Monday, 25 July 2011

Blackberry Whiskey

Fill a container (any size) with blackberries. Pour over sugar, it will fill the cracks and bring out the juices of the berries. Top with whiskey. It does not have to be a good whiskey, in fact there is no point using an expensive whiskey as it will take the flavour of the blackberries anyway.
According to River Cottage, this is a drink you will love even if you don't love neither whiskey or blackberries!
Leave for a minimum of 2 months before drinking, although it will only get better with time after the initial 2 months. Shake regularly for the first month to dissolve the sugar.

If you really want a recipe, try this:

600g (21 oz) Blackberries
300g (10oz) Raw Cane Sugar
1 litre of Scotch Whisky

You can replace the whiskey for Bourbon if you prefer.

Bon appetite!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Flavoured Finishing Salt

My mother gave me a gift last year that was completely genius. She gave me two tubs of home made, flavoured salts. One with chilli, the other with herbs.
As it turns out, this is the easiest thing ever to make - and it'll save you a small fortune. Not to mention what a nice gift it makes! I won't tell you how much of what ingredient to use, as I think this should be up to you. You might want a hint of flavour or very strong flavour salt. Here is a guideline however:
If you use herbs (fresh or dried), mix 2 tbsp herbs to 1 cup salt. For chilli, smoked paprika, lavender etc, use 1 tbsp of flavouring per cup of salt.
However, you can safely use a quarter cup of seasoning to every 3/4 cup of salt.

You want the salt to be coarse, not fine. So you have two options: Buy Maldon salt which already has that perfect, flaky consistency - or buy rock salt and give it a whizz in the food processor.

Suggested Flavours:

Mixed herbs: buy a selection of herbs, such as basil, thyme/lemon thyme, oregano, sage (be careful with rosemary. You can add a little, but it can be very overpowering). Clean the herbs and pat them dry. If you are using rock salt, put the herbs in a food processor, then add the salt and pulse to break the salt into smaller bits. Transfer mixture to a baking tray. You can either dry the herb/salt mixture in the oven (100C for an hour, stirring occasionally) or you can air dry it. The salt will suck the moisture out of the herbs in no time. If you are using Maldon salt, mix the chopped herbs with the salt, but don't put the salt in the food processor.
When dried, transfer to a jar with a lid.

Chilli: Chop fresh, red chillies (with or without seeds) and mix with the salt. Dry as above.

Lavender: Add dried lavender and salt to a jar with a lid. Shake to mix and leave to infuse. Great with salad, tomatoes and avocados.

Lemon: Using a potato peeler, peel lemon zest off the lemon. Make sure not to cut into the white, fleshy bit, it is very bitter. Whizz it up to a fine consistency in the food processor, then add salt (see above). The oils from the lemon makes the salt really fragrant and is delicious with all seafood, vegetables and grilled chicken. Air dry mixure for a couple of hours, then transfer to a jar.

Rosemary Sea Salt:
1. In a large, high-sided saute pan, combine salt and rosemary. Place over medium heat, and warm through, about 10 minutes. Transfer salt and rosemary mixture to a container. Let cool 5 minutes, uncovered; then cover with an airtight lid. Let stand at least overnight.
2. When ready to fill containers, discard old rosemary. Fill desired containers with salt, and garnish top with a fresh sprig of rosemary; seal containers.


Have fun with this - experiment with various flavours! Let me know how you get on.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Matching lantern/ tea light holder and matchbox

To make this adorable, matching set of lantern and matchbox, all you need is a pack of matches, a tin can (who doesn't eat tinned tomatoes?), some paint, PVA glue and a napkin!

Step 1: clean them
Step 2: paint them with a base paint
Step 3: smear decoupage glue all over them
Step 4: cover with a pretty napkin
Step 5: iron out creases with a paintbrush
Step 6: cover with varnish to harden

and viola - you have a completely original present with a personal touch!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Infused vodkas

Suggested flavours:
Vanilla (tap the pods a little to release flavour before adding to the vodka)
Lemon (use unwaxed, organic fruit - you don't want all those chemicals to dissolve in your drink!)
Pearl Onions and Olives
Lemon grass
Honey and Oat

If infusing fruit, use 1-3 good sized pieces.
If infusing herbs, use 1-2 fists filled of the herb (depending upon the potency of the herb).
If infusing berries, use 2-4 fists filled with the berries. You may also want to bruise (squish a little) them first.
If infusing peppers, use as many as you want. The more you use and the longer you infuse, the spicier the vodka will be.

Source: click here for more tips!

Kahlua Spiked Pecans

Thanks to Joe

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons Kahlua
4 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg white and Kahlua. Add pecans and stir well to combine.

Sprinkle half the sugar mixture on top - mix well. Pour the rest of the sugar on top and stir until completely combined. Scoop the mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with foil and coated with nonstick spray. Spread the pecans to an even single layer.

Bake until pecans are lightly toasted and browned, stirring every 10 minutes - about 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove from the oven and scoop the hot pecans onto wax or parchment paper to cool completely.

Chocolate-dipped almond toffee

Thanks to Anne:

"It's a very soft toffee (so it won't pull out all your fillings) and you can coat it with any chocolate you'd like. I chose milk chocolate here, but a nice, dark chocolate would certainly make it less sweet."

Chocolate-dipped almond toffee

4 tsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
100 g butter
100 ml (about 0,4 cups) flaked almonds
200 g sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup

200 g chocolate, to coat

Mix everything, except for the chocolate, in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and let it boil for 3-4 minutes. Pour into a lined tin, and leave to cool completely. Later, dip it in chocolate. (Which you can temper if you master that particular technique, or not if you're like me.) Keep cool.