Sunday, 21 October 2012

Damson gin & vodka

I have no excuses for how long it's been since my last post. And because you've been patiently waiting around for so long, I offer you a drink (or two).

The only catch is that you will have to wait a little while for it. Yes, more waiting, but it will be worth it!


Damsons are in season at the moment, and there are lots of places around England where you can go foraging for them. I took the lazy option and purchased some lovely looking damsons from a fruit & vegetable shop in Bakewell.


Damsons are best picked after the first frost of the winter, however don't be deterred by the fact that we haven't yet had a frost. The frost helps the skin on the damsons break down more easily once they are place in the alcohol. You can give your damsons a fake frost by simply placing them in the freezer for at least 24 hours.


Damson Gin / Damson Vodka
Recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I'm making two variations of Hugh's recipe - one with gin and the other with vodka.

1 kg damsons
500 grams sugar
1 litre gin or vodka

Firstly, you will need a clean glass jar that is water tight. I used 3 litre Kilner jars, but you could probably get away with a 2.5 litre jar.

Using a pin or toothpick, prick each damson a few times and then place them into your jar. Add the sugar and then your alcohol of choice.

Seal the jar and turn a few times to help the sugar dissolve (to turn the jar, slowly turn it upside down and then back again).

Store the jar in a cool, dark place.

Turn the jar once per day until all of the sugar has dissolved. After this, you can turn the jar about once per week.

According to Hugh, in 6 months it will be ready for bottling. Once bottled, your damson gin/vodka will be ready just in time for Christmas 2013!

I'll post an update when damson gin & vodka are ready for bottling.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sundried Tomato, Feta and Basil Muffins

It's been a long time since I've posted anything of substance, three months in fact! I wish that I could say I've accomplished lots in that time, and have been able to finish all of those little projects that are piling up on my to-do list. I wish, but I can't.

And just when I hoped that things might quieten down, the Olympics have started!

Thankfully, these muffins are such a breeze to whip up, I'll have no trouble making a batch while I cheer on the Aussies!
 


Sundried Tomato, Feta and Basil Muffins
Adapted from Domestic Sluttery

400g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
pinch salt
black pepper
3 eggs
120g feta, chopped
150g sundried tomatoes, chopped
bunch basil (approx 25g), roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 200°C.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, feta and basil to the flour mixture and stir through.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until they are just combined.
Divide the mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

I think these muffins are best enjoyed warm - so get into them as soon as they've cooled down a little!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A new home

This little blog isn't even a year old, but it's time for it to grow up and move out. So, as an early birthday present, I have bought Edible Legacy a brand new home!

From now on, you can find all of my musings and mutterings here, at www.ediblelegacy.com.

Please make sure that you update your bookmarks to point to Edible Legacy's new home. For those reading via RSS, you don't need to update anything (hopefully...) and you shouldn't notice any interruptions to your service!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Happy Saturday!

Whatever it is that you're doing today, I hope you're having a great Saturday!


This was my first ever attempt at making roses and writing on a cake... I think it turned out okay, as long as you ignore that desert of nothing-ness on the left hand side!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Mont d'Or

This is a simple tale about cheese...

You take some cheese, Mont d'Or, to be exact.
Then you add some whole garlic cloves, pressing the cloves right into the cheese.
Pour over a little vermouth or white whine, about 1/2 cup.

Bake in an oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with some fresh, crusty bread.

Please be warned: this is a lot of cheese. A lot. So you will probably want to share this with friends. A lot of them. I promise, you'll thank me for that little bit of advice later.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Potato & Sundried Tomato Muffins

Possibly quite foolishly, I had agreed to host and feed a group of crafty friends on the day after what was anticipated to be a very big cocktail party. So I needed some serious food that would (a) keep us going during our crafty endeavours and (b) make us forget those hangovers!

The answer - potato and sundried tomato muffins.



Potato & Sundried Tomato Muffins
Adapted from The Muffin Bible

3 cups grated potatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 jar (250-300g) sundried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
60g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbs olive oil
2 eggs, separated

Preheat your oven to 200˚C.
Rinse the grated potatoes and place into a mixing bowl. Add all of the other ingredients, except for the egg whites.
With a mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Once the egg whites are done, fold them into the rest of the mixture.
Divide the mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Homemade Lamb Meatballs

I'm not really sure what to say about these meatballs... I guess it's not exactly the most inspiring subject to be writing about.

What I can say is that they are totally delicious and you should make them immediately!


Homemade Lamb Meatballs
Inspired by "Tupperware Mexican Chorizo Meatballs"
From River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

400g lamb mince
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Throw everything into a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Form into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter.

To cook: Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs and fry for about 5-6 minutes. Turn them occasionally to ensure they are evenly browned.

Serving suggestion (serves 4): Prepare a simple tomato pasta sauce, toss in the meatballs and some cooked spaghetti. Serve with a side salad.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

An experiment in espresso and cake

I had a dilemma - what to do with approximately 500ml of freshly brewed espresso. That's enough espresso to keep me in iced coffee heaven for several months.

Or, I could bake. And still be in iced coffee heaven for a good while!

So, I took said espresso, and some dates, and made a cake.




The finished product was totally delicious. The best idea I've had in a long time.


Espresso and Date Layer Cake
Inspired by caffeine.

For the cake
170g unsalted butter, room temperature
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
170g self-raising flour
3 tbsp espresso
100g chopped dates

For the buttercream
115g unsalted butter, room temperature
170g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp espresso

Heat the oven to 180˚C.
Grease two sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together until they are pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a little of the flour to bring it back.
Fold in the remaining flour with a spatula, then add the espresso and dates. Stir to combine.
Split the mixture between the sandwich tins and bake for about 30 minutes.
While the cakes are in the oven, make the buttercream...
Cream the butter in a mixing bowl before adding the icing sugar. This step is going to make a BIG mess. I always cover the bowl with a tea towel in a vain attempt to confine the mess.
Once all of the icing sugar and butter are combined, add in the espresso. You want the icing to be thick, but not so thick that it is not spreadable. Add a little more espresso if you need to thin it out a little.
Once the cakes are cooked, turn them out onto a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before icing.
To assemble, spread a thin layer of the buttercream onto one of the cakes, and place the second cake carefully on top. Using the remaining buttercream, cover the entire cake - including the sides.
Once done, cut a slice and eat immediately.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Choko Pickle

The weekend before Christmas I finally got around to making something that has been on my 'to do' list for quite a while - choko pickle.

I walked down to Shepherd's Bush Market, purchased myself 12 lovely chokos and set to work.

The recipe that I used is a family recipe that I found in my Nan's cookbooks. Nan's choko pickle was a favourite of everyone, however I couldn't even remember the last time I had any and this was something that I wanted to rectify. Unfortunately, the recipe didn't have a method or any instructions on how to actually make the pickle - all I had was a list of ingredients and quantities.

I decided to make the choko pickles as if I was making tomato relish - over about 12 hours I salted, drained, re-salted and re-drained the chopped vegetables too many times to count.



The vegetables then went into a stockpot and were cooked with vinegar, sugar and some top secret spices. Once ready, it was straight into jars and ready to eat.


As luck would have it, we had some leftover roast pork from the previous evening. Roast pork rolls served with a generous helping of choko pickle - absolutely delicious!


One thing that I have discovered is that twelve chokos makes a lot of pickle! But that's okay - we seem to be working our way through the jars quite quickly!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Orange and Dark Chocolate Scones

I have a big crush on Joy.

There is nothing that she creates that doesn't make my mouth water and leave me wanting to drop everything and rush to the kitchen. These scones are yet another example of why I should do just that.


The smell of orange that filled the house while I made these scones was amazing.
I want to make them every day. You should too.





These scones make a perfect afternoon snack or, dare I say it, breakfast.


Orange and Dark Chocolate Scones
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes about 6 scones

160 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 heaped teaspoons orange zest
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
85 grams cold butter (unsalted), cut up into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
155 ml buttermilk
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 220˚C.
Place the flour, sugar, zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
Add the cubes of butter and rub it into the dry ingredients, until it resembles breadcrumbs. If you don't have any fancy tools for this step, just get in there with your hands like I did!
In another bowl beat together the milk and egg yolk and then add this to the dry mixture.
Stir together until you get a nice soft dough, adding in a little more milk if the mixture is too dry.
Add in the dark chocolate and fold through the mixture.
Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 30 seconds.
Roll the mixture out to a thickness of about 1 inch and then cut into about 6 pieces.
Place the scones onto a lined baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Eat immediately!

Note: I didn't have any buttermilk but it's easy to make your own. For every cup of milk, just add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and leave it to stand for about five minutes.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Shrubbing

A recent post from Domestic Sluttery introduced me to the intriguing world of shrubbing. What on earth is shrubbing? Essentially, it's a way of preserving fruit.

You take some fruit (I chose raspberries) and add vinegar. Let them soak for a few days.


Strain the fruit and cook with some sugar.


Pour the finished mixture into a jar or bottle and it's ready to drink!


Raspberry Shrub
Adapted from Domestic Sluttery.

350 grams raspberries
350 ml cider vinegar
300 grams sugar

Wash the raspberries and pat dry. Place them into a bowl and pour over the vinegar. Feel free to crush the raspberries a little.
Cover and place in the fridge for about 4-5 days.
Strain the raspberry-vinegar mixture into a saucepan. Use a spoon to mash the fruit to ensure that you get out as much juice as possible.
Add the sugar and bring to the boil. Leave it to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Now is the time to test the sweetness of your shrub - allow 3 tablespoons of the mixture to cool and follow the 'to serve' instructions below. If the mixture is still a little tart, add some more sugar.
Allow the mixture to cool and then decant into some pretty bottles (or in my case a not-very-pretty-jar) and store in the fridge.

To serve: Fill a tumbler with ice and sparkling water. Add about 3 tablespoons of shrub, stir and drink!

I'm sure that it will also make an excellent cocktail base, but as yet I haven't had a chance to experiment.