Friday, 18 October 2013

Music to pick sloes by

It has come to my attention via the acerbic comments of friends that I have become a sloe gang-master. I can spot laden branches at 100 yards, and nothing gladdens my blue stained heart more than the sight of industrious hedgerow gathering.

In the hopes of comforting my scratched and shredded troops, and spurring them on to epic picking feats I have created the 

Sloe Gin Play List

The Sloes of Penybanc  Tony Furtado
Prickle Eye Bush Bellowhead
Sloe Gin  Tim Curry

Happy now?

And as all troops march on a full stomach, an intoxicating recipe. Combining two of my favourite things, sloes and jelly - I give you...

Sloe Jelly
Take 8g or 4 leaves of the best grade gelatin you can afford and soften it in some cold water. Meanwhile heat 150mls of water and 100g of granulated white sugar. When all the sugar has dissolved add the softened gelatin and continue to heat until the gelatin too is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Not so cold that it starts to set, or too hot so the alcohol in the precious sloe gin you are about to add is at risk of evaporating, as that would never do. So about 4-5 mins should do it. Then add 350mls of sloe gin. Pour into your jelly moulds and leave to set. It will take at least 4 hours to set, better to leave overnight if you can.
Then, eat up! It's fortifying for the heart and good for nails and hair too!!  

Friday, 11 October 2013

Blooming lovely

Autumn has drawn in the days and the early morning sloe picking is cool and damp. Accompanied by some curious locals we have picked 150lbs of sloes from the nearby lanes.

It's an incredible spot with handful after handful of violet bloomed sloes. So the especially muddy condition of the path, and the extra pricklishness of these particular bushes is well worth it for the hoard gained.

We also have 250lbs of sweet and fragrant Lyth Valley  damsons picked from the young trees in the  orchard at Park End Farm, so the freezers are full to the lids and next year's sloe and damson gin supplies are assured.

In honour of the blue blush, the ferocious thorns, the tart and tenacious sloe - a recipe from fabulous British independent gin makers Sipsmith

The Sloe Gin Spritz
35ml Sloe Gin
25ml Lillet Blanc
20ml lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
3 drops plum bitters
3 drops orange bitters
Sparkling wine
Pour all the ingredients except the wine into a large wine glass with plenty of ice and top up with sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist of lemon.