I like a good cocktail, I’m not a beer drinker and being as I have sweet tooth a cocktail is the best alcoholic drink in my opinion. I’ve been getting in to cocktail making thanks to Aoife’s blog and recently tried my hand at rhubarb vodka, which was so easy to make and works well with a number of cocktails.
Gin was always something I avoided and being as it is in a lot of cocktails this is a bit of a bother to me. But I think I’ve not really given it a chance. Sainsbury’s came to the rescue (ok it’s not an emergency but you know…) and offered to send me a bottle of Blackfriars London Dry Gin to test out with some cocktail recipes.
I really like the cocktail posts on Domestic Sluttery so I scoured them for gin cocktails, pinning a few along the way.
The first one I really liked the look of was called ‘ The Business’ – gin, honey and lime juice over ice. The recipe says to loosen the honey by putting it in the microwave, I don’t have one so I added a tiny bit of hot water – you could also gently heat the honey in a pan.
The Sainsbury’s Blackfriars gin was really nice, not too medicinal and you could taste the ‘botanicals’ in it – orange, juniper and lemon is what I tasted – it is also made with coriander seeds and angelica root. It won best gin at the International Spirit Challenge in 2011, which from my quick research seems to be pretty good for a gin you can pick up in the supermarket!
The next cocktail I tried was because of a cocktail emergency (a term coined by Aoife I believe). It was a very hot today, we didn’t have any wine and I’d had (another) long day. This one was just a shot of gin and then apple & mango juice and lots of ice. Very refreshing and very simple.
There are a few more I want to try out including ‘The Eastside’ (gin, cucumber, syrup, mint) and Rhubarb Fizz. You can also add fizz to The Business cocktail which is very interesting to me.
Thank you to Sainsbury’s for sending me the gin to try.
I’m not a big fan of cold foods. Room temperature and hot foods are where it is at for me. I think there is just more flavour when something hasn’t come straight out of the fridge. If I remember, I will take a lunch intended to be eaten cold out of the fridge half an hour before lunch, so it is edible (to me). So you are probably wondering why I am telling you about potato salad?
Well potato salad is fine as long as it is served at room temperature, and there are some other things you can add to make your potato salad much better than the ordinary.
I find adding strong flavours like spring onion, sharp pickle and a strong herb like parsley helps to break through all the clagginess you can get with a straight mayonnaise and potato mixture. Eggs are a no no for me, so don’t ask me about those! And skins on please, as Nigel Slater would have it, there is flavour (and fibre!) in those skins!
An Excellent Potato Salad
Serves 2 as a side with lunch sized leftovers
300g of new potatoes, skins on
3 tablespoons Hellman’s mayonnaise*
3 spring onions
1 large pickle
juice of 1/4 lemon
Dice your potatoes in to large chunks, and boil in a saucepan until cooked through – but be careful not to overcook otherwise they’ll be mushy when you prepare the salad.
Chop your spring onions, pickle and parsley finely and add to a large bowl with the mayonnaise.
Leave the potatoes to cool completely.
Mix with the mayonnaise mixture, season to taste and then add the lemon juice.
* This is not a sponsored post, I just think Hellman’s is the best ready made one to use, and the light version is perfectly acceptable.
Ever since I saw Aoife’s talk at Eat Cambridge I’ve become really interested in infused spirits and cocktails – well who wouldn’t? I love a good cocktail but I lack experience and knowledge when it comes to making them – I have one stalwart, a magarita, but that is as far as it goes, apart from adding ice to a spirit.
I have a sweet tooth and I don’t like things that taste too strong, so brandy, whisky, gin and neat vodka are out. I like amaretto and I love fruit vodkas – probably because they don’t taste too alcoholic. I’ve previously made Damson Vodka before which was a great hit at Christmas time, it was dead easy to make and tasted like Ribena, very drinkable indeed. I’ve also made cherry vodka, so despite knowing how to make these spirits I didn’t revisit them, I think because of my lack of knowledge in how to make a good cocktail.
So along came Aoife with her expert knowledge and delicious sounding but easy to follow recipes. I love her Friday cocktail posts, and swoon over them whilst drinking another glass of disappointing wine (my wine knowledge is terrible) or just a cup of tea.
Rhubarb vodka is just as easy as the other flavoured spirits I’ve made before, chop up some rhubarb, chuck in some sugar, wait a few days, add in some vodka and then wait (an agonising) two weeks. Strain into a bottle and then gather your ingredients and make a cocktail!
I made Aoife’s Rhubarb Vodka with Thyme & Ginger Syrup cocktail yesterday evening, you can find her recipe here. The sugar syrup seems a little daunting but it is really easy, it takes minutes to make and you just have to wait an hour to let the herbs and ginger infuse. It’s finished with lemon juice and bitters. I didn’t have any bitters but it worked ok. It was very sweet so I think the bitters might help, but it was perfect for my sweet tooth.
I’ve got some lemon thyme and also some mint growing in pots in my garden so I’m looking forward to many more cocktails over the summer, and beyond. I’ll definitely be revisiting more flavoured vodkas when the greengages at the bottom of the garden are ready.
I’ve got some syrup left for Eurovision drinks tonight, so I’m looking forward to another pink drink to go with the campness that is Eurovision!
It is very hard to describe what kadhi exactly it, it is basically a yoghurt and gram flour based sauce/soup/gravy for rice. You can also add it to dry curry dishes, like potato. I blogged Kitchri a little while ago, a soothing lentil rice dish gently spiced with turmeric and garlic – kadhi is the best companion for kitchri. You can also have kadhi with plain boiled basmati rice.
Kitri and Kadhi is wonderful when you are sick, it is simple, soothing and comforting – I think it has medicinal qualities similar to chicken soup! I got it together to make this on a weekend when we were both ill with a horrible cold virus thing that caught as at the end of a long winter, it is very easy to make and gentle on a tummy that has been punished by too many Hall’s Soothers and Paracetmol pills.
makes 4 portions, keeps well in the fridge for a few days
250ml natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons of gram flour / chickpea flour
about 1cm of grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp sugar
750ml cold water
1-2 dried red chillies – depending on how hot you want it
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
vegetable or sunflower oil
1. Whisk together the yoghurt, chickpeas, ginger, water in a bowl.
2. Heat the oil and add all the tempering ingredients once the oil is hot. When the mustard seeds begin to pop add in the yoghurt mixture and then water and salt.
3. Bring to the boil, be careful it doesn’t bubble over the top. Then let simmer gently for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally to stop any lumps.
4. Taste and season again if you need to, and then add the fresh coriander.
Serve with kitchri or plain basmati rice.
The traditional way to serve it is in a small cup and let each person add the kadhi to their rice as they eat. I sometimes like to drown my rice in it, but at other times add a little to make it drier, it all depends!
So I’ll be straight with you, this Date & Coconut Granola didn’t really go to plan, I was going to pretend it didn’t happen and make it again and blog my efforts that time. But for two reasons I decided to blog it – 1) it is important to have some balance and remind you and myself that not all my recipes turn out perfect 2) when will I ever get around to making this recipe again, just for perfection’s sake? (more…)