Saturday, 31 October 2015

Apple and rose hip warmer

Three years ago I ventured out to Midsummer Common to see the Cambridge fireworks display. I finally got the feeling back in my toes but I will never forget the cold, wet misery. All my own fault, I was shockingly under prepared in the wrong shoes and without cocktails. I really don't know what I was thinking. The fireworks and bonfire were very impressive and almost worth the pain but if I was to venture there again I would certainly bring a flask of this warming cocktail. 

The cocktail I recommend for such an occasion is very simple and combines apple juice and rose hip syrup together with a spirit such as whiskey or rum. I heat all of the ingredients apart from the alcohol together and then add alcohol to the glasses of those who want it. Without the alcohol, it's perfect for warming up cold, miserable children or anyone else who is not so keen on spirits. Rose hips are rich in vitamin A and C so if we forget about all the sugar for a moment it's almost a health drink.   

If you are out trick or treating for Halloween tonight it may be just the thing to revive you on your return.

Apple and rose hip warmer

6 parts apple juice
4 parts rose hip syrup
1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 parts whiskey (or rum) for alcoholic version 
few drops of apple cider or Angostura bitters (optional)
apple slices to garnish if desired

Combine the apple juice, rose hip syrup and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat gently until warm. Serve immediately in heat proof glasses or cups or you could store in a thermos for use later (on the freezing Common!). Add the alcohol directly to the cups of those who need it.

You can hear me talking about this cocktail on Flavour on Cambridge 105 on Saturday 31st November at 12pm.

Green, white and orange plus Irish whiskey. Definitely my most Irish photo to date.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Autumn allotment reflections

It's been a very successful year at the allotment. We are still enjoying the Autumn raspberries, squash and kale. We have a second crop of potatoes as well as our very first cauliflowers coming through. Our evening walks to visit our little kingdom and harvest handfuls of raspberries have got me thinking about our work down here over the last four years. Up to now I've spent a lot of time criticising our work and planning what to do better next time. I've wasted time worrying about when our allotment was going to turn into the perfect plot. 

I can see now that the perfect plot is already here, evolving with each season and year. We are slowly learning about what works on our plot and adding new vegetables to our repertoire every year. I'm ridiculously proud of my lavender hedge and some of my happiest hours are spent just pottering around the plot. I've learned to appreciate what we have and take advantage of the aspects of our situation that we claim no credit for. We recorded another bumper blackcurrant harvest from a bush we inherited and this week we collected rose hips from the rose that grows neglected on the boundary of our plot. Rose hip syrup is a wonderful cocktail ingredient and I will use it to create a suitable concoction to toast our allotment achievements this year.

The recipe for rose hip syrup is here on my older blog. I'm pleased to report I now have a proper food processor which ensured the chopping of the hips was completed with no mechanical whining which was certainly a relief. You can hear me talking about rose hip syrup and a hot cocktail for Halloween or Bonfire night this coming Saturday on the Flavour programme on Cambridge 105. Get out this week and make some rose hip syrup so you are prepared and ready to go.