Recipes

I'm a hopeless cook, but there are some things I want to have a go at - chutney, for instance, and sloe gin.
Scroll down for: 
   Sloe Gin
   Damson  Gin
   Damson Sauce
   Damson Cheese
   Blackberry Gin
   Apple Chutney
   Slimmers Chocolate nibbles (!)
   Smoking Bishop (mulled wine and port!)


So with thanks to Leila, here's a recipe for sloe gin.
It says it will last for months. Hah, not in this house it won't! LOL

Sloe Gin 
Sloe Gin, the ruin of old women. (LOL) Or tasty cooking ingredient? Either way one thing is for sure, its fantastic taken out in a hip flask and every sip is warming and gratifying on a brisk winters outing. Sloe Gin can be, and is used as an ingredient. It is included within many cocktail recipes including; The Moll Flanders, Ruby Fizz, Sloe Comfortable Screw and unsurprisingly the Blackthorn. But is also readily used as a cooking ingredient to flavour; Sloe Gin Jelly, Plums roasted with Sloe Gin or a simply used to flavour Gamey sauces. If you use it for cooking or simply love the taste this recipe is simple, delicious and will last for years – if you let it!

Sloe
1kg Sloes or Blackthorn berries (post frost)
1Lt Gin
300g Demerara Sugar
100g White Sugar

It’s a fiddly job, but someone has got to do it! The first job is to prick every individual Sloe with a pin or needle and place in large bowl. Add the Gin and Sugar to the bowl and give it a good stir.
Now, you are going to need some sort of container that you can lid, big clean jars, demi johns, large bottles with lids what ever you have got and can make watertight. Decant the Gin, Sloe and Sugar mix into your container making sure that the Sloes get evenly distributed through all of the containers.

Be patient… You have to store these little fruity containers up or 3 months. This is going to give the fruit time to impart its flavours into the Gin. This isn’t a make and leave item either, you have to take care of it and turn it every other day.. Hey, if you miss a day or two every now and then now worries just make sure you give them a little mix up when you do remember (Make sure its quite regular though!). 

….. 3 months later. 

Through a double thickness of muslin strain the Sloe mixture (do not squeeze the fruit) and allow gravity to do the rest. Repeat this process several times until the mixture runs clear. Now decant again into clean bottles and that’s it! 



You can drink straight away or even better leave it for a year! It will literally last for years and years and over the years can you build up a nice array of vintages. 

Fantastic drink that requires patience, real patience!! But is soooo worth it! 


~ ~ ~
Damson Gin (or any fruit gin! ) 
Here's a bit more and a slight alternative gleaned from the pages of the wonderful Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage

Other hedgerow drinks to consider are blackberry brandy (same idea, using dry ripe blackberries and a reputable brandy) and blackcurrant rum, which is past its season now but good to know about once you've made sloe gin. Also bullace and damson gins, both of which I have on at the mo…. Damsons you'll know; bullaces are small bitter wild plums, in between sloes and damsons for size. Sloes have lethal thorns, bullaces & damsons don't. If you do a damson drink, you can then stone the damsons and add them to a crumble with apples as they are sweet and edible. Sloes and bullaces will pucker your faces and if the wind changes, you'll stick.

I hope this helps- the key thing is to pick the sloes before some other sod gets near them 

Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn tree and are a great fruit to pick in the autumn. One of the last fruits to remain on the trees before winter, they allow the forager plenty of opportunity to harvest. 
What to look for 
The blackthorn (named for its thorny dark skin and bark) is covered in white flowers in early spring. It's great if you can identify it at this stage so that you can be ready to keep an eye on the ripening fruit in the autumn! It is often the first tree to flower, and can grow up to 12 feet tall. Its fruit, the sloe, looks like a small damson. The dark purple berries have a similar dusty complexion. 
Where to look
The blackthorn is found throughout Britain in hedges, parkland, woods, verges and scrubland. City dwellers are not precluded from enjoying the sloe forage! 
When to go
After the first frost! The Sloe berry is not a pleasant tasting fruit, as it is very bitter indeed. After the first frost the fruit is ripe and its bitterness reduces slightly. The fruit is generally good for picking between September and early November, but harvest time is weather dependant.
Top tips
Gloves! Whilst the fruit can be picked without too much prickling, the gloves will help avoid 'foragers finger'.
Storage
Pick over the fruit and discard any that have holes in (they are being eaten from within!) or that are past their best - they get a bit wrinkly. They do really well frozen and will last a few months. 
Method; How to make sloe gin
Recipes for sloe gin or vodka ask for each sloe to be pricked with a pin. Frankly this is an unnecessary labour. A night in the freezer has the same effect, splitting the skin. 
Sloe gin or vodka is a wonderful Christmas drink and it could be argued that any other use of the mighty sloe is a sin. Even if you don't like gin, it is worth making as it tastes more like a liqueur, as you can make it as sweet as you like. 
For every pound of fruit add 8oz of sugar and a pint or so of gin or vodka (don't worry too much about the proportions as you can add more sugar or spirit later). Leave it until Christmas, shaking the bottle every couple of days. 
After a few months (the longer the better, although it tends never lasts long enough to test this theory!) strain off the sloes and bottle the gin. The sloes can be stoned and made into wonderful liquor chocolates.
Sloes also make a lovely tart jelly to go with game or with your Christmas dinner as an alternative to cranberry. They can also be used in autumn pudding or jam, but do need quite a bit of sugar due to their bitterness. 


Damsons
An alternative is DAMSON GIN

make exactly the same way - but using damsons

~ ~ ~ 
What about DAMSON SAUCE?
500g damsons
125g caster sugar
wonderful with cheescake or duck
To make the sauce, put the damsons in a pan with 200ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, stirring regularly, for 10-15 minutes, until the fruit has collapsed and the stones have come free. Tip into a sieve and rub through with a wooden spoon to remove the stones and skins. Sweeten the damson purée by whisking in sugar to taste – how much sugar you need will depend on the tartness of the fruit and your personal taste – and leave to cool.

~ ~ ~
And then there's
DAMSON CHEESE

This traditional fruit "cheese" is a very thick, sliceable preserve that is immensely good served with actual cheese. It keeps for ages. Makes 850-900g.
2kg damsons

Around 750g granulated sugar
Put the damsons in a large preserving pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring as the fruit begins to release its juices. Leave to simmer until completely soft. Tip the contents of the pan into a sieve and rub it through to remove the stones and skin, leaving you with a smooth damson purée.
Measure the purée by volume. For every 500ml, add 350g sugar, and combine in a large, heavy-based pan. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then cook gently, stirring regularly so it doesn't catch, until reduced to a thick purée. It's ready when you drag the spoon across the bottom of the pan and the base stays clearly visible for a second or two. This can take up to an hour of gentle, popping simmering and stirring.
Pour the "cheese" into very lightly oiled shallow plastic containers and leave to cool and set. It will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge. Serve in slices with bread and cheese, or, if you fancy, cut into cubes, dust lightly with granulated sugar and serve as a petit four.

~ ~ ~
DAMSON JAM

I've found it best to soak overnight then cut the fruit as if you would a peach & take the stone out. Put the stones in a saucepan & simmer alongside the 'jam' then drain through a sieve & add the liquid to the main pan.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg Damsons, stoned
  • 1.875 kg Granulated Sugar
  • 450 ml Water + 20 ml to simmer with damson stones

Instructions

  • Cook the damsons in a preserving pan with the water gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • At the same time cook the stones in a separate medium sized pan with 20mls of water for 20 minutes.
  • When the stones have cooked put them in a sieve and squeeze with the back of a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes. (There will be clear liquid and a little puree, no need to squeeze until dry).
  • Add this liquor to the cooked Damsons and then add the sugar.
  • Heat slowly until all the sugar has dissolved stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Bring to the boil slowly and then time a rolling boil for 13 minutes (make sure you stir with a wooden spoon regularly to stop it catching and burning).
  • Take off the heat and test a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate, leave for a couple of minutes and if it crinkles when your finger is pushed through it it’s ready.
  • If not boil for 2 more minutes at a time repeating the test.
  • Once ready pot up into sterilised jars and put on a clean lid. Makes 2.1 ltrs or 8 jars of varied sizes.

Notes
Put 2 small plates in the freezer before you start.
Sterilise jars by washing or dishwashing, filling with boiling water, emptying and then placing in oven for 20 minutes at 140°C then leave in oven until jam is ready. Clean the lids, sterilise with boiling water and then leave to drain.


~ ~ ~ ~

And for something different:



Blackberry Gin (or Brandy, or Whiskey, or Rum.....

The full fruitiness of the blackberries means you don’t need to balance this with quite so much sugar as some other fruit liqueurs. One big warning though – make sure you DO strain out the fruit, and don’t leave it for any more than 3 months in the bottle or else the contents  start to be overpowered by a ‘woody’ taste. 

Makes about 750 ml
250g+ Blackberries, washed
70cl Gin (reasonably good quality London gin preferred, e.g., Gordons)
110g Sugar

Put the fruit into a sterilised Kilner jar or 1 ltr bottle and add the sugar
Top the jar up with the Gin, seal and shake well
Over the next couple of days, shake occasionally until the sugar has dissolved
Store in a dark corner to mature for 3 months only
Strain into a large bowl through a layer of muslin – leave to drip and do not squeeze!
Taste for sweetness
Bottle into sterilised glass bottles and add a little extra sugar if required, shaking occasionally until dissolved
Leave to rest for around a month before drinking.
recipe taken from James's Recipes

~ ~ ~ 



Apple Chutney
These two recipes are for apple chutney, but I think you can just about make Anything Chutney

8oz onions, chopped                                        
2lb apples, cored and chopped
4oz sultanas, raisins or chopped dates                    
½oz ground coriander               
¾ oz mixed spice                                              
½oz salt                             
12oz granulated sugar                                    
¾ pints malt vinegar

·      Put all the ingredients into a preserving pan. Slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved.
·      Simmer for 1½-2 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney sticking to the pan.
·      When it is very thick and you can draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan so that it leaves a channel behind it that does not immediately fill with liquid, the chutney is ready.
·      Turn into sterilised jars, seal and cool.
·      Store in a cool, dark cupboard for two to three months before eating.


I like the sound of this recipe - nice and easy & straightforward
lb eating apples                                                 
1lb  onions
1pt  spiced vinegar                                           
6oz  sultanas
pinch of salt                                                                  
¾lb  sugar (½ white ½ brown)

·      Use a bigger pan than you think you could possibly need
·      Dice the apples. This recipe calls for a lot of apples, so chop them first; a little browning won't hurt. I didn't peel them, as I like the added texture of the softened apple skin (and also because I'm lazy).
·      If your vinegar isn't spiced to start with, heat vinegar gently with a selection of whole spices (I used black pepper, cinnamon, coriander seed, cumin seed, and nutmeg), then strain before adding the onions.
·      Chop onions and simmer in vinegar until soft.
·      Once onions are soft, add the apples to the pan and cook on a low heat until the apples are tender but not mushy. The vinegar probably won't cover the apples, so put the lid on the pan for this stage to retain the moisture.
·      Add the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly, and simmer for at least two hours with the pan uncovered.

·      Decant into sterilised jars (warmed with boiling water), and seal while still warm. I tend to use old jam jars, and put a sheet of waxed paper between the jar and the lid.

recipe found at Rachel Cotterill



~ ~ ~ 

Slimmer's Chocolate Nibbles

Ferrero Rocher might be delicious but here's a great solution to fix that chocolate craving! (Which means you can eat lots more without breaking the bank!). Crush 10 Ryvita with a rolling pin, add 4 tablespoons of Nutella that's been warmed for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir well and spoon into small bun cases and leave in the fridge to set. This should make about 28-30 scrummy treats at 1 Syn each (low calorie!) heaven!

~ ~ ~ 

SMOKING BISHOP - a Mulled Wine from the past! 



This recipe was sent to me by my dear friend Vara - I reckon my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne would like this winter warmer!

original recipe page can be found here 

Smoking Bishop - A Mulled Wine & Port With Oranges
Smoking Bishop is a warm mulled wine and port drink, sometimes known simply as ‘Bishop’. Out of all the mulled drinks around Christmas this one is my favourite. Bishop is made with oranges, or sometimes lemons, or sometimes both, with wine, port, spices and sugar, which is added according to taste – it received the name ‘Bishop’ from its purple colour, similar to a Bishop’s formal attire – and ‘Smoking’ comes from the vapours rising when it is being mulled or heated.
Although Jonathan Swift, in the late 1600s, wrote about it, in his verse ‘Oranges’, the drink itself was made famous when Charles Dickens has a reformed Scrooge say to Bob Cratchit, (at the end of ‘A Christmas Carol’, 1843) “… we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob!” And indeed it is just the sort of drink you want to sit down with friends in front of a log fire with …
A Smoking Bishop is certainly full-bodied, and made with port (a fortified wine) it is at the top end of the mulled wine spectrum in terms of potency; although being made with bitter oranges and/or lemons it is also then sweetened to a preferred amount with sugar. I like it as it comes, tart and fruity, although I do serve Smoking Bishop to guests with a small bowl of sugar and a spoon so they can sweeten it themselves, as suggested in the 1836 recipe.
In terms of quality and character the monumentally aromatic and robust flavours of a Smoking Bishop hit the taste-buds at the back and the sides of the tongue, leaving the tip and center of the tongue devoid of any initial input into the equation – a sure sign of a hearty and ‘mighty’ mulled wine. One which will bring a rosy glow to the cheeks.
Smoking Bishop In A Christmas Carol
Smoking Bishop In A Christmas Carol

In a later edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’, published in 1907, E. Gordon Brown describes Smoking Bishop with the following passage: “The drink is made by pouring red wine, either hot or cold, upon ripe bitter oranges. The liquor is heated or “mulled” in a vessel with a long funnel, which could be pushed far down into the fire.” And in an edition of ‘Punch’, published in 1848, they highly recommend it as part of a satirical diatribe, “… both egg-hot and elder wine must yield in their elevating and invigorating properties to a good Bishop.”
The original recipes for Bishop are simple and direct, making a wonderful and tasty mulled drink which is easy enough to make up to serve straight away, or then cool, (re-cork in the empty bottles) to mature for a few days, before re-heating and serving. Maturing it for a few days takes the ragged edge off the Bishop, making for a very smooth and bright drink; although this in no way means it cannot be enjoyed after the initial mulling; the early ragged and piercing nature of a Bishop makes it in many ways a real ‘classic’ and a potent drink to enjoy on a cold night.

SMOKING BISHOP RECIPE
This recipe will make enough for about 10 small glasses, double the ingredients to make a large punch bowl to serve around 20 people. It can also be re-corked in the wine bottles once cool and be re-heated and drunk in small batches over a few days.
You can use just oranges (older, bitter varieties) or just a few lemons (making it an Oxford University ‘Bishop’) although this recipe gives the right balance and authentic taste using 6 modern variety oranges and two lemons, which is then sweetened to taste with sugar.
Recipe Ingredients:
6 large oranges
2 large lemons
120g of brown sugar (demerara)
1 bottle (750ml) red wine
1 bottle (750ml) ruby port
8 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground mace
To serve:
1 or 2 lemons, cut into wedges to serve
1 or 2 oranges, cut into wedges to serve
optional – a grating of nutmeg over the top
small bowl of white sugar for guests to individually sweeten the Bishop
Smoking Bishop Ingredients
Smoking Bishop Ingredients


Recipe Method:
The day before: bake the large oranges and lemons in the oven on a shallow baking tray (with a lip to contain any leaking juice) on a low heat at 120°C until they are pale brown (after about an hour and a half). If any liquid leaks from the fruit when baking pour this from the tray into the bowl with the fruit and wine.


Making The Smoking Bishop - Baking The Fruit In The Oven
After the fruit has baked in the oven stud the oranges and lemons with one of the cloves pricked into each, place into a large bowl, add the ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and mace. Add the sugar and pour in the wine – but not the port or the cinnamon sticks. Stir gently for a few minutes. Cover and leave in a warm place overnight or for 24 hours.


Making The Smoking Bishop - Mulling The Baked Fruit In The Wine
The next day: cut the baked oranges and lemons in half and squeeze all the juice into the spiced wine in the bowl. Do not worry about adding in the pulp and pips, this will be strained through a sieve next.
Pour this wine, fruit and spice mix through a sieve into a large saucepan, use the back of a spoon to press out the juice from the pulp in the sieve. Then add the cinnamon sticks. Heat the wine to a high simmer for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat under the saucepan and add the port and heat for 20 minutes very gently (so as not to boil away the alcohol). In the last two minutes turn up the heat to a medium simmer and get the Bishop ‘smoking’ hot with vapours rising.



Making The Smoking Bishop - Straining The Fruit, Putting In The Port & Heating
Following the advice given in 1836, “sweeten it to your taste, and serve it up with the lemon and spice floating in it” – taste the Bishop and add in a little more sugar if it is needed. Although I prefer to serve it as it is and supply a small bowl of white sugar with a spoon so guests can sweeten their own Bishop.
When the Bishop is hot through and ‘smoking’ pour into a heat-proof punch bowl or serving jug (including the cinnamon sticks) with fresh cut wedges of lemon and orange, and serve in goblets, or heat-proof glasses, and drink warm – optional, take the advice from Eliza Acton in 1845, either grate a little nutmeg on top of the Bishop in the serving jug or bowl, or as I do, grate it individually on top of the Bishop in the glasses if people request it.

***
An Original Bishop Recipe 1836
‘Tales of the Table, Kitchen, and Larder’, By Dick Humelbergius Secundus, 1836
Among the ” Oxford night-caps,” bishop appears to be one of the oldest winter beverages on record, and to this very day is preferred to every other, not only by the youthful votary of Bacchus, at his evening revelry, but also by the grave Don by way of a nightcap. It is not improbable that this celebrated drink, equally known to our continental neighbours under the somewhat similar name of bischof, derived its name from the circumstance of ancient dignitaries of the church, when they honoured the university with a visit, being regaled with spiced wine.

Glasses Of Smoking Bishop
Glasses Of Smoking Bishop

RECEIPT, OR RECIPE, TO MAKE BISHOP.
Make several incisions into the rind of a lemon; stick cloves in these incisions, and roast the said lemon by the fire. Put small but equal quantities of cinnamon, mace, cloves, and allspice, and a race of ginger, into a saucepan, with half a pint of water; let it boil until it be reduced one half. Boil one bottle of port wine ; burn a portion of the spirit out of it, by applying a lighted taper to the saucepan which contains it. Put the roasted lemons and spice into the wine; stir it up well, and let it stand near the fire ten minutes. Rub a few nobs of sugar on the rind of a lemon; put the sugar into a bowl or jug, with the juice of half a lemon, (not roasted) pour the wine upon it, sweeten it to your taste, and serve it up with the lemon and spice floating in it.
Oranges, although not used in bishop, at Oxford, are, as will appear by the following lines, written by Swift [in the late 1600s] sometimes introduced into that beverage :—
“Fine oranges,
Well roasted, with sugar and wine in a cup,
They’ll make a sweet bishop when gentlefolks sup.”
When this is put upon the table, there are few, we imagine, who would be found to say, “Nolo episcopari,” not even the Bishop of London himself.
An Original Bishop Recipe 1845
‘Modern Cookery’, by Eliza Acton, 1845
Note: Eliza Acton put this recipe in her cook book in quotes, showing it was taken from somewhere else, if you look at the earlier recipe above from Dick Humelbergius Secundus in 1836 you can see where she got it. She also recommends it can be made with Oranges, which is then not an Oxford Bishop. Eliza Acton also adds in a grating of nutmeg as well at the end.

OXFORD RECEIPT FOR BISHOP.
“Make several incisions in the rind of a lemon,* stick cloves in these, and roast the lemon by a slow fire. Put small but equal quantities of cinnamon, cloves, mace, and allspice, with a race of ginger, into a saucepan with half a pint of water : let it boil until it is reduced one half. Boil one bottle of port wine, burn a portion of the spirit out of it
* A Seville orange stuck with cloves, to many tastes imparts a finer flavour than the lemon.
by applying a lighted paper to the saucepan. Put the roasted lemons and spice into the wine; stir it up well, and let it stand near the fire ten minutes. Rub a few knobs of sugar on the rind of a lemon, put the sugar into a bowl or jug, with the juice of half a lemon (not roasted), pour the wine into it, grate in some nutmeg, sweeten it to your taste, and serve it up with the lemon and spice floating in it.”

An Original Bishop Recipe 1862
‘How To Mix Drinks’, By Jerry Thomas and Christian Schultz, 1862
Bishop.
A favourite beverage, made with claret or port. It is prepared as follows: roast four good-sized bitter oranges till they are of a pale-brown color, lay them in a tureen, and put over them half a pound of pounded loaf-sugar, and three glasses of claret; place the cover on the tureen and let it stand till the next day. When required for use, put the tureen into a pan of boiling water, press the oranges with a spoon, and run the juice through a sieve; then boil the remainder of the bottle of claret, taking care that it does not burn; add it to the strained juice, and serve it warm in glasses. Port wine will answer the purpose as well as claret. Bishop is sometimes made with the above materials, substituting lemons instead of oranges, but this is not often done when claret is used.

Bishop. (Another recipe.)
Stick an orange full of cloves, and roast it before a fire. When brown enough, cut it in quarters, and pour over it a quart of hot port wine, add sugar to the taste, let the mixture simmer for half an hour.
Archbishop: The same as Bishop, substituting claret for the port.
Cardinal: Same as above, substituting champagne for claret.
Pope: Same as above, substituting Burgundy for champagne.

6 comments:

  1. On Sloe Gin - thanks for the recipe Helen, but, feeling geeky, I really must pull you up on that word 'literally.' Sorry. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well I didn't write it - I literally nicked it! LOL

      Delete
  2. And did you notice the spurious comma after 'Helen?' Oooops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - I really don't 'do' commas - pesky things! :-)

      Delete
  3. I just discovered these tantalizing recipes...surely, I can substitute Vodka for the Gin?
    Wasn't it Hemmingway (naturally) who said: Write drunk, but edit sober...hic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. or try rum.... LOL (I use anything!)

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment your interest is very much appreciated! It will be published as soon as possible - depending on whether I am at my computer or walking up the lane, or being chased by the goose or helping mend fences after the pony has broken through YET AGAIN.... :-)
Helen