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Richard's Diary

January 2009

Super Bowl, Super Smoke

By Richard on January, 31st 2009 - 4:51 pm

The NFL Super Bowl has become a world sporting event and this Sunday, 01 Feb 2009, sees the 43rd Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. Big game and a big smoking event. I know many of you have put together special smoking selections for this evening. My recommendation would be to find a really big cigars and smoke it throughout the event. Nothing like keeping a cigar going for 3-4 hrs. Go for the Double Coronas or Churchills smokes and you will be content all night, even if your team doe not win!

You can see:
NFL Official web site

Burns Supper

By Richard on January, 23rd 2009 - 10:02 am

The Haggis plays a central role in the Burns Supper. Here is the best recipe I have found so far. Gives a great tasting, moist Haggis.

Ingredients
1 sheep's stomach bag and pluck (heart, liver, lungs and windpipe)
250g-1kg/½lb-2lb pinhead oatmeal, or a mixture of medium and pinhead
125g-500g/4oz-1lb suet, finely chopped
4 onions, finely chopped
2-4 tbsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried mixed herbs, or 2 tsp chopped fresh herbs


Method
1. Begin the day before you want to cook the haggis. Wash the stomach bag in cold water, scrape and clean well. Place into a large bowl of clean, cold water.
2. Wash the pluck and place it into a pan of boiling water. Let the windpipe lie over the side of the pan and place a small jar underneath to catch the drips. Simmer gently until all parts are tender - this depends on the age of the animal but is usually between one and two hours.
3. Place the cooked pluck into a large basin, cover with the cooking liquid and leave overnight.
4. The next day, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
5. For the stuffing, spread the oatmeal out on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and toast for around ten minutes, or until thoroughly dried out but not browned.
6. Drain the pluck, reserving the cooking liquid. Cut the windpipe off and discard, along with any skin and black parts. Chop or mince the heart and lungs and grate the liver. Place into a large bowl and mix well.
7. Add the toasted oatmeal, suet, onions, salt, pepper, herbs and about 570ml/1 pint of the liquid the pluck was boiled in and mix well.
8. Drain the stomach bag. Fill the bag to just over half full with the stuffing mixture. Press out the air, sew up the top of the bag and prick with a long needle.
9. Place the haggis into boiling water and simmer for three hours, pricking with a needle again when it swells. Alternatively, the bag may be cut into several pieces to make smaller haggis, in which case cook for only 1½-2 hours.
10. Serve hot with 'neeps', 'tatties' and a glass of good blended whisky.

Finish off your evening with a nice powerful cigar like the Punch Double Corona!

You can see:
Robert Burns - the complete history
Get a Haggis

Cold weather, recalibrate the humidor

By Richard on January, 05th 2009 - 3:20 pm

Here in Switzerland we have entered the very cold season, meaning naturally I get very worried about the storing of my cigars. This is a difficult time to keep your humidor settings at 16-18°C (60-65°F) and 65-70% humidity, the ideal setting for your cigars to relax and continue the tobacco fermentation in a constant manner.
Remember, you cannot rush your Cuban hand rolled cigars, especially after shipping. Once shipped, your cigars will need a minimum 10 days to recover in your humidor at this time of year. Trying to smoke them before this time will only result in bad draw and no flavor. You will need to allow your cigars time in these correct conditions to ease, relax and reach a balanced humidity. Aging your cigars and caring for your humidor is an integral part of the cigar culture and it will permit you to truly understand your cigars and thus allow you to get the best out of your cigar. Excellent smokin' for 2009!

// radeqm // February, 14th 2009 // 1:58 am

Adam,

Brilliant condition - of course, but the taste can be harsh if you smoke one of your just delivered cigars right a way.
I like to give them at least one month in my humidor.

Best regards!


r a d e q m

// AdamLuczak // January, 10th 2009 // 7:54 pm

Richard,

That is all true but you are all wrong.
I just received a parcel from you.
Cigars are in so perfect condition that I would smoke it at once :)

Best Regards,
Adam

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