This infusion captures the taste of winter, fruity and slightly spiced and banishesd those chill damp winds. Popped into some smallish and fancy bottles it makes a great gift, that’s if you can bear to let it go and not sip it yourself..
3 small Navel Oranges
2 Star Anise
1/2 stick of Cinnamon
1 Vanilla Pod, split lengthways
24 Black Peppercorns
70 cl Brandy
Wash the Oranges and lemon, scrubbing to get rid of any wax dressing.
Split the fruit into 4 pieces and drop into a Kilner Jar (or similar).
Add the spices, vanilla and peppercorns
Pour over the brandy, seal and shake.
Shake daily for at least 6 weeks, can be left for 2 months but no longer..
Strain the brandy through muslin into a sterilised bottle.
If you’re giving this as a Thanksgiving or Christmas gift pour into smaller individual bottles. Or just drink (responsibly, of course)…..
After making up a batch of Lime Infused Vodka, I was left with whole batch of de-zested fruit. Rather than just throwing them away or quartering, bagging them up and freezing them for fruit ice cubes for drinks, I decided to make Granita (a semi-frozed Siciliana water ice dessert). This Lime Granita is zesty and cleanses the palette like a sorbet and is easy to make!
It’s also brilliant as the base of frozen Margaritas, just scoop into a salt rimmed glass and add Tequila…..
250 gm sugar
Juice of 12-14 Limes
Zest of 1 Lime
1 ltr water
Make a stock syrup by combining the water, sugar and Lime zest together in a saucepan and bringing to the boil.
Simmer for 5 mins and then allow to cool
Combine the stock syrup and Lime juice in a shallow freezer proof container. Spread of more than one rather than filling too deeply.
Freeze for 2 hours.
Now comes the repetative bit, it’s worth it tho. Every 15-30mins rake it with a fork so that it breaks up into little grainy ice crystals. Once the entire mixture is frozen, but grainy and separated it’s ready to eat.
Once you’ve made it, the Granita can be left in the freezer but you’ll need to rake it up before serving.
On a trip to the local supermarket I noticed a basket of limes, all reduced to 10 pence. The idea of a lime infused vodka came instantly to mind. What’s more this recipe only uses the zest, so I used the pulp to make a Lime Granita too, double bubble!
This flavoured vodka is great for mixing with Coke.
1 bottle of vodka
Wash the limes under warm water, to get rid of any wax coating
Removed the lime zest, (making sure that you don’t get any of the pith as it will make the taste bitter). This can be done with a zester or with a knife if you use a knife shred the bigger pieces of lime to increase the surface area.
Put the lime zest into a sterile bottle or Kilner jar
pour over the vodka and store in a dark, cool place for 2 to 3 weeks, shaking frequently.
Strain vodka through muslin or a coffee filter and bottle into a clean bottle.
The lime zest will lose it’s vivid green colour and the vodka will take on a pale green hue
This plum vodka recipe uses any plums that you have left over, at the end of the summer. Once you’ve strained them off, use the plums to make a wickedly boozy crumble or stew down to make a lovely plum sauce.
1 bottle of vodka
450 g plums, halved and stoned
225 g sugar
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
1 Vanilla pod
Split the Vanilla pod 3/4 of it’s length, keeping the seeds in the bean
Place the vodka, plums, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar in a large saucepan.
Heat the mixture gently until the sugar has dissolved (don’t allow to boil or the alcohol will dissipate). Allow to cool.
Transfer the vodka plum mixture into a large sterilised kilner jar and store in a dark, cool place for 3 months, shaking once a week.
Strain the plum vodka through muslin and bottle into a clean bottle.
Making sloe gin is slow but not laborious. There’s no cooking required, just patience as the sloes steep in the gin. No need to buy expensive Gin as the Sloes will add their mellow flavours to the liquid.
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 litre/1¾ pint gin
Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.
Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.
Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.
Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle.