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Sloe Gin

Autumn is here!  And with it come a wealth of free hedgerow foods and abundant old wives’ tales to guide you on your foraging!  Having been indulging in Blackberry and Apple Pie and Brown Betty for weeks now the first frost has come and so blackberries are out (the devil’s claw has been upon them!) but it’s open season on the sloes!

Sloes have had some ups and downs over the past few years but it seems like a good year for them around here so get out and see what you can pick!  This sloe gin is well worth the wait, I’ve just cracked open last year’s stash and, just like every year, I am reminded of just how good this stuff is and questioning why I don’t drink it year round!

Sloe Gin

 

Makes 1 bottle*

350g sloes*
175g granulated sugar*
8 blanched almonds
1 pint gin*

– First step, freeze your sloes.  Or spend 3 hours pricking each and every one of them with a small knife.  Your choice.
– In a large jar or bottle with a wide neck (make sure it seals properly!) layer your frozen sloes and sugar so its nicely combined.
– Add the blanched almonds.
–  Add the gin at room temperature.  The shock of the gin on the frozen sloes will cause the skins to split, you may even hear them cracking like ice cubes!
– Put in a safe, cool place and then shake once a week for 6 months-the end of time. (Mum has a bottle she’s been working on for at least 5 years, its brilliant!)
–  Strain the sloes and almonds from the gin leaving just the liquid.  **
– Enjoy with ice and tonic, or as a bonfire night tipple straight from a hip flask!  Warms you up a treat!

* As with all foraging expeditions your harvest varies.  If you have come home with say 2kg of sloes (well done you!) then simply use half the amount of sugar to the weight of sloes (so 1kg) and when adding gin you want the sloe/sugar mix to come about halfway up the bottle leaving the rest of the room for gin.

As for gin, DO NOT go using Bombay Sapphire or the like in this recipe.  It’s a waste!  Lidl, Aldi and the like do perfectly acceptable gin at a good price especially when you are going to be adding so much fruit and sugar to it.  There’s no need to break the bank!

** If you don’t want to waste the sloes you can go on to use them in Sloe and Apple Jelly by simply adding them to this recipe.

 

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Filed under Dairy Free, Drinks, Easy, Gluten Free, Jams and Preserves

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Now, this isn’t the most thrilling post ever, I’ll grant you.  But I have been whipping up a batch of smoothies ever Sunday evening for a few weeks now so this is most definitley what’s happening in my kitchen!

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I never manage to eat breakfast before I leave the house of a morning.  I will always, ALWAYS choose to have that extra 5 minutes sleep.  And when I get to York… well, those sausage sandwiches from Greggs are mighty tasty! By the time I’m at my desk it’s all systems go and I just don’t really have time to eat something.  Thus, smoothies!

They go in a bottle* so you only need one hand free to have them.  No chewing needed so you can still answer the phone, and they are made of fruit, milk and yogurt, all healthy, all breakfast foods! I favour the basic strawberry and banana but if there’s other fruit around, kiwis or peaches for example they they get thrown in there too!

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Makes 5x 250ml

3 bananas, roughly chopped
200g strawberries, hulled
200ml vanilla yogurt
milk to top up

– Put the bananas, strawberries and yogurt in an upright blender.
– Top up with milk until around the 1250ml mark.  If there’s fruit piled up above that mark go below by a similar distance.
– Blitz until smooth.
– If you don’t have the 1250ml needed add more milk to get you there and blitz again.
– Pour into bottles and refrigerate until needed.
– Grab one each morning and you’re good to go! Just give a good shake before drinking to mix it all up again.

* I use the Starbucks Frappucino bottles.  They’re the perfect size and a nice thick glass, which keeps cool nicely during my commute.  Asda sell the Frappucinos for about £1 usually and I have a weakness for iced coffees so I have a collection now.  Just peel away the labels (they come away quite easily) and wash thoroughly after each use.

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Filed under Breakfasts, Drinks, Easy