Tales from kitchen and cellar

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Wrap up warm with a hot chocolate…

In drink on September 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

My latest Wokingham Times┬áblog sees me trotting out to the local forest for adventures amid the pine trees and a hot chocolate to celebrate the arrival of autumn…

Read it here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurry Up It’s Sloe Time!

In drink, Food and Drink on September 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sloe Gin

Yes it’s sloe time and a sure sign that autumn is upon us and what better way to treasure the season than to lay down the foundations for a truly delicious drink to be enjoyed over the festive period….sloe gin.

It’s deep garnet colour when fully developed is about as rich and inviting as a drink can get when the evenings turn cold and the fire (or in our case, the central heating is on).

Take a look in the hedgerows for these deep purple hard berries with small green leaves (check before you pick!), be quick as these unassuming little fellas won’t be around for long.

There is something very satisfying about making sloe gin, although the results cannot be enjoyed for a number of months to come this is a quick recipe that really does help to mark the seasons.

So here’s how to make your own lusciously lethal liquor!

Ingredients

750 ml gin

450g sloes

350g caster sugar

Method

Wash your sloes and place in the freezer over night, this will save you the hassle of pricking each little berry. The freezing process breaks the skin a little which will release the colours into the gin over time.

Split your sloes into two different bottles or jars (I used one gin bottle and one kilner) sprinkle over the sugar, add half the gin to each and shake to help dissolve the sugar.

Place in a dark room turning occasionally to redispurse the sugar. Be patient this will be good come Christmas but even better in the spring.

Cheers!

Figs Glorious Figs

In Cooking, food, Food and Drink on September 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous fig season is upon us, and these sensual little bulbs of deep crimson deliciousness are one of my favourite indulgences.

For this recipe I used green figs which were in season in Italy at the time but the dark emperor style purple of our native figs would work just as well.

Ingredients

Serves 4

6 ripe figs firm to the touch but not overly mushy inside

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1 cup caster sugar

A little honey for drizzling

Method

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan until the skin rubs off and they are a little golden in colour. Place to cool on one side

Next make the caramel, place the sugar in a heavy based frying pan and melt over a medium to high heat, as the sugar starts to melt and change colour swirl the pan gently to even out the colour. Once a medium caramel colour is achieved remove from the heat and throw in the hazelnuts.

Toss them in the caramel using a fork, don’t be tempted to put your fingers in, this is extremely hot!

Pour onto grease proof paper and leave to harden.

Heat up the grill and cut the top of the figs into a cross shape and squeeze to reveal their sumptuous insides.

Drizzle with a little honey and grill until they start to bubble and blister a little.

Break up the hazelnut caramel and sprinkle like a spiky golden crown in the centre.

Enjoy unadulterated or with a little creme fraiche for added mositure or serve alongside a plate of anti pasti meats.

Whatever the excuse get stuck into the figs while you can!