Monday, September 14, 2015

Mandala day 3 xxx

Over on Facebook I am joining in with a lovely group of people creating a 'Mandala a day'.
It is very autumnal here in Kent today, so an autumn inspired mandala appeared!
Mandala's are new to me, so click here for a link to my 'research' over on Pinterest

#silentsunday xxx

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sloe Gin xxx

Yesterday's adventure involved alcohol and sugar - so not a bad combo!
A few days ago child 2 and I collected some sloes on our atfernoon walk.
The sloes this year seem to be very early, looking back in my journal the first one spotted last year was on the 25th September. This year they have been lurking since the end of August!
Custom goes that you collect them just before the first frost... well I guess never say never with British weather, but even frost in the first week of September may be a bit optimistic.
So, we popped them in the freezer, 450g of them, for a few days - job done.
Frost? Freezer? Why?
Well how long is a piece of string? Everyone has their own reasons, customs and belief.
Mainly, you need to break the skins, by freezing they split open once placed in the container along with other ingredients.
Talking to my mum she recalls as a child sitting with my uncle and laboriously pricking each sloe with a cocktail stick... it took quite a time, and rather a mess. By freezing and splitting, quick and minimal mess.
A cocktail stick... some customs quoth you HAVE to use a thorn from the tree to prick each sloe.
Some customs state you need to pick only at certain times of the day, or night ...
So as you can see a many and varied approach.
I simply googled 'sloe gin' and took the first recipe I found  - see here.
So sloes frozen or pricked, what next.
In a sufficiently sized and sterilised kilner jar, a 1litre one did the job, I added the 450g sloes, 350g caster sugar and 750ml of gin.
Apply the lid securely and shake it.
Keep it somewhere cool and dark and give it a shake daily for the next few months.
I have been told it is best after a month to swirl more than a vigorous shake as this will allow yukky sediment to settle...
After a couple of months, try it, add sugar if required.
Decant, fine seive, into their final bottles and leave for a month but even beter if left longer.

Yule presents sorted!