Blackberry and sloe gin posset with rosemary shortbread

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It’s a dark, damp, wintery Sunday here at the cottage. The fire is lit, the cats are all snoozing contently and I’m feeling the need for something zingy, boozy and comforting to brighten the day, step up the winter posset.

Possets are ridiculously easy to create – back when I was a chef I always used to put lemon posset on the dessert menu, it’s delicious, very cheap to make and ready in no time at all which is an all round win for the kitchen.

I love, love LOVE sloe gin. It’s a hip flask staple on a winter walk through frosty fields and so easy to throw together in the last days of autumn. I have bottles of sloe gin in my cupboard dating back to 2010, they have outlasted several relationships and I ration them out as if they were made using the tears of unicorns. I anticipate feeling a great aching loss when the last of the 2010 batch is gone. If you are lucky enough to try some one day then know that you are indeed very special to me! If you don’t have any homemade to hand then you can easily buy a bottle, Sipsmith do a good one.

Now I love shortbread, according to my boyfriend I don’t make enough of it. He’s not a fan of adding any flavours to it mind, he’s a shortbread purist you see – plain, straight down the line, no fucking about shortbread or not at all. I, on there other hand, love lemon shortbread, vanilla shortbread and this wonderfully aromatic rosemary shortbread which goes so well with the rich posset.

If you fancy listening to me make this then click here (you will need iPlayer access as it’s on the BBC).

I’m using blackberries foraged last year that have been in the freezer, but there are plenty to be found on supermarket shelves even at this time of year.

Blackberry and sloe gin posset with rosemary shortbread

Ingredients:

For the posset:

  • 600ml double cream
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 150g blackberries
  • Pinch freshly ground pepper
  • Sloe gin (for quantity see recipe instructions)

Method:

  1.  Heat the cream and sugar together over a medium heat, stir frequently.
  2.  Bash the berries to release the juice then strain into a measuring jug, get all the juice out of the berries.
  3. Measure the juice and add enough sloe gin to bring the liquid up to 250ml.
  4. Once the cream mix is just simmering, remove from heat and stir in the blackberry mix.
  5. Pour into dessert glasses, leave to cool for 20mins then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6.  To serve, simply dust with icing sugar and garnish with a few blackberries.

Rosemary shortbread:

  • 225g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g cornflour
  • 1 tsp fresh finely chopped rosemary

Method:

  1.  Heat oven to 160C.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Sift in flours and add rosemary.
  4. Stir, then use hands to bring it together to resemble crumble mixture.
  5. Turn onto baking parchment. Knead a few times to form rough dough. Cover with another sheet of parchment and use a rolling pin to roll out a slab around 15mm thick.
  6. Cut into rounds with a cutter or whatever shape you prefer then refrigerate for 30mins.
  7. Bake for around 12-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as you don’t want them to burn.
  8. Remove from oven, sprinkle with caster sugar. Leave for 2 mins then transfer to a cooling rack.

Halloween cocktail: Lychee martini

Halloween martini-1So it’s Halloween this week so what better excuse to make some frightfully potent cocktails? This is what I made the gin jelly worms for the other day, because you can never haver too much gin in a martini.

My love for gin knows no bounds

My love for gin knows no bounds

I am not a fan of vodka, I find it boring, give me a gin martini any day. I’ve also only gone and written a piece about how to make your own gin for Metro. DO IT, it’s SO easy and in just 3 days you will have the most deliciously aromatic gin you could imagine!

I use frozen blackberries as they help keep the martini chilled. You can put the blackberries in the lychees in advance then freeze them so they keep your drink super chilled without watering it down.

  • 60ml gin (my homemade one is heavy on the cardamom and works really beautifully)
  • 40ml lychee juice (from a tin of canned lychees)
  • 1 canned lychee
  • 1 blackberry
  • a few gin jelly worms
  1. Put the blackberry inside the lychee and freeze.
  2. Fill a martini glass with ice and water to chill it down
  3. Place the gin and lychee juice in a tumbler filled with ice and stir until thoroughly chilled, do not shake, you will water it down, just gently stir.
  4. Pour away the iced water and put some gin jelly worms in the bottom of the glass, pour over the gin and juice and garnish with the frozen fruit.

 

Lychee Limoncello Martini for World Gin Day!

As “World Days” go, World Gin Day has got to be one of the best, well, up there with World Wine Day, Fish & Chips Day, Staying in Bed til 3pm Day (also falls on World Breakfast in Bed Day.) OK so not all of those are actual Days but there should definitely be a world Breakfast in Bed Day.

Lychees are one of my favourite fruits, with their heady scent and tropical flavour they transform this cocktail into an exotic sherbet lemon glass of heaven!  Canned lychees are perfect for this as they are ready prepped and you can use the syrup (much cheaper than buying a lychee liquor. You don’t have to use the popping candy, I know it isn’t the height of sophistication, but then again neither am I!

Ingredients:

  • 50ml of your favourite gin (Sipsmith is perfect)
  • 50ml Lychee syrup (from the can)
  • 25ml Limoncello
  • Lychee to garnish.
  • Popping candy
  • Ice cubes

Put your ice in a cocktail shaker with the gin, syrup and Limoncello.  Shake until the outside of the shaker goes frosty.  Put a couple of pieces of popping candy inside the lychee then put it in a chilled martini glass and pour over your cocktail.

Now if you love gin how about entering a competition to win a bottle?

Raspberry Gin

I make a lot of booze infusions, they are stupidly easy to make but very hard to leave long enough to infuse! I make new stuff each year and see how they develop over time. Some only take a few days, some will mature for a couple of years happily. This beautiful Raspberry Gin is at its best right now as the flavour has remained the same for the last 2 months (I have a teaspoon of each booze each month to see how they are getting on).

Recipe

Take 1 sterilised Kilner type jar and put as much white sugar in as you fancy or none at all.  I didn’t want it to be too sweet so as a general rule I put enough sugar in the bottom of the Kilner  so it comes up about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom.  Then add as many raspberries as you fancy inside, I half filled my jar but you could fill it up if you fancy.  Add a few peelings of orange zest (avoiding the pith) and add to jar. Then all you need to do is fill it up with Gin.  For the first week or so gently turn the jar to help the sugar dissolve, once it has you can stop doing this.  Make sure you keep the jar in a cool dark place, light will remove the beautiful pink hue in the alcohol and always a good idea to put its Made On date on it so you know how long it takes until its at its best.  This recipe works for pretty much whatever you fancy.  I have: Blueberry Gin, Summer Fruit Vodka, Pear and Vanilla Vodka, Cherry & Mandarin Gin but to name a few.  Have a go, mix & match, play about with whatever fruits/booze you like in whatever quantities you like until you find what works for you. You don’t have to use Kilner style jars, I have old Hendricks Gin bottles, Whisky bottles etc filled with booze concoctions steeping away.  If you use bottles though you will have to sacrifice the fruit as once it swells you won’t be able to get it out again.