Cherry Blossom Martini

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This tastes like cough syrup, in a good way! Created to celebrate the arrival of spring and cherry tree blossom. And also because the husband forgot to chill some wine for me (after I’d forgotten myself too, epic fail!).

For one potent martini you need

  • 50ml vanilla vodka
  • 50ml triple sec
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • 50ml passoa

Shake everything together over ice and decant into a martini glass. Serve garnished with a slice of satsuma and a cocktail cherry. Drink.

Here’s the blossom that inspired it πŸ™‚

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Cider Sausage Casserole with Black Quinoa (v)

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Yeah. Black quinoa mofos. I’m so totally more hipster than you πŸ˜‰ And no, there isn’t much difference between the normal type and this one or the red one! I foundΒ  it lurking at the back of the cupboard when I had a New Year clear out so thought I’d better use it… I also found some unpleasant cheap cider that I’d got to mull but hadn’t got round to using. This was an inspired chuck it all in and see what happens dish and what happened was I’d definitely make it again so here is the recipe!

For four portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 vegan sausages
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into fat discs
  • 4 potatoes, cut into chunky cubes
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 can cider
  • 2 tsp stock powder
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tin black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g spinach, washed and shredded
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup black quinoa
  1. Begin by frying the leek, carrots, potatoes and sausages in the oil until the vegetables are starting to get tender and the sausages have browned a little, about 10 mins.
  2. Add the cider, stock powder and mustard and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, beans and sage and cook gently covered for 10-15 mins until the quinoa, potatoes and carrots are cooked. You may need to add a little more stock if necessary as you want a bit of sauce left.
  3. Season to taste and add the spinach. Leave to wilt, covered and with the heat off, for 5 mins. This will also allow the quinoa to finish cooking and relax a little.
  4. Delicious served with some apple sauce on the side.

Mulled Wine (v)

I am addicted to this. It’s the soothing, warming, inner core fug of happiness it distributes and it dissipates I think πŸ˜‰

For 6 generous servings you need:
1 bottle good quality red wine
2 clementines cut into slices
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 cloves
125g caster sugar
pared rind of a lemon
1/4 whole nutmeg, grated
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Place everything into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are aromatic. Serve warm in glasses and spread seasonal good cheer πŸ™‚

Amaretto and Chocolate Torte

This is the sort of pudding that Christmas is all about πŸ™‚ It’s a variation on St Delia’s famous chocolate torte.

For 10 people you need:
450g plain chocolate
75g liquid glucose
75ml amaretto
600ml double cream
150g amoretti biscuits

Line a springform tin with clingfilm. Smash the biscuits to smithereens and scatter them over the base of the tin. Melt the choc, amaretto and glucose in a double boiler till smooth and glossy. Meanwhile whip the cream to the floppy stage. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the cream and then pour into the tin. Leave to chill and serve, in thin slices, with more cream.

The Ultimately Boozy Christmas *ahem* Winter Solstice Cake

This is such a yummy cake. I truly think I have excelled myself this year (yes I know, pride cometh before a fall and all that but :P).

For a generous cake that makes an 8″ square and 2 2″ square cakes you need:
1.5 kilos mixed fruit e.g. currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, cherries etc
500-700ml mixture of rum, brandy, whisky
225g butter
225g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp treacle
3 tbsp mixed christmas cake spice with orange peel (morrisons sell it… or use cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice and add some grated orange zest)
225g plain flour
4 eggs

Begin by soaking the fruit for a month. Yes a whole month. Place in a tub with the booze and leave well alone, save for shaking it once a day.

When you’re ready to make the cake cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs. Fold in the flour and spices and then add the fruit mixture. Mix well and place in the prepared tins. Bake the small cakes for 3 hours and the large one for 4 1/2 hours at 120 degrees. Leave to cool totally and then wrap. Cover as you wish πŸ™‚

Drunken Fruit (v)

This makes a totally decadent and utterly delicious topping for ice cream/sorbet/swedish glace. Yum. Make a batch up and stash it a cool place. It’ll keep for ags. But leave it *at least* a week before using… Top up with more rum or fruit as you use it.

For 8-10 portions you need:
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup mixed peel
1-2 cups rum

Place the fruit in a clean tub and pour over the rum. You want enough to cover the fruit but not drown it. Shake daily for at least a week and then use as you wish.