ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Insane Clown Posset

These days, if you see a 'posset', particularly a lemon posset, on a menu, chances are it'll be a soft, fluffy and inoffensive chilled dessert, probably served with some sort of minute shortbread biscuit.

Fairly wussy stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

You can see why they used earthenware vessels..
Back in the day, the posset was a bit more hardcore though; The bedtime drink of brutal medieval barons who didn't faff around with a mug of Horlicks and a box set of 'My Family'.

Looking through the history books, you'll find several variants on the posset theme - the only real constant seems to be eggs, milk or cream and some sort of alcohol.

Some versions use strong ale, while others called for sack, a forerunner of sherry. Sometimes they were consumed hot but often they were allowed to cool and set, forming a hard crust on top and a custardy layer between the crust and the liquid, almost like a sort of alcoholic pie.

It's not the prettiest drink ever, but probably quite unlike anything you've ever tasted.
With this 'ancient and modern' take on the posset, I hedge my bets with a mix of Barley Wine and Oloroso Sherry, with the addition of a shot of Absinthe for extra fortification.

There are no lemons involved.

Insane Clown Posset

Ingredients - makes a big, pint-sized posset:

Hey everybody, I'm about to bake a cake. Or am I?
Eggs, 4 yolks and 2 whites
Full cream milk, about 1/3 pint
Barley wine, about 1/3 pint
Oloroso sherry, a generous shot
Absinthe, a more modest shot (optional)

Ground nutmeg
Vanilla extract


Heat the milk on the stove in an open pan, and while it is warming up you can begin preparing the eggs, ensuring you have a rough 2-1 ratio of yolk to white.

Whisk the eggs until it's nice and orangey, then add the nutmeg, sugar and vanilla. No, I don't care what you do with those leftover egg whites. Drink them and pretend you're a bodybuilder, maybe?
Now take an empty pint glass and a shot of sherry and, if you dare, a little Absinthe.

Beer make milk go crazy
When the milk is just about to come to the boil, slowly pour in some beer - in all likelihood the milk will immediately start to curdle. Don't panic. This is exactly what we want to happen.

Pour the beery milk into the glass and keep it warm while it sets. If you have an electric hob, than keeping it on the residual heat after you've dialled down to zero is probably the easiest way to accomplish this.

The longer you leave it, the firmer the top will become - if left long enough you'll get a proper crust, but the drinky part will have cooled down by then.

I recommend giving it about half an hour to set and consume while it's still hot - you can use a spoon to eat the custardy froth or drink it through a straw like a thick milkshake.

Best drunk immediately before bedtime or during a hot bath.


  1. You're being so damn selfish ben you should think of your health.

  2. Milk mixed with beer??? Fucking hell! I'd hate to see the state of your arse in the morning!

  3. I rarely see anything about possets these days so I find this interesting!


Comments are always welcomed and encouraged, especially interesting, thought-provoking contributions and outrageous suggestions.