Rhubarb & Ginger Syrup

Sweet syrup, made with fruity rhubarb and fiery ginger, perfect for cocktails!

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This is one of the first recipes I have tried from one of my new cookbooks which I got for christmas; Wild Cocktails by Lottie Muir. It is absolutely full of fantastic recipes for infusions, syrups and of course cocktails.

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I chose this syrup to make first, as it can be used in a few different cocktail recipes. The leftover rhubarb compote can be used to make a Sloe Time, and the syrup is used to make a delicious Rhubarb and Ginger Collin’s.

I have tried both these cocktails and they are really, really good, definitely the best home-made cocktails I’ve ever had!

The syrup was really easy to make,  and definitely worth the effort, so I can’t wait to try out more of the recipes!

 

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Ingredients: Makes around 500ml

  • 350g Rhubarb
  • 40g freshly grated ginger
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 1tbsp vodka (optional)

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To Make:

Place all ingredients (except the vodka in a large pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Allow to simmer for around 15-20 minutes – until the rhubarb disintegrates and becomes pulpy.

While the liquid is still piping hot, pass through a sieve into a wide mouthed jug, and then funnel into presentations bottle(s).

You can add a few slices of ginger to the bottles at this point,  if you want to make the ginger flavour stronger.

You can also add 1 tbsp of vodka to the syrup to make it last a little longer.

Store in the fridge and consume within 2-3 weeks.

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Rhubarb Collins:

  • 60ml gin
  • 60ml rhubarb and ginger syrup
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • soda water.

 

Shake up all the ingredients except the soda water, in a cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice.

Strain to a highball glass filled with ice and top up with soda. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Currant Liquor

A deliciously refreshing liquor flavoured with tart and fruity red currants.

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Back in July I started to make some summer fruit liquors, among them was a red currant liquor, which has been developing for the last 12 weeks, and which I finally got to bottle and taste this week!

The flavour of this liquor is absolutely delicious, and dare I say it, better than the sloe and elderberry liquor I made last year! The red currants have given the liquor a really juicy, summery taste which I love, I’m sad that I only made one batch as I’m sure I will have finished it in no time.

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This is not a liquor to be mixed, as it is perfect served neat over ice.

I will include the beginning stages of the recipe again in this post. If you can get your hands on some red currants then I can really recommend that you try this recipe!

Variations: I think adding some other flavours to this liquor could work nicely, I would like to try adding some lemon or orange peel to the berries.

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Ingredients: Makes around 900ml:

  • 700g red currants
  • 750ml vodka
  • 200g sugar

To Make:

Weigh out 700g of red currants, wash and transfer to a large kilner jar.

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Muddle the red currants in the jar, to release their juices, then add the sugar.

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Pour over the vodka and shake to infuse. Leave in a cool dark place for 3 months, shaking every few days.

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Three months later…..

Sieve the redcurrant flavoured vodka into a clean pan, and discard the red currants.

Use a funnel to pour the liquor into a sterilised glass bottle. Seal, label and store in a cool dark place.

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You can use the liquor immediately, but it will only improve with age.

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Watermelon Curd

Creamy curd, flavoured with sweet watermelon and tangy lime.

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I love watermelon, and I have been meaning to try out making some watermelon preserves for a while, so when I found some watermelon on offer in the supermarket, I thought I’d buy a few and do some cooking!

I really like the way this curd has turned out. It has a lovely unusual flavour, and I think it will go perfectly as the filling for a cake!

Ingredients: Makes Three 220g Jars

  • 300g watermelon, pureed
  • juice of two limes
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 120g butter

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To Make:

Combine the watermelon puree, egg yolks, sugar and lime juice  in a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of boiling water. Mix the cornflour with a few tbsp of water, then pour into the curd mixture.

Whisk to combine, and heat for 20-30 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly.  You can test to see if the curd is set, by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate, it should set.

Once set, pour the curd into sterilised jars and seal. leave to set, then store in the fridge. Use within a month.

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Summer Fruit Liquors – Cassis, Cherry Brandy & Redcurrant Liquor

Three liquors, made from seasonal summer fruits!

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I had a really fun weekend fruit picking, and decided to use up most of the fruit by making fruit liquors! I went to a fruit picking farm to get a few punnets of redcurrant and blackcurrants, and then to a friend who has a huge cherry tree in his back garden to pick the cherries!

I was going to make some jams, but I can never use up jam fast enough, so I settled on liquors instead. My liquors are currently developing in the cupboard, so I will do an updated post in about 3 months, to show how to finish them off and bottle them!

I made some sloe and elderberry gin last year, which is really delicious, so I am hoping that these liquors will turn out just as good! If your stuck with a load of fruit which your not sure what to do with, then I definitely recommend these recipes!

Variations: Some other fruits could be turned into liquors, blackberries or raspberries would work well mixed with vodka.

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Ingredients

Cherry Brandy:

  • 700g cherries
  • 750ml brandy
  • 100g sugar

Cassis:

  • 1kg blackcurrants
  • 750ml vodka

Redcurrant Liquor:

  • 1kg redcurrants
  • 750ml vodka
  • 200g sugar

To Make:

The Cherry Brandy:

Weigh out 700g of cherries, wash and transfer to large kilner jar.

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Add the sugar to the jar, followed by the brandy.

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Store in a cool dark place, and shake a few times a day to dissolve the sugar. Leave to infuse for 3 months.

The Cassis:

Weigh out 1kg of blackcurrants, wash and transfer to large kilner jar.

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Pour over the vodka and shake to jar to mix.

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Store in a cool dark place for 6 months.

The Redcurrant Liquor:

Weigh out 700g of redcurrants, wash and transfer to a large kilner jar.

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Muddle the redcurrants in the jar, to release their juices, then add the sugar.

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Pour over the vodka and shake to infuse. Leave in a cool dark place for 3 months, shaking every few days.

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Rhubarb Jam

Sweet and sticky jam, made with tart chunks of fresh rhubarb.

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As we are now in full rhubarb season, I decided to make some rhubarb jam. I have used a recipe from the river cottage preserves book which is really simple, but works so well.

Rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits, so I have kept this jam super simple, and just used rhubarb and sugar. I can’t wait to use it in some rhubarb themed cakes!

Variations: you could add some other fruit to the rhubarb jam like raspberries or strawberries. Some orange juice would also work well, or some rose petals, thrown in at the end.

Ingredients: Makes Two 300g jars

  • 500g Rhubarb
  • 300g Jam Sugar

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To Make:

In a large pan, cover the bottom with a layer of jam sugar, then add a layer of rhubarb, followed by sugar etc. until you have used up all the rhubarb and sugar, I think I ended up with about 3 rhubarb layers.

Leave the pan for a few hours, this gives time for all the juices to come out of the rhubarb. After a few hours you should be able to see the sugar is wet with the rhubarb juices.

Cook the rhubarb over a high heat until. The chunks of rhubarb are tender and some of them begin to break down.

Check the jam is set by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate. If it sets on the plate then the jam is ready!

Pour the hot jam into sterilized jam jars and seal tightly. The jam should keep for about 6 months. Once opened store in the fridge and it will keep for a few weeks.

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Elderflower Cordial

Sweet and citrusy cordial, flavoured with fragrant and lemony elderflowers.

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All along the roadsides and hedges at this time of year, the green bushes are decorated with the white plumes of the elderflower. I have been waiting (very impatiently!) for the elderflowers to appear this year, so I was delighted when I started to see them popping out over the last few weeks.

This weekend, equipped with three plastic carrier bags, we went searching for elderflowers, on a walk through the country side, and returned with enough elderflowers to make 8 bottles of cordial, and even a cheeky elderflower gin (post coming soon!).

You can recognise elderflowers easily. They are small trees/bushes, with big clusters of very small creamy white flowers. Try to pick them on a dry day, and they are supposed to be at their best when they still have a few unopened buds on the flower head. Even if you have never noticed them before, if you go on a walk in the countryside, you are bound to find at least a few big bushes!

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Most recipes for elderflower cordial use citric acid as a preservative, but I couldn’t get hold of any in time, so I have used campden tablets instead. However I do think that means that I needed to use a lot more lemon juice to get the balance of flavour right!

Having said that, I am really pleased with my elderflower cordial, it tastes so much better than the cordial you buy in the shops, and we managed to get through an entire bottle in just one week! I’m looking forward to using it to liven up cocktails and even to flavour cakes and biscuits over the summer.

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Ingredients: Makes Two 750ml Bottles:

  • 50 elderflower heads
  • 8 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 600g sugar
  • 1 Campden tablet (optional)

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To Make:

Wash the elderflowers under some cold water and remove any insects.

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Remove as much stem as possible and transfer the flowers to a 1.5L jar, with the zest of 1 lemons and 1 lime. Quarter the zested fruit and add to the flowers.

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Pour 750ml cold water over the flours and seal. Leave to infuse in the fridge for 24 hours.

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Drain the elderflower liquid through a muslin bag and transfer to a large pan.

Add 500g of sugar and the juice of 8 lemons to the elderflower water (squeeze out the juice of the lemon and lime from the infusion aswell!), and heat until the sugar has dissolved Taste now to check it is sweet/sour enough for you.

Stir through one crushed camden tablet, and pour into sterilised glass bottles and seal.

The cordial should keep for up to 6 months if you use the campden tablets. If not, it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Serve with fizzy water and ice, for a deliciously refreshing summer drink.

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Lilac Syrup

Sweet sugar syrup flavoured with fragrant lilac flowers.

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Lilacs were one of the edible flowers that I really wanted for my edible balcony garden, but unfortunately they come on a large bush so they definitely wouldn’t fit! So I was delighted when I came across a big bush in the countryside, while on a walk last weekend! I was originally looking for elderflowers, but I don’t think they are quite out yet, so I took a few heads of lilac home with me instead.

I had a quick look online for recipe ideas, and it seemed as though a syrup was the best option for me, because I want to be able to use the syrup in cakes and desserts, but you can also make a lilac cordial or jelly!

The syrup has turned out delicious, the lovely perfume of the lilac flours has flavoured the syrup really well, and to me it tastes like parma violets. Hopefully I will be able to use it to make some parma violet cupcakes this week (post coming soon!). I think this would also be really tasty poured over some vanilla ice cream, or mixed into a cocktail for a sweet, floral finish.

Lilac syrup would make a really good gift if you know anyone with birthdays coming up soon!

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Ingredients: Makes around 800ml

  • 3 lilac heads
  • 500g sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 1tsp pink or purple food colouring (optional)

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To Make:

Sterilise a large 750ml bottle.

Pick the flowers off the lilac heads and set aside.

Meanwhile combine the water and sugar in a pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the lilac flowers and food colouring.

Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, before straining the syrup to remove the flowers.

Pour the syrup into the sterilised bottle and seal.

The syrup should keep in the fridge for a few months.

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