Bonfire Daiquiris!

Smoky boozy goodness

I love Bonfire Night. When I lived in High Wycombe a group of us used to put on a fire show for thousands of people in Beaconsfield before the huge firework display kicked off. There would be about 20 of us with fire poi, chains, staffs, balls, fire breathing, oh it was ace fun! Last weekend though I spent it in the kitchens, I could hear the thumping boom of the fireworks over the roar of the industrial grill fan and smell the bonfires in the air but I missed the display. Tonight however, I will be making up for all that by making this ace cocktail, standing in my tiny garden and writing my name in the air excitedly with a sparkler – see who needs big firework displays when you can do that instead ehy ūüôā

Bonfire Daiquiri

  • 35ml smoked tea rum
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • juice of half a lime
  • cloudy apple juice

 To make the smoked tea rum:

  • 250ml golden rum
  • 12 strands good quality Lapsang Souchong tea (St Martin‚Äôs Coffee in Leicester sell a wonderful one)

Simply pop the strands into the rum and leave to infuse for a minimum of 2 days. The smokiness will become more intense over time and the rum will become darker.

 Now to make the cocktail:

Just put everything in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice (or clean jam jar with lid), shake and strain into an ice filled tumbler. I’m calling tonight…Bonfire Of The Daiquiris! Ta-daaa! BOOM ūüôā

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Radio Leicester food friday: ginger and caramel trifle

The lovely Ben Jackson from BBC Leicester in my kitchen

So every month the wonderful Ben Jackson heads out to my cottage in Melton Mowbray to record a cooking session. ¬†Last time we made my divine Melton Mess which went down a storm with the radio team and listeners so this time I made another really simple dessert, in real time, for people to make this weekend: ¬†I made a rum, ginger, chocolate trifle….yum!

What happens each time is that Ben arrives, we spend about an hour and a half catching up, geeking out about food and inevitably about knives! I was at the BBC Good Food Show on Wednesday and saw the gorgeous Natalie from I.O.Shen knives and came home with the most beautiful new Sahm Khom knife. Now Ben loves a good knife just as much as I do so when he felt it slice through a potato using just it’s own weight it really was love at first slice!

This link will take you to the recording, I am 1hr:42 into the show .Now I’ve just listened to it again as lots of people have sent me messages saying how rude it sounds! Yes, I *may* have sniggered at the name “Willy” but it would seem the whole 10 mins is all a bit naughty…something to do with the sounds of the cream and custard being whipped and our noises….

The mini version with oozy caramel filling

Ingredients:
  • 1 x Jamaican Ginger Cake
  • 35-100ml Golden or dark rum (depending on how boozy you like it, obviously I used 100ml!) or for¬†non ¬†alcoholic version use stem ginger syrup.
  • 100g milk/dark chocolate
  • 1 x 500g pot fresh custard
  • 1 x capful vanilla extract
  • 300ml pot whipping cream
  • 1 x 400g tin dulche du leche/tinned caramel (or make your own from a tin¬†of ¬†sweetened evaporated milk)
  • buttons/grated chocolate to garnish
Method:
Slice your ginger cake and lay it on the bottom of your trifle dish and pour over your rum and spoon over a layer of dulce du leche. Melt the chocolate, add your vanilla extract then whisk in your pot of custard.  Allow the custard to cool then layer it over the caramel. Whip your cream, spoon it over the chocolate custard and garnish with your grated chocolate/chocolate buttons. See, dead easy!

I always open my cupboards and introduce him to fab food products that I come across and send him home with a bit of a goody bag! We spent a long time talking BBQs, Ben has just acquired his first Weber and so I introduced him to the wonderful Laissez Chef new Orleans spice blend, yep he fell in love with that too! Her is now also a new convert to Essential Cuisine powdered stocks having tried their powdered veal and Little Doone Ginger Balsamic which I discovered at the show which also blew me away.

So I will be cooking again in 4 weeks time with Ben but in a couple of weeks I am taking him around my local Farmer’s Market¬†so he can meet my favourite producers. Ahhh we can geek out about food all morning!

Toffee Rum

Back in my hedonistic days as the assistant manager of the Bath Hobgoblin pub my drink of choice was “double dark rum, diet coke and a straw”(shouted quickly and loudly over the sound of loud rock music). ¬†For some reason the straw was important, I forget why now, it was probably to help not¬†spill it all over myself as I was generally quite drunk back then. ¬†White rum has never been my thing either, although the guys at the Eldorado Rum stand at last years BBC Good Food Show let me sample one that I really liked (perhaps the exception to my rule). ¬†Anyway, golden rum is my thing these days, its caramel flavours just bring out the best in a lime (and me). ¬†I’ve spent a lot of time in the Philippines where Tanduay rum is king. ¬†It used to be 30 pesos for a bottle of rum and 60 pesos for a can of coke (a beer was 15 pesos) so a rum and coke was 70% rum, 20% ice (also too expensive) and 10% coke. ¬†Even better the Tanduay rum bottles had a lid lottery so when you opened your big bottle of rum you would see on the inside of the lid what your prize would be, it was usually another bottle of rum!

Whenever I visit a food festival there are always lots of people selling toffee vodka, and it’s lovely (most of the time) but for me vodka has always been a spirit that you use to make other drinks/infusions with. ¬†Despite it being the straight drink of choice for every character in Eastenders (seriously WHY?) I would never choose to sip away on a plain vodka, and yet I use it in so many of my concoctions. ¬†Actually there was a brief phase when I was about 13-14 and living in Hong Kong where a karaoke bar used to do 2-4-1 double vodkas with lime cordial for $10 which we drank A LOT of which is probably why I’m not a fan of the spirit now.

So I figured I could easily combine my love for golden rum with toffee as the natural caramel flavours can only enhance the toffee right?

Ingredients:

  • 70cl Golden Rum (I used Appletion Estate)
  • 600g hard toffees (such as Werthers Original)

Just put your rum and toffees in a sterilised jar and leave for about 24 hours (stir every now and then to help the hard toffee dissolve).  I used about 350ml rum and 1 x 200g bag of WO but it could have taken 2 bags easily for a sweeter version.

So there you go, it’s really easy and if you smash up the toffees before adding the rum then it will probably be ready in about 2 hours. Hell yeah!

Smoked Tea

I am currently having an all consuming love affair with Lapsang Souchong tea.  Lapsang tea is smoked over pinewood fires to give it an incredibly beautiful deep smoky flavour. The quality of tea varies massively and it really is worth spending a few quid on an excellent tea as you use it so sparingly it will last for ages. I can highly recommend St Martins Coffee in Leicester for their great tea, also Dragon Fly do a really beautiful organic tea that is worth the extra couple of quid. I have been experimenting with various smoked tea infusions for about 4 weeks now.  One of my favourite quick infusions is to pop a bit of your favourite full bodied red wine into a cup and add a few long strands of tea. Let it infuse for about 30 mins then pour about a tablespoon of the smoky infused wine into a full glass.  I like my red wines deep and full and the addition of a touch of smoke is perfect for a night in front of the fire and  its also a really nice addition to your bonfire night mulled wine.

Rum and smoked tea work really well together.  Just get a bottle of your favourite dark/golden rum and add a few strands to the bottle. I made fantastic Bonfire Night Smokey Spiced Apple Daiquiris a couple of weeks ago Рbloody lovely! If you are making a smoked fish kedgeree pop a few strands in the poaching milk, it really does add a new lift to the dish.

I’m currently working on a recipe for a Sheep’s Cheesecake. The sultanas have been swelling in the smoked tea rum for 2 days now and are so plump they pop when you bite them. ¬†Should be ready tomorrow to assemble.