This post I wrote last night

I tried to write this 2 months ago and the whole place damn near burned down! A part of me felt almost relieved cos that would mean I could just say “oh, I failed… Yeah I used to own a bar but it’s no more.” And I could gently rest the parts of me that I thought had failed amidst the rubble and say “Well at least I gave it a shot.”

But that hasn’t happened (yet… touch the deep dark woods). Against all odds I am still here BELIEVING IN MYSELF and for some reason that feels HARD TO BELIEVE.

Why is my success so hard to believe? And what is success anyway?

Lessons in mental health and happiness are disturbingly abundant in our contemporary world. We are plagued everywhere, via our social media accounts, yoga instructors, helpful friends; plagued with positive messages. But behind them, many of us still struggle.

I wish this journey hadn’t taken me so long to begin. I wish I could forgive myself for it taking so long to begin. I think it actually began years ago but I didn’t know how to see it.

I feel like a big grey cloud has lifted off me. I feel like one day I turned around and looked at myself and said “you got this. You’ve been walking with this big grey cloud on you, disguising you from you but now it’s gone and you have got this.”

We are taught to doubt ourselves, often. It is learned behaviour that trains some of us to believe that “successful” people are stronger than us, and due to them being strong and successful somehow we are worth less. This same world tells us that there aren’t enough resources to make everyone “successful” so we should step back and let the strong ones take it all. We live in a world that favours physical strength, material wealth, masculine values, meanness, hot-headedness, the bold. We live in a rat-race. It doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe these things just aren’t you and that’s fine. I’m here fighting for all the things that are the opposite of those things, and I’m here saying you can be successful and be none of those things.

EDIT: I’m not saying self-belief is an instant road to success, but we live in a world that rewards certain values over others; we live in a world of inequality. I’d like to see change and I don’t just mean in a classic “rags to riches” way I mean let’s redefine all the values we live by and let’s really look at who’s “on top” and why.

Preachy stuff: for self-proclaimed “failures” like me who also secretly wanna succeed

Define your own success. Wear your failures proudly. Defend your choices to the bitter end.

If you could build a world that favours your values (what are they? if you don’t know, now’s the time to work them out) if you could act upon those values every day and make your choices based on those…. what would you be doing right now?

Given that what you are doing still needs to exist in the now, it needs to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound). What would you do?

Go and do your thing. And if you can’t do it in big ways, do it in micro amounts until you can do more.

But don’t forget to include in your values and somewhere in your actions these qualities: Kindness. Softness. Forgiveness. Slowness. Fuck-ups. Faults and flaws. Stretch-marks. Dirty fingernails. Messy hair. Do not hide those fucking beautiful deep dark weird parts of you that fit nowhere else.

One day I want you also to look at yourself and say: it’s your time to shine, weirdo.

http://www.smosh.com/articles/20-worst-motivational-posters

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This post I wrote last night

Don’t call me pretty (please)

Why is mansplaining a thing and womansplaining is not? Mansplaining occurs when a man explains something to a woman AND any of the following are applicable:

a) she didn’t ask him to explain

b) he assumed he knows more than her about the topic he is explaining

c) he does know more than her about the topic but there was still no signal that she wanted him to explain it

d) he explains the topic in a way that is condescending towards her

Women cannot be accused of womansplaining because no matter how many times we explain our point of view to a man it still seems like men JUST AREN’T LISTENING because you still keep doing the same dumb ass shit WE HAVE ASKED YOU NOT TO DO.

Case in point:

DON’T CALL ME PRETTY

A man said to a woman in a bar “You’re beautiful.”

The woman smiled a kind of forced smile and said “thanks.”

The man repeated it again. “You’re beautiful. I can’t stop looking at you.”

At this point she started to feel uncomfortable, but she changed the topic of conversation and tried to engage the part of his brain that wasn’t preoccupied with his ‘uncontrollable manly urges’.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help it” he said.

At this point, another female stepped in patiently:

“You know, women don’t actually like being told they’re beautiful,” she paused as he looked confused and perplexed. “We value ourselves for other reasons like our personalities, our interests or our sense of humour.”

The man was still confused. “But I gave her a compliment. What do you mean she doesn’t like it? I’m sorry, I was just trying to be nice. I’m not a bad person.”

Now…. stop right there, man. When you tell a woman you have just met that she is beautiful, not once but thrice you are at best mansplaining. You are at worst pledging your allegiance to a dangerous patriarchal code that perpetuates physical violence towards women, enables rape and has engaged in centuries of oppression; you are minimizing her according to her looks and rating her according to this dangerous code of value.

Her forced smile and meek “thank you” is a defensive strategy woman use as they don’t want to make you angry or seem ungrateful for your compliment lest you seek revenge and call the rest of the patriarchy to gang up on her.

It’s brutal, but this is the truth. You are not giving her a fucking compliment. You are telling her she is worth less than you, and you have the power because you are a man.

I invented a new term: Manbeautifying

 

Manbeautifying occurs when a man tells a woman she’s beautiful AND any of the following are applicable:

a) she didn’t ask him how she looked

b) he assumed she will value his opinion more then her own opinion

c) she does value his opinion but there was still no signal that she wanted him to tell her how she looked

d) he tells her she’s beautiful in a way that is condescending towards her and makes her feel threatened and uncomfortable

Next time, please just shut up.

Thanks.

Don’t call me pretty (please)

FAQ: Why did I call my bar Cupid?

So, last year this crazy thing happened. I need to stop discrediting myself by saying “somehow I ended up owning a bar” and say “after working a heap of different hospitality jobs for different companies over the last 14 years and soaking up every snippet of advice I could about starting a business, running a business, and general witchery I decided to take a calculated risk.” Not too calculated mind you, I mean there was certainly an element of crazy there.

Naming my new bar, as it turns out, was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. Why did I call my bar Cupid?

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Sam Cooke looking perplexed

The short answer is, because someone told me not to.

The longer answer is, because more than one person told me not to and I had to think really hard about what I was in this for.

The business I thought I was going to start – my specialty craft beer shop – was going to be called McGinty’s Beer Shop. A bastardisation of my surname that nobody can remember or pronounce: McEntegart.

That’s a sensible name for a beer shop. But I didn’t start a beer shop. I bought this alluring little bar in what was formerly the entranceway to an art deco style cinema built in 1929. It is rumoured to have a few resident ghosts (thankfully I don’t see them but I am certainly not doing any séances in the bar). It’s been a vibrant, messy, banging rock and roll venue as well as its time spent as a cinema and it wants to put its name back on the map.

For this bar, I felt it needed a strong name that people would remember, that referenced history, nostalgia, romance, tragedy, human emotions like love and despair. When I came up with Cupid it seemed to fit all the grand illusions I was having. I was pulling off opulence on a budget.

I came across this brilliant post by a woman called Ash Ambirge whose blog I follow. Titled “My Brand is Boring as Fuck. With a capital F.” it helped me to realise what I wanted to do.

I didn’t want to be Boring as Fuck. I wanted to play Nick Cave songs and drink enough whisky to start growing a beard while swanning about dressed like Stevie Nicks and turning men into toads. I’m halfway there, in case you’re wondering.

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Stevie Nicks album cover, 1981

Unsurprisingly, there are a number of musical references to Cupid (the first of which was my main inspiration if you haven’t guessed).

“Cupid”, Sam Cooke, released 1961

“Don’t Mess With Cupid”, Otis Redding, 1968

“Hello from Cupid”, Jonathan Richman, 1998

“Cupid”, The Brunettes, 2002

“Happy Valentine’s Day”, OutKast, 2003

“Cupid”, Amy Winehouse (cover of Sam Cooke) released 2006

“Cupid Carries a Gun”, Marilyn Manson, 2015

Music has become an important feature in my bar, which perhaps is unsurprising given that it owes its name to a song. If you want to hear my playlist, click the link on my website here: www.cupidbar.net/links/

Intuition, AKA trusting your gut, plays a really big part in running a business. So does defining your values and being true to yourself. I have been waiting an excruciatingly long time for my opportunity to shine, and while I know I’m a slow burner, I’m not (as some would say more bluntly) here for the heavy petting of arachnids. I’ll be okay as long as I don’t go kissing any more amphibians.

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This is the worst advice ever. No you fucking don’t need to kiss any frogs. You’re better than that.

 

FAQ: Why did I call my bar Cupid?

Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 2

The first act felt like a challenge to follow up, but now I think I like this menu better…. it forced me to be creative and think about the way the beers and dishes follow each other.

Watch this space guys…. hopefully next time we’ll have a proper venue and some industry support: Dreams are free (and sometimes they come true) xxx

 

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Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 2

On arrival: Cheeseboard with grapes and crackers

First course: Moa Southern Alps White IPA and salted toffee cashews

Brewed with Vienna and Pale Wheat malts, Moa Southern Alps is hopped and dry hopped with a blend of Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops giving a strong citrus/lemon grass aroma. Add the esters from a Belgian ale yeast and coriander for spicing and you have quite some complexity in this fusion of Belgian Wit and I.P.A. Goes lovely with salted toffee cashews.

165ml serve / 6.4% ABV

Second course: Hallertau Copper Tart with Mushroom Risotto balls and honey

Warming things up a bit, the Copper Tart is a red ale and its caramel flavours offer a nice continuity from the previous dish. Mushroom and honey are a surprisingly good partnership, and this one goes down a treat.

165ml serve / 4.2% ABV

Third course: 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy with Smashed Cucumber Salad

Yes! I converted some of you to the Cucumber Beer Cult. This beer is truly life-changing, it’s made me look at beers in a completely new way. Try it. I’m looking at cucumbers in a new way too cos if we’re gonna smash capitalism and the patriarchy and stuff we might as well start in the kitchen…. that’s where the knives are kept.

165ml serve / 4.5% ABV

Fourth course: Guinness with slow cooked lamb and polenta

It’s cold outside, it’s warm inside…. the house smells good and there’s leftovers. What more could you ask for? Oh, and I made polenta taste good.

165ml serve / 4.2% ABV

Fifth course: Epic Armageddon IPA and Creme Brulee

Yay I actually made the brulees set properly this time. I think the culinary blowtorch was key. Also I used pretty small ramekins but it packed a punch and so did the beer. Burning stuff is fun.

165ml serve / 6.66% ABV

^ 666. I love it when brewers do stuff like this. Attention to detail.

Links to recipes on blog below my brother:

 

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Salted toffee cashews: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/beer-food-matching/
Mushroom risotto balls: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/beer-food-pairing-13-mushroom-risotto-balls-hallertau-3/
Smashed Cucumber Salad: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/beer-food-pairing-12-berliner-weisse-and-chinese-smashed-cucumbers/
Lamb: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/beer-food-pairing-14-slow-cooked-lamb-with-guinness/
Creme brulee: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/beer-food-pairing-6/
Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 2

BEER + FOOD PAIRING #14: SLOW-COOKED LAMB WITH GUINNESS

Let me interrupt your Game of Thrones life for a minute: I GoT meat and beer? No? Ok, I tried…..

This is a recipe I followed from a cookbook, but I tweaked it a bit. I added cumin, coffee and mustard because I like my lamb with warm Mediterranean spices and I found these brought out the flavours of the Guinness better too.

A super rich, decadent winter meal that deserves a good beer to wash it down. The lamb is slow-cooked in a stock with Guinness, onion and spices. I tried a couple of richer and hoppier dark beers with this dish, they worked as an aperitif but they clashed with the flavours of the dish itself. The sweet onion and bay leaf are delicate components, while the lamb is rich and strong. The right beer pairing needs to compliment but not overpower these elements, and it needs to cut through the richness of the gravy to refresh the palate. Guinness was perfect for this.

I hope you get the opportunity to try it for yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2kg lamb shoulder (bone-in optional)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp hot mustard
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 60ml malt vinegar
  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250ml vege/chicken stock
  • 250ml brewed coffee (e.g. plunger)
  • instant polenta or mashed potato to accompany
  • more Guinness (not optional)

Method:

You can cook this dish using a slow-cooker, a conventional oven, or even pot-roast. If you’re using the oven, pre-heat to 160C. Choose a piece of lamb that will fit the dish/method you are using, or cut it into 4 parts.

  1. In a heavy based frying pan, heat the oil and then fry the lamb until the outside is browned.
  2. Add the onions, halved and then chopped into wedges. Add the garlic, roughly chopped.
  3. Once the onions have begun to cook, add the bay leaf, cumin and sugar. Gently turn the lamb and onions to cook evenly.
  4. Add the mustard, malt vinegar, salt and pepper. At this point you may like to transfer the lamb into a roasting dish or slow cooker. Add the final ingredients: Guinness, stock and coffee.
  5. Cook for 4-6 hours, depending on cooking method. I like to prepare the dish in advance, pre-cooking the dish in the slow-cooker on the previous night or in the morning for 2-3 hours. Then I let it cool and scrape off the excess fat, remove the bones and cook a further 2-3 hours.
  6. Once the lamb is ready, and is nice and tender, I drain off most of the gravy through a sieve into a large measuring cup. I add a bit of boiling water to make it up to 2 cups of stock. Then I used this stock to make instant polenta on the stovetop.
  7. For 500ml of stock, use 125g of polenta. For 350ml of stock, use 83 grams or around 3/4 of a cup. Add a third of the polenta at a time and use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture rapidly. Cook for around 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. Serve the lamb and polenta immediately, garnished with a small bay leaf. Drink Guinness.

 

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BEER + FOOD PAIRING #14: SLOW-COOKED LAMB WITH GUINNESS

Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 1

Whoop! So I pulled off 2 lovely afternoons filled with beer, food, good friends and conversation. All of the recipes I used can be found on my blog, I will list them below.

Now it’s back to the drawing/tasting board to plan Menu 2.

 

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Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 1

First course: Garage Project’s Salted White Peach Sour with a Cheeseboard

Cheese goes well with fruit, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it goes well with a fruity beer too. The carbonation as well as its dry finish makes it a great food beer. I threw in a bit of prosciutto, dried apricots and other fruits, as well as 3 types of cheeses – parmesan, creamy blue and camembert.

330ml serve / 2.9% ABV

Second course: Panhead Xtra Pale Ale with Bread and Butter Pickles

Panhead started in Upper Hutt, launched out of the old Dunlop tyre factory; the brand has a distinct motorhead aesthetic. The pickles recipe comes from ‘Ladies, a Plate: Jams and Preserves’ so this is a collision of two worlds, re-working something a bit old-fashioned. When you try the two together – pow wow! You will want to eat this every time the sun shines.

165ml serve / 4.6% ABV

Third course: 8 Wired Saison Sauvin with Ceviche

The distinctive Nelson Sauvin hop has similar characteristics to Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that is often paired with seafood. This is the only Saison Sauvin I have come across, as one blogger says it is “a little bit special and very tasty”.

165ml serve / 7.0% ABV

Fourth course: Good George Rocket Coffee IPA and Vege Skewers with Satay Sauce

The chilli and peanut flavours really bring out the coffee notes in this beer, backed up by the caramelized notes of roasted kumara – it’s even vegan. What more could you hipsters possibly want?

165ml serve / 6.0% ABV

Fifth course: Renaissance ‘Stonecutter’ Scotch Ale with Pulled Pork, Roasted Carrots and Harissa Labneh

This is an amazing food pairing beer, 9 malts are blended together to make Stonecutter, which is why you get so many layers of complexity from it. Add the warm spicy flavours of the pork and labneh, and this is foodie heaven.

165ml serve / 7.0% ABV

Sixth Course: Funk Estate Afrodisiac Stout and Cookies

Funk Estate’s most critically acclaimed beer to date, it’s an imperial stout that contains five aphrodisiac ingredients including chocolate, figs and maca root. Paired with these easy-like-Sunday-morning walnut and dark chocolate cookies. Yum!

165ml serve / 8.0% ABV

Links to recipes on blog here:

Pickles: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/beer-food-pairing-5/
Ceviche: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/beer-food-pairing-9/
Satay Vege Skewers: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/beer-food-pairing-8/
Labneh and pork: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/beer-food-pairing-4/
Cookies: https://beertruths.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/love-bitterness-beer-food-pairing-7-beer-aperitivo-pairing-a/
Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 1

Beer + food pairing #10: Champagne and strawberries, the beer drinkers’ version

Tonight, due to necessity (A.K.A. my resistance to the idea of either leaving the house or making an actual meal) and also creativity (A.K.A. my resistance to tidying my room, yes the truthful words of a 30-something procrastidrinker)…. I came up with this delightful pairing.

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Something like that.

Champagne and strawberries is a bit of a cliché, but I am not here to deliver your stock standard.

#10 BEER BREAD, STRAWBERRY JAM + GARAGE PROJECT’S CHAMPAGNE PILSNER

I have tried making beer bread before, using a standard beer, but this time I decided to splash out on some quality ingredients. I’m telling you, it’s worth it!!! The smell of this beer bread cooking was fairly saliva inducing.

Maybe this in inadvertently inspired by Garage Project’s Beervana offering of Fairy Bread to match their 5th Birthday themed beers. This is kind of the adult version. I’m hoping they would approve.

I chose a pretty fancy sounding beer (Hops on Pointe was brewed for the Royal NZ Ballet) and initially I had an idea to pair it with something equally high brow. However, when searching the shelves for an appropriate beer to make a beer bread, this one seemed to fit. German malts, Nelson Sauvin hops, and Champagne yeast. A pale gold lager with a crisp, clean palate, rich tropical fruit aromas and tight champagne bubbles.

Hops on Pointe teases the traditional boundaries between high and low culture. I imagine drinking this with good friends and the resulting scene being like something from Absolutely Fabulous.

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Ingredients:

  • 330ml can of Hops on Pointe Champagne Pilsner
  • 2 and 3/4 cups of self raising flour
  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • friends (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • more Hops on Pointe Champagne Pilsner
  • strawberry jam and coconut butter (or whipped cream) to serve

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Method:

  1. Make sure your beer is at room temperature for the beer bread, or heat it up it slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  3. Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Lightly grease a loaf tin with some coconut oil or butter, pour the bread batter in (it will be quite a wet dough) drizzle with a little more coconut oil or butter and bake for 50 mins.
  4. Slice and serve while warm, with either coconut butter (I’m going for some vegan and dairy free options here, don’t judge me) or cream, and strawberry jam.
  5. Match with Champagne Pilsner, and follow with red wine or anything else you desire.

Beer + food pairing #10: Champagne and strawberries, the beer drinkers’ version