never heard of before. Although this particular one, winner of the Oscar in 1992, does not get my top marks, it's still a very good one. It's a French film, set in colonial French Indochina during the 1930s to 1950s and shows the story of a French plantation owner during the rising Vietnamese nationalist movement. Click here for more info.
Day 268 - 24 September 2016 - Tried the cheese 'Gorwydd Caerphilly' by Trethowan's Dairy Ltd
Now this is a cheese that gets better and better as you eat it. The first bite I had was not very 'earth moving'. However, its taste stayed in my mouth and kept getting better and better - inviting me to have another piece and then another. In the end, this cheese gets better by each bite! It won Gold in the 2015 World Cheese Awards in the category "Semi-hard cheese produced on farm or dairy with a total output not exceeding a weekly average of 2 tons". Click here for more info on Trethowan's Dairy Ltd.
Day 269 - 25 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'Kolya'
Winner of the 1996 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this is a good Czech drama about a musician who agreesto a sham marriage in order to earn some money, but ends up looking after the wife's 5 year old son when she suddenly emigrates to West Germany. For more info click here.
Day 270 - 26 September 2016 - Made 'Mixed Pepper Bread'
Another tasty bread where I've used the bread machine to make the dough. Due to the fact that the peppers keep some moisture in them, I recommend you eat the bread within 2-3 days.
500gr strong white bread flour
2 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp easybake dried yeast for bread machines
Half a red bell pepper, cored and seeded
Half a green bell pepper, cored and seeded
Half a yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded
milk for brushing
1) Cut the peppers into fine dice. Pour the first 6 ingredients in the bread machine in the order according to its manual. Set it to the basic dough setting.
2) Add the mixed peppers when the machine beeps or during the last 5 minutes of kneading.
3) When the dough cycle has finished, remove the dough from the machine and place it on a lightly floured surface. Gently knock it back (punch it down) and shape it into a plump ball. Roll gently into an oval.
4) Place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with oiled clear film and leave in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
5) Preheat oven to 200C / Gas 6. Brush the loaf top with the milk. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bread is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Turn the bread out on to a wire rack to cool.
Day 271 - 27 September 2016 - Visited 'Key Lime Coffee' in Liverpool
Another new addition to the many cafes that have opened in Liverpool. The photos above are from my second visit, that took place this month. A nice, central, clean place. I think the desserts it serves are better than the breakfast. And we got to know the Greek guy that works there too ! For more info about the cafe, click here.
Day 272 - 28 September 2016 - Had dinner at 'Elif', in Liverpool
When a new restaurant opens in Bold Street you know you have to try it, especially when it cooks meat on charcoal. This Turkish restaurant has quickly become very popular and, after further visits with friends (see above photos) the overall opinion is that the food is very nice indeed. Click here for more info.
Day 273 - 29 September 2016 - Made 'Challah'
This is a traditional Jewish festival bread, which is enhanced by the use of a sponge starter which is left to develop for 8-10 hours before the final dough is made. It's certainly one of the best breads I've made so it was worth the wait!
For the sponge:
225gr strong white bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp easybake dried yeast for bread machines
For the dough:
225gr strong white bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
50gr butter, melted
For the topping:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
1) Put the ingredients for the sponge in the bread machine, in the order set out in its manual. Set the machine to the basic dough setting.
2) When the dough cycle has finished, switch the machine off, leaving the sponge inside. Do not lift the lid. Leave the sponge in the machine for 8-10 hours. If necessary, transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and set aside.
3) After the 8-10 hours have passed, add the dough ingredients to the machine, again in the order according to its manual. Set the machine to the basic dough setting.
4) When the dough cycle has finished, remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knock it back (punch it down) gently, then flatten the dough until it is about 2.5cm thick. Fold both sides to the centre, fold the dough over again and press to seal.
5) Using your palms, gradually roll the dough into a rope with tapered ends. It should be about 50cm long. Coil the rope into a spinal shape, sealing the final end by tucking it under the loaf.
6) Place the coil on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover it with a large glass bowl or a lightly oiled clear film and leave in a warm place for 45-60 min, or until almost doubled in size.
7) Preheat the oven to 190C / Gas 5. In a small bowl beat the egg yolk with the water for the topping. Brush the mixture over the challah. Sprinkle evenly with the poppy seeds (note: as I had run out of poppy seeds I used black onion seeds on mine).
8) Bake for 35-40min or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer it to a wire rack to cool before slicing.
Day 274 - 30 September 2016 - Watched the movie 'Wreckers'
Despite Benedict Cumberbatch starring, it is just an OK film. "A married couple moves back to his childhood village to start a family, but a surprise visit from the husband's brother ignites sibling rivalry and exposes lies embedded in the couple's relationship." Click here for more info.
After August's travels, September was considerably quiet given that I had a lot of work to catch up to, as well as replenish that all important bank balance. Nevertheless, I still managed to tick off two more places in my busketlist (Ljubljana and Scojcan Caves). I also tried 4 award winning cheeses, accompanied them with 8 new beers and watched no less than 9 movies, most of them Oscar winning ones. The month was completed with making 3 new breads, visiting 3 cafes/restaurants in Liverpool ad listening to 1 album.